GOOD PLACE TO PLAY - ELEGANT PLACE TO STAY
by Paul Maraschiello

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I decided to drive up to Bretton Woods, near Mount Washington, N.H. The ride that took me all the way up Rt. 95 to Rt. 91, just outside of NYC and then to within 50 miles of the Canadian border in Vermont where I picked up Rt. 93 and headed southeast into New Hampshire, picking up Rt. 302 that took me right to the ski area. It was a 12-hour drive but it was really worth it.



Bretton Woods in the largest ski area in New Hampshire. They have 411 skiable acres with 88 trails, nine lifts and a 1,500 vertical. They have night skiing with four trails and two lifts that are open Friday, Saturday and holiday evenings. The entire mountain is open to snowboarding with a 500-foot halfpipe and terrain park that are open for snowboarding and skiing.



Bretton Woods has a lot to offer. The views of Mt. Washington are spectacular. Most of the trails are great for beginner to intermediate skiers with the more advanced terrain located to the left and right of the main slopes. I skied all the trails at this fun mountain and had a really good time.



They are in the process of developing more trails and when they get finished, there will be even more skiable terrain. The most challenging trails at Bretton Woods are through the trees and they are a lot of fun. I skied bumps and dodged trees on soft snow in the woods of the Rosebrook Canyon Glades. Enchanted Bear was the longest treed run I tried. Inferno was another set of bumps in the trees that was very challenging and loads of fun.



Bretton Woods has received awards for its grooming and I found that there were plenty of groomed slopes for cruising. Two Miles Home si the longest trail there and I took a number of runs down that trail at high speed. I took run down every trail at Bretton Woods and had a very enjoyable weekend there.



ACCOMMODATIONS

I stayed in a nice room at the Mt. Washington Hotel and it was grand. This large hotel was built at the turn of the century and is a fine example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. It reminded me of scenes from the Great Gatsby. Throughout its history, the Hotel has been renowned for natural beauty and luxurious extras that include indoor pools, a health spa, jacuzzi and fireplaces among just a few of the indoor amenities comforting year round guests.



Every morning there was a sumptuous breakfast buffet that features assorted cereals, fruit, various pastries, eggs, bacon, sausage, breads, bagels, and an omelet bar where omelets of your choice are prepared before your eyes. It was a really fancy spread.



At dinner, men are required to wear jackets and there was a orchestra playing in the background. You are fussed over by an entire staff of waiters and will receive excellent service when they serve you dinner. I had the broiled lobster tail and it was very good. My room was large and also very nice.



BACK ON THE SLOPES

I found a short bump run under the chair that challenged my ability on West Mountain. They claim 16 expert trails on West Mountain, along with seven intermediate trails and four novice slopes. All the tough trails are in the woods and all the other groomed trails aren't too steep and most intermediate skiers should have no trouble skiing them, unless they get bumped up and icy. Bretton Woods has received a number of awards for their grooming. They had good snow when I was there and I would expect that they keep their slopes in really fine shape.



I found that I spent my time equally divided between the three main areas at Bretton Woods. The Zephyr Chair moved right along and accessed some really nice cruisers like Herb's Secret, Coos Caper and Granny's Grit. The Fabyan's Express triple chair allowed you to ski Upper Express that had a few nice bumps and expert trails: Stinger, Black Fly and Old Man. To get to the very top of the mountain, you have to ride the Mount Rosebrook Summit Express. From the summit you can ski Panorama over to Two Miles Home that lets you access the best glade skiing on the mountain. They just cut a number of new trails there and have not installed snowmaking on them yet but they look promising. Bode's run had some really nice bumps on top and was short and sweet. McIntire's Run had thin cover, so I gave it a pass.



All in all, Bretton Woods is a really nice ski area. It has something to offer all levels of skiers except the hard-core expert who is looking for really steep slopes. The beginner and intermediate skier will be delighted at all the choices at Bretton Woods. Expert skiers who like skiing between the trees will also have a lot of fun at Bretton Woods. I am not really found of skiing steep terrain between tightly packed trees but I found myself doing that at Bretton Woods.



One of the best things about skiing at Bretton Woods is staying at the Mount Washington Hotel. This is a grand old hotel for people who are looking for really opulent accommodations. Packages at the Mt. Washington Hotel begin at $205 and include dinner nightly, full breakfast daily and other amenities.



For ski bums on a budget, there are other less expensive accommodations that offer great deals. I rode up the chair lift with a couple of girls that were staying across the road from Mt. Washington Hotel at the Lodge at Bretton Woods. Five of them were sharing a large room and their accommodations came with free lift tickets. They said that their total cost was only $60 per day. This sounded like a really great deal to me.



There are other places to stay a little further from the ski area and I am sure that you can find some really affordable places just a short ride away from this ski area.

In addition to downhill skiing, there is a complete nordic ski center at Bretton Woods with over 100 kilometers of groomed trails for X-country skiing, plus snowshoeing. This is the kind of resort where you can have a good time, even if you don't ski. It is a great place to go and pamper yourself for a weekend. With all the activities that are available at Bretton Woods everybody is guaranteed to have a good time, even hard-core ski bums.



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