today is May 21, 2022

“We started skiing Attitash back when we bought our house here in 1989, and that was back when Attitash was really one of the premier places to ski…Both Attitash and Wildcat have gone through several evolutions since then. None of us was terribly happy when Peak bought them but clearly, there are a lot of terribly disappointed people, including me, with how things have been under Vail.” – Bill Ballou, Epic Pass Holder

Vail Resorts’ handling of Stevens Pass has gotten a lot of attention, but less discussed are the situations of their mountains in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire: Wildcat and Attitash. As we discussed back in December, both ski resorts issued apologies around Christmas time over the lack of terrain open for the Holiday crowds. The blowback was swift, and the long lift lines that followed increased tensions. Vail Resorts owns two other mountains in the state of New Hampshire: Crotched Mountain and Mount Sunapee. Last week, Crotched Mountain has reduced its operating days and hours. And from my local perspective, the situation at Mount Sunapee hasn’t been great either. In an escalation in the feud between locals and the company, various Epic Pass holders spoke to the Conway Daily Sun about their issues about management. In response, the GMs of both mountains and the Senior Manager of Northeast Communications had an interview with the newspaper. Here were the chief issues that were discussed:

Summit Triple at Attitash: The slow lift at Attitash is loathed by guests due to its long ride to the Summit and frequent maintenance breakdowns. This was the case over Christmas breaks, where multiple lift breakdowns caused huge lines and disgruntled guests. A new lift will be coming to Attitash next season, but it won’t be for the Summit Triple. Locals continue to push for a faster and more reliable lift, which the GM of Attitash said is the future plan. A recent filing with the U.S. Forest Service suggests a replacement could be coming for the 2022-23 season. Snowmaking Issues at Wildcat/Attitash: The Wildcat GM confirmed that an inoperable water pump on the upper mountain prevented snowmakers from making snow up until recently.  Supply chain delays and snowmaking staff shortages led to the summit’s delayed opening, which just happened recently. Even though Wildcats summit is now open, it only has one top to bottom run (Polecat). On the Attitash side, their GM pointed to the larger vertical drop compared to other local resorts that have delayed more runs being opened. Rumored Walk-Out at Wildcat: People have said on social media that multiple snowmakers walked out in December due to various reasons. Here’s what their GM said about this rumor- ” ‘Not true, there was no walk-off,’ wrote White. Crichton added, ‘We have a committed team of snowmakers that are working hard to get more terrain open. For various reasons, people have continued to apply and we’ve continued to see some attrition with staffing. Snowmaking is not an easy job — our teams get after it, every night and day, under some challenging conditions.’ ” Vail Resorts is Frustrated Too:  “We share in the frustration some of our guests have expressed over what has been a difficult start to the season, but we have also received a lot of support from folks who understand how difficult things have been, and how hard our resort teams are working. The fact is that it’s been a historically mild winter thus far, and we’re all eager for one of those classic Nor’easter snowstorms so we can ski powder and forget these lean early-season days. One of the comments I’ve heard most often is, ‘I just wish it would snow.’ I think that sums up how all of us are feeling right now.”- Adam White, Senior Manager of Resort Communications, Northeast Region Comparing Conditions Across the White Mountains: Attitash has eighteen trails open, while Wildcat has nine trails operational. Meanwhile, Cannon Mountain has forty-five runs open, Loon has forty runs, Waterville Valley has twenty-four runs, Bretton Woods has twenty-four trails, and Cranmore has nineteen that you can shred. So while Attitash is closer to the average, Wildcat is way behind to start things off. And Finally…A Suggestion From A Local to Improve the Fractured Relationship: “Quite honestly, I would like them to send a letter out and tell people buying the Epic Pass what they intend to do for snowmaking and what they have planned to improve lifts … I just feel they are not providing the product and they need to be real straight with customers.” Ed Poliquin

Image Credits: Attitash, Wildcat