HERMON, Maine — Bill Whitcomb looked happy to be busy Wednesday afternoon in the crowded ski lodge at New Hermon Mountain.
Whitcomb, manager and co-owner of the family-run ski area, said that school vacation and a much-needed cold snap finally coincided, and the inner tube run at the mountain had its first day of action.
“We’ve had people calling [about tubing] all day,” he said.
The ski area was off to a mighty start this season with the foot of snow that fell on Dec. 21-22, he said, but since then the unseasonably warmer weather had slowed business down.
“I would love to see us get back to a normal winter,” Whitcomb said. Last year saw a higher-than-average snowfall, and the winters before that had meager precipitation.
“The weather really is the factor that affects any outside sport,” Whitcomb added.
He said he hopes that the predictions of the nonprofit trade association Ski Maine for a good ski season will come true.
Back in November, Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine, said the early indications were very strong.
“People have become very aware of the cost of travel and the cost of energy,” Sweetser said. “That actually is probably going to benefit the state of Maine.”
Whitcomb said his prices are less than at some of the larger ski resorts and also that people like the family atmosphere at New Hermon Mountain, where three generations of his family are involved in the daily operations.
“My oldest granddaughter is doing the cash register,” he said. “How do you beat that?”