New Hampshire — A warm winter led to a decrease in skier visits to the Granite State.

Last week, Ski New Hampshire (Ski NH) announced its metrics for the 2023-24 season. Visits to all recreational activities tallied by Ski New Hampshire, including alpine skiing, nordic, and snow tubing, were down six percent. Alpine ski areas had an estimated 2,166,857 visits, down 4% compared to the 2022-23 season. These numbers are similar to those the U.S. ski industry collectively experienced during the 2023-24 season.

Although this was a bit of a down year, there were still some positives. For alpine visits, it was the 14th biggest all-time out of the forty years they’ve recorded. It was also 2.4% above the ten-year total visits average. Ultimately, I would say the season was a success due to the curveballs that the ski industry here was able to endure.

For more information about this past ski season, Ski NH’s press release is below.

Ski New Hampshire Reports 2023-24 Season’s Results:

Season a success despite challenging weather conditions

North Conway, NH – Ski New Hampshire reported skier visits during their annual meeting Wednesday at Cranmore Mountain Resort, noting that alpine ski areas recorded an estimated 2,166,857 visits. Alpine visits were down four percent from last year’s total; collectively, alpine, cross-country, and tubing visits were off by six percent.

“Given the challenging weather conditions this season, and comparing these numbers to last year which was our ninth best on record, these results were not unexpected,” said Ski NH president Jessyca Keeler. “And while the 2023/24 ski season doesn’t make the top 10 for alpine visits, it does come in 14th overall, compared to our 40 years of data. Additionally, the season compared favorably to the 10-year alpine skier visit average, coming in four percent above that number.”

The season was marked by fits and starts, with cold and snowy weather kicking off the winter, only to be followed before the critical Christmas holiday period with heavy rains that took a toll on trail counts. However, Mother Nature helped out during other key periods, including during Presidents Weekend and that February vacation week, when skier visits were up during a time that represents 20% or more of many ski areas’ seasonal visitation. Two late-season storms positively impacted final skier visits as well, particularly for the more northern ski areas, but those same storms either came too late or resulted in wetter and heavier snow further south, causing power outages and iced-over chairlifts, according to Keeler. “Ultimately those storms resulted in a net gain of skier visits, but that gain was not evenly distributed.”

Cross-country areas had tougher challenges due to the season’s weather patterns. Though some areas have started to invest in snowmaking in recent years, covering kilometers of trails isn’t easy or necessarily affordable for smaller ski areas, said Keeler.

“The manic winter we had that witnessed Mother Nature giving us snow (sometimes) and then taking it away resulted in a bigger dip in year-over-year skier visits for Nordic areas,” said Keeler. “Those visits are estimated to be approximately 87,621, representing a drop of 14% compared to the prior year, and a variation of -26% from the 10-year average.”

Keeler noted that there are a couple of Ski NH member alpine areas that also have Nordic areas that haven’t been tracking the skier usage of their trails since the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a small impact on the numbers, and Windblown (which was an area whose visitation was tracked in the 40-year data) shut down after the 2019-2020 season. That withstanding, Nordic visits were down at most ski areas.

Tubing operations were impacted by the weather as well, coming in at 101,163 visits, which was 22% down from last year. However, last year New Hampshire ski areas recorded their highest tubing visits ever, and when comparing last year’s tubing numbers to the 10-year average, tubing visits were only off by a much lower eight percent.

Combining all visits – alpine, cross-country, and tubing – Keeler noted that the season was six percent down year over year, “but somewhat surprisingly, it was two percent up relative to the 10-year total visits average.”

New Hampshire ski areas anticipate continued strong demand for the coming winter season. Resorts are already investing millions of dollars in capital improvements for next year – adding new trails and widening existing ones, building new and improving older base area facilities, and investing in snowmaking.

Many resorts have also resumed summer operations, offering activities from scenic lift rides, ziplines, and mountain coasters to golf, disc golf, mountain biking, and adventure parks. For more information about Ski NH resorts, summer activities, events, and mountain wedding venues, visit SkiNH.com

Ski New Hampshire is the statewide association representing 30+ alpine and cross-country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information, visit SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, go to VisitNH.gov.

Image Credits: Ski NH

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