Here's an unscientific measure of the state of the economy - - advance season pass sales at New Hampshire's ski and snowboard resorts.
According to Bruce McCloy, Director of Marketing and Sales at New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee Resort, "We have had our strongest season pass sales ever, both in units and revenue." Nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort's early season pass sales were "about 11 percent ahead of last year", says Bill Quigley, Gunstock's Director of Marketing and Sales. At Cranmore Mountain Resort, "Season pass sales were up about 12% over last year", states Kathy Bennett, Marketing Director at Cranmore. Lori Rowell of Pats Peak Ski Area "is happy to report that our advanced season passes are up this year over this time last year". Loon Mountain's Stacy Lopes announced that "Loon’s season pass sales are running ahead of the prior season for the second year in a row".
Other New Hampshire ski areas, further away from the Boston market, are finding "people seem to be waiting to commit until the deadline hits". One marketing director in northern New Hampshire notes that season ski pass sales are "slightly lagging the previous year’s sales, and this does concern me a bit."
There are various factors. Gunstock just "finished up on a 3.5 million dollar expansion project", and both Gunstock and Sunapee are less than 100 miles from Boston. "A trend that started last winter was that people were skiing closer to home and trading overnight stays for lift tickets by making more day trips," according to Mount Sunapee's McCloy. "Plus our ticket pricing is less that the bigger resorts."
Translation: There could be more trouble this ski season for the big destination resorts, and more focus on day trippers, as families continue to cut back.