There were 29 responses to last week’s Tele-Talk question — “Do you think there is interest locally in opening a new gym/indoor tennis facility?” — all of which were against Cranmore’s decision to close down its fitness center and expressed a desire for another facility to offer an affordable option. The full selection of responses is printed here.
I am disappointed in the decision to close Cranmore Fitness. The indoor tennis and skiing was a major reason for my decision to retire in this area five years ago. In addition, I have spent 20-plus years coaching tennis, including most recent years at Fryeburg Academy. All high schools in the area need a place to practice and learn during the tennis season. Hopefully, enough of us can try and do something about this. It could fall on deaf ears, but we have some influential people that could make a difference. I am happy to do whatever I can do to make indoor tennis a reality for everyone in the valley. Dick Valliere.
I can totally understand why they are closing. The building is older, and there is no way to repair an old structure to the way the owners of the mountain would like it to be. I study mountain resort management at a university in Vermont. I think what this closure will hurt is the community as a whole because people rely on health/wellbeing around the Mount Washington Valley. The other demographic that it will also hurt is the non-skiers who would still enjoy the exercise while their other group members are skiing. My biggest questions are: What will happen to the Ghoullog? What will happen to the tubing/mountain adventure park ticketing center? What will happen to the eating establishment that is housed there as well? I totally get it. My biggest hope would have to be is to see a new public tennis facility open up in the valley, as well as a fitness center. Maybe the Eastern Slope Inn/Attitash Mountain Village would be open to welcoming more health club members.
An indoor tennis center with an outdoor venue to host girls’ weekends, tennis camps and tournaments could be a business opportunity in the valley. There are USTA leagues for adults and kids. Paddle tennis (or platform tennis) is booming in the Boston suburbs. Paddle is played in the winter. Meghan Nichols.
I am more than interested in indoor tennis courts in the Mount Washington Valley. I took up tennis late in life and became obsessed thanks to my first lesson with Michael Rocheleau, the tennis pro at Cranmore in 2006. I went on to have many lessons, clinics and drill classes at Cranmore with the awesome and ever-patient Michael and other pros — Justin Chaffee, Chris Chaffee, Bob Kimnach, Kurt Grabner, Raz Ilie and others from New England Tennis Holidays. The Chaffee brothers are the current pros at Cranmore and are outstanding. Tennis is a fantastic workout sport, exciting, fun and vastly contributes to positive mental and physical well-being. Such a great athletic pursuit for young people. A lifetime sport. When you’re older, it’s easy to get a game of tennis together — not so much a game of soccer or football. I have met many wonderful friends through tennis at Cranmore, including many exceptional employees. The greatest thing ever would be to have a Volvo-level tennis event back in the Valley again. Thank you, Cranmore. Rachel Andrews Damon, Fryeburg, Maine.
I come up in the summer to play a lot of tennis in the Conway, Jackson, Wolfeboro and Fryeburg area. It’s funny that I read this article now because I was actually looking at buying up in the area knowing that I could play tennis inside in the winter. But now I’m looking more towards the Concord area since there is a big indoor facility there. The area actually warrants an indoor facility obviously for weather conditions, but because there are a lot of active tennis players, and if they combine it with a fitness center, I believe there would be plenty of people interested. I’ve also thought it would be good for a couple places like the Jackson tennis facility, possibly even the Eastern Slope Inn in that has two courts that need to be fixed up. This could be an alternative to at least tennis. Maybe calling around to some of the current indoor facilities around the New England area might spark their interest in investing up in this part of the country. The one in Stowe, Vt., is actually a perfect example with two indoor courts and a fitness center that’s doing phenomenal in that area. Jim DiTrolio.
I’m a resident of Fryeburg, Maine, and I go to the North Conway Cranmore club regularly, and I can’t tell you how upset I am about this news of the closing. Obviously not just for myself, but I see many disabled citizens who use the club, people socialize there, the elderly — this is where they get their exercise. There is nothing else like that in the valley or even close to the valley like this club. It’s just absurd that in this area, with all these towns that there’s absolutely nothing now that you’re closing this facility. The one other place that is in Conway is more of a weight lifting, body building-type place, I wouldn’t even call the gym and it’s very expensive. So anyway, please they need to come up with something, I don’t know why we can’t have a YMCA in the area. Like I said within a 20-, 40-, 50-mile area there is nothing. I’m very upset, and I’m sure many people are.
