Day 3 of the NSBS started off with a breakfast at Pinkham Notch. A great place to get the vibe of classic skiing and mountaineering in the Whites Mountains. Most of the crew with the exception of Riverc0il and myself were Wildcat newbies.
When asked how many times I had been at Wildcat, the number that came to mind was 10 times. It wasn’t until I came back home and looked at my ski days data that I was surprised to realized that this Leap Day at the Cat was only my 5th day. Maybe it was because Wildcat is like a good friend. There is a common bond and the place feels so familiar for me. The Wildcat classic trails character reminds me somewhat of other areas from that had similar character and enough now lost trails that don’t fight to terrain by blend with it, places like the Mont Tremblant of my youth. Or is it the fact that I’ve been so many times to Pinkham Notch to ski the Mountain across the road? Maybe its the fact that Wildcat has always been on high on my wishlist since my first visit to Tuckerman Ravine back in May 1990, but for whatever reasons, never happened until that October 2005 storm. Regardless of the reasons, I feel a bond with this place. Fifth time at Wildcat, first time since March Break 2008.
So after Pinkham Notch and had time for a few runs before our 10am meeting with Thomas from Attitash/Wildcat again. Ready to ski and on the Wildcat Express at 9:15am. Riverc0il and I were the only ones that were familiar with the Cat. Started off with Catapult, top to bottom groomed for a 2,100 feet vertical drop. Snow conditions was harder that the stuff we had the previous morning at Attitash, but still sweet. At the bottom we saw Thomas which was 30 minutes early and asked us if it was okay if Tom, Wildcat’s video guy, filmed us and ask us of few questions. Sure, why not. On the first run with them, we dropped into a small lower mountain treeshot that isn’t visible from the trail map. Snow was pretty good. It took a while as Tom was setting up to film us. At the bottom we bumped into Jake which knew Thomas and Tom, local hardcore skier and a friend of Wildcat and Tuckerman Ravine across the road. In fact Jake’s connections to the Wildcat and Tuckerman are even deeper, he grew up skiing the area since he was 2. His dad went from ski patrol then Wildcat Mountain Manager for a number of years and he was involved in getting skiers on top of Mount Washington. Jake is also the current President of the Friends of Tuckerman, an organization which its mission is to “preserve and protect the historic recreational uses of Tuckerman Ravine and Mount Washington“
Wildcat is Jake’s backyard and we were fortunate that he showed us where he played. Steep narrow powdery lines with tight trees. Skiing with a camera mounted on my chest and no helmet, got to be careful her. At the top of the next ride up, Thomas and Tom did their interview. We discussed the reason of our visit to Wildcat and New Hampshire and what are blogs were. I guess they like what I said, as it was featured on their video.
This is how it turned out:
Wildcat Video of the Day
Yes, Wildcat is a classic. The beard guy is correct when he says there isn’t many ski areas in the East that offer a straight fall line 2100 feet vertical drop mountain with twisting and turning trails that flow with the topography.
The next three runs were three Wildcat classic (featured in their old 1993-94 brochure) :
1) a non-stop top-to-bottom on the longest green run in New Hampshire, the 2.75 miles Polecat.
2) Lynx, the trail turn, twist and drop for the entire 2,100 feet. Wildcat Vertical Challenge day is also held on it, skiers try to reach 100,000 feet vertical in one day…that is equal to 48 runs on this 2,100 mountain servicing by the fast Wildcat Express HSQ.
3) Wildcat, a CCC classic trail cut in the 1930s predating the ski area. Natural experience which offers some ice flows. I love skiing these trails the type of trails.
Thomas had to go back to the office and Tom had to work on the footage.
Matt and Harvey wanted to skin up the Sherburne Trail to Tuckerman Ravine; Harv’s skins were in his car, however Matt had to borrow one car to get to back to the hotel in Attitash. Riverc0il decided to call it quits are his 5th big day in a row and he still had a few more to go. We had the opportunity to head back to the woods with Jake, but I still hasn’t feeling great since yesterday, so I decided not to push my luck. James, SBR and myself for a few runs in the afternoon. We returned to Wildcat and Lynx. Jake had to leave and get stuff done and James followed him inside. Only us two bearded Canadians left, I took on stuff we didn’t get to see. I brought him on Feline, which is a short and steep pitch under the top part of the Tomcat triple. Skiing that kept us on our toes which ended on an ice flow covered drop, accidental terrain, thin cover, rock, enough to split up a hair ball.
Conditions were fine on the groomers in the morning, but harder on the more popular trails, but there were still area with untouched stuff on the lower mountain where the trails fan out. Good snow in the woods.
Three runs after lunch, that was it for us. SBR was ready to end back and I decided not to leave too late. I had to leave the group and the NSBS, I needed to relieve my wife to take for broken leg daughter. Once I got my skis to the car, Matt brought back the car to SBR and asked if I minded to drive him over to Pinkham. Once back at Wildcat to get changed, SBR and Riverc0il were leaving. It was nice skiing with you guys again this year. Friendships, that is what it is about. Connections and exchanges, with another humans, with mountains, with snow. As I crossed into Canada, I meet an old friend from university. Although we rarely see each other, it was a great seeing an old friend. Like Wildcat.
Wildcat Perspectives from the other bloggers:
NSBS Day 3: Wildcat and NSBS Featured in Leap Day Wildcat Video
The Real Jay Peak Report:
NSBS 2.0, Day three: Leap Day at Wildcat. Purrrfect!
Harvey Road / NY Ski Blog:
Wildcat, NH: Location, Location, Location and Wildcat, NH: 2/29/12 (NSBS)
Ski = MC Squared:
Northeast Ski Blogger’s Summit – Attitash and Wildcat
James Deluxe / First Tracks Online:
Wildcat, NH 02/29/12
Ski Mad World:
Monday Mad Addict’s Attic : Wildcat – Pure Excitement!
POST DAY THREE AT NSBS
MadPat was in Ottawa.
James would go to Bretton Woods: A Walk on the Mild Side
Rivec0il, Harv and Matt would return to Cannon while SBR made his first visit. See my Cannon TR for their DAY 4 links.
A few days later Riverc0il would make it to Bretton Woods: A Matter of Degrees
Point of view from the other blogs:
Wildcat by James on FirstTracksOnline : Wildcat, NH 02/29/12
Matt Leap Day star in Tom video by SBR : NSBS 2.0, Day three: Leap Day at Wildcat. Purrrfect!
Wildcat from Sherburne Trail by Matt : Northeast Ski Blogger’s Summit – Attitash and Wildcat