Pending government approval, one of the closest ski resorts to Mt. Washington and its famous cog railway will open a 6,000-foot base-to-summit gondola in 2018. Bretton Woods’ director of ski operations Chris Ellms appeared before a local planning board last night to unveil plans for the all-season lift and a new summit lodge.
The relatively low-capacity gondola will circulate 36 8-passenger cabins, making it the largest gondola in the state by cabin size. Loon Mountain’s gondola seats only four. Both the Bethlehem Express quad and Fayban’s Express triple chair will remain in place for winter skiers but the 1,300 vertical-foot gondola will spin other seasons as well. Fayban’s top terminal will be moved downhill to make room for the gondola station and the new lift will cross over Bethlehem. Ellms said the approximately five minute gondola ride 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.” Total project cost for the gondola and new restaurant is approximately $15 million and Bretton Woods’ owner, Omni Hotels & Resorts, hopes to open the new lift next ski season. The mountain’s current fleet includes mostly Doppelmayr and Garaventa CTEC lifts, though a manufacturer for the new gondola was not named.