As far as I know (and the sign out front says), Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area at 102 trails. But there’s being a huge ski area, then there’s being an awesome ski area, and then there is being both. Wondering where Bretton Woods falls in all of that? Read on… after a summit video intro (and yes, I am a nerd in a real life who hates being in front of the camera).
Location: Bretton Woods is a solid 2 hour drive from Manchester, New Hampshire, but a fairly easy one in cooperative weather. You’ll be heading straight up 93 North for just about the entire journey, which includes going through Franconia Notch. Just keep in mind that the Notch has it’s own weather ideas. It might be sunny in Plymouth, but snowing by the time you see Cannon!
As for gas, restaurants, etc., you’ll be headed past Concord early on in the trip, followed by Tilton, and then Plymouth. Lincoln (same exit as Loon) is pretty much the last stop right off the highway for gas and food until you get closer to Bretton Woods.
Parking: Parking is quite simple here. There’s a few lots all within view of the main lodge. Just find a spot, park, and head to the lodge.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: Bretton Woods seems to have some pretty great staff working for them. Everyone seems polite, courteous, and willing to help when questions arise, so thanks!
Price: I don’t get to say this much, but Bretton Woods lift ticket rates are actually lower than other mountains of similar size and quality. Yes, lower. To sweeten the lower ticket prices, they offer mid-week rates, two-fer Wednesdays, and some ski shops sell discounted tickets.
Lodge: I must admit Bretton Woods has a pretty cool base lodge. It just kind of feels like it goes on and on and on – in a good way. There’s just a lot to it, including an indoor climbing wall (really). Be sure to explore!
Lifts: On the day my brother (yep, had company for another day!) and I visited, we used 4 of Bretton Woods lifts. All were in awesome condition with short lift lines, and very attentive and friendly lift operators.
Trails: Bretton Woods has some fun trails, and I say that with a smirk. My brother and I tend to be daredevilish morons around each other, so any hesitation I ever harbor is thrown to the wind when boarding with him. We tend to play this “follow the leader” game. I think our picks of the day would be Two Miles Home (as a warm up), followed by Little Tuckerman and Wild West (glades).
Bretton Woods is one of those places that I’d recommend having a map on you for the end of the day, but for the most part – ignore it. Just decide on a direction and go. The place is huge and deserves to be explored as much as possible. I can’t wait to go back and check out more of the glades.
Anything Else?: A lot of ski areas are expanding to include other activities in their portfolio of things to do when visiting, but Bretton Woods has quite possibly the coolest canopy tour I’ve ever seen. The fact that you get to do it during winter makes it even better. Check it out!
After countless runs, my brother and I had worked up a serious appetite. So, it was time for him to make fun of me again for making faces while reviewing chicken tenders.
I decided to go with chicken tenders from Lucy Crawford’s Food Court, which is in the base lodge. For $7.25, I got 4 medium tenders. I really did want the fries, but not for another $5.25! The chicken was tasty with a nice crunchy coating, but I think it was a little overcooked and therefore just too chewy for my liking. Maybe better luck next visit?
Final Score: 3.50 out of 5 Tenders