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December 19. 2013 6:28PM

Skiing and snowboarding are the tip of the resort iceberg at Bretton Woods


A snowmaker at Bretton Woods tests the goods in his first run of the season. (Mark Butterfield/Courtesy)

Bretton Woods spun its chairlift for the first time in 1973. Today, for its 40th anniversary celebration, the venue has completed a $2.25 million investment in improvements for adventure both on and off the slopes.

Improvements included 60 new high-efficiency snow guns and system upgrades which improved snowmaking abilities by more than 50 percent.

"With the new high-efficiency snow guns we can make more snow faster but with less energy and less compressed air so it's a win-win for skiing and the environment," said Stephen Nichipor, programs director of Bretton Woods.

Many of the new guns are in the area of the Bens, specifically Big Ben Trail, which was once an all-natural trail. Improvements allow Bretton Woods to open earlier: This year's first runs were in early November; the trails are fully open today.

The Nordic ski trails have been expanded and, new this year, Bretton Woods will offer lift service to high-country Nordic terrain starting from the Mount Stickney Cabin. The trails are accessible from the T-bar or by skiing up Mountain Road, and include miles of trails that circle along the ridge of Mount Stickney near the summit and connect with the Stickney trail system. Nordic skiers can warm up in the cabin or enjoy the stunning vistas. The advantage of high-country Nordic skiing is colder temperatures and higher snowfall which extend the season.

Another new feature is the indoor Slopeside Climbing Wall located in the lodge. The 624-square-foot indoor rock-climbing wall has a 30-foot ascent on includes a variety of routes on modular hand holds and artificial rock. Closer to the ground there is the 300-square-foot bouldering cave and climbing wall. Both walls are supervised by trained staff.

Improvements have also been made at the year-round Canopy Tour zip Lines. Four lines have been extended, adding 1,000 feet of high-flying adventure above the trees.

"What sets Bretton apart from other mountains is the variety. It has a lot of great wide open easy well-groomed trails that Bretton is known for but we added a lot in terms of glade skiing.... The improved Stickney Glades took that up a level, plus the new Stickney Cabin and we opened up a lot of the steeper terrain as well," said Nichipor.

Bretton Woods sits in just the right spot to gather up higher snow totals for winter adventure. They have 101 trails with the largest skiable acreage in New Hampshire with 464 acres.

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Email Kathleen Humphreys at kmbh@tds.net.


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