Mt Washington Valley businesses report great Christmas Week and New Year's Eve holiday in 2019
Good news from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – January 6, 2019
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
SNOWSTORMS & WEDNESDAY HOLIDAY BOTH CONTRIBUTED TO STRONG CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAY WEEKS IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH
North Conway, NH – The consensus among Mt Washington Valley businesses was that it was a successful Christmas & New Year’s Eve holiday according to an informal survey distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. While concern for the lack of snow going into the holiday weeks was on the minds of tourism businesses, the snowstorm dumping over a foot of snow right before New Year’s Eve made up for it. In addition, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Wednesday, visitors to the valley tended to extend their holidays to the weekend, staying longer than in past years. Among those weighing into the survey, chamber members agreed that business was up over last year for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and days surrounding them.
“When ever we get a dumping of snow during a holiday period in the winter, we celebrate,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “While Mother Nature delivered an icy mix to much of the rest of New England, we received up to 14” of white fluff here in the Valley, which attracted outdoor adventurers to the region for New Year’s Eve and an extended weekend afterward,” Crawford finished.
The ski resorts, XC Centers and attractions all responded to the Chamber’s survey with enthusiasm for the weekend. Ellen Chandler, Executive Director of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation told the chamber that the last few days of the holiday weeks “rocked”. In addition, she explained that while pass sales were down over last year for the Christmas week, lessons were up over 2018, despite minimal terrain open until the New Year’s Eve snowstorm.
Jack Fagone, Director of Marketing, Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain told the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce that both resorts enjoyed a very successful few weeks surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday weeks. He mentioned that the addition of Attitash and Wildcat to the Epic Pass resulted in new skiers coming to the Valley. “It was great to see so many new Epic Pass holders coming out to see and sample the newest offerings on their passes. These pass holders went from one offering in New Hampshire a year ago, to now having four resorts to choose from in New Hampshire and it seems that they are really enjoying having Attitash and Wildcat on their passes,” said Fagone. “Additionally, 11” to 13" of new snow, when the rest of the Northeast was getting a wintry mix and ice storms, really kept us going strong on the back end of the week all the way through New Year's Day,” he added. In addition, Fagone made the point that with how the holidays fell it really helped people stretch out their vacations as many of them could have their kids out of school for almost two weeks.
While there is no comparative data for Living Shores Aquarium, the newly opened year-round aquarium next to Story Land, Lauren Hawkins, Director of Marketing, told the chamber that they saw an surge of visitors during the holiday periods. “Living Shores saw a strong boost in attendance over the holiday week along with an uptick at our new restaurant Pasta Mia,” explained Hawkins. “The lack of snow and unfavorable weather conditions during Christmas Week benefited Living Shores being an indoor attraction. The new snow later in the holiday break was a great addition and it didn’t seem to stop area visitors from getting out of the house during the storm!” she added.
Retailers who asked not to be quoted all mentioned the Christmas and New Year’s holiday resulted in good traffic and better than anticipated sales for the holiday weeks.
Laura Lemieux, Director of Marketing at Settlers Green – the region’s largest outlet mall and restaurant complex – told the chamber “It was a strong week for everyone here. Lots of shoppers were making the best of gift cards received over the holidays. Overall the shopping center was up from five to ten percent over last year with visitors.”
Most of the lodging properties responding to the Chamber’s survey were sold out for all or part of the Christmas week and New Year’s Eve holiday. “The weekend between Christmas and New Year’s was extremely busy, and we were completely full. We were full again for New Year's Eve and then almost everyone went home on New Year's Day,” reported Charlie Mallar, co-owner of the 1785 Inn.
Christopher Bellis, co-owner of the Cranmore Inn reported an increase in occupancy and revenues over last year’s holiday weeks. “At the Cranmore Inn we were up 12.6-percent in revenue for the seven days following Christmas compared to the same week last year, and 13.6-percent up in occupancy this year compared to last year. Revenues for the week following New Years are also up 10.8-percent with occupancy up by 3-percent”, he stated.
Jen Kovach, co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn also reported the inn’s occupancy was even with last year’s given guests staying to attend the Jonathan Edwards concert at Stone Mountain Arts Center plus enjoying the area. The inn’s restaurant, Max’s Restaurant and Pub, was sold out for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners.
Overall, everyone who responded to the chamber’s survey is enthusiastic and optimistic about the rest of the winter. “Season passes are strong and cross country skiing is on the rise,” explained Ellen Chandler. “People are realizing that cross country skiing is not as strenuous as it was made out to be; that you can ski and talk with friends and/or your children. And kids really like XC skiing; they like the liberating feeling of being able to move freely,” Chandler went on to explain.
“We hope to see additional snowstorms to keep people excited,” added Jack Fagone when asked about his prediction for the rest of the ski season. “For now, conditions are phenomenal and snowmaking is going strong to continue to allow us to open terrain. We also think that we'll see more and more Epic Pass holders coming to the region as we head into the spring, especially for those pass holders looking to extend their seasons at Wildcat,” he added.
To plan a winter vacation to Mt Washington Valley, NH, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call the chamber at 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH). For more information on visiting New Hampshire this winter, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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