Warm temps impact Feb vacation weeks in Mt Washington Valley, NH but don't get us down
News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – March 6, 2018
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
FEBRUARY VACATION WEEKS HOLD THEIR OWN IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, YET NOT ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
Fickle weather had a notable impact on tourism during the two February Vacation Weeks
North Conway, NH – Greg Fisher, VP of Marketing for Peak Resorts, summed up the month of February accurately. “February was a roller coaster of a month,” he told the chamber when answering an informal survey about the two February vacation weeks. Referring to the ups and downs of the weather, Fisher explained that “On the Thursday before the President’s Day Weekend, Wildcat had a base area temperature of 60 degrees at 7:00am while Attitash had a base area temperature of 32-degrees. Nearly a 30-degree swing 20 mins apart were all due to elevation. The closer you were to the river valley the cooler it was.” And that weather pattern set the stage for the two (President’s Week and the subsequent New Hampshire Vacation Week) vacation weeks in Mt Washington Valley.
“This year, with the opening of the new ski New England Ski Museum’s Eastern Slope Branch, and a full events schedule, Mt Washington Valley lived up to its reputation of being the number-one ski destination in North America because the variety of recreation and entertainment options. This helped to draw visitors to the Valley during the two February vacation weeks,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Despite unusual weather, the events, tax-free shopping and a pent-up desire to ski drew people to the Valley,” she finished.
“For the two vacation weeks Attitash was up in attendance year-over-year, while Wildcat was down for President’s Week and up for the NH week,” reported Greg Fisher. “Due to its northern exposure and steep terrain, Attitash benefited from shade. We were skiing and riding on well over 90-percent of the mountain. Wildcat, on the other hand, had to make snow to regain some terrain and I believe the initial warm-up hurt our February vacation week attendance from an open terrain perspective,” Fisher explained. Yet according to Fisher, March has started strong and with Mt Washington Valley’s ski resorts in the direct path of Wednesday night’s storm plus more than a foot of snow predicted, there’s plenty of time left in the skiing season. Fisher added that the Peak Passes go on sale Wednesday, March 7th for only $99 down, and new pass holders can ski for the rest of the season, which will help build March skier visits and give avid skiers more time on the trails.
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Mountain Resort, also weighed-in telling the chamber, “We had a pretty solid president's week, finishing slightly behind last year overall”. She noted a very strong President's week in 2017 impacted this finding. “We had some of the busiest days of the season for our KidsRule program, which helped out-perform that numbers we saw during last year's vacation week. New Hampshire vacation performed pretty similarly, falling just short of last year,” finished Deschenes.
Clay Groves, who calls himself Chief Executive Nerd of Catch-M-All or Fish Nerds Guide Service, told the chamber that the first President’s vacation week was up over last year, while the second week was even with last year. “Cold weather early in the year made great ice for ice fishing, despite the warm temperatures during February vacation,” Groves explained. “We ice fished in 60-degree weather which was a treat. We saw twice the amount of business from last year and had to turn some away,” he reported.
Shopping is always the ideal weatherproof activity, and the retailers in Mt Washington Valley reporting to the survey said they benefitted from the unusual weather. “It's been a great two weeks,” said Dot Seybold, General Manager of Settlers Green, Settlers Crossing, Settlers Corner and the new Settlers Streetside. “Shoppers were here, and we saw a lot of Brits, Germans and some school groups from US. We have some fun new stores and new eateries. The new SoakingPot Spa had a great couple of weeks,” she finished. Dot explained that the President’s vacation week surpassed the New Hampshire vacation week and observed that it hurt not to have Rhode Islanders on vacation during these two vacation weeks this year.
Lodging properties also weighed in to the chamber’s survey. Steve Lambert, innkeeper and owner of the Inn at Thorn Hill in Jackson, NH, reported that both vacation weeks were up over last year in sales and bookings. He credited dinner packages and high-country snowshoeing at Great Glen Trails, plus three elopements in one week adding to the business for the two vacation weeks. In addition, a
national ratings for both Romantic Inn and Best Small Hotels in USA helped to boost Inn at Thorn Hill business.
Jen Kovach, Snowvillage Inn and Max’s Restaurant and Pub co-owner/innkeeper, reported that the President’s vacation week was up over last year for the inn and restaurant, while the second New Hampshire vacation week was even with last year. “While the weather was a bummer for some, guests took advantage of live music at Tuckerman Brewing Co, shows at Stone Mountain Arts Center, and the new ski museum in North Conway,” Kovach observed.
Gary Sullivan, Owner/General Manager of The White Mountain Hotel & Resort in North Conway, told the chamber that although the first President’s Vacation Week started out slow, it picked up later in the week and ended with the hotel even over last year. That was unfortunately not the case for the second New Hampshire vacation week. “The month as a whole ended up being even with last year. We just couldn't get a weather break,” reported Sullivan.
The report from Bud Selmi, owner of the Margarita Grill in Glen, was different from the rest of the businesses responding to the Chamber’s Survey. Unlike other businesses in the Valley, his restaurant sales during the President’s Vacation week were down over last year by 23-percent, while the New Hampshire vacation week was up by 5-percent.
With a foot of snow expected this week, and possibly more the following week, the ski resorts and XC Centers and snowmobile, ice fishing, and other winter recreation businesses can look forward to renewed visits throughout March. Season Pass sales are underway with many offering free skiing to new passholders for the rest of the year. “With snow in our yards plus the backyards of New Englanders, we are hopeful that tourism in Mt Washington Valley will go out like a lamb,” commented Janice Crawford.
With the storm coming, now is the time to get in on some great spring skiing with winter-like conditions. Visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org for complete trip-planning resources or call 800-367-3364 for help in planning. To learn more about trips to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Attached photo shows Thomas Prindle skiing in short sleeves at King Pine during Spring Vacation. King Pine Photo. tFor more photos, visit the online Flickr Photo Gallery here.