“I don’t think Mother Nature has any idea the positive economic impact she has in time frames like these,” said Dave Meeker, Mount Snow communications manager. “The timing of the snow was tremendous, and in a time frame where we always anticipate doing a lot of business. Having a vast majority of the terrain open and knowing we would be able to provide a really good product to a lot of people is something that makes our job a lot easier.”
According to Meeker, Mount Snow’s phones started ringing off the hook as the storm made its way to the Northeast, and with 96% of the mountain’s skiing acreage open for shredding, Mount Snow was prepared. With 75 open trails, skiers were able to spread out and experience more of the mountain, something Meeker says has led to more reservations, extending into February and March. Mount Snow intends to open their double-diamond Ripcord trail on the North Face within the next week, as temperatures reach single digits, perfect weather for cranking the snow fans. Keeping the fan guns blasting will also help create a deep base, which can extend the season later into the spring.
Compared to last year’s dismal winter, Meeker says this year’s holiday season shows no signs of slowing down through January, and what he calls the snowy part of the season.
“Compared to last year, it’s pretty clear that we’ve had a much larger crowd here for the same time frame,” said Meeker. “It always pleases me to drive through Dover and Wilmington and see all the parking lots, lodging properties, and all the restaurant parking lots filled with cars, because that means this snow not only makes for great skiing, but it brings business to everyone.”
Local restaurants and inns benefited from the storm’s influx of visitors too, and traffic at the intersection of Route 100 and Route 9 was frequently backed up to Blue Mountain Produce and beyond. Erika Holland, manager of the Valley View Saloon on Route 100 in Dover, said the restaurant and bar were energetic and packed all week with new faces as well as usual customers, and all 11 tables were occupied from lunch straight through dinner and into the night, from Wednesday on through the weekend.
“To end the year with a nice big snowstorm was fantastic,” said Holland. “Hopefully it will keep coming and push us through the season and keep Dover thriving.”
Local inns also reaped the benefits of Mother Nature, including the Grey Ghost Inn in Dover, which, according to innkeeper Carina Thorsson, saw eight new reservations made within 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday. Last December, Thorsson said her 29 suites were reserved 159 times, and that total nearly doubled this year with 275 reservations.
“This is what it’s supposed to look like and it’s fantastic for business,” said Thorsson. “Everywhere you go is absolutely packed, and I’ve never seen traffic like this. At 6 pm there was a solid line of headlights on Route 100 for miles.”
Thorsson says as soon as news of the snowstorm came, and before it had arrived, vacationers were calling to extend their stay or come a day early.
The White House Inn in Wilmington had the same experience, with reservations now being made far in advance as visitors notice that the snow is here to stay. “We have a nice pace now,” said innkeeper Kathleen Matos. “At the beginning of December the phones were very quiet, and now that there’s snow on the ground, they’re ringing off the hook. Of course the holiday week filled up, but with the snow here, people are starting to make reservations for February and March, and the hopelessness that there might not be snow is gone.”
There are few things that help the local economy quite like snow, and for local business owners, it provides a welcome sigh of relief.