When people I know talk about skiing in northern New Hampshire, several ski areas come up in the conversation. The most commonly referred to resorts are Waterville Valley, Mt Attitash, and Bretton Woods. These are all great ski resorts, but two that don’t show up as often as I think Cannon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain are.
I often hear complaints about the weather in these two mountains. Wait a minute. We are talking about skiing right? Of course it’s going to be cold and probably windy no matter where you go. I think we wear jackets, hats, gloves, glasses, etc. to protect us from the weather and ski clothing has gone a long way in helping us stay warm and dry. I see this factor as positive. For me, it means that there will be fewer people on these slopes than on the other mountains, which translates to more space for me and less waiting in line. Another point about the weather in 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.
The next thing is no night life. The way I see it, “there is no nightlife, no problem”. I generally go skiing skiing. I like to enjoy some adult drinks, but I don’t want to be in a crowded bar until 2:00 a.m. M. Oh yes. I’ve done it and I know it’s a tough day on the slopes in the morning. Quality nightlife is what you do with it. If you absolutely must get out after skiing, try this. Stay in Lincoln and take a day trip to Cannon or stay in North Conway and make the short hike to Wildcat. You can return to your accommodation before dark in time to visit the city.
What about this one? “There is no place to stay on the mountain.” My answer is “Good”. Less development on the mountain generally translates to fewer people on the trail or on the lift line. Also, Cannon and Wildcat are in the White Mountain National Forest and construction is heavily restricted. The beauty of these resorts is preserved forever. I also think that more populated resorts rank higher in magazine reader polls because people who call them their “home resort” end up getting nerdy like all star votes for professional sports.
Lastly, these two resorts are undeservedly overlooked due to their location on a map. Aside from the Balsams Wilderness and Bretton Woods, the Cannon and Wildcat ski resorts are the furthest north. They really aren’t much funnier if you think about it. What difference is there really between a three hour trip and a three hour and twenty minute trip? Not much.
So what I’m saying is that if you are one of the people avoiding these two complexes for any of the reasons above, you should reconsider. Amazing terrain is being lost without the crowds and also with lower prices than some of the other more popular resorts. So next time you’re in New Hampshire, give these resorts a try. I doubt you will be disappointed. Remember this is New England and ski conditions will vary for each trip, so don’t let a tough day permanently put you off.