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Outdoor Opportunities in New Hampshire’s North Country

Outdoor Opportunities in New Hampshire's North Country

Geographically, the Northern Hub is New Hampshire’s largest region, with some of the state’s most iconic and wild terrain. However, on a local level, it feels more like a small town. The phrase “We’re all in this together” is a fitting statement since this region is largely shaped by seasonality, tourism, geography, and history.

On Tuesday, June 6, I traveled through New Hampshire’s White Mountains to attend the annual SkiNH Conference & Tradeshow. The drive along the tree-lined access road to Waterville Valley Ski Resort was the last bit of quiet that I experienced before entering the highly energized conference, where nearly 400 industry and community partners gathered to share, collaborate, celebrate, problem-solve, and join forces to address the challenges and opportunities facing ski and outdoor-recreation communities.

Round table discussions were focused on developing recruitment and retention strategies to address the workforce needs of the region. Conversations with stakeholders focused on ways in which the ApprenticeshipNH Hub fits into the community’s quality of life and revitalization strategies.

SkiNH Conference & Tradeshow

Collaboration is something we do by nature in the North Country, and increasingly, with nature in mind. The roster of attendees at the conference illustrated this point. By the end of the conference, I had connected with members of the business/information technology, construction, manufacturing, and hospitality sectors. Everyone I spoke with was passionate about their work and place in New Hampshire. Each industry partner had identified their share of challenges and barriers and were actively seeking to resolve them. We discussed how Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) are proven long-term employment strategies, focusing on building sustainable talent pipelines that lead to rewarding careers and retention. I especially enjoyed dialogue with staff members from the Mount Washington Observatory, who are working to expand opportunities in weather science to high school students, recognizing the value of early exposure to practical experiences in STEM for young people.

Outdoor Opportunities in New Hampshire's North Country: The Pemi Wilderness from the Kancamagus Highway
The Pemi Wilderness from the Kancamagus Highway

The conference concluded on a high note with an awards ceremony for three well-deserving and inspiring recipients. As I drove home along the Kancamagus Highway, I reflected on the theme of multiple conversations shared at the conference: in New Hampshire, we have it all – stunning seasons set against wild landscapes, small, caring communities, quality schools, and meaningful career prospects.

I am excited about the people who recognize and respect our natural and human-made resources. Those who are working to bring other voices into the conversation, improve career pathways, address tomorrow’s problems today, and celebrate the collaborative spirit of Granite Staters!

– Chris Lalmond, Northern Hub Developer

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