Ski NH estimated a total of 2,228,571 alpine skier and snowboarder visits, down 2.6% from the winter of 2008-09, which was the third best on record for skier visits in New Hampshire.
Cross country areas also had a successful winter, hosting 143,787 visits, essentially even with visits from the 2008-09 winter. Areas with snowtubing parks reported 105,391 snowtubing visits. This number was down 3% from the 2008-09 winter.
Although it got off to a late start due to warm temperatures, the 2009-10 season rebounded thanks to strong numbers during the three holiday periods (Christmas week, Martin Luther King weekend and Presidents' week); these can account for as much as 30% of the state's ski business. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, the month of March proved to be quite challenging for the ski areas. Normally March brings copious snowfall, but the past two years have brought little-to-no measurable snowfall to the state's ski areas. With the exception of a handful of warm, sunny days, foul weather also played a hand in keeping many skiers/riders at home and preventing a potential record season.
Preliminary reports show the Northeast region (including the six New England states and New York state) down 2.8% from last season, New Hampshire compares favorably by declining only 2.6% from the prior winter. The 2009/10 season was also 4% above the ten-year average for New Hampshire alpine skiers and snowboarder visits.
New Hampshire businesses were also able to benefit from the successful winter. An economic impact study conducted during the record 2007/08 winter showed a total of $940 million dollars spent by guests visiting NH ski areas. Of that total, only 12% was spent directly at ski areas with the remaining 88% spent on ski visit-related expenses such as lodging, restaurants, gas, tolls, retail, and other. This year's numbers are expected to be comparable to the 2007/08 study due to the minor decrease in business levels and slight price increases due to inflation.
“Once again it was a fun winter that we feel our guests enjoyed. We were able to experience several big snowstorms and fun holiday periods. Unfortunately it was a bit anti-climatic with the lack of fresh snowfall or many spring skiing days in March and April, which ended the season a bit earlier than usual,” noted Karl Stone, Ski NH's marketing director.
“The ski industry is fortunate to have guests that are passionate about the special experience they enjoy with family and friends on New Hampshire's alpine slopes and cross country trails. We hope our snowmaking, grooming, and guest service continue to provide good value for their time spent in our state,” summarized Alice Pearce, Ski NH's president.
Ski NH is the statewide association representing 36 alpine and cross country resorts and more than 200 lodging and guest service properties in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, lodging packages, and winter events at Ski NH resorts, call Ski NH at (800) 88-SKI-NH (800-887-5464) or visit the Ski NH website at www.SkiNH.com. For statewide media relations assistance, visit the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism's media room at http://visitnh.gov/media/ or contact Mr. Tai Freligh at 603-271-2343, option #2.