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New Hampshire sees bump in ski business

Resorts in New Hampshire snow country generated $1.15 billion in direct and secondary sales for the 2012-13 season, according to the latest economic study released by Ski NH, and encompassing 33 resorts and more than 200 lodging properties.

The study showed a 26 percent increase over the last similar study, conducted for the 2009-10 season, of $910 million, and place the state fourth nationally in per capita ski-related revenue.

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According to Alice Pearce, president of Ski NH, the report showed the far-reaching impact of the ski industry on the state’s overall economy.

“Only 11 percent of the total direct and secondary sales generated by ski area visitors actually took place at the ski area,” she said. “This reflects the substantial contribution these ski area visitors are making through spending at hotels, second homes, restaurants, and other service facilities.”

Prepared by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies at Plymouth State University, highlights of the report on the 2012-13 season showed the following:

 Direct spending by visitors at resorts and resort towns totaled $300.4 million, up from $282.2 million in 2009-10. An additional $58.6 million was spent by summer and fall visitors, for total direct spending of $359 million from May 2012 to April 2013.

 Skier/rider spending made up 45.3 percent of total traveler spending in the state’s northern and western regions.

 Capital investment at resorts totaled more than $121 million during the past decade — $38.4 million in snowmaking equipment, $31.4 million in ski lifts, $22.2 million in new and improved lodges, $15.6 million in grooming equipment, $7.6 million in offseason/summer facilities, and $5.9 million in trail improvements.

 The majority of New Hampshire winter resort visitors are from Massachusetts (46 percent) and New Hampshire (34 percent).

 Early this month, as the winter season approached the midway point, a report from the marketing agency DestiMetrics showed an upswing in destination lodging visits over last year could materialize, depending on the season’s second half.

The DestiMetrics data showed that occupancy at mountain resorts was up 6.2 percent nationally.

However, the West Coast, which has endured drought conditions nearly all season, reported a nearly 50 percent decline from the five-year average.

Snowy weather also boosted retail sales, according to SnowSports Industries of America (SIA) and the leisure trends group RetailTRAK, which reported that snowsports retailers had a record holiday season, with sales into January reaching $2.2 billion.

X Games extended

The Winter X Games, which recently completed its 13th year at Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, will stay at the resort through 2019 after the contract with ESPN was extended.

“It’s amazing how X Games has become seemingly part of Aspen and Snowmass’s identity over the years,” said John Rigney, a spokesman for Aspen/Snowmass. “There’s a rich cultural history here, and we’re very fortunate to host many world-class events, but I can’t think of a single thing that resonates so well with kids and young adults as X Games does, and that’s a win for our resort, and more importantly the sports we love.”

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