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Bretton Woods Mountain Resort 12/17/2012

Solitude67

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Date(s) Skied: 12/17/2012

Resort or Ski Area:
Bretton Woods Mountain Resort

Conditions:
27F LSGR Packed Powder 4-6" Of Fresh Powder on top of MM.

Trip Report:
Got to Bretton Woods around 10:00AM due to road conditions from North Conway which got 8" of fresh powder overnight.

Snow started to fall on my drive up Route 16 from the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth starting at around 5PM the night before. Tip: Do not use Google Maps Navigation just follow Route 16 straight up or you will get to visit scenic narrow route 153 in a blinding snowstorm. As to Route 302 light misty snow but roads were not well plowed. Understand NHDOT has consolidated many of its garages and its obvious as once you hit Crawford Notch the road is clean.

Bretton Woods on a Monday was virtually private as there were less than 100 cars in the parking lot and while a lot of the skiers come in by shuttle buses from the Mount Washington Resort and its surrounding condos and there are a lot including some new construction slopeside. No ticket lines.

While $59 pre-season is steep, their snowmaking conditions make it worthwhile. Omni Resorts runs the area and it shows.
Bathrooms are spotless with an actual roving attendant.
:idea:Tip: They have a 2 for $70 deal on Wednesdays making that the day to be here if weather permits. Three Lifts were open. Only two of which matter as the third is the learning area
quad.
Bethlehem Express High Speed Quad a fast ride up to Latitude 44 Lodge :)idea:Tip: Tuckermans On Tap:beer:). Great food. Chicken Sandwich with Swiss, Grilled Apple, Bacon and Mushrooms on a crispy bread with homemade potato chips.

First run of the day is Cascade in front of the lodge deck which leads you down a solid fall line trail to the Rosebrook High Speed Quad to the Summit of an area that will soon on natural snow open to the Rosebrook Canyon Glades which is an entire new area of 11 Glades coming down to the new Mount Stickney Glades and the new T-Bar lift. This area will breathe life into Bretton Woods topping 100 trails and while not the steepest in the East is a great mountain. This area expansion is supposedly the start of more and from the maps appears to be a brilliant move on the part of Omni Resorts.


From the Summit, headed down High Ridge to Upper Swoop which takes you right back down to the Summit Lift. Swoop skiied well and kept hoping the ropes would come down on Bode's Run as it had several huge snow mounds that appear to be piles of marshmallows from the lift.

Decided not to wait and traversed over on Outerbounds to Avalon which was the best fall line and while not steep trail of the day. Conditions were not heavy slow crud but light powder on a machine base. It might have been that I decided to ski my new Salomon Enduro LX 800 which I highly recommend if you are looking for limited Rocker for East Coast Skiing. Its not the fastest ski I have owned that would be the Fischer Red Heat RX but its wide, light and cruise control on short turns. For an all mountain intermediate ski, I've never skied as versatile of a set of boards zero chatter, light and stable.

While after 1 day of skiing I may need PTex as I finally got the opportunity to ski on Bode's Run as they dropped ropes at around 11:30AM. Great general conditions on the snow but misty and windy all day with most of the day as generally dry ice crystals coming down but by 1:30PM it started to mist and that's when I started to see icing up on some of the front side trails Bretton's Woods skiied well up until around 2:00PM when I realized first day I probably shouldn't kill myself pre-hot tub and Jets game. Ugly 3-7 game right now. Shame we have such a bad QB, Coach, GM, etc...

:idea::spread::spread:If you are going to ski Bretton Woods this week don't miss skiing on Sawyers's Swoop which was the trail of the day.


I would avoid Bretton on Tuesday as the weather forecast is wet and they have already updated their site to show that the Summit Trails off the Rosebrook Quad will be closed on Tuesday likely in anticipation of whats coming.:cry::cry::cry::cry:


Tuesday is going to be the decider for the rest of the week for all of the Mount Washington Valley from Loon which I hear has great open terrain to Cranmore which opened a good portion of trails today to Ragged, Wildcat, Attitash and Cannon which I'm told is not in great shape.

If you are in a must ski situation, Sunday River Ski appears to be the place that got the most at 9+ Inches pre opening today and had over 50+ trails open. My issue was the roads to Newry go over Mount Washington by Wildcat and it was hairy enough:smash: getting to Bretton Woods from North Conway. I almost got off and skiied Attitash but decided to continue on the Bretton.
 

thetrailboss

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Nice report. Route 302 is a major east-west route, and NHDOT usually is on top of it. I grew up in the NEK and we drove that road to get to North Conway a few times each winter.

