In Search of Eastern Skiing: Wildcat
Monday Morning, January 24th, Franconia Notch, NH. One inch of
fresh snow on the ground. One inch of snow on the ground, period.
Time to ski.
Raced out route 2 to route 16 and Gorham, NH, then down to Pinkham
Notch. Looking more and more like winter. Arrived at Wildcat mountain
to a lightly populated parking lot and $19 lift tickets.
Oh, and 8-16" of powder.
I kid you not, this was one awesome day of skiing. When it was
all over, I felt like giving them another $19, since I felt I
had taken advantage of the management.
Wildcat is a real keeper. The first trail down from the summit
-- the Wildcat Trail -- was cut in 1933-34 by the CCC. The CCC
stamp is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for ski trails.
Virtually all the trails here had a similar feel: tight, narrow,
twisty. Bumps and rolls, surprises around every bend. Twenty-one
hundred feet of vertical, and it was practically all ours. The
Doctor and I stopped many times in disbelief of our solitude.
The Wildcat trail itself was a real standout. Soft fluffy moguls
and some occasional untracked fluff. Same went for Upper Lynx.
Even Polecat -- a long twisty green and blue cruiser -- was a
standout. Hell, on this day, they were all good.
It continued to snow lightly for most of the morning, but by afternoon
the skies started to clear just enough to catch glimpses of Mount
Washington looming across the valley. When Tuckerman Ravine
was finally visible, the Doctor whacked me with a ski pole. She
said I was never to ski there again.
The sight gave her vertigo.
The day ended all too soon, and we loaded up the car and headed
East yet again. Next stop, Bethel, Maine.
Tomorrow, that resort which has caused ripples of fear to traverse
up and down the Green Mountains: Sunday River.
Wesley Alan Wright
Last modified August 31 1995 11:13 AM