New England skiing has been a struggle so far this season. It’s had good moments with a Black Friday storm and snow last weekend, but there has been a lot of rain and ice in between. This has affected ski resorts in New England, especially in the Vail Resorts brand. A low open trail count and increased crowds have annoyed locals. Currently, Wildcat only has seven runs open without their summit lift, while Attitash only has nineteen trails open. On Friday, Wildcat and Attitash issued separate apologies on social media for their slow starts.
The two mountains cited the pandemic and the notorious labor shortage as the reason for their woes. The two New Hampshire mountains in the Vail Resorts weren’t the only ones to issue an apology, as Stevens Pass in Washington did the same thing in spite of ample snowfall. These guys deserve credit for apologizing for the current conditions, but there is one discrepancy in this: why can’t these lifts open? Here’ what the possibilities are over at Attitash and Wildcat regarding these issues.
Wildcat: The direst situation is over at Wildcat, where summit skiing is still not accessible, and no one seems to know why. The Wildcat Express usually opens with the Polecat and Lynx trails. Back in the Peak Resorts days, these would open in early November. But when they opened on December 4th, the Tomcat Triple was the only lift they opened up. The Wildcat Express has yet to open up for the season.
From guest comments, there are two theories as to what’s going on with the summit. The first is regarding snowmaking issues. Pipes could’ve broken on numerous trails, or there is a lack of snowmaking staff due to multiple people quitting. Locals have also reported the complete lack of snowmaking during cold windows, such as last week. The other is a lift maintenance issue, as the lift opened back in 1997. New chairs and other improvements were made over the offseason, which could have impeded reopening the lift.
Attitash: With more trails and lifts open, the situation is a bit rosier over at Attitash Mountain Resort. But one of their high-speed quads, the Flying Yankee, is down indefinitely. Snowmaking could be the issue here, but it seems to be more likely a mechanical issue with the lift.
There’s frustration from locals in the comments, but more positive and constructive compared to what’s going on at Wildcat. With a new lift coming to Attitash next offseason, I would say there’s cautious optimism about their future. Over at Wildcat, there’s a lot more confusion and frustration.
Overall, I think this is a situation where both mountains could have calmed fears over the slow start, and did a decent job explaining what’s going on. But failing to explain what’s happening with the lift and/or snowmaking confuses their customers, and cuts away from the transparency they were aiming for. Hopefully, their next apology letter addresses their guests’ concerns better. Image Credits: Attitash, Wildcat