A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Martha Wilson, a Brave Ski Mom of 2, and the author of the Bretton Woods Outdoor Mom blog.
If you could only ski at one resort this winter, which would you choose?
Why Bretton Woods?
First of all, they have a great program for kids. For really young kids they’ve got a nursery with an excellent, experienced staff. I have never worried about leaving my kids there. As the kids get older they move into the Snow Play program. This program gets them used to being in the snow. They don’t go onto the lifts, but they do learn how to put on skis and shuffle around. They play in the snow, they ski through hoops and around pretend dinosaurs, giraffes and flowers!
There is also an outdoor playground right at the base, next to the lodge. The playground has swings, slides, a zipline, a pretend gondola and a carousel with toboggans. It is a nice diversion for young kids when they need a break from skiing.
And, of course, there are excellent instructors in the ski school for older kids. All of the instructors are very professional and caring. Most of them have put in a lot of time working with kids and specialize in teaching kids.
Finally, there is an equipment rental program for kids ages 4 and under. You can rent their gear for 2 hours for only $10. It’s a nice way to give little ones a taste of skiing, without breaking the bank.
And for adults?
Bretton Woods has some great terrain, good snow and better weather than Mount Washington, just across the valley. Because Bretton Woods is north facing, the snow lasts a long time and has some staying power. The glade skiing on either end of the mountain is great and there are always lots of places to explore when there is good snow. You can always find a stash that hasn’t yet been tracked up.
Also since adults like to save money, Bretton Woods has the family interchangeable ticket that allows parents who are sharing kid duty to ski on the same ticket. You can purchase one ticket, but each parent gets a bar code. This is great if you have really young babies or children who will be in the lodge all day. One parent can ski, then come in and trade-off kid duty, while the other one goes out to ski. Each parent has a ticket, but only one can use it at a time.
What needs to be improved at Bretton Woods to make it even better for family skiing?
While the lure of hot chocolate and brownies is pretty strong, I wish there were more fruit and healthy snacks in the cafeteria.
Do you have any secrets to share?
Not everyone knows that the Mount Washington Hotel right across from Bretton Woods is owned by the resort. A grand hotel built in 1902, the Mount Washington Hotel the place to stay if you’re going to make a weekend of it. Despite its elegant feel, it is very kid friendly.
Any other advice for families coming to Bretton Woods?
A hot spot for my kids is Fabyan Station, a typical ski town bar and restaurant, except that it is in an old train station. Suspended near the ceiling is an old Boston and Maine model train that runs. It makes a nice diversion for the kids when mom and dad need a drink and some good food. Fabyan Station has local beers, above average burgers and nice sandwiches.
Another place to stay in the Bretton Arms Inn, a traditional New England country inn. It is right on the cross-country skiing trail network and it a popular place with Nordic skiers and people who want nicer accommodations.
What makes Bretton Woods unique?
The snow conditions can be really exceptional. Even when the other resorts may be getting no snow, Bretton Woods often is getting snow. There are also lots options aside from skiing: the playground, canopy tours in the winter, dog sledding, sleigh rides, the spa and 100k of cross-country skiing.
What is your favorite memory of Bretton Woods?
I’ve been skiing since I was in junior high, but about 10 years ago I took up telemark skiing. I first tried tele at Bretton Woods and I felt like I was learning all over again. Skiing a trail under a lift, I would often crash and yard sale. I really wanted to shout up to the people on the lift “But really I’m not this bad. Really I can ski!” Once I got past the learning curve, I love that Bretton Woods is a place where I could try a new sport and learn to love it.
Do you have any tips to share with other parents?
I think the main thing is to keep it fun for your kids. Don’t push them past the point where it isn’t fun anymore. If they are cold, bored or don’t want to ski, stop. This might happen after only one run and you need to be prepared to accept this.
What was your favorite thing about skiing when you were a kid?
When I was in high school, my dad, had a motor home. He would take my sister and our friends around New England on weekends to ski. We would nap on our way to the mountain and nap on our way home. It was luxurious! Not only did he drive us, but Dad would make hotdogs and sandwiches for us at lunch.
As a relatively new parent, I am conscious of trying not to force my passions onto my kids. When I do see them excited about things I love, like skiing and being outside, it is pretty exciting. When we drive by Bretton Woods in the summer, my daughter wants to go skiing NOW. I love this!
The Brave Ski Moms Adds…
Thank you Martha! The story about your dad is wonderful! He is one great ski dad.
To keep up with family activities at Bretton Woods, check out Martha’s blog: Bretton Woods Outdoor Mom.
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