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N. Conway area pass: moving on from attitash, maybe wildcat?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So here is the situation: I have spent 5 of the last 7 seasons living in Northern VT and skiing 100+ days a year at Jay Peak; however, I currently reside just outside of Boston. While I still teach part time and take powder sick days at Jay (where I ski for free) my fiancee and I have also decided to buy passes at a mountain in NH. My parents live near North Conway and it is a 2.5 hr drive instead of 4 to Jay so it makes sense for us to be able to ski there too. Last season we skied Attitash; chosen mostly because of it's large amt of intermediate and easy black terrain (for my girl, who is entering her fourth season skiing.) She has improved quite a bit though, and is more comfortable on difficult terrain so I am excited about choosing a NH pass for somewhere that I will WANT to ski this winter! Staying close to North Conway means Attitash, WildCat, Bretton Woods, etc we did the Loon, Waterville, Cranmore deal a few seasons ago and don't want to do it again. I had looked into Bretton Woods for last year but the passes were twice as much as any other Mtn, so I am leaning towards Wildcat (which, coincidentally, is where my dad (the courderoy cowboy that he is) skis.)

I realize that this is rambling a bit with no real question, but I guess I am wondering what your reccomendation for a N Conway area hill would be for someone looking for steeps, deeps, drops, and lots of tight trees? Any area that comes with a BEAR to show me the stashes will be bumped to the top of the list!
post #2 of 16
I've only skied Wildcat a few times; it's a fun mountain, definitely more challenging then Attitash is. I don't know how the marked glades are; I've heard there are bunches of "not on the trail map" glades that are worth exploring.

Bretton Woods is essentially a lift-serviced golf course. If your girlfriend as comfortable at Attitash, she will be bored to tears at Bretton Woods.

Not sure what else is up there. Sunday River is a fairly easy drive from North Conway as well. I've heard a lot of good things about Black Mountain (right in Jackson, closer to Conway then Wildcat is), but I've never skied there.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPowHound View Post
I am wondering what your reccomendation for a N Conway area hill would be for someone looking for steeps, deeps, drops, and lots of tight trees?
Deeps??? Sounds like the closest you're going to come distance wise and terrain wise is Wildcat ... or Cannon if you're willing to commute a little farther away from N Conway. Unfortunately you missed the Cat's lowest early season pass pricing, which closed in April if I remember right. Still not a bad deal though.

Black Mountain is close, but I've never skied there and can't give you any insight. Small mountain vertically, but have heard people say it is challenging for its size.

You're familiar with the key surrounding mountains on the way up 93 and you've done A-tash. Loon is no longer part of the Booth Creek group and is now on the same pass program as SUnday River and Sugarloaf. SR is 1.25 hours from N. Conway. Wildcat is basically half way between Attitash and SR on the Route 16/2 corridor. Not quite the snow belt that Upper VT is normally blessed with.
post #4 of 16
I always thought Cannon was far and away the most interesting NH mountain, followed perhaps by Loon. When I lived in Boston, I ultimately gave up on NH and went back to Mad River. It's like a 3 1/2 hour drive, but I thought it was worth it. Not a big fan of Sunday River, by the way, but that's just me.

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS MY ONE THOUSANDTH POST ON EPIC
post #5 of 16
Wildcat is a good choice for one mountain in the North Conway area. When the 'cat gets whacked with a Spring Nor'easter off of the Gulf of Maine and the snow is deep it is prime. Doing 2000 verticle foot laps down Gondi line and back up the HSQ it is possible to get a days worth of bump skiing in a few hours.