If you build it, they will come. The quote from the “Field of Dreams” movie feels very fitting in this case. Tennis is a special sport. It is different than other sports because it is not only fun and keeps people healthy, but it reveals character. It deals with the basic elements of everyday life, everyday existence. Improving, learning, striving, winning, losing, and most of all, never giving up. Tennis is all about heart. I believe that the tennis community here has that. They all share one common thing: a love for the game. Taking tennis away during the winter is devastating. I have put my heart and soul into trying to lead by example, and a model of an ideal to the game of tennis, as an athlete, tennis coach and as a person. Offering an indoor tennis facility is an outlet for people to meet others, stay active and a place to go to as a second home, whatever they may be dealing with within their lives. Tennis is very much alive here. We have the tools to try to get it started. This might not be the end. This doesn’t have to be goodbye. It could be the start of something great.
A fitness facility that is financially accessible ($10-20 monthly) to all citizens of the valley would be ideal. Pool, tennis courts, gym area and indoor track would get the most use. Perhaps catering to those who live here year-round would help finance it?
I hope the owners of the facility will seriously consider pickleball courts. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America and is experiencing enormous growth right here in our backyard. The Club at Christmas Mountain has eight new exterior courts. The White Mountain Hotel has two and the Stonehurst Village Condominium Association is discussing conversion of their single tennis court into two pickleball courts. The North Conway Community Center has inside pickleball court hours throughout the winter months. At the rate this sport is enjoying success, the facility at Cranmore should absolutely consider inside pickleball courts.
I believe tennis is back on the rise in the Mount Washington Valley. More kids are taking up the sport. Both the Fryeburg Academy and Kennett High School programs are strong and getting stronger. Local clubs and public/private courts are getting more and more use. There is no question that current and new tennis players will want an indoor facility. Pickleball is also exploding onto the scene, and the space can be shared. Both sports complement one another. I think Cranmore is making a mistake.
What about making the empty building next to Hooligans, the old IGA, a gym instead of a parking lot? Rumor has it Cranmore would even donate the equipment. It’s a no-brainer, instant cash from 800 Cranmore Fitness members when they join up. A win-win for the town (no more unsightly empty building and no parking lot) and for us, the Cranmore fitness members. Tom Eastman, contact the owner of that building.
The indoor tennis courts were always busy; we had to book well in advance most of the time. Plus, they were used for kids’ sports training during winter months as well. Pickleball is a growing sport and can be played on tennis courts. Hopefully there is interest to create indoor courts since we have such a limited outdoor season.
Maybe it’s time for the former WM Aquatic Center folks who worked for so long on an Olympic-sized pool to revisit the idea, but to include one of the original proposals by some to include a fitness center and indoor track. I know the idea didn’t receive the financial backers it wanted, but maybe with Cranmore’s gym going away, someone (or many) could step up and help make this dream happen for the community. And by community, I mean the locals. Not some overpriced place that only caters to the wealthy.
We are in dire need of an indoor swimming pool along with tennis courts and exercise room. It would need to fit the low-income money range of residents as well. Being disabled and on disability makes it hard for me to join the gym in North Conway due to their price. Just a thought to be considered for those of us on a very tight income.
I am surprised that the MWV doesn’t have a major college campus. Across the country, colleges and communities like the MWV have thrived together. Local residents have access to all the fitness facilities and cultural events. It’s too bad this never happened.
Look to Christmas Mountain in Jackson. They are trying to fill a void in fitness. With Cranmore now tossing in the flag, there are no avenues for off-season tennis. However, there are the wonderful tennis courts in Conway maintained by John Eastman and his town crew. Maybe, with the relocation of Conway Rec to Kennett Middle School, they could look at indoor tennis? But is there really enough interest in winter tennis facilities for anyone to create a new venue? The clay courts at the Eastern Slope Inn are hardly used. The clay courts that were at Intervale Farm and The New England Inn have been discarded. So, is there really a void, or is this just nostalgia?
Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness would be welcome. They are affordable, which is what the wealthy business owners around here don’t understand.
Maybe the rich folk at Lamplighters could build something seeing how they all just spent 10 MILLION dollars.
We’d be interested in a gym facility with classes, weight room and cardio area. An Olympic-size lap pool is also on the wish list.
Perhaps the town of Bartlett could work with The Club at Christmas Mountain instead of blocking their efforts.
How about a YMCA? The one on the North Shore, Sterling YMCA, in Beverly Mass., is killer.
Conway area needs an indoor rock gym.
Not “financially viable” is code for MORE CONDOS.
I would give my left arm for a Planet Fitness.
I would love to see a new gym and Olympic pool.
Yes, there needs to be more options. Planet Fitness would be nice.
Yes, especially if it’s affordable for those of us with a low or fixed income.
Maybe a tennis, curling and pool complex?
Planet Fitness would be amazing.