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Bretton Woods, NH - December 15, 2017


Paul

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IMG_2168.thumb.JPG.796f6bf0bd9563c8e3aced356e58ba34.JPGFriday morning started pretty early, and pretty chilly. I left Sherbrooke at a little after 6 in the morning with a chilly -20 degrees and clear skies. Destination today was Bretton Woods, NH where I had been a couple of times before but during very early season last year and closed out their season the year before that. With the border crossing, the voyage was just a touch over 2 hours. I arrived at the mountain at 8:30. The parking lot was pretty empty to start so it was great to be able to park up front close to the chalet. It was starting to fill up afterwards once I got ready to go pick up my lift ticket. No line up at the desk and was nice and quick. Plenty of time to wind down from the drive and to take time to get ready to go as the lifts opened at 9. The temperature on arrival was -18 and thankfully no wind. Today was the last day of early season rates and now it's game on for regular rates from here.

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The first ride was up the Bethlehem Quad that gets you 3/4 of the way to the summit. There was no line up for the first rides up. The conditions were the best I have skied in a very long time, anywhere! They received 12 to 14 inches of white gold earlier in the week and there was plenty left over on Friday. There were 32 trails of 62 opened on machine groomed powder with a man made base that you were far from scratching, along with 4 glades for your skiing pleasure. 4 of 10 lifts spinning. 

The first warm up run was down the Bigger Ben that runs into Big Ben and lower down Ben, and back down to the bottom of the Quad. The next few runs were on the Bretton's Wood and another on the Ben trails. 

The Bigger Ben:

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Big Ben and Fabyan's Triple Chair to the right.

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The Bretton's Wood:

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After a few runs I headed over to the Rosebrook Summit Quad that brings you to the top of the world! The views from there are just breathtaking. The views from anywhere are just stunning. The Rosebrook section offered up the Zealand, a single black diamond run that is under the Quad, accessible from the High Ridge trail. The Upper Swoop brings you back to the Bethlehem Quad with the Cascade as your access back to the bottom of the Rosebrook Quad. The conditions over here were fantastic as well. 

The High Ridge:

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The Zealand:

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From there it was over to the Zephyr Quad via the Outer Bounds, the top of the Fabyan's Triple to the Range View Trail where more great skiing would be found. The Range View is a nice Green cruiser from top to bottom and there was some leftover tracked powder on Archie's Alley, No Regrets, and the Fabyan's Express trails. These were not groomed but skied. You had to pay attention to natural obstacles and bumps, but mostly the coverage was nice..............and deep.

The Range View and Zephyr Quad:

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Archie's Alley with some nice loose powder that had been tracked by others before me. I am not used to skiing loose stuff this early in the season as I am still on my early season legs!

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No Regrets with some more loose stuff:

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Fabyan's Express:

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I must say for mid-December, the skiing today was of mid winter quality! I don't think I have had skied conditions this awesome, this early. This was the best day so far, and I think I am going to have a hard time to beat what I found today. After 15 runs I stopped for the day at 1 pm and had to pack up and make my way back home in time to pick up the kids from school. Here are a couple of more scenes from the day.

Mount Washington with the Mount Washington Hotel in the bottom left of the scene:

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Wow the mountain looks amazing. It is definitely a place I will add to my list to visit. I love the view from the summit. Do the mountain ranges in the distance have any ski mountains?  

The conditions look impeccable too. You have definitely peaked my interest!!!

If I wanted to stay over, are there other ski areas nearby worth visiting, or an area you would recommend to sleep if not at the mountain itself?

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Further down Route 302 you will find Attitash Mountain Resort. On the other side of that range you will find Wildcat and Black Mountain on Route 16. You can stay at Bretton Woods on site. There are smaller places to stay but if you are looking for name hotels, Littleton or North Conway would be the place to go.  Cannon is not that far either. As Skiminion mentioned, If you are in the mood for backcountry skiing/hiking, Tuckerman Ravine is a popular place.

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Looks beautiful, Paul! The snow looks amazing for any point during the season, let alone in mid-December. You're so lucky to live close to all these mountains in New England, and that you're able to easily make day trips. 

I skied at Bretton Woods once about 10 years ago, and I remember being less than impressed. I was staying at Attitash and had been skiing mostly there, and this was a day trip to shake things up a bit. I remember it being very busy and feeling too commercial. The snow conditions weren't great either, as the region was lacking natural snow that year. Perhaps it's time to give it another try sometime. 

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For sure I am lucky to be located in an area to be close enough to do that. I don't mind driving a couple of hours to get there. Does make for some early mornings though. I do have a few Quebec areas that I would like to get to this year that are roughly about the same distance and time driving that I have not been to and that would be a great addition to our guide. Hoping for a ton of snow this year.

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