Making the Best of First Tracks of the Season

Trip Report – Bretton Woods – 11/28/15
Kathy Bennett

Despite gray skies on this late November Saturday morning, the slopes were calling and I loaded the chairlift not long after 8am at Bretton Woods the weekend after Thanksgiving. Despite record-warm temperatures in many places in New England the day before, temperatures were hovering in the high 30s and the snow was a sweet soft turning consistency that made for forgiving first runs of the season.

The best advice to any skier is to get there for first chair and Saturday was no exception. With 6 trails open, making for over 56 acres and 3 miles of skiable terrain, it was great to start the ski season on their wide forgiving slopes, without the need to dodge other skiers until later in the day when my legs were more solidly under me.

A great way to regain those ski legs is to take a lesson, and Bretton Woods’ orange-uniformed snowsports instructors are already out in force with students on the hill. This was a great reminder that early season is the time to take a lesson, before a wider variety of terrain and more compelling snow conditions lure you away.

Bretton Woods’ investment in snow making was apparent. Despite a warm November, they have already been open for over a week. Snow surfaces were well covered (6-24” snow depth)  – so there was no need to break out the rock skis this day. No wonder the Woods ranks high in ratings for grooming and snow making. That and their higher elevation in the shadow of Mount Washington make them a great bet for early season skiing.

Early season skiing with friends at Bretton Woods 11/28/15
Early season skiing with friends at Bretton Woods 11/28/15
Taking a break on the Big Ben trail.


One of the two elements set up for an early season terrain park.


Bretton Woods is just one of 3 Mount Washington Valley ski areas now open, along with Cranmore and Wildcat. All three will be resuming snowmaking as temperatures allow. Skiers can look for more terrain to open soon, and more areas to join their ranks well ahead of the important Christmas vacation week. Visitors are encouraged to book their holiday plans now and be ready for some awesome December skiing!


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