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Boulder, CO, Mar. 2–In New England, skiers and snowboarders showed up in droves during President’s Day weekend for the best snow conditions of the season. As a result, most resorts reported record days and, by far, their busiest weekend of the season.
“Sunday Feb. 20 was the biggest day in three years, the third biggest day in our resort’s history, and the biggest day and weekend of the year,” said John Urdi, marketing director at Attitash Bear Peak in New Hampshire.
A combination of fresh snow, comfortable temperatures, and sunny skies helped get the holiday week off to a good start.
“Sunday was the busiest day in the history of Okemo, and 28 percent over our projections for the day,” said Pam Cruickshank, communications director for Okemo, VT. Cruickshank also noted that the resort exceeded its overall projections for the President’s holiday week by nearly 13 percent. That was slightly ahead of last year, which had previously been the busiest seven-day stretch.
Most areas reported stronger-than-expected crowds on Saturday, Feb. 19, which was the day after a huge snowstorm created difficult driving conditions for folks driving up from the south. In northern Vermont, Sugarbush reported its busiest three-day weekend in three years, while Jay Peak got a boost from its Canadian neighbors.
“We’re seeing the best Quebec attendance we’ve seen in years,” said Conrad Klefos, vice president of marketing for Jay Peak. Klefos added that Sunday Feb. 20, exceeded any Sunday during the past five years.
In Maine, both Sunday River and Sugarloaf reported stellar attendance results. “Without a doubt, this has been the best weekend of the season,” said Chip Seamans, Sunday River’s managing director. Sugarloaf posted an all-time record for the three-day weekend.
Of course, most resorts conceded that the start of the 1999-2000season was “horrible,” but since early January, snowfall has been steady. Killington, VT has received seven feet of natural snow since the New Year and Sugarbush, VT has received 189 inches as of Feb. 20. Sugarbush’s total was 58 inches more than was recorded at the same time last season.
But, the good attendance figures for the East seemed doomed by the end of the holiday week. A rather long, warm spell hit the resorts, melting a big chunk of the hard-earned bases and leaving the rest of the season a question mark.