N.H., N.M. Endured Down Seasons

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SAM Magazine-North Woodstock, N.H., June 14, 2006-New Hampshire and New Mexico both saw visitor numbers drop for the 2005-06 season. Weather challenged skiers and riders in the two states. N.H. visits dropping 10 percent from last year's near-record level, to 2,021,098. New Mexico visits tumbled more than 50 percent, to 416,617 visits, down from 954,181 the prior season.

The N.H. total is encouraging, given the relative lack of natural snow and repeated thaw-freeze cycles. It equaled the total for the 2003-04 season. Operators credited snowmaking for keeping the season alive. Cross country ski areas weren't as fortunate, as visits plunged more than 30 percent from the prior winter. Tubing visits also declined, by about 17 percent.

Ski New Mexico says the state's total is the lowest in at least six years. With less snowmaking capability than many other regions, N.M. areas were hit hard by seriously below-average snowfall through February. Pajarito Mountain Ski Area near Los Alamos never opened, and Ski Santa Fe failed to open all its ski areas. Angel Fire reported one of its worst seasons on record.