When people I know talk about skiing in Northern New Hampshire several ski areas come up in the conversation. The more commonly referred to resorts are Waterville Valley, Mt Attitash, and Bretton Woods. These are all excellent ski resorts but two that don’t come up as often as I would think are Cannon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain.
I often hear complaints about the weather at these two mountains. Wait a minute. We are talking about skiing right? Of course it is going to be cold and more than likely windy no matter where you go. I believe we wear jackets, hats, gloves, goggles etc, to protect us from the weather and ski clothing has come a long way in helping to keep us warm and dry. I look at this factor as a positive. To me it means less people will be on these slopes than at the other mountains which results in more space for me and less waiting in line. One other point about the weather at these two resorts is that it is a direct result of elevation and vertical. These are the two highest elevation and vertical mountains in New Hampshire.
Next is no nightlife. The way I see it is, “no nightlife, no problem”. I generally go skiing to ski. I do like to enjoy a few adult beverages but I don’t really want to be in a crowded bar until 2:00 AM. Oh yeah. I have done that and know that it makes a rough day on the slopes in the morning. Quality nightlife is what you make of it. If it is absolutely necessary for you to go out after skiing try this. Stay in Lincoln and do a daytrip to Cannon or stay in North Conway and make the short trek up to Wildcat. You can be back to you accommodations before its gets dark with plenty of time to hit the town.
How about this one? “There is no place to stay on the mountain”. My reply is, “Good”. The less development on the mountain usually translates into less people in your way on the trails or in the lift-line. Besides Cannon and Wildcat are both in the White Mountain National forest and building is very restricted. The beauty of these resorts stays preserved forever. I also think that the more populace resorts rank higher in reader polls for magazines because people who call them their “home resort” end up ballot stuffing like all star votes for pro sports.
Finally, these two resorts undeservedly get bypassed because of their location on a map. Aside from Balsams Wilderness and Bretton Woods, Cannon and Wildcat ski resorts are the furthest North. They are really not that much more of a ride if you think about it. How much of a difference is there really between a three hour ride and a three hour and twenty minute ride? Not Much.
So what I am saying is if you are one of the people that avoids these two resorts for any of the above reasons, you need to rethink about it. You are missing out on some awesome terrain without crowds and also on lower prices than some of the other more popular resorts. So next time you go to New Hampshire give these resorts a shot. I doubt you will be disappointed. Remember that this is New England and ski conditions will vary for every trip so don’t let one rough day discourage you permanently.