Bretton Woods to add gondola, eateryBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
December 17. 2017 8:43PM
CARROLL — With the goal of making what is the state’s largest ski area even better, Bretton Woods has announced plans to add a gondola and a new restaurant.
Part of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods is located on Route 302, a short distance west of the hotel.
Craig Clemmer, the resort’s director of sales and marketing, said Friday in a statement that the resort was “pleased to confirm that work has commenced on an exciting enhancement to our B-Chair Double Chair Lift and the Latitude 44 restaurant.”
Clemmer said Bretton Woods will replace the existing lift with a “state-of-the-art eight passenger gondola, which will run year-round, as well as a 10,000-square-foot mountain-side restaurant. Both will offer unprecedented alpine views of the highest mountain range in the northeast.”
The project represents what Clemmer called a “major investment in the Bretton Woods ski area,” adding that details will be shared in an official announcement in 2018, in advance of the gondola going into service during the 2018-19 season and of the restaurant’s opening in summer 2019.
Clemmer said Friday the project is not intended to add lift capacity, but to make Bretton Woods a premier wedding/gathering venue.
He said the resort’s executives recently approved the project and, according to published reports, it was presented conceptually on Dec. 13 to the Bethlehem Planning Board. Although the base of the resort is in the village of Bretton Woods in the Town of Carroll, the resort extends into Bethlehem.
Chris Ellms, the resort’s director of ski operations, told the Bethlehem Planning Board that the project would cost $15 million.
Jessyca Keeler, executive director of SKI NH, an industry group that represents 34 alpine and cross-country resorts in the Granite State, said the announcement by Bretton Woods was a good thing for the resorts as well as the regional economy.
The fact that Bretton Woods is undertaking the venture, she said, speaks well about the health of the ski industry.
“Conferences and weddings have become bigger and bigger aspects of ski areas, and we should call them ‘resorts’ because they’re so much more than a ski area.”
By adding the gondola and new restaurant, Bretton Woods will be able to “do more on their property, and it allows them to attract new customers and a broader customer base,” said Keeler. With more customers, Bretton Woods can hire more, year-round employees, which is important to the region’s economic vitality, she said.
The gondola at Bretton Woods would be the third at a New Hampshire ski area, joining Loon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain. Cannon Mountain has an aerial tram and The Balsams, when it is redeveloped, would have a gondola that would cross Route 26, taking riders from the resort to the new, enlarged ski area.