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Bretton Woods or Stratton for young kids

erinlhoward

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Hi all - posting my first question for the forum. My husband and I are looking to do a season pass at either of these mountains next year. We have 2 young daughters that we have started to ski with this year, and they love it. I have skied (years ago) at Stratton but never at Bretton Woods. I have read a lot of reviews about both, and they seem very similar in many ways. Long term, we are hoping to buy a condo near one of these mountains if all goes well next year. My husband is an expert skier but at this stage in his life he is fine skiing mostly blues/greens with our daughters in the am, and in the afternoons I usually take the girls while he can get in some more challenging runs. We live in southern NH so are approx 2 hours from either mtn. Any input is appreciated. Thank you!
 

LonghornSkier

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I think it depends what you're looking for...

Stratton Pros:

-Bigger mountain, more terrain variety, including some good tree skiing for your husband.
-More "community" at the hill if you want to have "ski condo" friends.
-Better race/freestyle programs if that's something you'd want to get your kids involved with.

Stratton Cons:

-More crowded.
-More of a NY/NJ/CT crowd than a MA/NH crowd.
-Views aren't as good

Bretton Woods Pros:

-Less Crowded
-More four-season appeal (IMO)
-Better scenery

Bretton Woods Cons:

-Kind of a boring mountain for your husband and for when your kids get older.
-More of a MA/NH crowd (if you want to get away from those types).
 

NY DirtBag

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If you are planning to do the weekend warrior thing with the kids I wouldn't go with Stratton. It is a calamity of a clusterfuckity shitshow most saturdays.

I just can't see having an enjoyable time there on a regular basis if you were weekend only/holiday types. On the plus side, their seasons pass is the beloved by many / hated by some IKON pass which would allow you to visit many other areas around VT,ME,NH and out west.

I think Bretton Woods is usually less crowded or just handles the crowds better.

Also, if you are going to go to a larger mountain, all of them will have enough beginner terrain for the kids but most others will have much better terrain for the adults. And don't shortchange your youngsters - in a couple years they will want better terrain as well. .
 
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bizarrefaith

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As others have said, Stratton has (slightly) more vertical, more trails, and typically a longer season. It also has brutal crowds on weekends and holidays.
They are probably about equivalent on price but honestly not sure there - I'd consider them both on the more upscale side.

Any reason you are considering these two in particular?
 

Dickc

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Cannon is not that far from Bretton woods, and Cannon has good deals on NH resident passes. Perhaps a Bretton woods pass AND a Cannon pass?
 

djd66

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If you are unsure about either MTN, I would look into getting either an Epic or Ikon pass and check out all the areas available on either pass. You may find another area besides BW and Stratton that you really like. Would be a shame to invest in a condo and decide after a year or 2 -they are not really what you envisioned.
 

Smellytele

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Someone mentioned Stratton having a longer season but BW is usually the first Mtn to open in NH. Also being further north BW stays colder and tends not to get as many rain events. With the addition of the stickney t-bar the expert terrain has gotten better at BW. A condo at BW as others have said gives you access to Cannon as well. Even a short trip to Attitash and Wildcat. Stratton you can get to magic and Bromley quickly and Mount Snow.
 

dblskifanatic

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IMO - both are good! Stratton % wise has more greens and blues. Not sure what the level of skiing your kids are at but many of the Bretton Woods black trails are not that challenging. While Stratton does have more acreage Bretton Woods has enough skiable terrain. So Bretton Woods is colder so snow preservation is good there for the most part. Bromely is good for kids. Magic has terrain that will work, Mount Snow is probably one of the best options. Low percentage green but high percentage blue and a really cool park. Cannon can get icy and has some tricky blues like Vista Way (can be bumped up) and Upper Cannon which can get scraped off on the turns. Wildcat and Attitash offer more terrain when things are open but does not sound great right now. Ability is the question.

Acreage wise the south wins. Crowd wise maybe better north. Not a decision but some thoughts!
 

cdskier

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Out of curiosity, what made you narrow down your choices to these 2 mountains? You don't seem to have much history/attachment with either, so I'm interested in what led you to pick these two out of all the possible choices. Also curious where you currently have been skiing. That could help us give feedback as well.
 

deadheadskier

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Of consideration should be other mountains outside of BW and Stratton that you might enjoy as well. Both are on group passes.

If you just see yourself primarily skiing in New England with mainly day trips, I'd say Bretton Woods is the better option with Cannon, Waterville and Cranmore on the Superpass.

Stratton has more mountains to choose from on the Ikon pass, but all except for Killington wouldn't be very convenient to a condo there. They also offer Western Mountains. BW does not.

Personally, as also a Southern NH resident, I couldn't ever see myself making a major Southern VT resort my home mountain. Just way too crowded for my tastes even though they are quite large and well capitalized. In addition to the crowds, the drive (roads) over to Southern VT are a major PITA. BW is an easy drive up 93
 

RISkier

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I'm much more familiar with BW. If possible I'd suggest trying to visit both a time or two and see which best suits you. IMO, BW is excellent for beginners, early intermediates, and folks who just want nice cruising. Green trails from pretty much every lift. Numerous fairly long greens that offer fa line skiing (i.e., they are not just cat tracks), and many of the blues could be marked blue/green. There's very little sustained steep terrain on any of the trails. Lovely views of Mt Washington. Not as stunning as the views of Mt Washington from the top of Wildcat, but lovely. I started skiing just before my 50th birthday and early on I loved BW because I felt I could kind of go all over the mountain instead of limiting myself to a few runs off a specific lift or two. Also doesn't seem as out of control busy on busy days. And I've always found you can largely get away from crowds. There's not a lot of nearby options off slope. You can head over to North Conway, or go West to Bethlehem. Probably not the best place for strong skiers looking for real challenge. I've only been to Stratton once and don't feel I could give it a fair evaluation. I'd only say that our perception was that it had a very different vibe than BW.
 

ss20

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That's awesome! No matter what you choose it will become your winter home and you will love it. Do it sooner than later before your girls grow up!!! I have parents drive 1-2 hours each way to ski the 350 vertical feet of Thunder Ridge and they've been coming here with kids for 4...5...6+ years. It does not matter what mountain you pick. Just stick with it, become a member of your mountain community, and you'll be having the time of your life.

If skiing was all that mattered....location/cost/passes/lodging all irrelevant... Stratton is a better mountain.
 
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