Storm great for ski areas to the north, but led to power outages in south

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Paula Tracy photo

Cannon Mountain is pictured with happy skiers on Sunday.


A major snowstorm Saturday dumped more than two feet of snow in the northern half of the state while leaving thousands without power from downed trees in a more wet band of snow and rain from Alton to Dunbarton to Sharon.

As of 3 p.m. Sunday, Eversource was reporting about 42,000 of its customers or 5 percent without power and were warning of a multi-day response in some cases. New Hampshire Electric Cooperative was reporting about 3,800 without power at the same hour, or about 5 percent.

A link to the map for Eversource shows showed a large number of its customers in Dublin, Bow and Alstead without power while NHEC had its lines hit particularly hard by fallen trees just south and east of Laconia in places like Barnstead.

While it seems almost everyone spent some time outside shoveling or playing in the snow on a sunny Sunday, it was particularly good for the state’s otherwise lackluster ski and snowmobile season.

Sunday found sold-out signs and parking lots full at some resorts but nonetheless lots of happy skiers and snowboarders cutting through soft, deep new snow surrounded by blue sky and white mountains.

Greg Keeler, interim general manager at Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch was out directing traffic Sunday morning. 

Cannon was sold out.

He said there has only been one other sell-out day that he could recall in 15 years at the state-operated resort and that also followed a major snowstorm in the Northeast.

The resort reported between 22 and 30 inches of newly fallen snow and had all of its trails open and most of its lifts operating with no issues related to wind or cold.

Long lift lines existed but many did not seem to mind and the mood was joyful.

The situation was much the same at Loon Mountain in Lincoln where vehicles were in the breakdown lane of Interstate 93 trying to get off the exit ramp.

The highways were also filled with snowmobile trailers heading north as trails were in some cases still open in the Great North Woods.

The New Hampshire Trails Bureau reported Friday that some snowmobile trails in the north had received about a foot of new snow last week before the storm, and while most of the trails were closed prior to the new snow, the Colebrook Ski Bees and Pittsburg Ridge Runners were both reporting 50 percent of their trails open and Coleman State Park trails were also open. 

A handful of the state’s smaller ski areas have completed their season already and did not get in on the weekend including Whaleback, Pats Peak, McIntyre, King Pine, Dartmouth Skiway, and Black Mountain.

Even ski areas in the Lakes Region were reporting significant snowfalls and most trails were open including Ragged, Gunstock, and Sunapee.

Bretton Woods, which recorded 131 inches of snow this season, got 30 of those inches on Saturday.

Melody Nester, assistant director of Ski New Hampshire said a bluebird powder day and a weekend snowstorm was just what everyone wanted. 

Based in Conway where Cranmore reported receiving 24 inches of snow, Nestor wrote in a press release that many ski areas were celebrating enormous snowfall gains after what has been a challenging season due to warm weather and rain events that resulted in several earlier-than-usual ski area closures.

Even some ski areas which have closed plan solar eclipse parties on April 8, including King Pine, Whaleback, Cranmore, Cannon, Wildcat and Bretton Woods.

“This late-season storm is going to help our ski areas ride out the rest of the season on a high note,” said Ski NH President, Jessyca Keeler. “After challenges with unusually warm temperatures and lots of rain this year, the large snowfall totals are kind of like a built-in insurance policy that they will make it to the finish line.”

Cranmore Mountain Resort plans to stay open through March 26 and may reopen on weekends.

Loon and Ragged Mountain Resort plan their final day of the season on April 7.

Crotched Mountain had its final day of operations Sunday.

Kathy Bennett, spokesman for the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce said in an email Saturday the region was getting “hammered” and that this will help extend seasons, noting many events are planned in the valley for the Solar Eclipse, April 8.

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