Sunday, March 8, 2015
Last week I was lucky enough to go on a road trip to visit our sister resorts in NH. I went with a few of the marketing guys and their family for a little benchmarking and some R&R. We stayed at the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel, which made for a great base camp for our 3-day getaway.
We arrived on Wednesday for a day of spring skiing at Attitash. The Attitash Grand Summit is ski-on, ski-off so we wasted no time getting on the hill. Everyone was shedding layers and very upbeat to finally have a warm breeze at your back. I immediately fell back in love with the classic New England trails that follow the fall line and serpentine down the hill. And the views! The White Mountains are non-stop, photo-snapping, gorgeous. FYI - your Nor'Easter pass gives you free skiing and riding at Attitash.
Olivia and Damian (Dad, Mike, is our Director of Marketing/Technology) at the top of Bear Peak.
At the Bear Peak summit, we noticed the platform for their new Attitash ZipTour which is the longest single-span zip line in the contiguous United States. It flies you above the tree canopy from the summit of Bear Peak over to mid-mountain of Attitash and from there to the base of Attitash! We all agreed it looked scary- good. Attitash also has an alpine slide, mountain coaster and several other summer attractions. We started planning a return trip for the summer. This went over very well with all the kids!
We ended the day with with our first sun/wind burns of the year and a great dinner at Ovations restaurant at the Attitash Grand. Our plan was to wake up early and head to Wildcat for day two. But having dinner with Brian (Wildcat's GM) we were cautioned that the winds may have something else in mind. He was right. We woke to some terrific winds that closed Wildcat (gusts of 75mph) and Bear Peak at Attitash, for the day. Hey, at that elevation, it happens from time to time.
On a ski trip you have to be flexible so we changed gears and made our way to Bretton Woods for the day. Bretton Woods is not a Peak Resort so no special discounts if you are one of our passholders. We went from spring to winter in 24 hours and despite a windy day, we had a great time. Again, the views were breathtaking and a mid-day stop at their on-mountain candy shop was a big hit with the kids and adults. Chocolate covered Swedish Fish - a new favorite!
Brian and Megan in the candy shop.
Mike and his kids Damien and Olivia toasting with some mighty fine rootbeers!
It couldn't be a trip to the White Mountains without a quick trip to the outlet shops in North Conway and then some really good Mexican at Fiesta Jalisco - I would recommend.
Dave Meeker (aka Meeker), our head marketing dude, enjoying a super sized buritto!
On Friday morning the winds die down and we point our caravan towards Wildcat. First we stopped at White Mountain Cider Co. for a big bag of apple cider donuts. Do you know the aroma that our Waffle Cabin gives off? This place has the same effect on you.
As we turned onto 16 in Jackson, tourist attractions like Storyland line the route and a little ways up the road, buildings become sparse and you enter the White Mountain National Forest. The scenery becomes pristine and you know you are in a very special place.
A little past the entrance to the Pinkham Notch AMC center, you will find Wildcat. Brian Heon, who used to manage lifts, patrol and Ambassadors at Mount Snow is now the GM at Wildcat. We met up with Brian and his wife, Megan (used to work in HR at Mount Snow), for a tour of the mountain.
Love the Wildcat sign - so 70's
Let's just say that Wildcat has the BEST view of any ski area in New England. If you know of a better one, please tell me where. That would be worth the trip! Every view is of Mount Washington, with Tuckerman's to the left and Huntington Ravine to the right. The Presidential range slapping you in the face and looking like you could reach out and touch it.
Brian and Megan, our tour guides for the day.
We started with the cat jokes a few days back and created a possible list of cat appropriate trail names. We rode to the summit then descended Catapult (darn, hadn't thought of that one!), Polecat and Lynx. Yup, all the trails are named after the great feline...all but a few. We liked that we could find easy (Polecat) and intermediate (Catapault, Lynx) trails from the summit, as we had kids in tow. And of course, the kids beat the adults down!
At the summit, you are at 4,062'. There is a little trail that scurries up and out of sight - with a few hikers following it. Brian told us that was the Appalachian Trail - how cool is that. Brian showed us where the snowmakers had been digging out snowmaking equipment, preparing to make more snow. If you haven't heard, Wildcat stays open later than her sister resorts - planning on skiing into May this year. If you have a Nor'easter, you can go there...just saying!
Summit - Wildcat Express High Speed Quad
If you are up for a challenge - enter here for the Appalachian Trail. Notice the snowmaking equip being moved around to build depths to last until May!
I spent the day snapping lots of photos and daydreaming about pre-kid years when my husband and I used to camp in the White Mountains and ski Tuckerman's Ravine. The vista is uninterupted by man, except for the Mount Washington Observatory, completely entombed in ice, snow and rime.
Olivia & Damien had no problem keeping up with our pacesetter, Brian.
Megan and Kim - nice to see friends getting together. Kim works in our sales office and is married to Dave Meeker.
How lucky we are to ski a mountain like Wildcat, across from one of the most beautiful natural resources in our country. I felt privildged and humbled and then Meeker brought me back to earth with another one of his bad meow jokes.
I finished my day on Wild Kitten and joined everyone in the lodge for goodbyes.
Kelly (married to Mike) enjoying the Meeker's little girl, Olivia. Yup, 2 Kelly's and 2 Olivia's on this trip.
Meeker asked us if we wanted anything from the cafeteria and we all said "no" and then proceeded to eat all of his chicken fingers. I would recommend them too!
Are you finding the theme here? A good ski trip is accompanied by good food, family and friends!
As I drove home I had that apres ski feeling. No, I did not go to the bar!! That feeling you get when you spend an excellent day outside and have the car ride home to reminisce, listen to music and daydream. I could get used to this road trip stuff. Where next?!
Maybe Crotched Mountain in NH. I haven't skied there since high school. Embarassing, huh!? Only a little over an hour away and I haven't even visited my closest sister. Did you know that, new this year, the 1826 Pass includes skiing and riding at Crotched (midnight skiing too!)
Of course, there is no place like home and I was happy to get back to Dover, to my family, Bella dog and of course, my favorite mountain. I took a lot of photos of cool stuff I want to try at Mount Snow. Stay tuned!
Happy trails, wherever they may lead you.