2002 Number 12 Resort in the East: Bretton Woods, N.H.

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For years, Bretton Woods was known as a small resort that catered to low-level skiers with gentle terrain and a stress-free atmosphere. In 1998, the resort embarked on a five-year expansion plan, and skiers who previously dismissed the area are now rediscovering it. While the resort has expanded its terrain-it's now the largest in New Hampshire with 375 skiable acres-enlarged its lodge and added high-speed lifts, it still attracts a laid-back crowd that appreciates its remote but magnificent setting and family-friendly programs. Thanks to the addition of a second high-speed quad last season, the previously minimal liftlines are virtually nonexistent now. That feeling of elbowroom extends to the trails. Bretton Woods "never feels crowded," says one reader. "The design of the trails makes you feel like you are the only person skiing." Though still renowned as an "intermediate paradise," the resort is scoring points with advanced skiers (if not experts) for its new West Mountain glades. This season, more glades are being cut on the steeper terrain between Mt. Stickney and Mt. Rosebrook. This may assuage those who complain that there is "no real challenge for advanced skiers, and black-diamond trails are in the low-to-intermediate range." Truthfully, most skiers don't come here for the challenge; they come for the entire resort experience. The Mt. Washington Hotel, first opened in 1902 and winterized for the 1999-00 season, is the grandest and most historic in the East, with Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range as backdrop. No wonder visitors praise the scenery as "outstanding," calling it the "best view in New England."

WHAT'S NEW Ten gladed double-black chutes in Rosebrook Canyon, where Mt. Stickney and Mt. Rosebrook meet. These will be the longest and steepest glades on the mountain. The Red Carpet Program is for first-time skiers and riders staying at the Mt. Washington Hotel. It takes place just on hotel grounds, away from the ski area crowds.

MEDALS GOLD Snow, Grooming, Service, Family Programs, Scenery; SILVER Lifts.

HIGH/LOW Grooming (2), Scenery (10), Family Programs (11); Access (55), Challenge (74), Terrain (74).

A GOOD DEAL The Bold and The Beautiful midweek season pass, valid at both Bretton Woods (The Beautiful) and nearby Cannon (The Bold); $199.

DON'T MISS A free, guided tour of the hotel, where the International Monetary Fund was created; offered two or three times daily.

READER REMARKS (+) "Consistently delivers a great ski day all around. The lodging properties at the resort continue the fun at night."
(-) "Lots of glades, but that's about it for expert trails."