Despite the challenges associated with a winter season during a pandemic, the state of New Hampshire has reported strong skier visit numbers for the 2020-21 skiing and riding season.
According to trade group Ski New Hampshire, overall total winter visits (including alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and tubing visits), totaled 2.3 million, which statistically mirrors the 10-year average. This number is up four percent compared to the 2019-20 season, which was cut short by anywhere from two to four weeks for New Hampshire ski areas due to COVID-19.
The ski season turned out to be a welcome extension of the busy summer season that the Granite State enjoyed in 2020.
“We saw people flocking to the mountains to hike the trails and paddle on our lakes and streams during the summer and fall months because recreating outside was considered one of the safer things people could do,” Ski New Hampshire president Jessica Keeler said. “We suspected that we might see that trend continue into the winter months and that there would be a high demand for alpine and cross-country skiing, and we weren’t wrong.”
The state of Maine also saw a healthy winter, according to the Lewiston Sun-Journal. That wasn’t the case in Vermont, however. The state’s strict travel requirements during the pandemic helped lead to a difficult season, with an estimated 30 percent overall drop-off in revenue, with losses estimated at $100 million, according to the Vermont Ski Areas Association.
Alpine skier visits in New Hampshire were up five percent over last year, but down three percent compared to the 10-year alpine skier visits average. Cross-country skiing was down 10 percent and eight percent off the 10-year average. Snow tubing was up one percent compared to 2019-20 and up nine percent compared to the 10-year average.
“Overall, I’m really pleased with the season’s results, given all that our country was grappling with,” Keeler said. “In addition to pandemic challenges, we also had some challenging weather to contend with, so to end up having an ‘average’ season in a year that was anything but that is truly remarkable.”