Mt Washington Valley businesses report "stellar" Christmas Week, 2018
Good news from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Marti Mayne, PR Manager, 207-846-6331 or PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
TEMPERATE WEATHER CONTRIBUTED TO STELLAR CHRISTMAS WEEK IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH
North Conway, NH – Twenty above during Christmas Week 2018 versus twenty below during Christmas Week 2017 was probably one of the greatest contributors to the positive comments conveyed in a recent informal survey of membership from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. When asked about Christmas Week and New Year’s Eve, Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members were much more positive this year.
“Weather has a huge influence on tourism in Mt Washington Valley,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “This year Mother Nature delivered just the right temps for outdoor fun including the gift of snow along the way,” finished Crawford.
When asked about the Christmas Week, Mt Washington Valley’s ski resort marketing directors all responded with positive enthusiasm. “We’re having a wonderful, successful holiday week,” responded Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. “Pretty easy to pin it down, + 20F vs -20F last year for starters,” added Wemyss, who also explained that their expanded SnowCoach reservations throughout the entire day, plus a new PistenBully 400 groomer help to sell out SnowCoach Tours during the holiday week and keep snow surfaces ideal for skiing. In addition, Wemyss added, “The Glen House being open on property has now added a considerable number of people to our mix so lessons are up, and rentals are up as well. We’re lovin’ it!”
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Mountain Resort, described the holiday week as “stellar” there, adding, “We were up across all areas of business for the week: skier visits, lessons, and tubing and the Mountain Adventure Park rides. Except for Friday’s rain event, the weather couldn’t have been better.” She credits the aggressive snowmaking efforts leading into the holiday week with allowing 80-percent of the resort’s snowmaking terrain to be open, which she added “is very much ahead of schedule – the 8 inches of fresh snow from Friday and NYE was a bonus!”
Aly Moore, Marketing Coordinator for King Pine Ski Area, echoed the strong positive sentiment saying, “King Pine Ski Area had a very strong 2018 Christmas week. We were fortunate to have 100-percent of our terrain open plus offered additional activities with snowtubing, ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowshoeing.” She then added, “It's difficult to compare 2018 with 2017 as the weather was very different but looking at historical Christmas week numbers, 2018 certainly is a strong year.”
Jack Fagone, Marketing Director for Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, reported that their Christmas Week was definitely “up” over last year. “Last year was bitterly cold and this year was much more pleasant, which definitely attributed to our numbers being up this year. We had a great event with Attitash After Dark, and we hit capacity,” he shared. All of this contributed to a strong Christmas Week and New Year’s Eve celebration this year at Attitash and Wildcat.
The fun didn’t stop at Mt Washington Valley’s ski resorts and XC Centers. Snowmobile outfitters weighed in to the chamber’s survey too. Peter Gagne, owner of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling told the chamber, “We had an excellent Christmas week despite the lack of riding. Fortunately, the trails in Bartlett were open and being groomed. We were able to offer two-hour guided tours and sold out each day. Business was equal to last year It was a great week with lots of smiles. “
In addition, Terry MacGillivray, owner of Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals, said that while the lack of snow was a challenge, there were still many positive aspects to the holiday week. He told the chamber, “Northeast Snowmobile was fortunate to be open at our Gorham NH location until December 28th, then moved to the Fryeburg location for the remainder of the vacation week. Call volume and rentals were both up over last winter. Gift card sales prior to Christmas were up over 50-percent from previous years.”
For the Conway Scenic Railroad, it wasn’t so much weather as a new reservation system that contributed to huge increases in sales during Christmas Week, 2018. Susan Logan, Director of Marketing at Conway Scenic Railroad, told the chamber, “From Saturday 12/22 through Monday 12/31, we were up 85-percent over the same period last year. For Wednesday 12/26 through Monday 12/31 we were up 56-percent. Shy of just a handful of seats, we were sold out on several of these days. Obviously, we’re really happy with ridership on our holiday trains, and we’ve had wonderful feedback from guests who appreciate this option to skiing,” she reported. “The change in our numbers was largely a result of more advance reservations, thanks to our new reservations’ system,” Logan added while explaining that they also had a number of walk-in reservations too.
When it comes to lodging, Aly Moore Marketing Coordinator for Purity Spring Resort shared that “Our New Year's Eve celebration was very well attended and lodging numbers for overnight guests staying at Purity Spring Resort were good too. Families of multiple generations were out enjoying the shared festive atmosphere around the resort.”
In addition, Charlie Mallar from the 1785 Inn responded to the chamber’s holiday week survey saying, “We had a very busy week - completely full from the 28th through the 31st; definitely up from last year when it was bitterly cold.”
Stephanie Orr, Red Jacket Resorts Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales, also shared information with the Chamber via the membership survey, reporting that sales were up for the Christmas Week and New Year’s Eve holidays at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort & Water Park. “People were spending more, our occupancy was very family driven and that is historical for us,” she said. In addition, Orr shared, “We were sold out for New Years with strong participation in our Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Party.”
Steve Lambert, co-owner of the Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa reported an increase for this year’s Christmas Week too. Steve told the chamber, “We had a 20-percent increase in Wine Cellar holiday parties, with more and companies are choosing to have a quiet, upscale dinner with transportation included for their staff.” In addition, he shard that accommodation books were up 18-percent over last year, with the live entertainment and gifts from Santa at each guest room door on Christmas morning being a big hit. In addition, according to Lambert, “Canadians started coming back and staying for three- day stints in conjunction with Settler’s Green shopping packages, plus three weddings and elopements helped to drive business over the holiday week.”
Timothy Psaledakis, owner of Jewelry by Tim & Friends, told the chamber that this year’s Christmas holiday sales were on par with last year. “Milder weather and perhaps more activity at the Conway Scenic RR contributed to more foot traffic,” Tim shared, while observing that traffic to the store during the New Year’s Eve celebration was down this year.
Peter Gagne of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling told the chamber that advance bookings for winter are up 20 percent over last year. With a little help in the form of continued snowfall, the tourism businesses in Mt Washington Valley can look forward to a strong winter. Given the early snowfall in November and as much as 15” of snowfall reported by ski resorts in the past week, numbers for the 2018-19 winter season are looking strong going into the new year.
For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley, go to www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 800-367-3363 (800-DO-SEE-NH). To learn more about planning a New Hampshire vacation, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo: Fireworks over Conway Scenic Railroad on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy of Conway Scenic RR.