Wildcat and Cannon are my two NH favorites and both have many secrets to learn.
post #6 of 16
I've only been to Wildcat a handful of times, but it made a strong impression and I consider it one of my favorite ski areas in the East. Long, fun runs especially well suited for upper intermediates to low experts. Super scenic too with Mt. Washington in your face all day. The one thing the mountain lacks is killer inbound steeps like parts of Bear Mountain or Castlerock, but I too have heard of very challenging glades off the trail map or in between marked runs. And there is always Tuckerman's in the spring across the street.
More:
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=838&mode=rss
post #7 of 16
There's no comparison between Attitash and Wildcat, it's apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned. If you're looking strictly in the North Conway area, Wildcat really is the only choice if you're looking for big mountain terrain, long runs, good vertical.. You can access the entire mountain from the quad.. It's not the steepest mountain in the east but no slouch either, and offers far more challenge and terrain features than does Attitash. Wildcat has some nice trees.. maybe not as much as Jay, but again, in that area, by far #1. It also gets a LOT more snow than does Attitash.

My wife is entering her 5th year of skiing and loves Wildcat. Last year was the first year she was able to ski everything from the top except the bumped runs, I doubt I could pay her to go to Attitash now. And if you like scenery, there's nothing else like it in the east.

Cannon is worth a ride, but it's a solid 45 minute to an hour drive from North Conway
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skizoo View Post
There's no comparison between Attitash and Wildcat, it's apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned. If you're looking strictly in the North Conway area, Wildcat really is the only choice if you're looking for big mountain terrain, long runs, good vertical.. You can access the entire mountain from the quad.. It's not the steepest mountain in the east but no slouch either, and offers far more challenge and terrain features than does Attitash. Wildcat has some nice trees.. maybe not as much as Jay, but again, in that area, by far #1. It also gets a LOT more snow than does Attitash.

My wife is entering her 5th year of skiing and loves Wildcat. Last year was the first year she was able to ski everything from the top except the bumped runs, I doubt I could pay her to go to Attitash now. And if you like scenery, there's nothing else like it in the east.

Cannon is worth a ride, but it's a solid 45 minute to an hour drive from North Conway
Agreed.

Wildcat and Cannon have the best inbounds terrain in NH, and both are reasonably close to North Conway. Neither mountain is surrounded by condos and hotels, so they both tend to attract people who are there for the skiing and boarding; as opposed to "resort guests".

North Conway somehow seems to get overlooked when discussing great ski towns. Personally, I think it is the best ski town in NE. Most spectacular scenery of any ski town in the east, and an unpretentious laid back vibe. Lots of places to eat and drink in all price ranges, and plenty of shopping (if that's your thing).

Just outside of North Conway, Jackson is as quaint as anything you'll find in Vermont.

Also, there are many, many alternative ski possibilities in the area. Lots of groomed xc trails; many bc nordic routes; and great out of bounds/backcountry/side country possibilities. Taft, Tucker Brook, Mittersill, Wildcat Valley Trail, Tuckerman's, and many more.

I'd recommend picking up the book "Backcountry Skiing Adventures: Maine and New Hampshire" by David Goodman.

Also, when hitting Wildcat on a Sunday, plan to stop at the Red Fox for the outstanding breakfast buffet.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses, I think they have confirmed what I already was thinking: I will be skiing wildcat this winter when I choose not to make the 4 hour trek up to Jay. Now all I need is a local who's willing to show me around to some of these "unmarked glades" that everyone is talking about.
post #10 of 16
Going from Attitash to Wildcat is almost like NH's version of going from Mt Snow to Mad River.
Your Dad cord and all is no dummy you know??
post #11 of 16
The snow was so good last winter that I actually skied off piste at Attitash. Everyone was astounded. There is NO off-piste at Attitash, normally.

On the other hand, if it snows from the sky, Wildcat is the place to be. All you have to do is find someone in the lodge with gray hair and a ponytail (male) and ask. You'll fine the best spots.

If it doesn't snow .... well. Wildcat is hard-up for $$$$, so don't expect much in the way of pumped snow if the weather doesn't provide. By the way, I'm in love with Wildcat and have a season pass there. Have had a season pass for Attitash for 4 years. Am not doing that this year. Fell in love with skiing the lift lines with all the rocks last year at Wildcat.

