Bretton Woods is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. It’s located just south of the famous Canadian Rocky Mountains in New Hampshire, USA and has been a popular location since the 1950s.
With over 670 trails and 24 ski lifts, there’s always something exciting going on at the resort. Many of the trails are open all year round while some are only open during specific periods. The ski resort also features nightlife, with a variety of bars and restaurants serving different cuisines so you can enjoy some drinks following your skiing session!
Bretton Woods is a favorite destination of professional and amateur skiers alike. The ski resort is well-known for its expertly crafted bowls, scenic views and terraced slopes. It consistently ranks among the world’s top 10 ski resorts. The Canadian Rockies are visible from many parts of the resort making for some spectacular panoramic views!
The ski runs are mostly divided into beginner, intermediate and expert zones. Experts can enjoy the challenging and spectacular Cliff Side hike which leads to some spectacular panoramic views of the resort and the surrounding area. It continues to the summit of White Cap Mountain where you can take in the stunning beauty of Acadia National Park and spend some time reflecting before getting back onto the slopes.
Getting To and From The Resort
The ski resort is located in the United States but has actually been organized (along with the other Canadian Rockies resorts) as a part of the British Commonwealth. The United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand are the only countries that have maintained their own independent identities while living under the common authority of the Crown. This unique status makes for some pretty interesting legal and fiscal arrangements, best explained by a local lawyer:
“The U.S. State of New Hampshire is part of the U.S. Territory of New England. The U.S. Government does not charge New Hampshire residents a fee for ski passes, while other states do. If you live in New Hampshire and are 18 years old or older, you are considered an amateur skier and can purchase a full season pass for $60. A senior citizen, senior, and minor citizen pass is $40. A child under 18 is free when accompanied by a paying adult.”
If you’re a fan of Christmas music, you’ll fit right in at the resort. Over the years, the trails and restaurants have been decorated with Christmas decorations and themed decorating, making for some truly magnificent winter holidays! If you visit between Christmas and New Years, you’ll witness some of the most exciting and colorful celebrations in the winter sports world.
Many of the mountain’s restaurants and bars are scattered around its edges. Some of the eateries are named after famous alpine skiers and boast panoramic mountain views. The bars are usually located on top of the hotels and feature live music performances and various drink specials throughout the year.
The locals are incredibly friendly too making it an easy and delightful place to visit. Locals are proud of their outstanding ski resort and often refer to it as “The Mecca of skiing” or simply “Bretton.”
Most of the trails at Bretton Woods are pretty flat, ideal for beginners. Expert skiers can enjoy the resort’s longer trails and extreme slopes, while the intermediate and beginner trails are mainly used for school field trips!
The most iconic and photographed trail at the ski resort is called the Beast of the East. It is a 14-mile (23km) ski trek that begins near the summit of North Conway and ends in the parking lot of the White Mountain Casino. During the summer, day hikers can access this trail via the Wentworth State Park bus service. The trail begins by climbing over 300 feet (91m) through the Franconia Notch Conservation Area. As you make your way down, you will pass by some of the most scenic vistas and spectacular panoramic views of the Presidential Range. On a clear day, you can see Mount Washington, Mount Adams and the White Rocks from the top!
The Trail of the Snow Queens is a 9.5-mile (15km) ski run that begins in the town of North Conway and features over 100 feet (30m) of elevation gain. It is one of the most popular and challenging trails at the resort. The U.S. Ski Team has called the Snow Queens one of the biggest and most dangerous ski ramps in North America. The trail passes by the iconic stone arch which is near the entrance to the resort. It is named after the famous “Snow Queen” Amy Johnson, an Englishwoman who made her name as the first person to fly solo from Cape Town to London. Unfortunately, Johnson was not so lucky as she was forced to abort the trip due to a mechanical issue.
The Ridges’, a 12.8-mile (20km) ski trail, is the longest trail in the region and provides a scenic and panoramic view of the area. It is one of the most popular trails at the resort and is located near the center of the mountain. The trail’s eastern portion is a designated wilderness area and is open only to hiking, biking and skiing. The western portion is open to all users and is popular with families because of its gentle slopes.
Bretton Woods was originally founded as the White Mountain Ski Camp in 1942 by George E. Goode. The local citizens of the area objected to the idea of building a ski resort in the backyard and petitioned the New Hampshire state legislature to make it a legal requirement for large landholders to allow the public to use their land. The resort’s founder had to fend off lawsuits from the local landowners until 1953 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor, lifting the injunction against the construction of the ski resort. This is one of the reasons why you’ll see an old map of New Hampshire with a red X marking the spot where the resort is today.
Bretton Woods is well-known for its nightlife; the town is actually nicknamed “The Entertainment Capital of New England.” It is a hub for jazz festivals, folk music gatherings and classic movie nights throughout the year! Several trails feature bars and restaurants that serve refreshments, providing the best possible post-skiing experience. The Cliff Side Bar, for example, provides panoramic mountain views and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Some of the town’s most famous restaurants and bars are listed below.