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January 04. 2013 2:13AM

NH ski areas report strong start to season

Skier visits at resorts across the White Mountains are way up over last year, thanks to plenty of snow.

"The past week has been one of the strongest Christmas weeks in recent years," Molly Mahar, vice president of marketing at Loon Mountain Resort, said Thursday.

She added: "The natural snow was a well-timed Christmas present, with more than two feet of new snow falling and three 'powder days,' and our guests were very happy with snow conditions."

At Attitash Mountain Resort, skier visits were up 45 percent over the 2011 Christmas to New Year's Day period, according to Thomas Prindle, marketing director for Attitash and Wildcat Mountain.

Wildcat received more than six feet of snow in December, far more than the Pinkham Notch landmark got in December 2011.

On Christmas Day 2011, National Weather Service observers reported five inches of snow in Pinkham Notch, with only nine inches on the summit of Mount Washington. On New Year's Day this year, the notch had over two feet of snow.

Cannon Mountain had 52 trails open Thursday, having received 27 inches of new snow in the last nine days.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation Director Thom Perkins reported that Christmas week was up 150 percent over 2011, with New Year's weekend seeing an amazing 600 percent increase.

That was only topped by Northeast Snowmobile Rentals' 900 percent increase in business.

Marti Mayne of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce said that 100 percent of the businesses that responded to the chamber's survey indicated sales were up over the year before.

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Sara Young-Knox may be reached at syoungknox@newstote.com.



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