D epending on the weather, the first eight-person gondola in New Hampshire could begin operating within a month at the Bretton Woods Ski Area.
For the most part, “it’s all glass,” longtime Director of Ski Operations Chris Ellms said of the gondola being built by the Austrian-Swiss Doppelmayr Garaventa Group.
And sometime early next summer, the gondola will be carrying guests to what officials at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, which owns Bretton Woods, called “the premier event and wedding venue in the entire Northeast.”
The two-story event facility will replace the existing Latitude 44° eatery on the slope of Mount Rosebrook, and, at 16,000 square feet, will effectively double its size.
Ellms called the event facility “a base lodge at the top of the mountain” with unparalleled views of the White Mountains, in particular Mount Washington and the iconic red-roofed hotel that shares its name.
Rising from the existing Base Lodge, the gondola will carry passengers a total of 6,000 feet on cables strung between 17 towers, the tallest of which is 90 feet. At one point, the gondola crosses over the Bethlehem Express Quad Lift.
After exiting the gondola, guests will enter a soaring “grand lobby” of the event center, which has a grand staircase connecting it to the main space on the second floor. The first floor will have a coffee shop, bistro, lounge, and a deck that can seat some 50 people. There will also be a deck on the second floor and it will have an inside/outside fireplace.
Water for drinking and fire suppression will come from a well drilled 300 feet downslope, said Ellms, while wastewater from the facility will be piped below ground to the Bretton Woods treatment plant.
Joshua DeBottis, general manager of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, said the gondola and event facility are being privately funded, adding that the improvements will generate tax revenues for the towns of Carroll and Bethlehem.
The gondola and event facility at Bretton Woods are among three major projects under way at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, with the other being the construction of a 69-room and suite addition to the Presidential wing of the hotel.