Back in March, it was announced that The Balsams in New Hampshire received the critical approvals needed for construction to commence on its major revitalization projects. Closed since 2011, plans in the first phase include renovating the Hampshire and Dix Houses, adding a new hotel (Lake Gloriette House), and expanding the Balsams Wilderness ski resort.

The ski expansion is worth a closer look. When the full buildout is completed, the Balsams plans to have 2200 skiable acres, 22 lifts, and a vertical drop of 2050 feet. A gondola will go from the hotel to the summit of the old Balsams Wilderness, with a skier bridge bringing guests back to the main village. In future seasons, the lift and trail network, along the vertical drop, would continue to expand.

Phase one of the expansion.

Since those press releases in March and April, we haven’t heard much about the project. Luckily, The Berlin Sun caught up with Scott Tranchemontagne, who is the spokesman of Dixville Capital LLC, which is behind the project.

After years of effort, they currently have all the permits needed. For approvals, what comes next is a traffic study. This will analyze the roads at and around the ski resort and hotels. The article says that the traffic study will be completed at some point in the future, which is vague and not exactly promising.

One concern that skeptics have is employee housing, due to Coos County being extremely remote. The first phase will add an estimated 583 full and part-time workers to Coos County. Once it is fully completed, 1,500 jobs will be added. With this being a remote area, housing all these people could be a challenge. Scott described how the housing availability in the Great North Woods could help them out:

“Unlike areas in southern New Hampshire, the greater Colebrook area has a relatively high number of vacant homes and apartments. We believe that one of the ways the Balsams will stimulate the local economy is by attracting employees and their families who will buy or rent much of that housing stock. Our project will very likely stimulate new construction as well.”

Throughout this extensive process, Scott explained to The Berlin Sun how grateful they are for Coos County:

“The fact that the county remains so supportive of The Balsams redevelopment speaks to the tremendous, positive impact our project will have on the region. While it’s a complicated project with a lot of moving parts that must come together at the same time, having their support is incredibly meaningful.”

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a timeline for when this will happen. So as much as I want the Balsams to reopen based on it being an economic boom for my home state, I remain pessimistic.

Image Credits: The Balsams

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