Take a deep breath.
You’re not in heaven–it’s just New Hampshire.
“But where are all the people? People are great! They created JIF! Fast cars!”
Yes, but they also created lift lines. Fortunately there’s a nook in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that big crowds tend to avoid, where the snow stays good, the accommodations cozy, and the views breathtaking. That spot is Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area, and it should be on your list of resorts to ski before you die.
A Quick Overview
Bretton Woods sits in the little town of Carroll, whose population hovers around a cool 763. It is a focal point for summer recreation with easy access to the surrounding White Mountains, the Appalachian Trail that runs right through town, views of/a trip to the top of Mt. Washington, and a chance to check out a historical landmark at the Mount Washington Hotel. In the winter, though, thoughts start to shift to skiing (and staying at the Mount Washington Hotel).
A decent drive from anything resembling a city–three hours from Boston and two hours, give or take, from both Portland, ME and Burlington, VT–New Hampshire’s largest ski resort is a hideaway, like a bear deep in hibernation, from the craziness of our lives. Here, there’s just a low-brow ski culture, good snow, and memorable lodging that make this place one of our favorite resorts to hit in New England.
5 Time Winner of Ski Magazine’s Best Grooming in the East
So What About the Skiing?
If you’re looking for steeps and chutes to fuel your adrenaline needs, you won’t find it here, however, if you’re looking for no lift lines, good snow, and near-perfect grooming, welcome home.
For 5 years, Bretton Woods has claimed Ski Magazine’s top honor for grooming in the East. That, in conjunction with the knowledge that the runs don’t see too many people, is pretty handy information when you’re thinking about where to ski.
First, it means the obvious — you have a hefty dose of beautifully laid corduroy to carve turns on. Okay, powder gets the top honor for the cool kid in class, but carving turns is still that second best kid who graduates and gets a good job. Truly, once you get the hang of it, zipping across the slope with control at breakneck speed is some of the most fun you may ever have.
Second, good grooming sets the stage for a powder day. When trophy powder conditions off the Atlantic come rolling right along, fresh snow on top of a well-groomed run is like jelly on top of a beautiful piece of toast instead of flimsy bread smashed to smithereens by your little brother. It’s perfect. The snow is evenly distributed and you’re not surprised to find bumps lurking underneath a pristine untouched snow field.
Nothing says goodbye fun like a snap in the knee! Let’s avoid that.
So what about the snowfall? How does Bretton Woods stack up?
On average the mountain gets about 200″ of snow per year, which puts it up there for Eastern standards. This year is particularly good for the resort who is just under 100″ on the year so far. Their summit base is pushing 44″ and the weekend forecast is over there to the right. Wow.
Fortunately, since not so many skis track Bretton Woods’ slopes and it’s the largest resort in New Hampshire, the goods stay a little longer at Bretton Woods. But the story for all skiing in the East is the same–get it while the gettin’s good. Once your done you have to stay across the street. It’s a requirement. Here’s the cherry on top.
The Proverbial ‘Cherry on Top’–Spending the Night in a Red Roofed Cozy Masterpiece
Sure, you could grab an AirBnb in the area (not a ton to choose from, by the way), but would you be sleeping in the same building that the papers to establish the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were signed by 44 nations in 1944? Doubtful. Also did your AirBnB standardize the price of gold at $35/oz and make the US Dollar the benchmark for all international commerce? Woof. So why not just take the high road and stay in the iconic Mount Washington Hotel that is listed under the National Register of Historic Places?
If you can swing it, it’s worth the visit. Just think, you could sleep in San Diego’s Hotel Coronado in the mountains! The fireplace in the lobby and the views out the back alone might change your life.