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SkiNewEngland.net
 
Wildcat as seen from Mt. Madison (2009)
Wildcat Mountain
Pinkham's Grant, New Hampshire
Status: Open
First Season:1957-58
Vertical Drop:2112 feet
Standing Lifts:1 high speed quad, 3 triples, surface lifts
Past Lifts:1 gondola, 1 triple, 2 doubles, surface lifts
Left: Wildcat as seen from Mt. Madison (2009)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
11/24/2016: 18 Ski Areas Open in Four States Startin...
10/23/2016: Killington Set to Open on Tuesday
7/17/2016: Peak Resorts Annual Report Reveals Dire...
5/8/2016: Cash Strapped Peak Resorts May Be Forced...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Literally located in the shadow of Mt. Washington, Wildcat Mountain has long been a New England skiing destination.

Early Years

The skiing history on Wildcat Mountain dates back to 1933, when the Wildcat Ski Trail was cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Designed by Charley Proctor, the trail ran from a warming hut near the summit of "E" peak to the base of the mountain. Prior to the rise of lift served skiing, the Wildcat Ski Trail was one of the top racing destinations in all of New England.

In the mid 1950s, the United States Forest Service gave Mack Beal, Brooks Dodge, George Macomber, and Malcolm McLane permission to start developing a commercial ski area on Wildcat Mountain. The first development of its type in the White Mountain National Forest, the new ski area would incorporate the Wildcat Ski Trail into its trail network.

Wildcat Opens

The Bobcat T-Bar circa the late 1950s
The Bobcat T-Bar circa the late 1950s

A 3,000 foot T-Bar likely opened on the lower slopes of Wildcat in January of 1958. Midway through the season, the United States' first ski gondola opened, instantly making the $1.5 million dollar Wildcat development one of the largest ski areas in the Northeast.

Running from the base of the ski area to the saddle between Wildcat D and Wildcat E, the Italian Carlevaro & Savio two person gondola provided over two thousand continuous vertical feet of skiing on the Wildcat and Polecat trails. Unfortunately its first season was not without incident, as a mechanical malfunction on March 24, 1958 resulted in the hospitalization of two riders. The lift was subsequently retrofitted to fix the issue.

Growing Pains

While Wildcat enjoyed large crowds, it quickly developed a reputation for being overly challenging. Its easiest trail from the top, the Polecat, featured multiple steep stretches that have since been bypassed or altogether abandoned. For 1959-60, the trail was heavily manicured to appeal to the growing number novice-intermediate skiers. Meanwhile, a 1,100 foot novice T-Bar was installed just beyond the original T-Bar, serving two slopes. The Boston Globe claimed the changes had "clipped Wildcat's claws."

The popular intermediate Alley Cat trail made its debut for the 1960-61 season, accessible by both the gondola and original T-Bar. A rebuilt Route 16 opened in 1961, making for easier travel between Conway and Wildcat. More noticeably for Wildcat, Route 16 was relocated across the Peabody River, resulting in a much larger base area.

While Wildcat's gondola was its major draw, it was also its achilles heel. Being the only upper mountain lift, lines were often prohibitively long. As a result, the Catapult chairlift was installed on the upper mountain, accessible from the original T-Bar or gondola. Initially advertised for the 1962-63 season, it likely was not completed until 1963-64. Also completed for the 1963-64 season was the Lynx trail, which may have debuted as a rough trail the year before.

While the late 1960s involved lots of grass for some, it meant lots of snow for Wildcat. One particular storm in February of 1969 briefly crippled the ski area from snow drifting. 10-15 foot drifts clogged the summit terminal of the gondola, while a bulldozer had to be used to clear the T-Bar and chairlift lines.

Snowmaking and More Lifts

The Wildcat Gondola circa the late 1970s
The Wildcat Gondola circa the late 1970s

The Lynx double chairlift was installed in 1970, taking stress off the gondola and lower mountain T-Bars, while also providing top to bottom chairlift service in conjunction with the Catapult. Base operations were also boosted that year, as the first 9,000 feet of the present day main lodge opened.

As was the case across New England, Wildcat was hit hard by the 1973-74 season, failing to open until January 2. A subsequent January thaw, along with the energy crisis, resulted in a 40 percent drop in business.

Despite the rough season, Wildcat invested in its first triple chairlift in 1974, replacing the novice T-Bar. After a successful 1974-75 season, snowmaking was finally installed. Over the next two decades, snowmaking was gradually installed on most of Wildcat's main trails.

