There are blissful moments when I go on vacation and say to myself, "I wish I could do this all the time!" A concierge with insider info into all the great things to do; healthy gourmet food at my fingertips; access to all the outdoor activities I love, like downhill and cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis and golf; kids' programs to keep them entertained when I need a break. Wouldn't it be great to be able to be a guest of the resort every weekend?
In fact, there is a way - the Bretton Woods Club. We decided to see what the Bretton Woods Club's Alpine Club was all about.
Although we visited on a quiet weekday when parking close to the lodge was easy and lift lines nonexistent, it was still a treat to be able to pull up right in front of the Alpine Club, where a valet attendant quickly offered to carry our skis out onto the racks for us and then parked our car.
If we were regular members, our skis and boots would already be stored at the Club, where the attendants would see us coming, and like Norm at Cheers, "everybody knows your name" and our favorite things (skis in this case, not beer) would be out and waiting for us when we arrived. The idea of not having to schlep skis and poles and boot bags and distracted kids across the parking lot is very appealing!
After a tour of the Alpine Club, we enjoyed complimentary hot chocolate and muffins while we got booted up. It was so pleasant sitting in the overstuffed armchairs by the fire that we lingered a bit longer than usual getting ready to go out. Eileen Armstrong, Director of Membership at the Club, told us that there's always a group of members who take advantage of the first tracks benefit, and they are ready to hop on the lifts half an hour before the lifts open to the public. I'm guessing we'd definitely be part of that group that gets first tracks, whether it's for pristine corduroy or diving into untracked powpow. But this morning, we knew that once we got going, we'd be able to scoot right on to the lift from the BWC-only line.
At lunch, Bridget and Timmy eyed with interest the other kids sitting with their parents while we enjoyed homemade mac and cheese and cooked to order sandwiches. Eileen told us that many of the Alpine Club members are parents like us, with little rippers who are giving their parents a run for their money on the slopes. At first, she said, each family would sit by themselves at lunch, but a larger family atmosphere has grown here, and now she usually sees a posse of kids sitting together, with their parents enjoying some adult company nearby.
We focused on skiing for our vacation-week visit to the Club, but members can take advantage of all kinds of benefits and privileges, from use of the Omni Mount Washington Hotel's outdoor pool, to spa discounts, to complimentary time on the Slopeside Climbing Wall. There are several different memberships to choose from that feature special benefits for ski, golf, and social memberships, or combinations of each.
They also offer members-only events like social mixers for adults and kid-specific programs like live animal visits or educational programs from the Mount Washington Observatory.
Skis need a tune? Just drop them off with one of the ski attendants and they'll be nice and sharp the following morning.
We love to bring family and friends with us to share our love of skiing and winter, and at the Club, members can bring along guests for just $25 a day. Need a little more room for this guests? Members get free two room-nights at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel (with some restrictions) and discounts on additional nights at Resort lodging properties.
Often connotations of a private club bring the notion of an exclusionary group of people that are more interested in seeing what kind of car you drive than in getting to know you. That was hardly the case here. At the end of the day, our car was warmed up and waiting for us in front of the Alpine Club. As we were leaving, we talked with one of the members who looked like she had kids about the same age as ours. With a genuine smile she told us, "It really is like a big extended family here. The kids have become fast friends, and love to ski together. Everyone is so friendly and the staff really takes care of us here." This unsolicited plug for the Club assured us that this is a place we really could call home.
The Club offers open houses throughout the season where you can learn more about what it's like to be a member, or you can schedule a "member for a day" visit like we did by contacting Eileen and her friendly staff to set up a personal tour.