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School break makes money for White Mountains, North Country

WHITE MOUNTAINS - The storms that blew through just before last week's school vacation for Massachusetts students and their families helped to boost business.

"It was a record week for us," Scott Ross, executive chef at Moat Mountain Smokehouse Brewery in Intervale said, noting the establishment served a lot of families and larger groups. "The skiing is good, so it's been a very good winter."

Dot Gunter at Loon Reservation Service & Sales also reported a great week.

"We were very busy," she said, explaining that the service manages the rental of 100 units, with some units reserved for longer-term winter use. "What we did have was booked. People were very happy."

"We were pretty much 90 percent full all week," Nicole LaPointe, guest relations manager at Mountain View Grand in Whitefield, said.

Lodging for the three-day weekend, she added, was sold out.

"It's definitely better than last year, since we really didn't have any snow then," she said.

On Tuesday, she was looking forward to another storm coming in.

"Last week was good for the (ski) areas, but not outstanding," Karl Stone, marketing director of Ski New Hampshire, said. "It was a slight improvement over last year for most, but the wind and then snowy roads for travel impacted business levels on several days. That said, we're ecstatic to have been dealing with the winter weather. There is an awesome base of soft snow in place, more tomorrow, and clear roads for this weekend. The stage is set for incredible skiing and riding for the upcoming weeks."

For Great Glen Trails, located at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road in Pinkham Notch, the official snow depth was 17 inches.

That compares to only six inches on Feb. 1.

It's enough snow to give winter sports enthusiasts a good base on which to race up the Northeast's highest peak, Mount Washington.

On Sunday, 150 skiers and snow-shoers will compete in the annual Ski to the Clouds, with four-time winner and Olympian Justin Freeman returning to defend his title in the 10km race.