Wildcat Ski Getaways

ski getaways

Back in the summer of 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) cut the original Wildcat Trail using axes and cross-cut saws. Designated a class "A" racing trail, it acquired quite a reputation throughout the Northeast in the years prior to Wildcat's development as a lift-served area.<

The upper part of today's Wildcat Trail, narrow as it seems to a modern skier, is considerably wider than the original and shares little more than its pitch. But the eyeball-to-eyeball view across Pinkham Notch to Tuckerman Ravine remains the same. Better yet, that view is available to any level of skier or rider. Just jump on the Wildcat Express for the six-minute ride to the top. A treat for all ability levels from Wildcat's summit is the 2 � mile trip down Polecat, a green circle trail with terrific views west and a confidence-building rhythm to it. Polecat has plenty of room to make turns but is in many ways like one of those old hand-cut trails: it follows the natural contours of the mountain.

Indeed, most of Wildcat's terrain, no matter what its rating, flows naturally down the mountain to an end at the compact base area. The result is a trail mix where everything except the black diamonds may seem steeper that what you're accustomed to; while you may find this challenging at first a policy of grooming about 70% of the mountain each night ensures that it isn't daunting. Indeed, the greatest challenge at Wildcat is not to stare bug-eyed at magnificent Mount Washington across the way.

Novices and less experienced beginners need not confront the length and 2100 feet of vertical posed by Polecat in order to have fun. The gentle and sunny Snowcat area, served by the Snowcat Triple, is a friendly, semi-detached snowfield near the base lodge where you can get your ski or snowboard legs under you. From there, graduate to the Bobcat Triple and the Wild Kitten trail. Next, ride the Tomcat Triple and enjoy the lower two-thirds of Polecat. Now you're ready for Polecat from the top!

Expert skiers and riders will want to check out Wildcat's glades and rough-and-ready trails like Feline, Al's Folly, and Starr Line. But resist the urge to explore those tree shots that seem to head off the perimeter trails (Wildcat, Polecat) because without an experienced local guide you'll wind up on NH 16 some miles away from the base area - if you're lucky enough to get that far.