Many area businesses have seen an increase in visitors since Bethel was named the best ski town in North America. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL — In early December, Bethel earned the title as the country’s “Best Ski Town” which was decided by USA Today readers.  Bethel edged out North Conway, N.H., only an hour away, for the top spot.

Rounding out New England spots was Stowe, VT, which finished seventh.

With the announcement coming a month and half ago, many skiers and snowboarders have already had time to hit the Peaks, both at Sunday River and Mt. Abram.

According to Director of Communications at Sunday River, Karolyn Castaldo, the resort saw its number of visitors of Christmas break increase from the year before.

However, General Manager of Mt Abram Bob Harkins said they have not been as lucky up there.

“We had a decent vacation period, but hampered by lack of natural snow and therefore not a lot of terrain was open,” Harkins said.

Chris Wright, who owns the Rostay Inn on Route 2 in Bethel with his wife, said despite the bad weather, their has been a steady flow of ski traffic at his business.

Employees at the River View Resort off Route 2 said they have experienced an increase in customers and that multiple have remarked about Bethel being the best ski town in North America.

Some ski businesses on the way to Sunday River have reported a spike in sales and services since the announcement, while others were currently unsure about how sales this year have been compared to years past.

The IGA has reported a slight increase in sales/foot traffic in the store compared to last year around vacation time.

Although area businesses could say the increase was directly related to being labeled North Americas best ski town, the recognition is still excellent publicity for an already growing town.

“The whole community has rallied around being North America’s number one ski town,” Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Jessie Perkins said. “We’re going to try our best and uphold that title as long as we can.”

“I think it’s great for the area and all the businesses in and around it,” Town Manager Loretta Powers said.

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