By David Schissler – Though final approval is pending, work has already begun on installing a 6,000 foot, 8-passenger gondola at Bretton Woods. The lift will replace the B-Chair double, cross over the Bethlehem HSQ and summit where the Fabyan triple currently does. The Fabyan chair top terminal will be lowered about 150 feet to make room for the gondola’s summit terminal. The gondola will have 36 cabins and rise from base to summit in about five minutes. The lift is scheduled to run year-round beginning in the 2018-2019 ski season.

“Latitude 44” conceptual drawing courtesy of Bretton Woods.

In addition to the new gondola Bretton Woods will also upgrade its mountain-side restaurant “Latitude 44”. The upper mountain restaurant will expand to a two-story 11,000 square feet structure built with heavy timbers and stone to blend in with the local environment. Chris Ellms, director of operations said “The building will have classic mountain views but be tucked down just below the ridgeline to soften the view from the valley.” The first floor will seat approximately 150 with room for another 106 on the second floor including private dining for 30. The restaurant is scheduled for a summer 2019 opening. The gondola and the restaurant will have stunning views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, the highest mountain range in the northeast.

Ellms said the gondola will serve skiers, sightseers, hikers, diners and wedding parties.  “What we are proposing is it is not all about skiing, it is what the resort is about which is four seasons.”  The new facilities will help Bretton Woods attract more customers all year long. Total project cost for the gondola and new lodge is approximately $15 million. Ellms went on to say in addition to improving the efficiency of getting riders up the mountain the new lodge will provide food services and restrooms. The gondola also ensures guests attending meetings, dinners and wedding parties will reach the mountain-side lodge in any weather.

This project is a major investment for Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski resort, and riders will be very eager to enjoy the highly anticipated improvements. “Being able to draw customers during the off-season has become an important strategy for all ski resorts”, said Jessyca Keeler, the executive director of Ski NH “But the investment also shows the vibrant health of the state’s ski economy”, she said.