SKI NH Annual Meeting Celebrates The Groomers And Snowmakers Efforts

by Christian Mower on June 30, 2016

ski-nhMeredith, NH – The Annual Ski NH Business highlighted the heroes who helped to save the 2015-16 ski season and the results of this past season. At the meeting at Church Landing in Meredith D.R.E.D. Commissioner Jeff Rose presented a Commendation from Governor Maggie Hassan recognizing the state’s snowmakers and groomers for their efforts to ensure that the slopes were more than skiable in the face of limited natural snow.

DRED Commissioner Jeff Rose presented a Commendation from Governor Maggie Hassan recognizing the state’s snowmakers and groomers for their efforts to ensure that the slopes were more than skiable in the face of limited natural snow.

Ski NH honored three people with awards during their event. Bertie Holland, director of snowsports at Pats Peak, won the H.H. “Bill” Whitney Award, which recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the ski and snowboard industry in New Hampshire. This award is named after the late owner of Black Mountain Ski Area and Whitney’s Inn in Jackson. Holland has been the ski school director at Pats Peak since the 1980’s.

Arthur “Sonny” Demers, retiring after 23 years at Eastman Cross Country, was given the Al Merrill Award for his contribution to cross country skiing in the state. This award is named after Merrill, Dartmouth College’s cross-country ski coach and Director of Outdoor Affairs for more than 30 years. This award was particularly dear to Demers, who told the crowd that Al Merrill was his high school ski and track coach at Lebanon High School, was a mentor who taught him the art of ski waxing as well as cross-country skiing technique and training programs, and remained a personal friend for many years thereafter.

NH State Senator Dan Feltes, who represents the Greater Concord area, was given the Legislator of the Year Award, which recognizes a New Hampshire legislator who has taken the time to understand and highlight important ski industry and tourism issues. Senator Feltes played a critical role in developing legislation this year that was key to NH’s ski industry.

At its annual business meeting, Ski NH’s Chairman of the Board and President and General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort Ben Wilcox reported that overall total winter visits during 2015-16 were down year-over-year by 31 percent, and alpine skier visits were down 29 percent.  On a 10-year average, total visits were down about 26%, and alpine skier visits only were down 24.5%. According to Jessyca Keeler, Ski NH’s executive director, total winter visits were approximately 1.77 million, down from more than 2.57 million in the previous year, which was also the 4th best season on record. Keynote speaker Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association,y was optimistic about the coming winter, and predicted a bounce back of skier visits next season.

Ski NH is the statewide association representing 33 alpine and cross country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski NH resorts, call Ski NH at 603.745.9396 or visit the Ski NH website at www.SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, visit www.VisitNH.gov.