Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - New Hampshire news - NH resorts celebrate best winter ever - Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2008 - New Hampshire news - NH resorts celebrate best winter ever - Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2008
LINCOLN – New Hampshire ski resort operators gathered in the 90-degree heat yesterday to bask in the warmth of their past season, which broke an all-time record for skier visits.

The state’s ski industry reported 2,366,706 skier visits at alpine ski areas, beating the record set in 2001 of 2,357,000, said Karl Stone, spokesman for Ski NH.

"Everything fell in place," Stone said. "It shows what weather can do for us."

The organization, which markets the state’s 31 ski areas, both alpine and nordic, held its spring meeting at the InnSeason Resorts in Lincoln.

"The numbers this year were pretty pleasing," Greg Goddard, president of Ski NH and general manager of Gunstock in Gilford.

Nationally, the ski industry also set an all time record of 60.1 million skier visits. A visit is recorded when a skier or snowboarder spends a day or a portion of a day at a ski area.

Cannon Mountain took the overall record this year for snowfall, recording 251 inches; many ski areas reported over 200 inches. Average snowfall for a New Hampshire ski area is about 120 inches a year.

Cross country ski areas benefited tremendously from the natural snowfall and saw 151,040 skier visits, almost a 50 percent increase from the previous season, said Alice Pearce, executive director of Ski NH. Snow tubing visits were at 119,053 a 30 percent increase from the previous year.

Alpine visits were up 20.7 percent from the past year.

Bill Quigley, marketing chairman for the organization and also marketing director at Gunstock, said the coming season’s message will be that New Hampshire ski areas are less than a gas tank away. The industry’s primary market is Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.