By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — "It was nuts," said Greg Goddard, general manager of Gunstock Mountain Resort, where on Sunday, for the first time in more than two decades, the crowd was so large that skiers were turned away.
"We physically ran out of space to put people," he said. "Traffic was still coming in but we had no place to put them."
"We are officially SOLD OUT," the resort posted on Facebook at 11:06 a.m. "For everything. We have parked people in virtually every crevice we can find, but we have run out of space." Almost at once a latecomer posted in return "Wow! Skiing at Gunstock since the '60s. Only have seen it this crowded one other time!!! Will try another day."
Goddard said that with more than 1,000 pre-sold tickets on Saturday, the turnout on Sunday was not unexpected. He said that both the tubing hill and the children's center were sold out before the day began and soon the parking lots and roadside space filled up. Moreover, there was racing on the mountain with 180 skiers and on the cross-country course.
With 30 inches of snowfall in the last two weeks and the start of school vacation in Massachusetts, Goddard said that "they decided to come out to play all at once." He described the fine, dry, light snow as "a western powder, the best we've seen in a long time." Meanwhile, the mercury on the mountain touched the lows 50s.
"It is a perfect opportunity to play in the winter," he said, explaining that the mountain offered spring skiing with mid-winter snow. "The snow is still cold so it didn't get slushy and the sun was shiny. There are a lot of tan faces around here today."
After a lean season a year ago, Goddard said that the resort is thriving. He said that sales kept pace in December and strengthened in the first of January, then after two weeks of changeable weather, picked up again in February, just in time for school vacations.
"We're set up for a nice season with still 50 days to go," he said, adding that the season, which ended on March 21 last year, is scheduled to close on April 2 "and we may go beyond that."
"it's very gratifying to see so much enthusiasm and a lot of smiles," said Goddard, who confessed "I've skied more this year than any year in the last ten."
This photo was posted by the resort to show last Saturday's skiing conditions. (Courtesy photo)
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