WINDING TRAILS AT WILDCAT
by Paul Maraschiello

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Wildcat is a classic New England ski area with long winding trails in addition to the trails that run straight down the fall line. This was my first experience skiing this New Hampshire ski area but it will not be my last. The spectacular scenery that surrounds Wildcat, includes eye-level views of Tuckerman Ravine and Mt. Washington directly across Pinkham Notch.



Stats
The 4,062 ft. mountain has a 2,112 ft. vertical and there are 47 trails on 225 acres including groomed trails, glades, bumps, and backcountry tree skiing The trails are rated: Beginner 25%; Intermediate 45%; Expert 30% Polecat Trail is the longest ski trail in New Hampshire,
2.75 mile of beginner trail measured from the summit. They have four chair lifts that include one quad and three triples.



Skiing
When I arrived, I met a local ski bum Pam Jezukawicz in the lift line. (Actually there was no line, just two people in front of me.) Pam was kind enough to show me around the mountain. It had been cold that night, so the snow had set up. We stayed on the groomed trails and had a really good time. She took me on everything from Polecat, a novice trail to Upper Wildcat, and expert trail. For fun, almost all the trails have cat names, including Tomcat, Feline, Polecat, Catnip, Hairball, Panther, Bobcat, Copycat, Stray cat, Cheetah, and even Catapult. We skied all of them and had a blast.



After we parted company, I decided to try out the bumps on Black Cat, and expert trail that ran right next to the quad. As soon as I got on the trail, I realized that the moguls on the upper part of the trail had yet to thaw and were so icy, that I couldn't even hold an edge. I managed to get down with much effort and less that my usual amount of grace. I couldn't carve any turns. I had to settle for making a series of linked checks, all the way down the mogul field. I decided to go back to the groomers and give the sun more time to defrost the moguls.



I sat on the porch of the base lodge and enjoyed the sunshine and a slice of pizza for lunch. It was a beautiful spring day. This was what skiing is all about, skiing in the sunshine with the temperature above freezing.





After lunch, I took a few more runs down the groomed trails and then decided to do some bumps. Lower Catenarey was all bumped up and they looked like they were soft. They were nice bumps and I really enjoyed skiing them. I did some bumps of Top Cat and Lower Starr Line and then went back to skiing groomed trails. As the afternoon progressed, the snow started to get really soft on the groomed trails, so I called it a day.



Accommodations
I stayed at the Wildcat Tavern, a historic B&B located a few miles away in Jackson, N.H. No two rooms at the Wildcat Inn & Tavern are alike. They have 14 sunny, colonial guest rooms and suites that are full of antiques and comfortable beds. My room had a private bath and all their rooms include cable TVs, VCRs, phones. Their rates are very reasonable and include breakfast and dinner in the tavern. The tavern boasts low-beamed ceilings, numerous photos of Tuckerman Ravine and local ski bums, casual tavern suppers, and live entertainment on Tuesday and Saturday evenings.

I enjoyed a couple of beers and some congenial conversation in the tavern then decided to have dinner in the dinning room. I feasted on venison and enjoyed my conversation with the petty snowboard instructor who was my waitress. This is one of the quaintest B&B's I've stayed in and can highly recommend it. For reservations call: (800) 228.4245, I know you'll enjoy it.

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