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Conditions mixed for New England ski industry heading into holiday week

  • Jason Maulucci of the Vermont governor's office tries a new indoor climbing facility at Jay Peak ski area in Jay, Vt., on Feb. 14, 2018. The conditions are mixed for the ski industry heading into the critical Presidents Day holiday week, traditionally one of the biggest weeks of the year for skiers. Resorts say there has been lots of snow in the weeks leading up to the holiday, but spring-like conditions are forecast for much of the week with temperatures in some areas possibly hitting the 60s. AP

Associated Press
Published: 2/19/2018 9:33:30 PM

Conditions are mixed heading into one of the biggest weeks of the season for the region’s ski industry, but there is snow on the ground and resorts still expect people to hit the slopes.

The weekend was cold and snow fell in parts of the region, which is considered by the ski industry to be one of the best ways to encourage people to head north for skiing. But after that the forecast for much of next week calls for higher temperatures that could reach the 60s by midweek.

“The destination guest is going to come regardless of the forecast because they’ve committed to it,” said J.J. Toland, a spokesman for Jay Peak, a Vermont resort just south of the Canadian border. “When you see these types of funky forecasts, what it does for us is it alters the pattern of the day.”

When ski conditions aren’t the best, instead of spending time on the slopes, people can use the water park, climbing wall or movie theater. Other resorts in the region offer mini-golf, laser tag, winter mountain biking or swimming.

Ben Wilcox, general manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, N.H., said this year has been “a little up and down.” But the number of skiers has gradually risen, he said, with the resort expecting strong numbers for Presidents Day week.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand out there from people wanting to find reasonable winter temperatures,” he said.

For the region’s ski industry, the week after Christmas is traditionally the most important, along with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day.

Skiers are accustomed to fickle weather in New England, and this winter has been no exception. The New Year began with temperatures cold enough to drive skiers away. Since then, temperatures have been up and down, and there has been rain and snow.

Earlier this month, some of the resorts received more than a foot of snow and temperatures have been cold enough for them to keep making snow.

“Overall, the season has been kind of tough, because while the early season was good, the Christmas holidays took a hit due to the extreme cold,” said Jessica Keeler of Ski New Hampshire, “despite the fact that conditions were fantastic.”

Mark Pomykato of Portland, Maine, said a springlike meltdown this week would be disappointing, but that wouldn’t prevent people from skiing. He said he still plans to hit the slopes.

“People will be there,” he said.

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