Good choice on BW over Attitash. In terms of snow, there is a noticeable difference with BW usually getting much more than Attitash even though they aren't that far apart. The mountains wring out the snow on the BW side. Heck, most of the time BW has a lot of snow on the ground and by the time you get to Bartlett it is bare.

Where are they thinking of expanding the ski area next?
 

Solitude67

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What they did was open up the Rosebrook Canyon Glades off Panorama and then Two Miles home opens into the Mount Stickney Glades and there is talk from one of the Operations Guys I met that they are discussing more on Mount Stickney between the summit and the fire-tower on Mount Rosebrook. As to NHDOT, I heard they closed down a few facilities due to costs and have consolidated all of those operators out of the location closer to Bretton Woods. It was an ugly 30 mph drive up from 16/302 to the Crawford Notch and from the notch on the road was clear.

Ironically with this storm it dumped more in North Conway than Bretton Woods. North Conway got 8", Bretton got 4" and Sunday got 9". I'm seeing that Rangeley lakes near Saddleback is going to get snow snow snow..... If you can get up there, its where to be this week.

Jets have 3 minutes left for the season. I'm praying for a miracle here...Snow and a New Quarterback...
 

thetrailboss

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NHDOT has a garage in Twin Mountain right across from the NHSP Barracks. It's a pretty big one and, now that I think of it, I don' recall seeing one between there and North Conway.

The previous owners planned on expanding to Rosebrook as you described, so it sounds like that's still the plan. The previous folks ran out of money, ambition, or both.

And yeah, completely ironic and Murphy's Law that this was one of the few times when BW gets less snow than North Conway! :lol:
 
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Cornhead

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Jets have 3 minutes left for the season. I'm praying for a miracle here...Snow and a New Quarterback...
Fumbled the snap with a chance to win the game, did you expect anything different? 43 years of suffering and counting, fun being a Jets fan, ain't it?

Sounds like you had fun at BW. Never skied there, I'll be in NH to ski Cannon this year, maybe I'll check them out.
 

Edd

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And yeah, completely ironic and Murphy's Law that this was one of the few times when BW gets less snow than North Conway! :lol:

Yeah I screwed myself yesterday by committing to BW. After getting there I got caught in a circumstance making it difficult to leave. I texted friends who were running late and warned them away because the valley got twice what BW got. My friends said Attitash was epic yesterday, or at least what passes for epic these days.

I'm fond of BW but I would rate their snowmaking as underpowered at best. In a typical season they get more natural than most and hold onto it due to shallow pitch and wind resistance. A year like we've had so far separates the men from the boys in terms of snowmaking. If you ski BW and Sunday River back to back right now you will be blown away at the contrast of conditions and open terrain.
 

thetrailboss

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I'm fond of BW but I would rate their snowmaking as underpowered at best. In a typical season they get more natural than most and hold onto it due to shallow pitch and wind resistance. A year like we've had so far separates the men from the boys in terms of snowmaking. If you ski BW and Sunday River back to back right now you will be blown away at the contrast of conditions and open terrain.

That's interesting because before Omni the ownership/management really made a push to extend the season on both ends and seemed to have its act together with snowmaking. Do they just not have the will to make as much snow or is their infrastructure now lacking?
 

Edd

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That's interesting because before Omni the ownership/management really made a push to extend the season on both ends and seemed to have its act together with snowmaking. Do they just not have the will to make as much snow or is their infrastructure now lacking?

No idea and perhaps comparing them to SR is unfair but it was last year that I started noticing it, for obvious reasons. I actually did ski them back to back a week or two ago and was shocked. Since then I've been watching their expansion rates and BW just looks weak, and they have a significant base elevation advantage over SR.
 

thetrailboss

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No idea and perhaps comparing them to SR is unfair but it was last year that I started noticing it, for obvious reasons. I actually did ski them back to back a week or two ago and was shocked. Since then I've been watching their expansion rates and BW just looks weak, and they have a significant base elevation advantage over SR.

I have no idea as to what BW has for infrastructure...in terms of pumping capacity and compressors. I don't know if they use rental compressors or not. If so, it may be that they just don't rent as many as before. But it's anyone's guess until someone who knows can tell us.
 

deadheadskier

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I think the hotel is actually the problem. Hotel companies can be brutal at times in terms of trying to reduce costs.
 

deadheadskier

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I hear what you are saying, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised if over half the guests they get don't ski at all. Lots of people go to Grand Historic Hotels like the MWH for the history, food, spas and to just be pampered. Skiing is kind of secondary.
 

thetrailboss

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I think the hotel is actually the problem. Hotel companies can be brutal at times in terms of trying to reduce costs.

