BRETTON WOODS, N.H. -- Despite an uncooperative Mother Nature, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort posted a 20% increase in visits by skiers last season. Not bad for an independent resort competing in an era of mergers and multiresort operations.

The boost is due in part to a jumbo, multiphase expansion that includes the debut of West Mountain, which opened during the 1999-2000 ski season.

The new peak comprises 24 trails and glades serviced by a quad chairlift, bringing the total skiable acreage to 330.

West Mountain is expected to add more challenge and diversity to a resort that has long been known as a draw for families.

Thanks to the expansion, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort now bills itself as the largest ski area in New Hampshire.

To keep the momentum going, the resort will add a detachable quad lift this coming season, which will trim the lift time by nearly two-thirds.

Future plans include the addition of advanced-level terrain between the Two Miles Home trail and the Deception Bowl area, and an additional 24 trails in an eastward expansion to Mount Stickney.

The Mount Stickney expansion is set for completion by the 2001-2002 season.

West Mountain terrain offers challenges for a wide range of abilities, with wide-open runs, glade areas and new chutes and bowls.

The resort also has beefed up its snowmaking capabilities to accommodate the new terrain.

Thus far, Bretton Woods offers a total of 62 trails, 95% of which are covered by snowmaking equipment.

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