Ski New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD) kicked off the ski season with the first-ever Ski 603 Winter Kickoff event. DTTD revealed projections for winter visitation and visitor spending, as well as its winter marketing campaign. Speakers highlighted the New Hampshire ski industry while discussing tourism’s critical role in the New Hampshire economy. In true après-ski fashion, the event featured beverage tastings from 13 New Hampshire native breweries, meaderies, and distilleries from around the state.
With the theme “Après-Ski,” the event redefined the traditional Ski New Hampshire media reception typically held in Boston before the Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo. The aim of the event was to provide a festive and relaxed atmosphere where ski areas could mix and mingle with guests to share information about 2018/19 ski area capital improvements, events, and products. Ski areas shared booths with New Hampshire breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Where sample-sized drink choices ranging from hand-crafted cocktails, creative microbrews and mead-based bubbles were served. Bringing the event home to New Hampshire and hosting the event at McIntyre Ski Area helped to celebrate New Hampshire’s skiing heritage and showcase aspects of ski and snowboard culture.
Ski areas in attendance included Black Mountain Ski Area, Cannon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Great Glen Trails XC, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Jackson Ski Touring Center, King Pine Ski Area, Loon Mountain Resort, McIntyre Ski Area, Mount Sunapee, Pats Peak, Ragged Mountain, Waterville Valley Resort, and Whaleback Mountain.
Participating NH Beverage Companies included 603 Brewery, Backyard Brewery, Flying Goose Brewery, Great North Aleworks, Hobbs Brewery, Lone Wolfe Brewery, Moat Mountain Brewery, Sap House Meadery, Smuttynose Brewery, Stark Brewing Company & Distillery, Tamworth Distillery, Tuckermans Brewery, and Woodstock Station Brewing.
During the speaking part of the night, Taylor Caswell, the commissioner of the state Department of Business and Economic Affairs, announced the winter tourism forecast that more than 2.5 million overnight travelers are expected to spend $1.1 billion in the 2018-19 season.
Vicki Cimino, Director of the New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism, unveiled the 18/19 winter creative strategy for the Granite State. Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig—who learned to ski at McIntyre Ski Area—welcomed the crowd of more than 200 to what she hoped would become an annual event.
Jessyca Keeler, Executive Director of Ski New Hampshire, reported that the snowstorms of March left skiers and riders with a great finish to the 17/18 season, so people were excited about the 18/19 season starting. The constant snow storms this month and cold weather have elevated the excitement levels and those ski areas that were open for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend anecdotally reported that they saw great business levels. This most recent storm dropped over 15” at some ski areas.
With the early season natural snowfall throughout November and forecasts looking favorable for snowmaking in the coming weeks, the ski season in New Hampshire is off to a great start. Most alpine resorts are already open, as are several cross-country ski areas, and the remaining alpine areas are slated to open over the next few weeks.
The Granite State’s ski areas will have much more than opening for skiing on the schedule. Countdown to the holidays is here. Guests can enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing, tubing, and fat biking, plus specially-planned activities to celebrate at their favorite NH resort. For more information on conditions and upcoming events at Ski New Hampshire’s 32 alpine and cross-country ski area members, visit SkiNH.com.
Ski New Hampshire is the statewide association representing 32 alpine and cross-country resorts in New Hampshire.