Edging off Fabayan’s Express triple chair at the 3,100-foot summit of Bretton Woods, skiers can take a moment to enjoy the imposing view across the Ammonoosuc Valley to 6,200-foot Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast. There’s one significant difference between the summits of Mount Washington and Bretton Woods: wind.

Sweeping in from Canada, winds have buffeted Mount Washington with the highest velocity ever recorded in the world - more than 220 miles per hour. As for Bretton Woods, since the resort opened in 1973,

the summit lift has been closed for only two hours on one day because of wind gusts.

Skiers also can look down into the valley at international history - - the magnificent Mount Washington Hotel. There, in 1944, while the world still was embroiled in war, delegates from the Allied powers met in this quiet comer of bucolic New England to organize the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The meeting still is known as the Bretton Woods Conference.

Indeed, with the exception of the construction of the ski resort, the area has changed little in the past century. Charming inns still greet customers who once rode up in horse and buggy. Visitors are genuinely welcomed at church dinners serving the same traditional New England foods that were heaped high on plates at church dinners 150 years ago.

Tiny villages, whose roots go back to the 1700s, and whose antiques shops sell mementos of those years, are scattered along highways where motorists actually observe BRAKE FOR MOOSE warnings.

Skiing is centered on a single mountain with 30 trails. Thirty percent are green, 45 percent intermediate, and 25 percent black diamond. Snowboarders can play on a 400-foot accelerator half-pipe. There’s a 90-km network of marked and groomed Nordic trails. The Nordic ski center is in the Mount Washington Hotel.

Snowmaking covers 98 percent of the slopes, which are served by two double chairs, one triple, one detachable quad, and one surface lift. There’s night skiing every Friday and Saturday.

At the ski area’s base are the usual shops and restaurants, ski schools, and facilities for babies and youngsters.

Bretton Woods offers the most unusual activity at any ski resort in the nation: novice races and clinics for rifle ski biathlons and archery ski biathlons.

There are only six lodging facilities, ranging from motels to slope-side town houses, close to the base. Additional housing is in nearby towns.

Swinging apres-ski life is not one of the major attractions in this quiet comer of New Hampshire. Antiquing is. You’ll need your own car to cruise the antiques shops scattered throughout the countryside of this corner of historic America.

For information: Bretton Woods Ski Resort, Bretton Woods, NH 03575; (800) 232-2972; Housing hotline: (800) 258-0330. The Twin Mountain Chamber of Commerce has information on area housing: (800) 245-8946. On the Internet: www. brettonwoods. com. E-mail: skibw@brettonwoods. com.

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