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New Hampshire trip help?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Im considering a trip to New Hampshire the week after Christmas. Typically I would never even consider those dates but they are some of the few days my girlfriend has off from dental school. I would really like to go to Wildcat for about 3 days but its a long drive from Annapolis and I dont want to make the trek and be disappointed. Im also trying to keep the price down so Im considering the Joe Dodge Lodge for lodging, this is a factor in my choosing Wildcat. So here goes:

1) Should I expect Wildcat to be packed in the middle of the week, say 12/27-12/31?

2) Any thoughts on coverege at Wildcat at that point of the season?

3) Is there a better alternative to the Wildcat area? Cannon or Loon maybe? Someplace thats affordable?

Thanks To All!
post #2 of 13
Conditions and crowds are hard to call in advance but Wildcat will not be nearly as crowded as Loon.

What kind of terrain do you like?

What do you consider affordable?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Im an advanced skier, I enjoy everything from screaming big arcs on the groomed to bumps, trees, steeps, and everything in between. My girlfriend likes blue groomers.

I guess affordable is cheap...under $100 / night. The Joe Dodge is about $75 / night and includes beakfast and dinner. We dont mind cooking if a kitchen is available but eating every meal at "on mountain" prices is a killer. I guess if food is not included and theres no kitchen then a small nearby town helps to save money on food.

So Wildcat is one of the lesser crowded places up that way?

thanks Scalce
post #4 of 13
Cannon and Wildcat have a reputation of being cold, windy, and difficult so it keeps crowds to a minimum.

Loon is easier to get to from 93 so people tend to go there.

Loon has good varied terrain but is not as old style New England as Cannon and Wildcat.
post #5 of 13
Wildcat is a great area and has a lot of challenging runs and generally good variety of terrain. There is a small town not far away (damnit, brain fart, can't remember the town name) but there is a diner named Rosie's (it used to be at least), but it was really cheap, good food and HUGE portions, awesome start to a ski day. Now, Loon/Waterville area is more geared torwards vacationers, but will be more crowded, and most likely a little more money overall.

Cannon is good, but you will most likely have a drive to get to the mountain from wherever you stay (a lot of people stay around Loon and ski at Cannon), but their terrain is usually pretty broad, and a lot of challenging terrain can be found, but keep in mind Cannon can get very cold and icy, but can also be the most incredible skiing on the east (what I call a heaven and hell area).

Now, have you ruled out Vt?
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Manus

I havent ruled out Vermont, I love Vermont but Im concerned about costs and crowds. The only place I have been up there is Killington so I wouldnt want to go there again. I would love to check out Jay, or Stowe but Im not sure they can be done on my budget. I know theres at least one hostel type place at Stowe (cant remember the name) but I would expect Stowe to be very crowded during that week, am I incorrect in this assumption? Again, Im completely open to suggestions as my planning is still in the early phases.
post #7 of 13
Also check out Sugarbush in Vermont.

They have awesome terrain and there are a ton of places to stay.
post #8 of 13
Sugarbush is a good suggestion for Xmas week. I haven't been there before during that week, but will be giving it shot this Xmas week, myself. I don't know of any cheap lodging nearby, but I'm sure you could probably find something within a 30-45 min. drive near Montpelier, etc.

IMO Wildcat is a long damn way to drive from Anapolis for 3 days. Sugarbush would be closer, and has much more terrain and lift capacity for Xmas week. Most Vermont areas will probably have better snow coverage than Wildcat also. Wildcat is a very cool place to ski, but I'd rather be there midweek in March,

One other place that you might want to consider is Burke Mtn., Vt. Although the lift system there is pretty poor, the terrain sounds like a good match for both of you. It's cheap to ski there, and I very much doubt there is ever a crowd problem there. For cheap lodging, there is a very nice, large Comfort Inn on I-95 in St. Johnsbury.

Last time I stayed there, they had a super cheap Burke ski package available. Something to look into.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Everywhere is a long damn drive from Annapolis...at least anywhere worth going! Thanks for the tips, Ill check out both places.

post #10 of 13
Check out Attitash-Bear Peak, Bretton Woods (great blue groomers), and Waterville Valley. They are all in the same general area up here. Also, Mt Washington will be open with the Cog Railroad this year. Don't know how much that will cost but it will make an interesting run. (However, it is natural snow dependent.)

As for snow coverage, its a crap shoot that early in the season. Most years there will be decent coverage, though not all runs will be open. Other years you'll be seening a lot of green. At least there's about a month till then.
post #11 of 13
Check Independence Air - cheap flights from Dulles to Burlington - then Sugarbush, Stowe, Mad River, Smuggs, Bolton Valley are all close by. www.madcab.com will get you a ride from the airport to any of these and there's a bus in the Mad River Valley that can cart you around if you choose either Mad River or Sugarbush.
post #12 of 13
i've never seen wildcat packed, so i think it would be fine even during a holiday week. wildcat is best experienced during the early spring in full coverage, xmas week is a complete crap shot from this far out. the odds of good snow here are about the same as any other white mountain ski area. alternatives you may want to look at might include cannon or burke in that neck of the woods. both have lots of high speed cruisers and will not be crowded. burke also has really reliable and great natural snow from my experiences and will keep both a blue square groomer and a bumps and stumps guy like yourself happy even in december. loon is guaranteed to be crowded and less reliable snow than cannon or wildcat, but probably more snow making so it could go either way. regardless of snow cover, loon will get skied off quickly that week. sugarbush was previously mentioned and ain't a bad idea if you have three days to spend. you could split the three days doing multiple areas, burke and cannon are within an hour, so are cannon and wildcat.

cheap lodging in gorham ~10 minutes north of wildcat or an hour northeast of cannon. there's a hostel called the hikers paradise at $15 a night which also is part of the colonial comfort in at half what you'd pay at the joe dodge lodge. plenty of other cheap options as well, probably good deals combined with skiing i'm sure.

no offense intended to T-Square, but i disagree with many of the suggestions offered. Attitash will be crowded as hell xmas week, probably the most crowded NH ski area during the weekend given the ASC pass price drop this year. WV the same with a cheap pass price and proximatey to boston. BW less so with the crowds, but it's the most expensive ski area in NH. also you may be bored at BW unless they have enough snow to fill in their new bump runs, but easy blue groomers a plenty for the GF. the cog is rediculously expensive for one easy blue square groomed trail and probably not worth your while unless you don't mind shelling out big bills for a novelty run.
post #13 of 13
Wildcat is one of my favorite places. There is great terrain for all abilities with breathtaking views. It's usually not at crowded as many of the other places around. Also I find it a friendly place. I think you have a good chance of having great snow at Wildcat because of the location. There are some decent cheap restaurants in Gorham up the road and I really like Moat Mountain Brewery (something like that) on the road heading towards N. Conway.
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