There was one consensus among all the bloggers present today: pleasant surprise. Today was my first visit at Attitash, like of us except the lone NH resident blogger and we didn’t really know what to expect. Attitash became my 7th lift-served ski area in the state.
Probably the first time I noticed Attitash was the ski area was part of the American Ski Company (ASC) empire. Living in Montreal at the time, the mountain vital stats weren’t enough to convinced myself to drive the extra distance compared to the more impressive vitals from the Vermont or Lake Placid ski destinations.
When the family came to New Hampshire back in Spring Break 2008, there were 2 must ski areas in NH: Cannon and Wildcat. Stationed in North Conway on that trip, we had places like Attitash, Balsams Wilderness, Black, Bretton Woods and Cranmore in our sight for our next three days of our trip. At that time, the goal was a mixing of NH ski areas: big ones for the parents and our oldest daughter (10 at the time) and smaller areas for the youngest (5). Attitash and Bretton Woods were bypassed for a number of reasons. One of the reasons was that, at first glance, with a 1750’ vertical was either too big or too small fit in either category.
DAY TWO : ATTITASH – Groomed for Guests
We were staying in the fancy Grand Summit Hotel and Conference Center, a short ski push out the door on onto the slopes of Bear Peak. Attitash doesn’t have the biggest terrain, vertical or snowfall in New Hampshire, nor have the history of Cannon, but it’s definitely a fun place to ski. We splent our morning screaming down the perfectly groom twisting wide runs on Bear Park. James mentioned that I looked in my element; yes I enjoy skiing on this stuff. My background and preferences might be somewhat different that the other bloggers in our group, many of which crave for trees and powder. Yes I enjoy skiing on this stuff, for me its all about variety. I’m not going to ignore the strongest element of a place has to offer just to ski trees and on this morning, these runs were every pleasureble. The runs skied were of the wide twisting steep groomers on top to flatten out at the bottom. Lapping with the HSQ and accumulating the 1450’ at a time. We had already accumulated 1880 meters (5800ft) in slightly less than one hour. Bear Peak was developed in the ASC days when massive expansions were the thing. I found the terrain of Bear Peak to be similar to what can be found in the similar era development at previous sister ski area, Sunday River, but on a smaller scale.
After a few runs, we headed over the Attitash base where we would meet and ski with Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director for Attitash/Wildcat. Peak Resorts which originated in the Midwest became owners of the ski resort in 2007 and recently purchased Wildcat. The dynamic on the original part of the Attitash is different, the topography and ski terrain isn’t as much straight down the mountain affair with consistent pitch down from the summit which contrast the newer Bear Peak. The lift to the top is either a triple or old double, the HSQ stops less than halfway up. The vertical and runs are longer.The action on this side is the park, recreational racing, roller coaster and water slides in the Summer.
Attitash is a stone throw away from North Conway, one of the original ski destinations in New England. North Conway is a Canadian equivalent of St-Sauveur-des-Monts in Quebec or Collingwood in Ontario. A region rich in tourist attractions Winter and Summer and similar to Mont St-Sauveur with its water slide and roller coaster. The similarities between these two areas end there, Attitash is a fairly new ski area compared to Mont St-Sauveur, Cranmore would be a better example as for age, size and atmosphere in North Conway itself.
Attitash and Bear Peak might not make it on radar as an Eastern North America destination radar in term of skiing alone, however it would definitely be a serious options for the closer Boston and Southern New Hampshire market.
We had lunch on the Bear Peak side and we headed for some sweet trees afterward, even if the groomers are the place’s the strong point. Everything was going well on this trip until something tweak in me skiing in the woods and I decided to back off. I guess I’m not 100% I decided to play it easy and slowdown. Instead of continuing skiing the trees, I was about to call it quits and head back to the Grand Summit, but decided to check back on the Attitash side and take a few pictures on the slopeside homes and non-skiing attraction I’ve talked above.
Ended up skiing an extra 4 runs trip to Attitash base and back. I walked in the hotel and only Harv was still skiing. Day Two was a total different day. Skied 18 runs for approximately 8700m vertical (29000 ft), almost double from yesterday. We were ranking up the verts on the groomers and it was a huge day and by far the biggest day I’ve had in this challenging season for myself. Instead of hard groomers and rock skis on some brutal classic skiing, we had the manicured guest treatment. The groomers were definitely slicker at the end of the day, considering that we were on a Tuesday, not sure if the conditions would have remained so nice for so long on a weekend, but that would also be true at most areas around Attitash.
Mount Washington Valley offers only one ski resort with two mountains combining all the best New England skiing has to offer.
Something that is on Attitash and Peak Resort side, is the combine season pass between Wildcat and Attitash. Two different mountains with very different character. Attitash strong points are definitely the excellent grooming, two mountains, the Hotel, Terrain park, snowmaking capacity and man-assisted early season skiing and Wildcat for its nature side. Attitash definitely wants to be taken seriously.
Attitash Perspectives from the other bloggers:
NSBS Day 2: Attitash
The Real Jay Peak Report:
NSBS 2.0, Day two: awesomeness at Attitash! The need for speed is fulfilled.
Harvey Road / NY Ski Blog:
Attitash, NH: Groomers and Trees and Attitash, NH: 2/28/12 (NSBS)
Ski = MC Squared:
Northeast Ski Blogger’s Summit – Attitash and Wildcat
James Deluxe / First Tracks Online:
Attitash, NH 02/28/12
Ski Mad World:
Monday Mad Addict’s Attic : Attitash – Ski with the BIG Guns
Point of view from the other blogs:
MadPat on The Snowway : NSBS Day 2: Attitash
MadPat on Avenger by James on FirstTracksOnline : Attitash, NH 02/28/12
Waterslides by SBR : NSBS 2.0, Day two: awesomeness at Attitash! The need for speed is fulfilled.
To be continued…