View Full Version : Article on Bretton Woods ski area in NY Times

Mohamed Ellozy
02-20-2011, 07:55 AM
In New Hampshire, Can Bretton Woods Get Gnarly? (http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/travel/20Bretton-Woods.html?src=dayp). Writer starts off with:
FOR years, the problem facing the Bretton Woods ski resort has been entirely its own making: It is too perfect. Perfectly groomed. Perfectly contoured with rough edges softened. Perfectly positioned, shielded from wind and blessed with sun and snow. Perfectly tranquil, neither hurried nor crowded.and after spending a weekend there concludes:
This is not to demean the downhill skiing at Bretton Woods. If anything, it is — to coin a phrase — perfect for the majority of family-oriented skiers. For the super-serious skiers and riders who want more consistent challenge, there are other resorts that would be a better choice.

But my family’s recent weekend is testament to how the Bretton Woods approach — call it active culture multitasking — can work even for the hard core among us. We won’t be abandoning our favorite mountains, but Bretton Woods has filled a gap in our understanding of what can make a great winter trip. We got out and enjoyed a variety of snow-related activities, and when we were done we sank into the charms of a grande dame of a hotel. It was a nice change of pace.I found it an interesting article, even though I am not a skier.

02-20-2011, 08:47 AM
Medicare Mountain- funny, but not really accurate, as the author admits.

The Mount Washington Hotel may be the coolest place in NH - a big chunk of Belle Epoque Newport, with a close-up view of George. We stayed there once, and not by choice, when a blizzard started around the same time as my daughter's ski race at BW. It turned out to be a wonderful experience, and at midnight, the howling drifts just outside one of the rear doors made me think of Jack Nicholson and The Shining, which I've heard S. Kubrick originally planned to film there.

The author should have noted that The Cave is hewn from solid granite. It was the vast wine cellar of the original Hotel - now a unique watering hole.

The late lamented Great Glen-Bretton Woods XC race had its post-race festivities in the Grand Ballroom, and they were a highlight of several winters.

02-20-2011, 08:48 AM
We put a lot of thought into our pass purchase last spring for Bretton this winter. What drove us was that "perfect". Even though it's a mellow place, not long runs, just a few steep headwalls, it's always good. Really. Rarely a wind hold, excellent grooming, a huge variety of tree skiing, some bump runs that are short but as gnarly as you'd like … but most importantly, as many hikers know, by gum the Crawford Notch area just gets snow, snow, and more snow.

Do I love Cannon? Absolutely. There are some fantastic challenges there and it's a hoot after a dump. Unfortunately, though, over half the time I'd like to ski there it's either a wind or ice misery. Same goes for Wildcat, which really shines in spring conditions.

When I want a real challenge, I travel (Jay Peak, Sugarloaf, etc.), but given the cost of skiing I think Bretton really shines as a place you can invest $$$ in and always have a good time. Those runs are a good way to get to be a better skier. As a friend of mine put it, "Nobody gets to be a better skier on do-or-die runs."

As to the rest of the resort, but they certainly seem to have a good thing going. On Christmas Eve we took a sunset horse-drawn sleigh ride then had a lovely dinner. That hotel is a wicked cool place, full of tons of history and like nothing I've ever visited elsewhere. Someday I'm sure we'll do a dogsled ride. Many years ago I went out on the nordic trails ... immaculate grooming, beautiful woods, and you all know that view of George. They're really focused on getting people outside, be it on sled, showshoes, or skis, and that's a good thing.

I think the article did a pretty good job of summing up the place.

ps - if you can ski midweek, they offer an inexpensive pass that combines Bretton & Cannon called "The Bold & the Beautiful." I so wish they'd offer this for weekends!

pps - last spring, I skied Bretton in shorts & t-shirt on a near-90° day. The snow was perfect corn, soft and sweet, no mashed potatoes. It doesn't get much better.

Fisher Cat
02-21-2011, 10:37 AM
Here comes my speech, and it is neither a condone or condemn angle. First, the article was well-written and I enjoyed it. Now for the rest: I worked many years at BW, in the summer we just drove over Cherry Mt Road, in the winter, the normal route. Chances are if you were born in the mid to late 70's, even early 80's, and your parents went to BW regularly and put you in Hobbits Ski Program-I was one of your instructors. If you were on the infantile BW Racing Team, most definitely so, and I was even trained to help the mentally disabled to ski-which was very enjoyable. In the summer, the chores were more menial-but hey-it was a job.

BW has ALWAYS been about family. When the plans were being made for mountain expansion (West Mt and Mt Rosebrook) a key componet was to make sure any skier of any ability, would eventually be forced downhill to the same area where parents (or anybody else looking for them) would find them easily. We helped scout and tag West Mt and Rosebrook a little too, with the same goal in mind. When Herb Woynton was GM of Ski Operations we even got a run down of how, as employees, we were to carry our skis through the Lodge so as not to injure any customers.

I fear no ski area in the NE (Quebec too), been to 'em all, and had a blast! I even took a day last week and humped it out over to Cannon on two-fer Tuesday and enjoyable windy, cold, excellent ski conditions, just like I remembered from growing up and racing. That is the mountain where I went to ski school and racing clinic. But some who had traveled with us didn't want to fearing its reputation. The point is, you can find what you want at BW, and you will get out what you put in. I guarantee you will be able to ski with any member of your family, regardless of age and ability, at any given time, and still find enough of a steep (be it short), a glade, and a cruiser to keep ya going when you bust out on your own. Many have called it an "ego-booster", "cruisers paradise", "Deer Valley of the East" and so on, but its grooming is certainly well above average, and my family enjoys it, and so do I after skiing since I was 4, I'm pretty sure most families do to.