Some spent Sunday shovelling or staying indoors, avoiding strong winds and dropping temperatures. But Jen and Eric Winer of Franklin decided on another path and, season lift passes around their necks, took their young sons to the Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton.
“Winters are long in New England,” Jen Winer said. “You can either succumb to it and hide in your house, or you can find something to entertain yourself.”
Last week, on the Sunday the city was buried under more than 2 feet of snow, some ski centers reported the busiest day of the season so far.
Blue Hills sold about 1,200 day passes on Feb. 10, a number that does not include people like the Winers, who came to the slopes last week with season passes.
“It’s been excellent. There’s a big difference when people see snow in their backyard and when they don’t,” said general manager Vero Piacentini. “They don’t believe it when we say we have snow, especially when we go through the very warm periods, they cannot fathom that there is snow in Boston.”
This most recent Sunday was slower, after the National Weather Service predicted high winds and strong gusts in the Boston area, with temperatures dropping into the mid-20s by sundown and roads were slippery under several inches of snow.
At Blue Hills, the parking lot was busy, but there were few lines for the lift and plenty of room on the slopes. “I think that we would be doing better if the roads were in better shape,” said Jennifer Heinen, customer service manager for Blue Hills.
Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton hit its capacity of 4,200 skiers and snowboarders for the first time this season on Feb. 10, a pleasant spike after the past two years brought little snow and fewer people than usual.
“We were way ahead of last year already, but last year was an anomaly anyway,” said Tom Meyers, Wachusett’s director of marketing.
Neil Sawyer, co-owner of Ski Bradford, estimated that weekly business was up about 30 percent from an average week last February.
“Last Sunday was a very good day,” he said. “We had a big Sunday, and I don’t think we had a big Sunday all last year.”
Fewer skiers showed up this Sunday, he said, probably because they did not want to ski in the cold winds.
“Today we’re not seeing that much business. It’s pretty windy and the snow stopped, but it’s cooler outside with the wind, so it’s kept the skiers away,” Sawyer said. “It’s just not a great day to be outside.”
Allie Gefteas of Canton, 10, skipped her sister’s basketball game Sunday for a higher calling: There was new snow in Blue Hills, her neighbors were going, and she wanted to snowboard for the first time this season.
Though the snow had died down by the time she reached the top of the chair lift, gusts of wind blew whirls of snow along the side of the hill.
“I got off the lift and I kept falling because of the snow blowing in my face,” said Gefteas. “It was pretty cold, even though I wore a lot of clothes for it.”
She had a great time anyway, she said, especially navigating turns on a medium-difficulty blue trail.
Bob Segal of Mansfield brought his daughter Rebecca, 10, who usually spends her winters ice skating and had never skied.
“We were looking for something to do and we couldn’t go to the beach,” Segal said.