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February 10. 2013 7:51PM

Race to Beat Cancer goes on at Cranmore in aftermath of blizzard

NORTH CONWAY - Shop keepers along a typically busy stretch of Main Street in North Conway Village were cleaning off their sections of sidewalk on Sunday morning.

It was a good day to be shoveling, with the bright sun quickly melting any stray lumps of snow dropped on the pavement.

With southern New England still digging out from the nor'easter that came blasting up the coast, traffic over the weekend was light. Events still went on, though, and at Cranmore Mountain the 36th annual Race to Beat Cancer fundraiser took place on Sunday as planned.

"It wouldn't have made sense to cancel," Kathy Metz, the regional community executive with the American Cancer Society said, noting the great conditions and weather. Conditions were ideal for recreational skiing - in the low 30s with a cloudless blue sky - but the driving ban in Massachusetts late Friday and early Saturday more than likely kept many skiers closer to home.

Metz said she estimated the fundraiser had about half the usual number of participants.

It was a good day to be on the trails, where the way was smoothed by new snow that felt like velvet underfoot.

The timing of the recent snowstorm might have had an effect on this past weekend's business in the northern half of the state but the fresh powder that fell Friday and Saturday set the stage for the upcoming three-day weekend and the February vacation week. Ski New Hampshire reported that downhill ski areas in the White Mountains received anywhere from 15 to 24 inches, with Nordic ski areas recording similar amounts.

For several of the cross-country ski areas, the new snow was a godsend. On Sunday, Bretton Woods had 38 of its 49 trails open, a return, the trail report said, to "nordic nirvana" after having little to no coverage on some of the trails on the previous weekend.

The snowmobiling season above the notches, which had started out with such great promise in December, was hitting some bumps prior to the storm. On Friday, trails in Twin Mountain were closed and the state Trails Bureau reported mostly icy conditions in other riding areas, with the exception of the northern trails in the Pittsburg system, which, even before the storm, were in overall good condition.

On Sunday many of the snowmobile clubs had not updated their trail conditions since the storm - most likely because they were out grooming the new snow. That was the case for the Lancaster Snow Drifters, who on Sunday did have time for a report.

"Sorry for no report yesterday (Saturday). Busy," the club posted on its website. "We received anywhere from 6-8 inches total from the clipper and then the Nor'easter. Both groomers were out all day yesterday packing and grooming. It snowed light powder until 3 p.m. yesterday."

syoungknox@newstote.com


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