Another sizable investment took place for the 1982-83 season, when the original T-Bar was replaced with a new triple chairlift.

In 1986, the Franchi family, owners of the Cranmore Tennis Club, purchased Wildcat ski area. The following year, a $1.6 million spent on upgrading the Catapult chairlift from a double to a triple, as well as installing the Tomcat triple. In conjunction with this project, the Polecat was reworked.

The End of the Gondola

The Wildcat base area in 2006
The Wildcat base area in 2006

The ski area was forever changed in 1997 when the Wildcat Express was installed. The Doppelmayr high speed detachable quad cut the 2,041-vertical-foot ride to the summit to 6-minutes. Gondola cars were later purchased for summer use on the new lift.

Following the 1999 fall season, the original gondola was decommissioned. The gondola cars were auctioned in March of 2000. The lift towers, as well as those from the Lynx double were removed during the next few years.

On October 21, 2010, Peak Resorts, owner of nearby Attitash, announced it had entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Pat Franchi to purchase Wildcat. Since the sale, Peak Resorts has worked on developing synergy between the two areas.

After major snowmaking system issues in 2013-14, Peak Resorts overhauled Wildcat's system, installing new pumps, pipe, and snowguns, including equipment procured from the liquidation of Ascutney in Vermont. Since then, Wildcat has focused on having the first and last 2,000 vertical foot skiing in New England each season.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
November5%    (1 report)5 Open
January90%    (1 report)90 Open
March100%    (1 report)100 Open
April34%    (4 reports)34 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Mar. 26, 2017 by skiit
Packed Powder, Loose Granular
Jan. 16, 2017 by beccam
Packed Powder, Frozen Granular
Nov. 25, 2016 by beccam
Packed Powder, Variable Conditions
Apr. 16, 2016 by rocket21
Spring Snow, Spring Snow
Apr. 3, 2016 by skiit
Variable Conditions, Variable Conditions
Wildcat Mountain on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
18 Ski Areas Open in Four States Starting on Friday - Nov. 24, 2016
Killington Set to Open on Tuesday - Oct. 23, 2016
Peak Resorts Annual Report Reveals Dire Financial Situation - Jul. 17, 2016
Cash Strapped Peak Resorts May Be Forced to Discontinue Dividends - May. 8, 2016
Peak Resorts Financial Woes Mounting - Apr. 26, 2016
REPORT: Peak Resorts Financial Concerns Prompting Layoffs, Construction Delays - Apr. 10, 2016
Peak Resorts Revenue Declines Sharply - Mar. 16, 2016
George Macomber Passes Away - Dec. 15, 2015
Killington First Ski Area Open in North America - Oct. 18, 2015
Snowmaking In Progress at Killington, Sunday River, and Wildcat - Oct. 17, 2015
Wildcat Mountain NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

CCC Trails
Trail NameStatus
Hopper Ski TrailAbandoned
Wildcat Ski TrailOpen

Image Gallery
1959 Appalachia1959-60 Eastern Ski Map1960 Appalachia1960-61 Eastern Ski Map1961 Appalachia1961-62 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Wildcat Mountain Image Gallery



Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The Bobcat Triple in 2003
Bobcat Triple
Riblet
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1982-83
The Snowcat Triple in 2006
Snowcat Triple
Riblet
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1974-75
The Tomcat Triple in 2003
Tomcat Triple
CTEC
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1987-88
The Wildcat Express Quad in 2006
Wildcat Express Quad
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1997-98

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Bobcat T-Bar circa the late 1950s
Bobcat T-Bar

T-Bar
1957-58
-
The Catapult Double circa the 1970s
Catapult Double
Riblet
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1963-64
-
1986-87
The former Catapult Triple top terminal area in 2007
Catapult Triple
Riblet
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1987-88
-
1996-97
Copycat T-Bar
Roebling
T-Bar
1959-60
-
1981-82
The Wildcat Gondola circa the 1960s
Gondola
Carlevaro & Savio
Gondola - 2 Person
1957-58
-
2003-04
The remains of the Lynx Double top terminal in 2003
Lynx Double
Riblet
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1970-71
-
2000s

