2019/2020 Ski Day 3: Wildcat

Another outing with the Doctor: our first visit to Wildcat (@skiwildcat).

This is an old-school New England mountain that skis bigger than it looks. While they had only one lift running, lines were no issue — the big perk of weekday skiing.

Mount Washington from the summit

Conditions were excellent for early December: there was a decent amount of soft, powdery snow on the majority un-groomed runs.

After exploring most of the mountain over the course of the morning, we had left one major trail unexplored: Upper Wildcat. Since getting to it requires a bit of uphill travel, the Doctor (who rides a board) opted out of the trial run. We made tentative plans to meet mid-mountain if that proved possible, or, if not, at the lodge, for an early lunch. Upper Wildcat was worth the work getting to: tons of soft bumps and plenty of width to roam.

At what felt like halfway down the mountain, I spied a small trail cutting back towards the center and set out on it aiming to rendezvous with the Doctor. I’m pretty sure the trail was the unnamed transverse at the bottom of this picture:

On the mountain, it has a very official looking sign and a name (cat-themed, of course) that I can’t recall. It looked like just the ticket… But after the first few dozen yards, it got narrower. And narrower. And (yes) narrower. It narrowed to the width of a pair of skis. Then it called for some uphill effort. And then it came to a five-foot drop. I popped off the skis, slid down, and marched on. I then came to a three or four foot ledge that had to be climbed, beyond which Catapult could be seen. At this point, I was sweating.

So close and yet so far

The trail (what there was of it) split and, to avoid another climb, took what looked like the more direct path out, only to find a brook babbling over a granite slab between me and Catapult.

A treacherous obstacle

So, uphill after all, to get above the stream. After a final push through the trees I made it out, got the skis back on, and, winded, headed down to meet the Doctor for lunch.  “In lodge” said his text, which got to my phone ten minutes after we reunited.  That much I’d guessed.

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