When you stand at the summit of Belknap Mountain, home to the trails of Gunstock, and survey the magnificent views of Lake Winnipesaukee below, you can thank a remarkable bit of foresight during the Great Depression.

When the Works Progress Administration was created to help deal with massive unemployment during the 1930s, the Belknap County Legislative Delegation sought support from the state's Congressional delegation for an ambitious recreation project. The project entailed campsites and a modern comfort station, an emphasis on protecting the environment, and most importantly for skiers, a ski area with a single chairlift, four rope tows, and about 4 miles of trails. The project included a main lodge and other structures built from native timber and quarry stone from nearby Cobble Mountain. Gunstock has kept pace ever since. With the recent installation of a high-speed quad to the summit (which replaced a triple, now doing duty in the Pistol area of the mountain), a new and larger terrain park, and a thorough overhaul of the snowmaking system, the mountain seems to be well set for the future.

Intermediates will have a ball at Gunstock, with some long cruising combinations possible. Upper/Middle/Lower Gunsmoke is a classic run which can be varied by taking Gunpowder to Shotgun (notice a theme to the trail names?) or drop off Upper Gunsmoke to Middle/Lower Recoil. Flintlock to The Flats to Stonebar is another worthy combination and a long run to boot.