The season’s numbers are a true testament to the ski industry’s resiliency and its importance to Vermont’s economy.
Stratton, Vt. (Vocus) June 10, 2010
The Vermont Ski Areas Association announced at its annual meeting that Vermont’s ski resorts recorded 4,125,082 skier visits for the 2009-10 season. This marked a 1.4% increase over the prior season’s tally and tracked with the 5-year average.
“With below-average snowfall, below-average days of operation and an economy still struggling to pull out of a major recession, the season’s numbers are a true testament to the ski industry’s resiliency and its importance to Vermont’s economy,” remarked Parker Riehle, President of the Vermont Ski Areas Association.
The 2009-10 season was most notably marked by a late start and an early finish, with few major snowstorms in between. Still, Vermont ski areas saw strong weekend business and solid holiday bookings that brought skier visits ahead of last year, while other Northeastern states saw an overall 2.8% decline as reported by the National Ski Areas Association.
While many of the season’s snowstorms missed the Green Mountains and instead fell in down-state backyards, that proved to be a boon for Vermont as skiers and riders were continually reminded that winter was in full stride. With a core market of 45 million people within a few hours drive who are increasingly vacationing closer to home, Vermont ski areas met expectations with steady mountain snowfall and ideal weather conditions for snowmaking and grooming. Skiers and riders responded with a rebound in spending at resorts which brought substantial increases to the state’s rooms & meals and sales tax collections over last year. This improved winter business was welcome news to Vermonters amid an economy still recovering from the recent recession.
The annual gathering of over 200 industry professionals was presented with VSAA’s efforts over the past year in governmental affairs, marketing and public affairs, and NSAA President Michael Berry gave an overview of the season from the national perspective. In addition, the initial results of a year-long Vermont Branding Study were unveiled via a panel presentation with JDK Design’s Michael Jager, Resource Systems Group’s Dan Weinstein and Vermont’s Chief Marketing Officer Christine Werneke. Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde was presented with the Friend of the Industry Award, and the Career Employee Awards went to industry veterans Barbara Thomke of Smugglers’ Notch and Peter Burton and John Rubright with the Middlebury College Snow Bowl.
Photos are available.
Jen Butson, Director of Public Affairs
Vermont Ski Areas Association, Ski Vermont
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