2014 Wildfire Course Description


The Wildcat Wildfire is recreational pentathlon run in conjunction with the Tuckerman Inferno adventure race.  The Tuckerman Inferno started in 2000 as the annual major fundraiser for Friends of Tuckerman Ravine. The races pay homage to the original American Inferno ski races of the 1930’s.  While the original American Infernos were top to bottom ski races, the current Tuckerman Inferno and Wildcat Wildfire include running, kayaking, biking and hiking.  Individuals and relay teams of two or five people compete to see who will be the fastest to cover an approximately 30 mile course that starts in the Mount Washington Valley and finishes at Wildcat Ski Area.  

In 2013, partnering with AbilityPLUS, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine added an adaptive division to the Wildcat Wildfire.  There was a great response, and the adaptive division is growing to include more teams this year.  Adaptive teams must have at least one member who has a disability, and accommodations for that team member (for example, a guide or specialized kayak, bike or ski equipment) will be allowed.

The race would not be possible without the efforts of over 50 volunteers; and the support and generosity of the following organizations and local business’ – United States Forest Service, Wildcat Ski Area, Attitash Ski Area, Mountain Rescue Service, White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team, New Hampshire State Parks, Mount Washington Observatory, Glen Ledge Campground, Flatbreads Pizza, New Hampshire Army National Guard and New Hampshire State Police. 


The Wildfire Pentathlon starts at Story Land in Glen, NH and finishes at Wildcat Ski Area in Pinkham Notch.  The race consists of five legs -- Run, Kayak, Bike, Hike and Ski.  The transition zones are at the following locations: 

  1. Start:  Story Land, Route 16, Glen, NH
  2. Run / Kayak:  Thorne Pond, Bartlett, NH
  3. Kayak / Bike:  Glen Ellis Campground, Glen, NH
  4. Bike / Hike:  Wildcat Ski Area, C Lot access road, Pinkham Notch, NH
  5. Hike / Ski: Wildcat Ski Area TBD, Pinkham Notch, NH 

Full Course Map


Total distance, 6 miles

  1. Run start is at the Story Land parking lot on the west side of Route 16 (850 New Hampshire Route 16, Glen).
  2. Stay on right side of Route 16 to the junction of Route 302.
  3. Take a right on Route 302 and continue past Attitash to Bear Peak.
  4. Take right across from the Bear Peak entrance to Thorne Pond.
  5. Go right around Thorne Pond on the gravel road to the run/kayak transition zone.


Total distance, 5.5 miles, approximately 200 feet total vertical drop (36 ft/mile)

Run / Kayak Transition at Thorne Pond - The Run/Kayak transition zone is at Thorne Pond Conservation Area, located directly across Route 302 from Bear Peak Ski Area. The gate to the pond will be open only on race day. A parking lot and a porta potty will be available. 

River Description:

  1. This whitewater course along the Saco River requires technical boating skills with total vertical drop over the 5.5 miles of approximately 200 feet or about 36 feet/mile.
  2. Following a short run from the run / kayak transition zone, kayakers will enter their boats on river right.
  3. Note that the river is narrow with many sharp bends, often containing fallen trees and obstacles; the current is strong and the river is sometimes divided into several channels.
  4. There is a strong rapid about 200 yards above the Gift Shop Covered Bridge (mile 3.5), followed by a rapid just below the Route 302 Bridge; another strong rapid follows immediately.
  5. The river then widens and soon passes under a railroad trestle (mile 4.2).  
  6. The Kayak Leg ends on the sandy beach at the Glen Ellis Campground on river left at mile 5.5.
  7. Drag the boat out of the water, and then run to kayak/bike transition zone.
  8. The best spectator spots and team support crew sites are between mile 3.5 and 4.0 as well as over the final 300 yards.


