Mt Washington Valley businesses reported increase in family travel for Christmas Week, 2013
NEWS FROM MT WASHINGTON VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – January 2, 2014
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY CELEBRATES SNOW DURING CHRISTMAS WEEK, 2013
North Conway, NH – Early season snowfall and strong family travel sentiment reportedly contributed to a successful Christmas Week and New Year’s Eve holiday for Mt Washington Valley, NH businesses, according to an informal survey from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Most businesses responded to the survey with increases in either traffic or revenue over last year, with strong indicators that the winter will improve in coming months. “We’re delighted to hear from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members that the Christmas Week was so successful,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The early season snowfall topped off with a wide range of events, promotions and packages clearly served to entice visitors to Mt Washington Valley for the holiday week,” finished Crawford.
Thom Perkins, Executive Director of Jackson Ski Touring Foundation reported that revenues and skier visits for Christmas Week were up considerably for the cross country center this year over last year. According to Perkins, “For the period of Dec 26 - Jan 1 inclusive our skier/days increased 15.2-percent and for 2013, season passes have increased 18-percent.” Even better news is the trend to increased ticket sales from lodging properties. Perkins tells us that inns have ordered 20-percent more tickets for their guests this season which is a strong indicator that bookings at lodging properties are up too. Perkins also reported that lesson revenues were up 35-percent and rental revenue is up 27-percent over last year for the week at Jackson Ski Touring Center.
The early season snow contributed to strong December sales for Cranmore Mountain Resort too. Becca Deschenes, Cranmore Marketing Director, shared that going into the vacation week the resort was 4-percent up over last year for skier visits, She shared that December 28 and 30th were the busiest days of the season and the GET (Guaranteed Easy Turns) and Learn to ski and ride program was up 12-percent over last year.
Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director for Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, reported that on December 28th and December 30th, Attitash posted skier visits which far exceeded the busiest of days during last year's holiday period. According to Prindle, “Monday, December 30 was actually a record breaking number of skier visits for Attitash during a Christmas holiday week in recent history. This contributed to Attitash being both up for visits and revenue for this year's holiday period over last year.” At Wildcat, trail counts were down compared to other ski areas for a good portion of the holiday week, yet Monday’s 11-inches of new snow allowed the resort to go from 12 to 40 trails open after the storm. Cold temps and vacationers leaving for home early on New Year’s Day also contributed to a Christmas week that didn’t compare favorably for Wildcat as compared to last year, according to Prindle.
Snowmobile outfitters also responded with enthusiasm for the Christmas week. Terry MacGillivray of Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals reported that their numbers were up 15-percent over last year. “We had a nice snowy week and lots of large groups this vacation week,” shared MacGillivray. Additionally, Peter Gagne from Northern Extremes Snowmobiling shared that they had an excellent Christmas week too, reporting “Christmas week we found 80-percent of our business was families and about 30-percent of riders were from outside New England,” noting a surprising number of international travelers renting snowmobiles.
Charlene Browne, co-owner of Farm by the River B&B & Stables noted that despite a slow start to the week compounded with ice, the snowfall that came later helped to end the week on an up note, and bookings at the inn were up over last year too.
Lodging members were equally enthusiastic. Steve Lambert, Innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn B&B reported that their bookings were up 15-percent over last year, and longer stays and more shopping packages contributed to an increase in revenues. Additionally, according to Lambert, “Spa bookings were up by 50-percent, as part of stays, and Christmas 2014 advance bookings have already filled half the inn.” Frank Guerriero, Director of Marketing and Communications at Eastern Slope Inn Resort and Attitash Mountain Village, told the Mt Washington Valley Chamber that Christmas week was very busy; on par with last year, and New Year's was up slightly over last year. According to Guerriero, “There has been an increase in family travel as a direct result of elevated consumer confidence levels and spending, reflected in a 2.2-percent increase in U.S. economic growth, up 1.8-percent from 2011.”
Leani Lopez, Marketing Coordinator for Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa concurred on the trend toward an increase in family travel, saying the Mountain View Grand also saw a significant increase in the number of families and guests staying in house, meaning more of the larger rooms and suites were booked, compared to their standard rooms.
Jen Kovach, co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn reported an increase in business over last year for the inn and restaurant, observing more baby-boomer aged guests coming to enjoy Mt Washington Valley after visiting their children and grandchildren for the holidays.
Thomas Kugel from Café Noche in Conway summed up his reasoning for an increase in business over last year with one key sentence, saying “Everyone is happy and enthusiastic about the snow which makes for strong sales of margaritas!” Jonathan Rivers, Indian Mound Golf Course. & River's Edge Grille & Tavern shared that the restaurant was sold out for New Year’s Eve dinner, and also commented that the golf course memberships pre-season sales are up over last year too, testimony that enthusiasm for outdoor recreation is strong this winter.
Overall, those responding to the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Christmas Week survey indicated strong optimism for the rest of the winter season. For more information about visiting Mt Washington Valley, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) or go to www.MtWashingtonValley.org for complete travel planning resources.
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Photos of Cooper Houde at Black Mountain on 1/1/14 by Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative. Be sure to visit Mt Washington Valley’s Winter 2013-14 Flickr set for more photos.