Drive over to Sunday River if there's no natural snow. Or ski Attitash. It does have good (unfortunately short) steeps, and great blown snow. Plus lots of miles to ski. Or Bretton Woods in a pinch. I use the weather report to decide where to go on iffy days.

North Conway is usually invisible here on Epic. But for New England, it's the best. Apres-ski is great. Check out all the ski clubs. Go to EICSL.org.
post #12 of 16
[quote=LiquidFeet;941862]
But for New England, it's the best.

You make some good points but you lose all credibility on this one...sorry
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
Your Dad cord and all is no dummy you know??
He loves it there, he laps the groomers nonstop top to bottom a dozen times in the morning 3 or 4 days a week. The lack of amenities cuts down on the families and the throngs of little kids, and I think this was a big draw for him. I have only skied there a handful of times, and am excited about having the chance to explore it more now that my girl no longer needs the extensive intermediate terrain that Attitash has has to offer and Wildcat does not!
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPowHound View Post
I have only skied there a handful of times, and am excited about having the chance to explore it more now that my girl no longer needs the extensive intermediate terrain that Attitash has has to offer and Wildcat does not!
Actually I don't think she'll be disappointed in the intermediate terrain at Wildcat. Lynx is one of the best blue cruisers in the country. Most of the lower mountain, especially the trails off the Bobcat lift are pretty wide and pitched just right for intermediates..

Polecat from the top while a green, would probably rate an easy blue at many other areas.. Catapult.. another nice blue from the top, even Upper Wildcat which is a black, is fairly easy for an intermediate when it is groomed, which is fairly often in mid season.. Wildcat has a pretty decent variety of terrain, the quad is fast, rarely any lift lines, you can log some nice vertical there real easily.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPowHound View Post
I am wondering what your reccomendation for a N Conway area hill would be for someone looking for steeps, deeps, drops, and lots of tight trees? Any area that comes with a BEAR to show me the stashes will be bumped to the top of the list!
Whoops, forgot two places that amazingly have good trees. Both were magnificent for tree skiing last year with all that natural snow.

Shawnee Peak is a small place, about 30 minutes east of N. Conway. Inexpensive, too. It has amazing tree skiing. You can get lost in there. As for the groomed - well, that's ok too. No lines, not even on Saturdays. I never found anything steep, however. It's small, remember.

Cranmore, which I would recommend to no one usually, had good tree skiing last season. It's a very small hill right in N. Conway, and has long lines, way too many kids, and not much terrain. But its trees were great last year.

Someone mentioned Black. Very very small hill. Watch the horses eat hay while skiing. No long lines, lots of families with small children. The terrain is gentle mostly, unless it rained the night before..... I've skied trails of nothing but ball bearings from the top because their groomers are not the best for ice. As far as I know, there's very little or no tree skiing, and no steeps at all.

Treewell, I stand by my claim that North Conway has great things to do once the skiing is over. It sure beats the bar drag on the hill down from Kmart.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skizoo View Post
Actually I don't think she'll be disappointed in the intermediate terrain at Wildcat. Wildcat has a pretty decent variety of terrain, the quad is fast, rarely any lift lines, you can log some nice vertical there real easily.
I'll second this. And about that quad -- it's the fastest one I've been on. It takes 8 minutes to get to the top, and that's a long way up, for New England. So the ride-time to ski-time ratio is favorable.

Wildcat also has a great deal for never-evers. I think it works like this - pay $200, get 6 group lessons throughout the season (whenever you show up you can get those lessons.) Once you're done with those, you get a free season pass for the rest of the season. Can't remember if the deal includes rental equipment for those six days or not. I think it does.

The instructors at Wildcat are great. They don't hire just any kid who can ski. You'll find more level 2's and 3's there than at Attitash for sure, if you're interested.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › N. Conway area pass: moving on from attitash, maybe wildcat?