By Amy PatenaudeSki/Outdoor Writer
A couple weeks ago I made it up for Bretton Woods’ opening day to ski. Bretton Woods enjoys a surprise and gives short notice when they’re opening for the season, usually just less than 24 hours. As soon as they can get us on the mountain they do it. When the temperature drops the snow guns start blasting and I know it is time to keep my eye on social media. I checked my email a little more often too.
Since the temperatures dropped quickly, I wasn’t caught off guard this year when I saw their mid-afternoon Facebook post in bright big red letters “Open Tomorrow.” In my inbox there was an email from the resort that read, “Open Friday, November 10th from 1 -4 pm”. The price of the lift ticket was a donation of non-perishable food. The annual opening day food drive is part of the Omni Resorts “Say Goodnight to Hunger” campaign that supports local food banks and pantries.
I arrived at the ski area a little after 2pm. By the look of the big pile of food next to the ticket booth the skiers and riders had been generous. I stacked my cans on top of the others and with a lift ticket attached to my coat I hurried out to make my first run of the season.
My friend Becca received my text that I had arrived. She beat me to the slopes and had taken one run on her snowboard and was now waiting for me in front of the lodge. We rode up the Zephyr high-speed quad chair. Brrrh, it was cold out, only 16 degrees. We were both bundled up tight and we pulled our neck gaiters up high to protect our faces from the snow that was exploding out of the snow guns. At the top I stood up from the chair and let gravity take me away from the lift—Weee I am skiing! I joked, “What run should we take?” The punchline, “The open one!”
All the snow guns were blasting adding more snow to the Range View Trail as we skied and snowboarded down the mountain. To keep my goggles from icing I learned quickly to keep my face turned away from the snow guns. Hands in front, shifting my weight from ski to ski, big turns and quick turns and I let gravity take me down the slope fast. I stopped half way down the trail. I turned back up the hill and watched Becca turn her snowboard and slide down to meet me. We both laughed and told each other how glad we were that we made it! We both were excited to be out for the first time this season. I felt full of joy to be outside skiing on the snow. Yeah Winter.
Mother Nature gave us a good inch of snow the previous night and the view down to red roofed Mount Washington Hotel was surrounded by its white golf course that was no longer green. Bretton Woods stayed open for rest of the weekend and Veterans skied for free and there was a lift ticket special of just $25 to ski.
I returned on Sunday and enjoyed the much warmer day, nearly 32 degrees, a beautifully groomed slope and a sunny mountain vista. No snow was being blown on Range View, it was covered edge to edge with deep wonderful snow. The snow guns were blasting all over the upper trails and more trails and lifts will be open. Congratulations to Bretton Woods for being the first resort to open in New Hampshire this season.
More New Hampshire resorts are open this week. Loon, Cannon, Waterville Valley, Cranmore all announced plans to be open by the time you’re reading this. Please check SkiNH.com for your favorite mountain’s snow conditions report before heading off to hit the slopes. Have Fun!
Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.