So, this is going to be a rather odd review as it was under different circumstances than normal. See – usually, I pack up my car, drive North about two hours, and then hit the slopes alone and at peace. Not this day. Nope.
On this particular Friday (back a few weeks ago now), I decided to visit Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts with the purpose of meeting up with one of my co-workers and his son. Sounds pretty usual so far, right (minus the driving South part)? Well, not so much. I was headed down there to meet up with my co-worker, his son, and his ski club from their school… and about 2000 other children. You may commence the screaming now.
Location: Wachusett is about an hour and twenty minutes from Manchester, New Hampshire. I’m sure folks from Massachusetts think the drive is just fine, but I’ll just sum it up as: AHHHH! All it was missing was Route 128.
Basically, take Route 3, to 495, and then get on Route 2. 495 can be a parking lot full of hilarity at times, and Route 2 can make you want to pull your hair out. Try to set a good example and remind folks that the left lane is for passing – not doing 10 under the speed limit on your cell phone.
Parking: The parking lot at Wachusett is simple and rather huge. It’s just one big lot with lots of row signs. I recommend actually paying attention to them as it just might be possible to lose your car.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: All of the staff I met was pleasant and sociable, so no issues at all there.
Price: So I usually don’t gripe about price as I understand that it costs a lot to run a ski area, but Wachusett is painfully expensive for the size it is with no deals to be found. I realize that their full price tickets are the same price as NH’s comparative (Pat’s Peak), but you can at least find deals (Liftopia, coupons, Ride & Ski Card, etc.). I ended up paying $48 for my half-day ticket (12:30 to 4), and then another $10 to extend it to 10pm. And their season pass prices are rather insane as well, so it’s rather unfortunate.
Lodge: Wachusett has a huge lodge that goes on and on, and it’s actually quite impressive on the inside. I was curious to see how it did with 2000 kids and their equipment, and the answer is – pretty well!
Lifts: All of Wachusett’s chairlifts I rode seemed to be in pretty good condition. I was glad to see that the staff is proactive in making sure that lines stay under control and people aren’t cutting each other off when it gets busy.
Trails: Small mountains are unfortunately rather doomed to the straight and simple trails just because of their size, so Wachusett was no exception. Their trails definitely struck me as a great place to learn as they were wide and easy to see what was coming, but I wasn’t too crazy about some of the intersections. Remember people – a ‘slow’ sign is there for a reason. It’s not an opportunity to knock over 8 year old kids.
On the positive side though, I was impressed to see that they groom some of the more advanced trails at 4pm when the switch from day to night begins.
So, I knew going into sabbatical that eventually this whole chicken tender review thing would eventually take a turn for the worse. I was just waiting for food poisoning to strike, as it was rather inevitable. You can only eat fast food so many times before you end up getting the unlucky tender.
Wachusett ended up being the bearer of the unlucky tenders, which was unfortunate. For $6.90, I got a chicken tender basket with 4 medium sized tenders and a helping of fries. That would be the best deal so far, by the way. The tenders looked appetizing, as did the fries. Unfortunately texture and taste didn’t match at all. The fries turned out to be rather uncooked and the chicken had that same weird “not quite done” taste and texture to it as well.
Food poisoning struck later on, and yes – I’m sure it was because of the tenders. So, Wachusett… next time, slow down on the food prep and make sure everything is actually done. Food poisoning isn’t any fun.
Final Score: .5 out of 5 Tenders