Mt Washington Valley businesses celebrate stellar February Vacation Weeks
Good News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – March 5, 2019
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
SNOW WAS KEY INGREDIENT IN STELLAR FEB VACATION WEEKS FOR MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES
North Conway, NH – Ask any business in a destination dependent on tourism whether the vacation week went well, and their answer will primarily be dependent upon the weather. In an informal survey of Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) members, the key ingredient driving success for members during the February vacation weeks was snow. While the backyards of skiers and riders south of the Valley have been generally bare all winter, the abundance of snow in Mt Washington Valley has driven tourism all winter, and according to MWVCC members, continued to contribute to stellar sales during the Presidents and NH School Vacation Weeks. With last year’s February vacation weeks plagued with warm weather, Mt Washington Valley businesses welcomed snow and vacationers this year during the President’s Week. Unfortunately, Mother Nature raised havoc with high winds and cold temps during the NH Vacation Week, which had an impact on some businesses, but those not effected by the weather were generally even with last year for the week.
“It’s no wonder that snow is important to North Conway which was named the #1 ski town in the United States for two years in a row,” commented Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “With 13 ski resorts and XC Centers in our region, we have benefitted tremendously from as much as 200-inches of snowfall at our resorts. We work hard to get the message out that there’s snow in the Valley, and the marketing efforts appear to be working well,” she finished.
Howie Wemyss, General Manager of Mt Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and Gorham Land Co. responded to the Chamber’s informal survey saying, Great Glen Trails was up by 20-percent over last year for this year’s President’s Vacation Week. Great snow, and generally great weather with some new snow helped with the “fever”, according to Wemyss, and were contributing factors for Great Glen Trails increase for President’s Week. And while the second NH Vacation Week started generally down over last year due to record breaking winds and weather reports that scared people away, the New Hampshire Vacation week was better toward the end, according to Weymss. In explaining the changes, Weymss also mentioned, “It’s hard to compare this year to last year because of the very positive effect The Glen House is having along with our expanded reservation system on the SnowCoach (now up 4% for the year with Mar and maybe April still to come)”.
Ellen Chandler, Executive Director of Jackson XC, shared that both vacation weeks were up over last year, summing it up perfectly when she said “It’s really all about the snow!” The Presidents Week was up 7-percent in skier visits and slightly more in revenue, and New Hampshire Vacation week was up 10-percent in skier visits and even more in revenues at Jackson Ski Touring. “We attribute the numbers increase to snow, and revenue growth to a higher percentage of new skiers who needed additional services such as rentals and instruction,” said Chandler. While the high winds impacted some of the ski resorts, skiers found refuge during the New Hampshire Vacation week in lower elevations and XC Centers.
Rebecca Deschenes, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Mountain Resort reported a record-breaking President’s Week this year at North Conway’s ski resort, explaining the resort had the highest vacation week revenue to date, and record numbers for the KidsRule Mountain Camps. “The stars really aligned for Presidents Week; we couldn’t have asked for better weather, plus the snow going into the week and the few inches that fell during the week really helped too,” she told the chamber.
And when it comes to great snow, the snowmobile outfitters in Mt Washington Valley also benefitted, especially compared to last year when warm temps plagued the vacation weeks and snowmobiling conditions. Terry MacGillivray, owner of Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals, reported that sales during the Presidents Week vacation period were up by 50-percent over last year and even with last year for the subsequent New Hampshire School Vacation week, also observing that the trails are the best they have been in the past 18 years. “The weather was perfect for snowmobiling during the first vacation week, cold at night and 30's in day,” MacGillivray told the chamber. “The weather for New Hampshire Vacation was cold. Weather is key for us, no rain, no floods, cold at night and above 30 during the day is ideal,” he finished.
Peter Gagne, owner, said that Northern Extremes Snowmobiling, had its busiest Presidents Vacation week ever on record. “It was an easy comparison over last year. What was the difference? Snow and lots of it!” said Gagne noting that last year Northern Extremes was only able to open for four days of the vacation week. He also shared that the New Hampshire vacation week was even with the year before. Gagne explained that more people are taking Fridays and Mondays off and coming to Mt Washington Valley this winter, contributing to this being a record winter for Northern Extremes.
The Chamber’s lodging members weighed in to the survey too. The management at Swiss Chalets Village Inn said that both vacation weeks were even with last year. In addition, Howie Weymss said, “We were very happy with the hotel bookings at The Glen House, having just opened in September, and thrilled with the local following the Notch Grille has already developed”.
Jen Kovach, co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn and Max’s Restaurant and Pub, observed that it was a very busy vacation week in Snowville, definitely on par for the inn and restaurant with last year. Many people took advantage of the inn’s private snowshoe trails as well as visiting nearby Purity Springs XC and Snowshoe Reserve plus Great Glen Trails. In addition, guests enjoyed concerts at the Stone Mountain Arts Center.
Steve Lambert, co-owner of the Inn at Thorn Hill, told the chamber that the inn was sold out both weekends of vacation weeks due to Southern New Englanders learning about the snow levels in Mt Washington Valley. In addition, the Inn’s Dining Room and wine cellar booked up with guests dining there for the first time.
There’s plenty of time left to enjoy spring skiing in Mt Washington Valley. With more than 200-inches of snowfall in parts of the Valley, the spring skiing season will last long into April. Plan to visit for the best part of the ski season by visiting www.MtWashingtonValley.org for all the vacation planning information you need or call 800-367-3364 to talk to a vacation planner. For more information about visiting New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo: Skiers rejoice with yet more new snow during Presidents Vacation Week at King Pine (credit: King Pine photo).