Maps
1962-63 Wildcat Trail Map1963-64 Wildcat Trail Map1964-65 Wildcat Trail Map1996-97 Wildcat Trail Map2001-02 Wildcat Trail Map2002-03 Wildcat Trail Map
View All Wildcat Mountain Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2016-17$79.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$999.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph12.6 daysNovember 242016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$79.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$859.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph10.9 daysNovember 25April 2457,8172015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$75.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$829.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph11.1 daysNovember 9May 385,4422014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$70.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$799.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysNovember 23April 2764,4002013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$70.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$799.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysNovember 22April 2176,1172012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$70.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$799.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysDecember 18April 1553,5992011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$70.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph2010-11 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 11April 24120,6202010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$65.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$749.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph11.5 daysApril 19146,8842009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$65.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$899.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph13.8 daysNovember 28155,3252008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$59.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$699.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph11.8 daysNovember 30April 27112,1392007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$59.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$699.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph11.8 daysDecember 8May 6107,1852006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$55.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$699.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysOctober 28April 1684,3602005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$55.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$699.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysDecember 484,3602004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$52.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$1095.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph21.1 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$52.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$1095.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph21.1 days2002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$52.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$1095.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph21.1 days2001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$49.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 17April 292000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$49.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price Graph1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$46.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price Graph1998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$44.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 221997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1996-97$39.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price Graph1996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1993-94$35.001993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price Graph1993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$35.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$34.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$33.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 161990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$32.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 24April 15114,0001989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$31.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price GraphApril 301988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$28.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 14May 11987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1985-861985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price GraphApril 61985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$21.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$20.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$19.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price GraphMay 11982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$18.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price GraphMay 11981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$17.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$15.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$14.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 241978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$12.501977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 26April 231977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-771976-77 Ticket Price Graph$230.001976-77 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 131976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$11.501975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 241975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-751974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 231974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$10.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 21973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-731972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 301972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$9.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$9.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$7.501968-69 Ticket Price Graph$135.001968-69 Season Pass Price Graph18.0 daysNovember 61968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$7.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 181967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1965-661965-66 Ticket Price Graph1965-66 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 41965-66 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$6.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$6.001963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$6.001962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 23April 291961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$5.501959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1957-581957-58 Ticket Price Graph1957-58 Season Pass Price GraphMay 241957-58 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I have been skiing Wildcat for years..I never remember Catapolt double being up grated to a triple...I remember the double, with the pole in the middle of the chair...anyone out there remember riding a Catapolt triple??"
bruce regan, May. 25, 2016
"I grew up skiing Wildcat Mtn. Even bought myself a 'Wildcat Parka' from the Jack Frost Shop in Jackson back in the '60's! Loved the entire area; the whole State of New Hampshire always felt like my second home."
Betsy Geislar, Mar. 6, 2014
"(The press release below was originally released July 25, 2011 and the intent had been to remove the building during the spring of 2012. Because of weather/conditions that season, delays occurred and full removal was rescheduled for spring 2013. A short video marking the occasion and showing the final removal May 18, 2013 can be seen here: http://youtu.be/iAFNzhxnVAQ)After considering all reasonable options, and working with U.S. Forest Service to understand codes and requirements to renovate the existing summit building that once served as the top-station for the original Wildcat Mountain gondola, Peak Resorts has determined that the capital expense is not feasible and instead budget the costs and expense to dismantle, remove, and restore a small, but noticeable, portion of the natural summit.“You have to admire and respect the history and the individuals that built what remains of the original, but long neglected, infrastructure here”, said Wildcat Mountain General Manager Josh Boyd. “But we’re in a different era with extensive building requirements and regulations that the U.S. Forest Service has in place to preserve the natural beauty of the White Mountain National Forest. And I have worked with them to understand and fully study what was possible, but building codes and related costs would require us to rebuild the building almost entirely. At this time, we feel the significant capital expense to build at the summit is better spent to simply remove the structure next spring, restore a bit of the natural beauty at the summit, but leave a defined footprint that may allow the U.S. Forest Service to permit a building in the unforeseeable future, and to allocate any immediate capital expenses to other more pressing improvements here at Wildcat.” Boyd went on to say that an expense of this proportion to create a minor profit center that may never fully see a break-even return to simply even operate season-to-season, is just the type of thing that challenges any ski area owner or operator to have to consider increasing the price of lift tickets and season passes.Of note, the Mount Washington Observatory has already taken immediate action to relocate their summit web cam and Wildcat Mountain has worked and cooperated to provide an alternate location. Known for its legendary views of Mount Washington and Tuckerman Ravine, Wildcat Mountain is host to one of many summit cams that the Mount Washington Observatory website shares with its members and general public."
Thomas Prindle, May. 24, 2013
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External Links
  • Wildcat Ski Area - official site
  • Wildcat D - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Last updated: February 19, 2017

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