Ski Enthusiast’s time at Bretton Woods was an extraordinary experience. Excellent conditions, spectacular views, diverse terrain, gnarly glades, comfortable and clean lodging, fine dining and superior service made this trip extremely memorable. With Bretton Woods’ commitment to transform itself into a tour de force, it well deserves the national acclaim it receives. Intensifying the most difficult trails with creative design, expanding expert terrain, improving snow making capacity, adding new groomers and improving ski school programs are just a few of the measures Bretton Woods is implementing to simply get better every year. Photo courtesy of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods.
Photo courtesy of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods
People who have skied Bretton Woods in the past (5+ years ago) may have considered it an intermediate mountain. However, recent expansions of many new trails and glades have changed this completely. On Mt. Rosebrook, you will find the steeper terrain on McIntire’s Ride, Bode’s Run, Zealand and Snake. If you follow Diamond Ridge past the entrance of the Rosebrook quad, you will also find Deception Bowl and Darby’s Drop. Bode’s Run and Deception Bowl have excellent ungroomed powder on the skiers’ right side of the trail. Two of Ski Enthusiast’s favorite trails were Snake and Darby’s Drop which are designated mogul runs with excellent, deep bumps to challenge expert skiers. Roz’s and Inferno were also among my favorite bumped up glades in Rosebook Canyon. Both are narrower chutes that require quick turning and good absorption to master. On West Mountain, I also really enjoyed Boundary Line, Maple Woods and John Grave’s Glades and all will make you work up a sweat. A few of the tighter glades to challenge your ability include Devil’s Den, Fastfall and Jump Turn. Although they are short and sweet, they are steep, gnarly and filled with obstacles to make it through in one piece.
One of the best features of Bretton Woods is their extensive intermediate groomers and glades. On West Mountain, Glade West, Blowdown Alley, Cherry Mountain Slide, Peppersass and Wild West were the more challenging intermediate/expert glades and were extremely fun. Aggassiz leading into Millennium Maze was a great place to find an abundance of powder due to lower traffic. On Mt. Rosebrook, Black Forest Glade is an easier start for intermediates looking to explore the glades for the first time. Enchanted Bear Glade is an excellent next step after you conquer Black Forest.
If glades and moguls are not your thing, there are plenty of blue groomers and easier terrain off of every lift. In addition, Two Miles Home is a gentle intermediate trail for new skiers looking to challenge themselves and explore. A short cut to Two Miles Home is Panorama were you can enjoy spectacular views of Crawford Notch.
Image Courtesy of The Mount Washington Resort of Bretton Woods
Conditions at Bretton Woods were simply superb during Ski Enthusiast’s trip. They received 14 inches of new snow ~3 days before the trip and an additional 6 inches during our stay. On Saturday morning, Ski Enthusiast skied 8 runs of untouched power on and off piste on West Mountain before people migrated over around 10 AM. As we explored the mountain throughout the weekend, we were able to find a continuous supply of powder on all types of terrain. There were very few instances where we encountered a patch of ice or bare spot in the woods. Over all, the cover was excellent and the best I have seen all season. In times when natural snow is not plentiful, Bretton Woods has beefed up their snow making with 5 miles of new capability. The biggest secret to their pristine snow quality is their 200+ inches of annual snow fall, excellent grooming (ranked in the Top 10 in North America by Ski Magazine), excellent wind protection and limited crowds that prevent the mountain from being skied off. As a testament of their high quality snow, Bretton Woods enjoys the longest ski season in New Hampshire from early November to early May.
Ski instruction at Bretton Woods also keeps getting better through making personalized service a top priority. Two of the newest programs for this season are “Team Bode” and “Ski the Woods”. “Team Bode” is a recreational ski program for kids ages 6-12 and will improve their skiing skills and allow exploration of the mountain terrain. “Ski the Woods” is for ages 16 and up and pairs skiers with certified instructors for a fun program of skiing and learning that will improve skiing in the glades and throughout the mountain. Both programs run for 6 weeks (1/8-2/12 and 3/5-4/9) on Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon.
The base lodge at Bretton Woods has a definite rustic feel and warmth to it that makes it a wonderful place to rest, eat and enjoy friends and family between runs on the mountain. The ground floor features ample seating and convenient storage space for setting down gear and preparing for the slopes. Exposed wood beams and black steel tension rods add to the natural beauty of the lodge. The main cafeteria is located on the ground floor, with seating areas on both the first and second floors. A special treat for those who enjoy fireside dining is the large freestanding fireplace in the middle of the second floor. The fireplace is often a popular spot to set up gear to dry and defrost your hands while enjoying a casual meal. In addition to the cafeteria on the ground floor, the lodge includes two casual sit-down dining areas on the second floor. Large glass windows boast slope side views while you dine. Bretton Woods also features the Top o’ Quad restaurant that has a magnificent mountain-side view of the valley below as well as hearty meals. It is also a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the base lodge.
Set amidst the backdrop of Bretton Woods, Mt. Washington Place Townhomes is a cozy and spacious option for your next ski getaway. Each unit includes a full kitchen, open layout for the living and dining areas complete with a magnificent fireplace, washer and dryer, and a conveniently designed entry room where wet gear and clothing can be removed prior to entering the main living space. Ski Enthusiast’s unit had two bedrooms complete with their own full bath, with an additional half bath on the main floor. Ski Enthusiast found the bed extremely comfortable and was pleased to find that the unit was quiet during the evening hours. The unit was also extremely clean and well-maintained. An added convenience is that the Townhomes are located within an easy three minute drive of Bretton Woods. Rental of a Townhome also includes use of the Resort’s Sports Club (indoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, racquetball courts, exercise and weight rooms) and the Resort Shuttle. You may also want to consider purchasing the Passport which offers access to an array of complimentary and discounted amenities, activities, clinics, attractions and entertainment. Included are some photos of the unit Ski Enthusiast stayed in.
Photo courtesy of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods
The beauty of Bretton Woods is that there is simply too much to explore and fun activities to enjoy to only stay two days. Other than alpine skiing and riding, activities include Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, winter trail hiking, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, ice skating and snow tubing. In addition, it is highly recommended that you splurge on a classy evening at the Mount Washington Hotel for fine dining and wine complimented with live jazz music. After dinner, it is also recommended that you hit the Cave, a former speakeasy from the era of the Prohibition, for live musical entertainment, dancing and cocktails. For people looking for an alpine ski adventure, don’t miss the Mount Washington Cog Ski Train that will transport you up the mountain to ski a western sloped groomed trail (terrain is either easy or intermediate).
Overall, Ski Enthusiast found Bretton Woods to be a truly enjoyable experience. With outstanding skiing and a plethora of activities, Bretton Woods is a fabulous resort for your next ski vacation.