Tag Archives: wildcat

A December to Remember

Snowvember came upon Mt. Washington Valley this year, with last month being one of the snowiest Novembers  in memory! The good news is that the snowpack is still in great shape, and low temperatures have given ski areas many ample opportunities for snowmaking. The skiing this month has made it a December to Remember with all local areas now open – from Black Mountain to Bretton Woods, from King Pine to Great Glen- to everything in between. This sets us up nicely for the upcoming Christmas Vacation Week!

Some Tips for Holiday Skiing

Business has been brisk at Valley ski areas, as news has spread about the amazing conditions and open terrain after several sizeable snowfalls fell through the White Mountains. This is reason to believe the holiday period will also be popular. A few tips to get the most out of your trip to the North Conway area:

  • Book your trip ahead of time and ask your hotel about discount lift tickets. Popular dates will sell out – especially New Year’s weekend. Cranmore Mountain Lodge and Colonial Motel are two nice values. Research lodging at http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org
  • Beat the crowds – Christmas Day is usually a quiet day on the slopes, so some ski areas close all together, or offer discounted rates. Bretton Woods is open 10am – 4pm on the 25th with $45 lift tickets. That is less than half of the usual holiday rate, as their full day holiday lift tickets are $99 this year. Read about it at http://www.brettonwoods.com

    Wildcat Mountain
    My friend Marina makes her way with the wintery splendor of Mount Washington in the background. Shot 12/16/18.
  • Buy online in advance – Want to avoid paying full retail? Purchase your lift tickets online in advance. The further in advance and the more days you purchase, the better the savings. Attitash and Wildcat ski areas share a lift ticket, so your multi-day ticket purchased online lets you bounce between the areas from day to day. Buy online at www.attitash.com
  • Tune your skis before you go – With increased holiday skier traffic, the conditions can get skied off later in the day. Freshly edged skis will keep you carving up a storm until the last run. The Valley features many ski shops to do a tune, as do most mountains. Find out where to find your closest option for an edge and wax here.
  • Celebrate On the Slopes – Want to know another secret? New Year’s Day is historically a much less busy day than the rest of the holiday week. New Year’s Eve revelers sleep in or pack it up early to head home. Don’t be that person. Greet 2019 by breathing in the brilliantly freezing air from atop a ski lift and know that great things are ahead for the New Year.

So how are conditions you may ask? Season to date, starting in early November,  I have skied Wildcat, Cranmore, Great Glen, Jackson Ski Touring and Bretton Woods (ah, the benefits of living close to the mountains). Conditions have ranged from powder to packed powder, to today’s machine groomed/variable conditions at Wildcat. Cross Country fans will want to pay close attention to the grooming report and hit the most recently tracked trails as some refreezing has taken place. Overall, I would rate this December among the best for early season turns and tracks, truly one to remember!

Tunnel at Wildcat Mountain
Who doesn’t love tunnels? This one connects the cross over from the Bobcat Triple to the Wild Kitten beginner area at Wildcat. Shot 12/16/18.

 

 

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Thankful for Great Skiing in Mt. Washington Valley

By Kathy Bennett, Special for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

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New Hampshire skiing was all about Mt. Washington Valley this Thanksgiving weekend as three ski areas were open for the long weekend. Taking advantage of a cold snap and ideal snow making weather, Wildcat (open now for a few weeks), Bretton Woods and Cranmore all offered post-turkey Thanksgiving weekend skiing for locals and visitors alike.
Bretton Woods and Wildcat were open on the holiday proper. I told my dinner guests turkey would be served later than planned so we could take turns Thursday morning. Reporting 6 trails open, Wildcat had top to bottom, edge to edge frozen granular/machine groomed condition, served by their high speed quad. “Not bad for November” was the consensus of my skiing party, and we took in over 8000 ft of vertical in 4 runs before running home to put the bird in the oven.
Bretton Woods has been consistently adding new terrain since opening earlier this month, and Cranmore joined in the fun starting Friday.
For best results, be sure to tune your skis at one of the many great ski shops in town. I enjoyed sharp edges from the Great American Ski Renting Company on Route 16 in North Conway Village. They are also offering deals on their demo fleet from the last year, in case you are looking to upgrade your planks and save some bucks.
The forecast remains chilly and snow making efforts continue. Skiers can expect to see the increasing trail counts, more lifts operating and base depths building as we move towards the important holiday season vacation period. Grab some turns before then and enjoy the empty slopes as you regain your ski legs before the season begins in earnest!

And Just Like That, It was Ski Season

By Kathy Bennett

Last weekend in the city, it was nearly tee shirt weather, with sunny skies and temps in the 60s.  Fast forward just a few days and it’s winter, As of Thanksgiving week, Mount Washington Valley saw two ski areas open – Wildcat and Bretton Woods.

The first day out for the year is always met with mixed feelings. Will you find all your ski gear. Did you remember to tune your skis. Are your legs ready for their winter work out.

So it’s always a joy when the bother of gathering all your gear is behind you and you are getting on the lift for your first run of the season.

bretton-woods-kb Thanks to some light natural snow this week, Bretton Woods featured not only snow on the trails but snow in the trees, giving skiers a true wintry feel for the day. Nothing’s worse than a thin white ribbon of snow with completely brown surroundings – not the case this first day at all.

Nice edge to edge snow coverage greeted skiers on about 5 trails. The snow guns were blasting additional terrain, no doubt with ambitious plans for more terrain leading up to the holiday vacation period. Snow surface conditions were nice – powdery at the top and firm but edgeable closer to the bottom, but still decent for early season – especially after last year’s difficult winter.

wildcat-kb

Other skiers reported great conditions for the first week at Wildcat. Friday, it was reported to offer snow surfaces that were “some of the best conditions for opening week,” packed powder at the top and soft to bottom. Sunday saw nice weather with occasional glimpses of the rock pile.

This coming week may offer some weather challenges for lower elevation resorts striving to make snow to open; higher elevation mountains may (or may not) pick up additional white stuff. Contact your favorite resort closer to the weekend to see how they fared.