Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NSBS 2.0, Day three: Leap Day at Wildcat. Purrrfect!

Jake, our tour guide, celebrates Leap Day in the appropriate manner
With a mountain named Wildcat, I suppose the trail-namers couldn't help themselves but go with a kitty-based theme. Today I found myself skiing runs like Upper Wildcat, Polecat, Lynx Lair, Catapult, Feline and Catenary, to name a few. And we never did make it to Hairball, which, if my experience with cats is any indication, was probably a little boney anyway. But that is another story.
Wildcat is right across the street from George and his various ravines.
After a hearty breakfast at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, our intrepid crew of bloggers headed over to Wildcat Mountain. Despite the snow in the forecast, the day started clear and sunny, which made the views of Mount Washington pretty spectacular. After a warm-up run down a trail with the word "cat" in its name, we met up with our new pal Thomas, his buddy Jake and the Wildcat videographer, Tom. Thomas was sporting even fatter skis than the ones he ran yesterday and Jake was on 194 cm Rossi RC 112s. I looked down at the 78 mm waist Salomon carving skis I had chosen for the day and wondered whether or not I should go back to the car and grab the Sir Francis Bacons. Did they know something we didn't know? Probably.

I stuck with the Salomons, which was ultimately a good decision. Tom was shooting for the Wildcat Video Update so we happily cooperated, skiing for the camera, standing around, skiing for the camera, and for some us, waxing poetically right on queue. I guess this gang of bloggers passed a test of some sort, because we were led into a special stash and skied a very steep, tight tree ran that had no cat references. Fortunately, there were no catastrophes. We topped this off with a couple of non-stop top to bottom cruises down the uncrowded (thankfully, given the speed we were skiing) classics Polecat, Lynx and the Catapult/Wildcat/Bobcat combination. I asked Matt, the ski instructor in the group, for a pro-tip on carving and worked the rest of day on holding an imaginary basketball between my legs. It really did help but by the end of the day my legs felt like a deflated basketball.

And so the day went, alternating between twisting, fun and definitely carveable groomed runs and moderately bumped-up natural snow runs sporting real Eastern conditions. What a blast! Wildcat's location in the White Mountain National Forest limits development: there are no hotels, no slopeside condos and nothing else to do but ski. What is at Wildcat? Great skiing, an unbelievably scenic setting, classic eastern trails, a palpable vibe of welcoming enthusiasm, a horde of silver-haired rippers (mid-week at least) and a supremely funky but highly functional base lodge with good food. Wildcat is my kind of place.

Ski area architecture at its finest. Seriously, I love it.
The view from the top is even better.
Of course, everybody had to take a picture.
Tom, the happiest videographer on the planet.
The camera guy never gets first tracks but he does get to ski a lot.
Wildcat has rabbit holes too. Matt heads down.
Matt lept as well and Tom obviously has nine lives.


  1. Sounds like a fun trip--glad you guys got it together. Tom is a good guy and does a great job over there.

    --steve w.

  2. Fantastic report, SBR.

    As the skier in our group most in need of an imaginary basketball between his legs (you can tell because not one person has posted a pic of me!), I'd love to hear more about that tip.

  3. Great shots of the jump, especially Matt in front of the video camera.

    I wish I had enough leg to join you guys for Feline. That in combination with Catenary (both combined for the old double liftline) is one of, if not the, best trails on the mountian.

    1. By "both combined for the old double liftline" I had meant Catenary and Lower Catenary. You'd also need to include Hairball I think, but that was closed. In any case, my favorite thing about the Cat is spring bump skiing. And my favorite bump skiing at the cat is the current and former liftlines.

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