Total distance, 16 miles, approximately 2,000 feet total climb

  1.  Depart the Glen Ellis Campground and go right (south) onto Route 302
  2. Continue on Route 302, through the lights at the Route 302 / Route 16 junction in Glen.
  3. Bikers then turn left into the Wooden Soldier parking lot, at the junction of Route 16A.
  4. Continue around the roundabout at the Wooden Soldier and head back north on route 302.
  5. At the lights, take a right onto Route 16, toward Jackson.
  6. Go right at the covered bridge and follow Village Road (Route16A loop) through Jackson Village and back to Route 16.
  7. Go right on Route 16 and continue to Wildcat Ski Area.
  8. The bike / hike transition zone is in the Wildcat “C Lot” access road.  The access road is on the right, just past the Wildcat Ski Area main entrance.


Total distance, approximately 2 miles, 1,400 foot total climb

  1. The hiker will be tagged by the biker at the transition zone at the Wildcat Ski Area “C Lot” access road.
  2. The hiker will proceed up the access road and follow the directional arrows at each turn.
  3. The hikers will follow Wildcats designated uphill route:
    1. Turn left at the end of the access road on the Stray Cat trail.
    2. At the top of Stray Cat turn left onto Middle Polecat.
    3. The Hike / Ski transition is located at the intersection of the Middle Polecat and Tomcat Trails.
    4. Note that the actual location of hike course could change based on snow conditions and will be determined the day prior to the race.


  1. The skier will hike from the transition zone up the Tomcat Trail to the start of the ski leg race course at the intersection of the Tomcat and Lynx Trails. 
  2. The ski leg will be an un-gated run down an open ski trail.  Racers must follow the safe skier code.  Any skier deemed by the ski patrol to be skiing recklessly will be disqualified.
  3. Racers will ski down the Lynx Trail and finish just above the junction of the Lower Lynx and Polecat Trails.
  4. Note that the exact course could change based on snow conditions and will be determined the day prior to the race.  


  1. Equipment used for the ski leg must be carried by the skier from the transition zone; no pre-established caches will be allowed.
  2. Neutral party assistance is allowed for equipment, mechanical or terrain encountered difficulties.
  3. No team assistance is allowed, except for allowed accommodations for adaptive team competitors.
  4. Actual course will be established by 7am day of the race as a function of prevailing conditions.
  5. Transition zone will be established by 7am day of race as a function of prevailing conditions. 


Road Safety:

  1. The race course runs along several busy state highways.  Crossing zones have been identified and staffed by volunteers, state and local police and NH Army National Guard traffic control teams.  Competitors should be aware of the traffic and are responsible for choosing a safe time and location to cross these highways to minimize interaction with local road traffic
  2. There will be no chase vehicles allowed on the road portion of the course.  Several of the roads have high traffic on narrow roads and chase vehicles impede local traffic.  In order to secure permission to run the race from the local community we have to minimize the impact on the flow of traffic over these roads.

River Safety:

  1. Natural hazards such as rocks, trees and strong currents exist in the river race course on the Saco River.  Kayakers should familiarize themselves with the course and the hazards prior to race day. 
  2. Kayakers are responsible for choosing the safest route on the river that avoids the natural hazards.
  3. Volunteers organized by the White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team will be present to provide safety coverage along the river course on race day.
  4. Kayakers who observe fellow racers in trouble are obligated to provide assistance if no safety personnel are nearby.

Mountain Safety:

  1. Competitors should be prepared for winter travel in hazardous terrain on the hike and ski legs or the race.  There is the possibility of dramatic change in temperature and weather from the start of the hike leg to the finish of the ski leg.
  2. Pay attention to the weather forecast and take the necessary precautions. 
  3. Wildcat Ski Area is open to the public during the race.  Be aware of the general public and share the trails with them.  FOTR will have an information booth at the ski area to inform other users of the race.   


  1. Parking is limited at all transition zones.  Most of the transition zones are located on private land or in lots designated for NH Department of Transportation operations.  Please be respectful of the private property so that we can continue to enjoy access for future races.
  2. All transition zones will have designated drop off and pickup areas.  Support teams will have 5 minutes to load and unload gear in these zones.  Teams will be issued drop off/pick up passes at registration.
  3. A limited number of parking passes are available for the Thorne parking area for a $5 donation to FOTR.
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