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|Winter Snow Boosts Business in Mt. Washington Valley|
|Published Thursday, March 30, 2017|
Loon Mountain Ski Resort in Lincoln. Photo: CC/chensiyuan
Now that Spring has officially begun, businesses in Mt. Washington Valley are reflecting on the boost they received from the heavy snow this past winter. Snow is white gold for the region's 13 ski resorts and XC Centers, and all the lodging, dining, retail and attraction businesses that benefit from tourism. With up to 200+ inches of snowfall reported at some of the resorts, this winter has attracted skiers, vacationers and outdoor adventure lovers to Mt. Washington Valley in greater numbers from the snow-deprived winter last year.
“Winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling plus ice fishing, ice climbing and dog sledding will all add to the winter economy in Mt Washington Valley, and continue to draw visitors," says Janice Crawford, executive director of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) in North Conway.
In a recent survey conducted among MWVCC members, 74 percent of respondents reported that business was up over last winter. Additionally, both the NH and Massachusetts Feb. vacation weeks were up over last year, according to survey respondents. Seventy eight percent noted the Mass. Feb. vacation week showed an increase in sales over last year, and 50 percent noted that the NH vacation week showed sales up over last year. More than 80 percent of respondents credited more snow this year with the reason for the increase in business.
The best news is that 35 percent of respondents reported that sales were up anywhere from 24 to 74 percent, with the majority of those within that group (21 percent) noting that sales were up by 10 to 24 percent. In fact, only 5 percent of MWVCC survey respondents reported that business was down over last year, and only 15 percent reported that business was even with last year.
John D. Lowell, president of Attitash Mountain Resort in Bartlett and Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch, says “The great early season snowfall regenerated momentum in the marketplace that has continued to grow throughout the season. All three major vacation periods were exceptional with our business levels at both resorts were up significantly over last year. More important is that our business levels were on par with our best vacation weeks of the past several years. We had some record breaking days at Attitash, and Wildcat Mountain saw the largest growth and benefitted greatly from the great vacation week weather. Base depths are strong, conditions are wonderful and we expect to stretch the season well into late April if not into May.”
The snow wasn’t just a boon for the skiers. Conrad Klefos, GM at the Royalty Inn in Gorham, says “Last year we had nearly zero snowmobilers. This year we had many. Natural snow is a must for snowmobilers.” She adds that the Inn's sales increased by more than 25-percent this winter.
Interestingly, the second most often offered reason for increases in business for winter 2016/17 over last year was a better economy. Throughout this year, Mt. Washington Valley businesses have reported that the “better economy” and secondarily, “people spending more while on vacation” was the reason for increases in revenues and sales this year over last year. Genn Anzaldi, co-owner of the J-Town Deli in Jackson, says revenue was up more than 10 percent for the winter season and up 15 percent for the Feb. vacation weeks.
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