FRANCONIA — Cannon Mountain, which is the only alpine ski area owned and operated by the state of New Hampshire, is ending the 2018-19 season on Monday, having recorded increases in both revenue and ridership.
As a state facility, Cannon is required to make its operational details public, whereas its privately-owned peers generally don’t.
This past Friday, as the season wound down, John DeVivo, who is general manager of Cannon and Franconia Notch State Park, shared the still-preliminary numbers with the Union Leader.
“It’s been a better-than-average season,” said DeVivo, adding that “the joke around here is we’ve had above-average snowfall, wind and rain and it’s certainly been an interesting El Nino winter.”
Thanks to the former, Cannon was “100 percent open on December 1, a rarity,” said DeVivo, which cumulatively has meant that skier visits are trending 12 percent ahead of last year and 16 percent ahead of the eight-year average.
In the winter, Cannon sees between 140,000 and 150,000 skiers and snowboarders, he said, while another 500,000 visitors come out to FNSP during the summer.
Cannon’s 2018-19 winter revenue is trending 4 percent ahead of last year and 9 percent ahead of the eight-year average, said DeVivo. The ski area was open for 20 weeks and 21 weekends, which is a typical season’s length, he said.
Operationally self-funded along with FNSP, DeVivo said Cannon’s success this winter was due to significant investments in past years in new, more efficient snow-making equipment and an extensive use of groomers.
Going forward, Cannon is looking to put approximately $1 million toward capital projects this summer, and another $2.6 million toward projects proposed for 2020. DeVivo said none of the work would impact the state’s General Fund.