(NECN: Lauren Collins, Lincoln, N.H.) - “We hope there's a storm coming,” shouts an optimistic Alice Pearce, President of Ski NH, but snow-buffs won't believe it until they see it.
This has been one of the least snowy winters anyone can remember.
“It's been kinda tragic on that front,” says one avid skier from Rhode Island.
“It's amazing,” says Finn Parker, spending school vacation week at Loon Mountain with his family. “We've had almost no snow the entire winter back in Hudson so it's a good feeling to be with snow again.”
The hopeful forecast for the mountains of New Hampshire comes as ski areas, which were off as much as 35 percent from last year, finally report an uptick in visitors for the first of back-to-back school vacation weeks.
“It's been pretty much on par with where we were last year which, if you remember, was a great week for us,” says Molly Mahar, Marketing Director at Loon.
Ski NH has Presidents’ Day weekend numbers from a few anonymous resorts. One was up 4.9 percent over last year's holiday, another up 1.4 percent. Cannon Mountain spiked 32 percent over the same weekend in 2011.
“I think people were really anxious to get out skiing. The weather was great, it was comfortable. It was in the 30s,” says Pearce.
“We just decided that we needed to get away, we wanted to ski,” says Caroline Malarney who’s spending a few days at the mountain with friends from Andover, Mass.
The mountains have made snow all season long but most people's back yards are bare. That is the difference between a good year and a great year. Many people up from southern parts of New England are pleasantly surprised to see so much snow on the ground.
The base at most resorts will last well into March. A few inches of the real stuff combined with vacation crowds could make this the weekend the ski areas, and skiers, have longed for.
“We're actually expecting about five inches tonight so I'm really excited,” says Parker.
“I finally feel like it's winter!” exclaims Brendan Slattery. “My winter's complete!”