+ 1 big time. This is what I've noticed since Omni bought the whole resort. More on the hotel, less on the skiing. The marketing has been cut back, as has the skiing experience.

The Presby regime really invested a TON of money into the ski area and really marketed it. They also owned the hotel, but the focus on the skiing was much larger. In hindsight though it was probably to make the WHOLE package much more attractive to a big company like Omni.

When I skied there in April 2011 the place was DEAD and had tons of snow. I was there the last Friday they were open and they pretty much ran the Bethlehem and Rosebrook HSQ's. That was it. No West Mountain, no Zephyr. It was spooky. The lodge was pretty much dark too. No special deals either. Back in the day they'd be trying to bring people in even in April after others closed. Not so much anymore.
 

abc

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I hear what you are saying, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised if over half the guests they get don't ski at all. Lots of people go to Grand Historic Hotels like the MWH for the history, food, spas and to just be pampered. Skiing is kind of secondary.
I doubt it.

MWH is in the middle of freaking nowhere. So if you're not a hiker/skier, you would never heard of the hotel! Most who come to stay at the hotel are there to ski or hike (snowshoe more likely).

I would agree perhaps only 1/2 of the hotel guest downhill ski at Bretton Woods. The other half are probably mostly x-c skiers, plus some snowshoes and the really really hardcore: winter hikers!

The problme with Omni is not necessarily how many hotel guest skis. I suspect it has to do with OMNI being a hotel company not a ski area operator. They don't have enough understanding how feckle the weather is and how it affects the hill and how it affects skiers, aka their hotel guest. How much to blow snow and what return the cost of snowmaking will bring in terms of hotel booking, they probably are still figuring it out. Wouldn't surprise me they might spin out the ski resorts operation instead of keeping it...
 

Edd

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The problme with Omni is not necessarily how many hotel guest skis. I suspect it has to do with OMNI being a hotel company not a ski area operator. They don't have enough understanding how feckle the weather is and how it affects the hill and how it affects skiers, aka their hotel guest. How much to blow snow and what return the cost of snowmaking will bring in terms of hotel booking, they probably are still figuring it out. Wouldn't surprise me they might spin out the ski resorts operation instead of keeping it...

I've often thought this. I don't blame them because their natural snowfall usually gets them by but if the current trend continues there will be some kind of change.
 

deadheadskier

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I definitely agree with most everything you say regarding guests interested in other outdoor activities and we're obviously in agreement on Omni's experience with hotels vs running a ski area.

I'll further explain the point you disagree with me on regarding the clientele though. Hotels in NH like the Mount Washington, Mountain View Grand, the Wentworth by the Sea; in New York the Sagamore on Lake George; in Vermont, the Woodstock Inn or the Equinox......the classic Four Star properties of our region for the past 100 years or more. First and Foremost the number one reason people stay in these properties is for a special occasion; usually a romantic one.

That opinion comes from being someone who has worked extensively in such properties. Anniversaries, Birthdays, Romantic Getaways; that's primarily what people who stay at places like the Mount Washing Hotel are there to do. Given the cost of staying in such a place, for most people it's typically a long planned investment and something to look forward to whether the skiing will be good or not. Crappy skiing doesn't cancel an Anniversary or a Birthday.

If your not a couple on a romantic visit, you're an affluent busy professional who probably works 60+ hours a week and will also go to such hotel even if the skiing sucks or beach weather sucks because you've got maybe one free weekend a month to do something nice with your family and can afford the service a place like the Mount Washington provides.

Just my observation being employed in such places.
 

Solitude67

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BW is doing some impressive things in terms of growth. Without the steeps, its glade skiing that will help especially with a trail count of 100+ that makes it a great call if you ski the Valley. Its well thought out in terms of the lift system with High Speed Quads for most runs.

Now I'm making a decision now whether or not to do the 1 & 1/2 hour drive from North Conway to Newry, Maine to ski Sunday River

Sunday River 58 open with a few ungroomed open and likely after they groom tonight will see them drop ropes on a few more for $69.00

Wildcat (Got 24+ Inches / Attitash (Got 11+) combo: Tickets are good at both mountains all season and they're $49.00 early season

I'm not game to doing the 2 and 1/2 hour drive to Saddleback or the Loaf on this trip (maybe later season but word is that the loaf picked up 2 & 1/2 feet at the Summit with 100+ open.

Whichever one I don't make it to tomorrow will be Friday's choice. :snow:
 
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