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November 27. 2012 6:38PM

Business hoping, keeping fingers crossed


It was cold enough on Monday for the snowmaking at Bretton Woods. The ski areas was open for business. (Sara Young-Knox)


There was scant snow in the first week of February on this snowmobile trail in Twin Mountain. (Sara Young-Knox)

Though the snow cover was minimal this past February along the Saco River in Intervale, these brave Nordic skiers braved the icy winds. It's all about dressing in layers. (Sara Young-Knox)

WHITE MOUNTAINS - The village of Bartlett was quiet, Route 302 almost empty of traffic. But temperatures were cold enough for snow-making at Attitash and Bretton Woods ski resorts, and residents say it will take only one good snowfall to transform the White Mountains.

"I've got both fingers crossed," Mark Catalano, owner of the Irving station in Bretton Woods said Monday.

Last winter was not helpful to his cash flow - he also owns a restaurant and campground, among other ventures - and he said he's going into this winter with the smallest cash reserve in the nearly 22 year he's been in business.

Though conditions at the ski area across the road drew visitors last winter, the thin snow cover on the trail by the Irving station attracted few snowmobilers.

Below the notch in Intervale, Cort Hansen said everyone is praying for snow, "because it was such a crap winter last year."

Hansen is president of the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring and Snowshoe Foundation, and co-owner of Ragged Mountain Equipment on Route 302.

"It was pretty bad," he said of last winter's weather. The biggest storms of the 2011-2012 season came early, he recalled. For snow to be beneficial, the ground has to be frozen - otherwise it melts.

"Last year six inches was a big storm," Hansen said.

He said it was one of the shortest seasons in his 27 years with the Nordic center.

In the earlier days of the Nordic center, he said, trail work had to be completed by Nov. 1 to ensure it got done before the snows fell. Lately, he said, he's had days in mid-November when he's worked outside in a T-shirt.

"It's definitely warmer, without a doubt," Hansen said.

syoungknox@newstote.com


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