Bretton Woods 12-21-14

Reconnecting the downhill and cross-country modes of skiing is one of the goals of Bretton Woods’ new director of nordic skiing.

And Bretton Woods’ Mount Stickney Cabin, located on a New Hampshire mountainsideĀ at the intersection of both alpine and nordic trails, is one spot for that reconnection to happen.

With about 100 km of cross-country trails spread across a vast swath of privately owned property and National Forest lands, Bretton Woods nordic ski center is one of New England’s largest.

Ellen Chandler was named Bretton Woods’ nordic director last summer. In recent years she had taught at the center and she helped organize the annual cross-country marathon, which benefits the New England Ski Museum. (Ellen is also on the board of directors of the museum which is located in nearby Franconia.)

Nowadays we glibly toss around the terms “nordic,”cross-country,” “alpine” and “downhill” with the full assurance that reader understand the distinctions.

Eighty years ago that wasn’t the case. “Skiing was skiing” back then, with little or no distinction between styles or ethnic/geographic traditions.

It was only in the 1930s that alpine and nordic began to go their separate ways, with the former coming to totally dominate the latter by the end of the 1960s.

The nordic revival of the 1970s helped to restore some of the former balance, but nowadays there’s no going back to the old one-style-fits-all equipment.

Ellen Chandler at Mount Stickney Cabin

Ellen Chandler at Mount Stickney Cabin

I had a chance to reconnect with Ellen when I visited Bretton Woods yesterday. I was skiing in alpine mode and Ellen was on nordic equipment. (In the photo above, Ellen is on cross-country gear, but the skis are much heavier and have metal edges.)

We met for a chat in the cabin and talked about her new role at Bretton Woods.

Ellen is a longtime friend and professional associate who has extensive experience in the ski industry — both alpine and nordic. I first met her in the 1980s, when she landed her first job after graduating from Williams College — where she had been a standout on the cross-country ski team.

The Mount Stickney Cabin is constructed of logs and heated with a woodstove. Light refreshments are served.

Ellen Chandler points out the intersections of the alpine and nordic trails

Ellen Chandler points out the intersections of the alpine and nordic trails

The cabin is located at the top of the T-bar. Nordic skiers can reach the cabin via Mountain Road, a cross-country trail that sinuously meanders from the touring centerĀ up the northern flank of Mount Stickney.

Here’s a pdf copy of the 2014-2015 nordic trail map. Please click the upper right corner to “pop-out” to full size.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Downhill skiers can reach it by taking Two Miles Home, a trail off the top of the Rosebrook Summit quad

Janice Musacchio, from Westbrook, Maine, points to the sign for Two Miles Home

Janice Musacchio, from Westbrook, Maine, points to the sign for Two Miles Home

After skiing Two Miles Home for about one mile, the Telegraph T-bar will be signed on the right. Take it, and the Mount Stickney Cabin will be at the top of the lift.

Most of the day I spent skiing with Janice Musacchio, whom I know through the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club. Yesterday was Janice’s first time at Bretton Woods in about a decade.

Janice is a big fan of packed powder that’s been groomed to a corduroy finish. We found plenty of it at the Woods yesterday.