News from the snow
Wildcat Mountain USA
Renowned for its classic New England skiing, spectacular mountain scenery and natural forestland, Wildcat Mountain has been a local favourite for over 50 years.
The original Wildcat ski run, cut in 1933, was one of the first ski-racing trails in the USA. But the old reputation of the mountain being only for experts has been tamed by the widening of some of the narrow twisting runs.
Whilst plenty of challenging terrain remains, even those who prefer a gentle cruise can ski the Polecat: one of the longest runs in New Hampshire, this has been described as "2 miles of sheer pleasure"! With fabulous views over Mt Washington - the highest mountain in north-eastern USA - the scenery is rated among the most spectacular in North America.
It was the summer of 1933 that the depression born civilian conservation corps, armed with axes and cross-cut saws, started clearing the Wildcat trail, one of the first ski racing trails built in the United States. Designed by Charley Proctor, the all-around ski champion of Canada in 1927, it was designated as a class "A" racing trail.
The decision to develop a modern ski area on Wildcat Mountain was influenced by a few factors. Tremendous annual snowfall, high elevation, and northern exposure assuring a long ski season. Then there was the possibility of year-round recreational development. Of course, the spectacular scenery that surrounds Wildcat, including eye-level views of Tuckerman Ravine and Mt. Washington directly across Pinkham Notch, played a role as well!
The longest season in New Hampshire and the biggest vertical in the Mount Washington Valley. Wildcat was voted number one in New Hampshire in US Ski Magazine's 2001 reader poll for scenery.
It is recommended to have a rental car on a ski holiday in New Hampshire. A range of hotels, condos and inns are found the town of Gorham, about 10 minutes away, or in the livelier North Conway, 30 minutes away on an easy and scenic drive along Route 16.
There are nearly 50 trails on 225 acres, including groomed trails, glades, bumps, and backcountry tree skiing.
The Polecat Trail is the longest ski run in New Hampshire at two and three quarter miles (just over four kilometres).
There lingers the misconception that Wildcat is a mountain for experts only. While the old-timers remember with nostalgia the s-turns and narrowness of Wildcat's first trails, these trails have been tamed over the years.
Although the grade remains, the trails have been widened. This, combined with modern snow-making and grooming technology, has created a unique and beautiful place for the whole family to learn to ski. In fact, the award-winning Polecat Trail has been described as "two and three quarter miles of sheer pleasure", "a masterpiece of construction" and "the most scenic trail in the U.S."
Anyone who can complete a basic turn can ski the Polecat and experience the satisfaction of having skied a big mountain from top to bottom.
For more of a challenge, Lynx twists and turns its ways from summit to base, whilst a number of other blue trails offer plenty of intermediate cruising and experts will head down the generous selection of black diamond trails following the lift line.
Snowmaking covers ninety percent of the terrain with four Prinoth snow grooming vehicles nightly working to typically groom seventy percent of terrain.
Look out for lift ticket deals which may include two-for-one offers mid-week, and lift passes for just $9 on occasional Fridays.
Cross country skiers will enjoy the Wildcat Valley Trail with 17.8 km of expert cross-country ski trail leading to Jackson Village.
Snowplay for children aged three to four years is a gentle introduction to skiing with a 1-hour semi-private lesson combined with the indoor nursery.
Lion's Den Kids' Ski & Snowboard School for four to twelve year olds for skiing and eight to twelve year olds for snowboarding features full and half day (morning) lessons.
Wildcat has an annual week of Wild Family Fun each February with lots of fun events. These include a Cardboard Box Race and a Lunch Tray Luge.
Explore the wide selection of restaurants from casual pubs to upscale restaurants in the nearby towns of Gorham, Jackson Village and North Conway.
The Polecat Trail offers a good long beginners trail.