The heavy snowfall that coated the yards of houses across New England earlier this week is good news for New Hampshire ski resorts, which are seeing an increase in interest as a result of the so-called “backyard effect,” industry officials said.
Shannon Dunfey-Ball is a spokeswoman for Ski New Hampshire, a non-profit association that represents 31 ski resorts in New Hampshire. She said that when people see snow in their backyards, they are more likely to want to go skiing. This is known as the backyard effect.
Southern New Hampshire saw up to 20 inches of snow from the storm, but the middle and northern parts of the state received a just few inches, according to the National Weather Service. The storm triggered the backyard effect because it hit southern New England the hardest, a major market for the New Hampshire ski resorts. Areas in northern Massachusetts saw over 2 feet of snow, with 6 to 12 inches covering most of the rest of the state and northern Rhode Island, according to the NWS.
“The greatest part about the storm is not only did we get some snow in the southern part of the state, but it was more of a southeastern New England storm,” she said. “I think this storm is exactly what the ski resorts needed ... Hopefully we can keep that momentum going through the rest of the season.”
Dunfey-Ball said the resorts have been seeing increased interest, not only in the number of people visiting the resorts but also on social media. People have been liking and sharing images of the beautiful, snow-coated skiing trails and expressing their desire to visit the slopes, she said.
Greg Keeler, a spokesman for the Cannon Mountain Ski Resort in Franconia, N.H., said the resort sees a bump from the backyard effect every year. Keller said that for many in their consumer base in southern New England, it doesn’t really click that it’s skiing season until they see the snow in their yards.
“We do a lot of work to get the word out that we have snow up here ... but you really see a pop when it snows down in the marketplace,” he said.
The recent snow came after cold temperatures over the past couple weeks allowed some ski resorts to open early, Dunfey-Ball said.
Pats Peak in Henniker, N.H., was able to open Friday, over a week before they were scheduled to open Dec. 7, after receiving a foot of snow, the resort said. The snow continued, and the resort was able to stay open this week.
“Thanks to Mother Nature and the anticipated new snow, we will remain open for the week,” the resort said on Facebook Sunday. “Come out and enjoy some fresh powder!”
Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, N.H., made history this year with its earliest opening date ever on Nov. 16. At least 11 ski resorts in New Hampshire are already open, with four more opening in the next two weeks, according to Ski New Hampshire.