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NEW ENGLAND SKI INDUSTRY POSTING STRONG SEASON TOTALS

 NEW ENGLAND SKI INDUSTRY POSTING STRONG SEASON TOTALS
 WOODSTOCK, Vt., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- With 5 ski areas still open


for skiing in Vermont and Maine through this weekend (with two remaining open well into May or June), the majority of ski areas throughout the five New England states are reporting positive year-end numbers, according to the New England Ski Areas Council, the non-profit association representing all alpine ski areas in New England.
 With final numbers and percentages still being processed at many ski areas, operators are very confident in saying that the longer length of season, substantial late-season snow falls and snowmaking operations were the primary factors resulting in such increases. Some areas operated a month longer than usual.
 "This was the first time in five years we were able to close in April," reported Chris Brzosak at Mohawk Mountain in Connecticut. "We were open 103 days this season. Despite lack of natural snowfall, the cold weather in January & February gave us substantial snowmaking periods and then the snowstorms in March - plus continued cold weather into the first part of April, were major factors for the length of our season," she continued. Mohawk expects to have increases in all aspects of area operations once final numbers are calculated.
 The same story holds for Mt. Southington, also in Connecticut. Ed Beckley reports that this season Mt. Southington was open 20 more days than last year. "We're not up enough to go crazy," he says, "but we're at a level where we'd like to continue the upward trend." Beckley attributed the increase to cold weather and 'great' ski conditions, despite a struggling Connecticut economy which saw a first time ever state income tax and state lift ticket tax in 1992.
 News from the Berkshires in Massachusetts is also positive. In a recent release made by Jimmy Peak in Hancock, Larry Dubin reports that the skier attendance hit a record level, "surpassing an earlier attendance record set in the winter of 1981-82." Jimmy Peak attributed such an increase to the substantial investment the resort made in its snowmaking operation last summer. Snowmaking also helped the resort have its longest season ever, again surpassing the 81-82 season with 140 days of operation, according to Dubin.
 Looking towards the central and northern sections of New England, ski areas have reported increases as well. Shawnee Peak in Maine had its longest season ever in its 54-year season, as did Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire in the same 54-year period. Shawnee Peak officials attributed the lengthy season to heavy snowmaking activities.
 Along with Cannon Mountain, Joel Bourassa, marketing director for the two NH state owned ski areas, reported that operations at Mt. Sunapee were also up. Skier visits at Cannon were up 33 percent over last year and at Mt. Sunapee they were up 17 percent.
 Also in New Hampshire, Ragged Mountain reported their best season ever for skier visits. According to General Manager, Chris Ellms, "the large increases were due to competitive mid-week lift ticket prices and three years of consistent mountain improvements."
 Similar reports were being heard in Vermont and Maine: Sunday River, Maine expects to break the 500,000 skiers visit level this year; Sugarloaf, Maine posting 50,000 skiers in the month of April '92 alone; Mount Snow, Vt. reporting a 13 percent skier visit increase; Stowe, Vt. reporting "substantial increases in spring-season numbers," according to Michael Cobb - director of marketing; Killington in central Vermont still has 20 miles of open terrain versus one trail open a year ago. "The New England ski industry seems to be saying 'when there's cold weather and snow in the mountains ....skiers will head to the slopes and ski," suggests Phil Camp, executive director of NESAC.
 While other recently closed central and northern New England ski areas are still tabulating numbers, most area officials agree that snowmaking, cold weather in March and April and late-season snowfalls will be the factors to write in the history books.
 -0- 5/1/92
 /CONTACT: Betsy Perry of New England Ski Areas Council, 802-457-3330/ CO: New England Ski Areas Council ST: Vermont IN: SU:


AH-OS -- NY001A -- 5606 05/01/92 16:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 1, 1992
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