View Full Version : Wildcat new owners - Polecat still open?

03-10-2011, 08:05 AM
I read somewhere that Wildcat was not allowing hikers on the Polecat any longer. I called and the woman on the phone said "hikers are strongly discouraged" and "we're trying to operate a business" (translation: buy a ticket you cheap hikers ?) and "if something happened we would be liable" and "There are plenty of hiking trails in the area".

Curious if anyone here has first-hand experience to share.

The TC's have a report (erugs) that suggests otherwise.


03-10-2011, 08:59 AM
Hello, I am a regular at Wildcat and a season passholder. Jury is very much still out on these new owners. ... they seem to have ticked off most of the locals, the race team and probably the hiking community.. There are now new rather inhospitable signs at the bottom of the major access points saying no trail access without a pass, but I know from chatting with ski patrol they don't at present anyway intend to make a big deal about it, so I suspect if you stay to the side of the trail and keep to yourself, it won't be an issue, especially now that the big February vacatons are done. I have heard rumors that one could buy a trail access pass/sign a waiver for a nominal fee but I don't know if that is accurate. I see hikers near the top from time to time and the occasional skiier on skins ( though some of those folks are passholders getting soem exercise.)

Good luck!

03-10-2011, 09:17 AM
I was at Wildcat a few weeks ago (TR if I get around to it) and nobody gave us a second look when 9 of us rolled in from the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Granted, we skied/snowboarded down.

03-10-2011, 09:26 AM
Five of us hiked down the Polecat trail last Saturday (3/5) and no one said a word to us. Several ski patrol people passed by us. We just stayed well off to the side of the trail and generally behaved ourselves. We spotted cars in the Wildcat parking lot, no issues. Passed by the main building, no issues. Your mileage may vary though.

03-10-2011, 09:49 AM
i had heard that the issue regarding hikers was settled and that hiking on the trails was allowed. used the straycat/polecat in february and had no problem. the staff was all really friendly. i probably wouldn't worry about it.


03-10-2011, 10:06 AM
The key here is being a positive presence in the ski area:

Wear snowshoes
Stay on the edge of the trail
Yield to skiers
Don't carry skis up (you'll be expected to pay)
Don't sled down the ski trail

Don't give them a valid reason to close the trails to hikers without a trail pass, because they are within their rights to.

03-10-2011, 11:04 AM
Well, I hope they continue to allow hikers on Polecat. I plan on finishing my winter 4K's on D peak specifically so my non-winter hiking fiancée can join me. Using snowshoes of course.

03-10-2011, 12:19 PM
I had no issues hiking up with a small group this February -- we parked and began at Lower Polecat; stayed to the edge of trails, kept Terra on a leash, and yeilded to skiers.

We were passed by several ski patrollers, all were friendly; as were all the skiers.

We also took a small bushwack to the AT just below the top of the lifts. We were never in areas where large groups of paying guests congregate. :-)

Its my second time approaching via the ski area, first time in winter. Hope it stays assessible. I can see where "hike up / ski down" could present an issue as they are trying to run a lift served skiing business. ;-)

I have a feeling that the person you spoke to maybe thought that the ski area itself was your intended hiking destination -- they may not be aware that the peak itself is listed on the AMC Four Thousand Footers List.

03-10-2011, 12:35 PM
I have a feeling that the person you spoke to maybe thought that the ski area itself was your intended hiking destination -- they may not be aware that the peak itself is listed on the AMC Four Thousand Footers List.

Could be. No idea if the new owners kept the old staff or not. I'm betting the new owners had no idea they were buying the tradition of using Polecat for winter access to D peak.


Jimmy Legs and Little D
03-10-2011, 12:39 PM
We also didn't have any problems hiking down the Polecat Trail to finish up our Wildcat loop a few weeks ago. As a matter of fact, we started down a little before 4 pm. The final skier of the day happened to be the atttendant at the top of the ski lift. She told us she was the last one coming down the trail so we'd have the next 2.8 miles to ourselves and to have fun.... It would be a shame if they did close the trail to hikers. The views are spectacular decending the trail.


03-10-2011, 12:43 PM
New owners = opportunity to forge harmonious hiker image

Like they say in business, one bad experience snowballs exponentially.

Takes something like 20 positive interactions to negate one bad one.....here's hoping for no conflicts. :-)

I'm sticking with asking for forgiveness, not permission.

03-10-2011, 12:44 PM
The views are spectacular decending the trail.

Yes, they are. One of these days I will actually go there to ski!

http://inlinethumb60.webshots.com/27003/2616822000097994563S500x500Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2616822000097994563CnNdva)


Kevin Rooney
03-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Sounds like looping up 19 Mile Brook, across the ridge, and down Polecat about the time the lifts close is a good way to avoid skier conflicts and demonstrate to the new owners that the hiking community is trying to be good neighbors. After all, lots of us also ski.

As Red Green would say "We're all in this together".

03-10-2011, 03:22 PM
FWIW - On 1/15/11 four of us had planned on hiking up Polecat over the ridge and down 19 MBT. None of us had been up polecat and hadn't printed out a map so we went inside the lodge for some information and to make sure it was still ok to use that route. I hadn't read anything to make me believe that it wasn't ok so I didn't call ahead. We were surprised at the response - we were told that they were working on Polecat and that it was closed to all hikers and skiers. I asked if there was another trail that we could use - they told us no. Although they're leasing the land from the forest service, they'd prefer that hikers not use any of the trails at any time.

We politely thanked them for their help and hiked Middle Carter instead.

03-10-2011, 06:57 PM
I would like to take this moment to put in a plug for the Lovely Wildcat Ridge Trail from Lost Pond and over E peak. It is a lovely little hike that feels more like a hike since you are not dodging skiiers and boarders. It is well brushed out and easy to follow.

But of course I am biased. :D


Ed'n Lauky
03-10-2011, 07:52 PM
Lauky and I went up Polecat on Feb. 5. We talked with lift operators at the bottom and the ski patrol at the bottom and top and waved to the ski patrol who passed us with the snowmobile as we were going up. At the top we talked with a ski monitor who asked a lot about Lauky, what breed etc. and never indicated we weren't supposed to be there.

Many of the skiers stopped to talk with us as we were going up and down.

Everyone was so friendly I didn't have the slightest idea that someone didn't want us up there.


Wildcat D 02/05/2011

03-11-2011, 08:59 AM
Lauky and I went up Polecat on Feb. 5. We talked with lift operators at the bottom and the ski patrol at the bottom and top and waved to the ski patrol who passed us with the snowmobile as we were going up.

This was our experience, both here and at Saddleback in Maine recently. Totally friendly. I think if we were a bus load of kids on snowshoes the story would be different.

As was stated above in many different ways, think of yourself as a guest and do all the right things. Well, maybe you won't want to take your shoes off as you enter. Keep your snowshoes on when on the trail. :p

The only issue I ran into wasn't really a problem and not connected with the ski trails. I was coming back down the trail from the peak's observation deck and surprised a lift attendant who was stepping out back for a bio break. :eek:

03-14-2011, 08:22 PM
This winter I used the ski slopes of many mountain and I don't had
any problem:

Wildcat D- NH
Suggarbush (twice)

I alway started before openning or after they close.

03-14-2011, 08:24 PM
We avoided contact with the ski area personnel near the bottom of the mountain (See Tom's TR) and the ski patrollers we did see said not a word to us. Skiers and riders were quite friendly. We took photos for some, spoke to others, encouraged kids to try snowshoeing, etc.

Tom even left his sled on his pack.