Wildcat Mountain

Wildcat official web site

January 2005


Wildcat is a major NH ski resort with vertical drop of more than 2100 feet. It is also tiny in terms of the area of its terrain. The nicety of Wildcat layout is in its compactness. A high-speed detachable quad is the focal point of the entire resort. This lift is claimed to be the fastest in New Hampshire but the fact is that all detachable lifts run fast. This lift connects the very base and the very summit. Basically, all trails are accessible from this lift. If the crowd is not big, then skiing at Wildcat is very efficient. One can explore the entire mountain using exclusively the high-speed lift.

Wildcat is ranked Number 1 in the east for scenery. And the views from the summit are spectacular indeed ... if you are lucky to be there on a cloudless day. Mount Washington is so close that one can easily see the Mt Washington observatory and even the tower there from Wildcat. Now about the clouds. In my experience, Mt Washington and its neighborhood is typically covered by clouds. On several occasions, I happened to travel across New Hampshire in one day, and the sun was shining everywhere except for the Mt Washington area. I guess Wildcat also a subject for that weather pattern. Besides since the Wildcat summit elevation is over 4000 feet, it is often below the ceiling, and so you experience overcast at the base and snow at the summit because you are within a cloud while at the summit.

Wildcat is by far the best value in NH and perhaps in New England. The adult lift ticket for the second and all consecutive days of skiing is only $25. No blackout days (at least in the 2004/05 season)! Compare this to neighboring Bretton Woods having much bigger terrain but only about 1500 feet vertical and charging $59 for weekends/holidays.

There is a perception that Wildcat is a mountain for expert skiers only. I should say that this is just a perception even though there are some reasons for this perception. The first time I visited Wildcat a year ago before Christmas, and half of the mountain was closed then. This year I skied at Wildcat several days right after Christmas. This time, it was mostly open, and now I am pretty much familiar with the mountain. From my personal perspective, black terrain is virtually non-existent at Wildcat. And here is an explanation.

My understanding of perfect skiing is the following: steep flat wide groomed trails under the sunny sky and 30 degrees F. I was not able to find any steep (i.e. black) flat wide trails at Wildcat. Black trails at Wildcat are bumpy, with trenches and sometimes boulders. Frankly, I do not care about this kind of terrain. In my mind, the joy of skiing is associated with speed. And this bumpy terrain is intended for totally different sensations.

I would say that Wildcat is rather a mountain favored by locals than an expert mountain. There is no slopeside lodging, no shuttle busses connecting to nearby hotels. I noticed that the average skiing ability of Wildcat skiers is much higher than that for other NH resorts located closer to the metropolitan Boston area. For instance, instead of typical ski school students at the beginner level, there were plenty of racing students. This is a very positive feature because the major risk in skiing is to be hit in the back by a teen not able to ski (or rather snowboard) in control.

Speaking again of the 'expert' aspect, I think this perception is due to the fact that Wildcat is kind of rougher than fancier resorts. Do not expect to see all slopes groomed here nightly. Also, do you remember the terrain with trenches I already talked about?

Be aware that the best wide flat slope - Bobcat - is often occupied by NASTAR racers and not available for other skiers on those days. Its best replacemnt is nearby Cheetah. Overall, the mountain is not big, and so, every trail counts. When Bobcat is closed, the choices are narrow. We stayed at N. Conway and went to Wildcat for skiing every morning. On most days, the temperature at Wildcat base was about 10 degrees below the temperature at N. Conway. Please keep this in mind when selecting your skiing clothing.

New Hampshire Skiing

Video Clips       NH Skiing Quiz       Hi-Tech Ropeways at NH Ski Resorts

Waterville Valley Photos     Mount Sunapee Photos     Loon Photos     Attitash Photos     Bretton Woods Photos     Cannon Photos     Gunstock Photos     Cranmore Photos     Crotched Mountain Photos

Another New England skiing destination: Sunday River

See also Park City including
2004 World Superpipe Championship Photos         Park City Mountain Photos         The Canyons Photos         Deer Valley Photos

And Tyrol Skiing including
Kitzbuhel Photos         Stubai Glacier         Axamer Lizum Photos

Copyright (c) 2004-2005 Alexander Sakharov