Wildcat 10/27/2018

Earliest opening day ever at Wildcat! There was a long line waiting to board at 9:00, but it moved quickly when loading started. Lynx to Lower Catenary was the only run open, and was more pushed-out than groomed, but had some nice sections on either side of the groomed portion. There was plenty of cover on Lynx, between the snowmaking and natural snow, with really no significant thin spots. Conditions actually improved as the day went on, because of the snow being broken up, and the 5" of snow they received. Near the end of the day, we did a ceremonial last sweep in memory of my great-uncle, and Mount Washington Valley legend, Al Risch.

Base AreaimageLine at OpeningimageBase AreaimageWildcat ExpressimageSummitimageLynximageLynximageWildcat Express & LynximageLower CatenaryimageLynximageLynximageSummitimageWith my BrothersimageLast Run for Alimage
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- Sam

Comments

  • Great start Sam!
  • Tell us some more of your great uncle
  • ciscokid said:

    Tell us some more of your great uncle

    He had a hand in many things. He worked ski patrol and mountain ops at Wildcat, co-founded Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, and operated a heli-ski operation on Mount Washington, among other exploits.
    - Sam
  • I skied with Al and Alison many times back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was fortunate enough to do 3 helicopter trips with them on Mt. Washington, also bumped into them in the Greatgulf a few times and we saw each other at the top of White Caps at Sunday River. The last time I saw him was at the reception after one of the Inferno races in the Wildcat lodge maybe 5 yr. ago.
    My condolences to you, I wasn’t aware that he passed away. Is your aunt still with us?
  • Remski said:

    I skied with Al and Alison many times back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was fortunate enough to do 3 helicopter trips with them on Mt. Washington, also bumped into them in the Greatgulf a few times and we saw each other at the top of White Caps at Sunday River. The last time I saw him was at the reception after one of the Inferno races in the Wildcat lodge maybe 5 yr. ago.
    My condolences to you, I wasn’t aware that he passed away. Is your aunt still with us?

    She is still skiing double blacks!
    - Sam
  • That’s excellent, good to hear that.
  • NewEnglandSkier 13, I'm sorry to hear that Al is gone, and happy that Allison is well and still skiing. I've told this story before but it might bear repeating. You people be the juudges.
    Al was a great guy. I was on the first snowcat trip to the top of Mt. Washington that he and Allison ran after Wildcat closed for the season. I don't remember the year, but it was a trip to introduce the cat trips to the press.
    Al, Allison and the captain of the Dartmouth ski team were the guides. The idea was to take a Tucker snowcat to the summit, ski the east snowfield, ski over to the top of Tuckerman, have lunch which they brought along for everyone, then ski the ravine and down to Pinkham.
    Great idea, bad timing. It was the first week in April and expected warmer weather didn't arrive. Everything was frozen. The east snowfield was pretty good, windpack over ice. A couple of people fell climbing back to the top and slid down into the rock garden, They got bumps and bruises but no broken bones.
    When we skied over to the ravine. Al took one look at the ice and said "we're going down Hillman's." There was breakable crust there so he and Allison (who could ski that stuff, BTW) got us down. The ski to Pinkham was uneventful.
    In the parking lot, one of the group said to Al, "that wasn't so bad, was it." Al looked him in the eye and said, "you're lucky you're alive." Al and Allison had kept things loose and relaxed on the mountain and got us all down. Several people said they'd do it again. I took the trip a few weeks later in warmer weather and it was perfect.
    I saw Al from time to time at ski shows in Boston and my greeting always was "you're lucky you're alive." He always got a laugh out of it. I'm sorry to hear he's no longer with us. Please give my condolences to Allison. She may remember the guy from the Worcester paper who was one of the people who made that first Mt. Washington trip.
  • Thank you for sharing! That's a great story
    - Sam
  • That looks great. Is Al's Folly named after your uncle? Great trail.
  • Bill great story, in the 50s or 60s?

    Bill when do you turn 90?

    Any chance of coming up to NH 1/6 at Crotched?
  • Cisco, don't rush me. I'm in no hurry. I'll be 89 on Nov. 26, the day Jeremy's book on the Berkshires close ski areas comes out. As for Crotched, maybe. At my age I don't do a lot of long-range planning any more. Don't even buy green bananas. Thay Mt. Washington adventure? Probably early 70s, but I'm not sure.
  • Chuckstah said:

    That looks great. Is Al's Folly named after your uncle? Great trail.

    Yes it is!
    - Sam
  • Wow what a life


    https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/local/valley-ski-icon-al-risch/article_15cfb7d6-cc08-11e8-8229-9f63ce4a19eb.html
  • marcski said:
    Thank you, he was!
    - Sam
  • Looks like a fine day. I plan on going on the 4th.
    Instructor @ McIntyre, NH - PSIA L1 Certified - Skiing Since 2010-11
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