From snowflakes to hedgehogs and alligators, Mt Washington Valley businesses offered enthusiastic reasons for double digit increases for the two February Vacation Weeks.
North Conway, NH – When Mt Washington Valley businesses recently compared 2013 Winter Vacation Weeks with 2012, there was one prominent word used to describe the business increases over last year. SNOW. While at times the snow was somewhat of a blessing and a curse with snow impacting some weekend travel plans, most Mt Washington Valley businesses applauded the 20 to 30-inches of snowfall that occurred in the Valley during President’s Week and NH Vacation Week. The well-timed storm prior to vacation week (which many called Nemo) also helped to fuel excitement about hitting the slopes and trails for winter adventure. Many also credited the “backyard” effect of skiers seeing snow in their own backyards to motivate them to travel to Mt Washington Valley and enjoy all the outdoor recreation there. Overall, the responses were extremely positive to an informal survey of businesses about the two vacation weeks distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.
As would be expected, all those involved in delivering winter adventure had nothing but smiles following the President’s Week and NH Vacation Week. Peter Gagne, owner of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling shared the company had a record vacation week. “We sold out the entire nine days of President’s vacation week (and weekends on both sides) at both of our locations, he shared. Gagne added, “The snow down south really helped …we welcomed a huge increase from travelers from Southern New England especially from Connecticut”. Northern Extremes Snowmobiling also had a very strong NH Vacation Week, sharing that sales were up nearly 15-percent from 2012. Terry MacGillivray, owner of Northeast Snowmobile Rentals reported a 300-percent increase in sales over 2012 for President’s Week and a 200-percent increase in sales for the NH Vacation Week also crediting the great snow conditions and an increase in couples and groups this year.
Ski resorts and XC Center marketing directors were enthusiastic about the increased snowfall timed perfectly with the vacation weeks. Thom Perkins, Executive Director of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation reported a 24-percent increase in trail pass sales and even more in lesson sales at the XC Center for the President’s week and more than a 12-percent increase for NH Vacation week (reporting before the vacation week ended) crediting the snow conditions, and an increase in lesson sales. “We have been teaching a large number of lessons. We had days that doubled previous eight year average of lessons. We have been putting emphasis on learning to ski for several years and it is starting to pay off,” shared Perkins.
Cranmore Mountain Resort was up 8-percent in skier visits over 2012 for President’s Week and 5-percent for President’s Weekend, according to Cranmore Mountain, Becca Deschenes, Marketing Manager. Reporting before the end of the NH Week, Cranmore was already 13-percent up in skier visits over 2012. “The storm right before President’s week helped people get really excited to get out and ski and ride,” commented Deschenes.
Craig Clemmer, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Omni Mount Washington Resort reported double digit growth for the NH Vacation week at Bretton Woods. Genn Anzaldi, Director of Marketing at Black Mountain told the chamber 2013 President’s Week was one of the best vacation weeks on record for Black Mountain which logged a 15-percent increase in skier visits over last year for the President’s Vacation Week crediting the great snow conditions and plenty of pre-vacation promotion for the increase.
Lodging properties reported to the survey with equal zeal. Steve Lambert, GM at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort reported a 25-percent increase in room sales over last year, crediting everything from great snow to “alligators to hedgehogs in the ballroom” (part of the traveling zoo that visited the resort during the vacation week along with a group of Olympic jump ropers). Tom Spaulding, GM at Hampton Inn and Suites reported essentially even occupancy with last year(which was also nearly sold out during vacation weeks), sharing that the storm on President’s Weekend left some digging out in Massachusetts. He credits the indoor water park offering a “weatherproof” attraction for guests with vacation week success.
Artie Adams, General Manager at Eastern Inns reported in with one of the best vacation weeks in a long time, also crediting the great snow conditions for the increases over last year. “We had a lot of families extended their stays because of the great skiing conditions and location and excellent customer service,” explained Adams.
A number of additional lodging property owners responding to the survey but wishing not to be quoted also reported occupancies ranging from “even” compared with last year to 30-percent increases. Every lodging owner responding to the survey was extremely positive about their room sales for the two vacation weeks.
Dorthea (Dot) Seybold, Retail General Manager at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village and Settlers’ Crossing had just three words to describe her enthusiasm for President’s Week shopping. “Up-Up-Up,” she explained when asked about increases over last year. Dot explained that the outlet center welcomed more Canadians this year, but primarily credits the great snow conditions with attracting more skiers to the region, who shopped after they hit the slopes. Dot’s comments were mirrored by others who responded to the survey saying they welcomed many Canadians during President’s Week.
“Overall we are very positive heading into March,” commented Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “With more than 170 inches of snowfall this winter in parts of Mt Washington Valley fueling plenty of enthusiasm for outdoor winter adventure, we expect to see a strong end of the ski season extending well into early-to-mid April,” finished Crawford.
To learn more about visiting Mt Washington Valley, including complete vacation planning tools, visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NHY (800-367-3362). To learn more about planning your next vacation to New Hampshire, visit www.visitnh.gov.
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Photos of vacation weeks available upon request.