Robert Hall | Via the

The Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch is one of New Hampshire's historic grand hotels. The expansive property sits on about 11,000 acres which include a downhill ski area, an 18-hole golf course and miles of Nordic trails.

In 2011 the struggling, outdated hotel finally closed and was sold to two businessmen from the North Country. Their efforts to revive it failed and in 2014 Les Otten, former head of the American Skiing Company, stepped in to take over the remote resort's redevelopment effort.

The Coos Planning Board meets Tuesday night in Lancaster to consider a plan to greatly expand the ski area at the Balsams, including a proposal to clear some high-elevation forest.

The multi-year plan would expand the skiing area from 135 to almost 1,100 acres, with possibly 800 more acres of glade skiing.

Developer Les Otten says the pace would depend on “market conditions," but he would like to begin some clearing this summer.

The plan to spend about $2.8 million to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road, which connects the now-closed hotel with the golf course, got mixed reactions at a public meeting Monday in Colebrook.

Supporters said it is important to help the Balsams because if it reopens it would be a huge boost to the economy of the North Country.

Opponents said there are many roads in the North Country that need to be fixed. Those include roads that are in terrible shape and ambulances – sometimes carrying desperately ill or injured patients - have to go very slowly.

The department of transportation is holding a meeting this afternoon in Colebrook to discuss one of two projects that will significantly benefit the Balsams resort, even though businessman Les Otten doesn’t yet have the money he needs to resurrect the closed resort.

The state will spend about $3.6 million this summer, with about $2.8 million of that going to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road. It goes from the shuttered hotel to the golf course, but it belongs to the state.

The 2 p.m. meeting at the town hall is to answer questions and hear comments, DOT says.

This summer the state plans to help the developers of the Balsams by spending almost $3 million to fix a 1.8 mile road at the resort.

The seasonal Golf Links Road connects the now-closed Balsams hotel and the golf course.

The road, which belongs to the state, is in bad shape. Erosion, steep slopes and wetlands will make repairs along its 1.8 miles tricky, according to the minutes of a DOT meeting in January.

Northern Pass Investing In The Balsams

Mar 7, 2016
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Northern Pass has invested $2 million in the Balsams, developer Les Otten said Monday night at a public hearing in Colebrook, according to a transcript released by a spokesman.

Otten said the money came through Northern Pass’ Forward NH Plan, there were no strings attached and there is the potential for “a more substantial investment.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The North Country is pinning its much of its hope for an economic boost on the effort to reopen the Balsams Resort, but a tourism official says the region should have a Plan B.

“I would really encourage the development of two strategies," says Gloria Bruce, the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association.

“One, in the event that the Balsams were to open, which I think would be fantastic, what does that look like, what are the outcomes, what do we need to plan for.”

Balsams Site Plans Expected In Several Weeks

Feb 22, 2016
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The redevelopment of the Balsams will take another step forward soon, says Ed Brisson, an official with Dixville Capital LLC.

“In the next couple of weeks we will be coming in with ski area site plan approval as well as, we anticipate coming in with plans for renovating Dix and Hampshire House,” he said.

Those plans would go before the Coos Planning Board, which must approve them before work can begin.

"We are actually looking to put a shovel in the ground sometime this summer," he said.

He said there would be a series of applications in the coming months.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The top official with the Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts Unit said Tuesday there is nothing wrong with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests's plan to modify a conservation easement to help the developer of the Balsams resort.

The change "does not propose or threaten a change of overall purpose," Thomas J. Donovan, the director of Charitable Trusts, wrote in a 12-page letter.

Shannon Reville

DIXVILLE, N.H. (AP) - Despite ongoing renovations to the longtime resort home of early voting in New Hampshire, residents in Dixville will cast their 2016 presidential primary ballots in the moments just past midnight on Feb. 9.

Since 1960, Dixville has cast the first ballots in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Traditionally, it was done in the Ballot Room at The Balsams' Dix House.

The resort closed in 2011 and is currently under renovation as part of a plan to redevelop it into a four-season destination.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The federal Army Corps of Engineers says a plan to redevelop the Balsam's Resort in Dixville Notch will have minimal effects on water resources and wetlands.

The corps has issued a permit needed for Maine ski resort developer Les Otten to move forward with the redevelopment plan.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The developers hoping to reopen the Balsams Resort got a boost Wednesday night as the Coos Planning Board approved a long-range concept plan.

While it is called a concept plan, it includes many details of what developers Dixville Capital hope to accomplish. That includes a huge expansion of the ski resort and as many as 4,600 housing units, including condominiums and a hotel.

Balsams Targets June 1, 2016 To Start Construction

Nov 18, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The developers of the Balsams Resort told Coos County officials Tuesday night they hope to begin construction and renovation of the buildings on June 1st of next year.

That raises the possibility at least part of the now-closed resort could be open by the end of 2016 or early in 2017.

However, a spokesman for the developer said some other work may start earlier.

The news came during a meeting between the developers and the Coos County Planning Board to try and work out details of a long-range, multi-year concept plan.

The issue of whether the Coos County Planning Board is moving quickly enough as it considers the renovation of the shuttered Balsams resort came up Wednesday night in Colebrook and in contrast to the board's normal, civil demeanor there were sharp and angry words.