Vermont’s Pursuit as Top Ski State in the East

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 6, 2012 12:01 pm

Even with low natural snowfall during the 2011-2012 season, Vermont Ski Resorts recorded 3,903,171 skier & rider visits, just 5% off of the ten-year average. 

Not proved as hurt by the low snowfall, other areas around America were troubled with the issue, which shows by the overall national skier visit tally down 16%.

All this information was released at the Vermont Ski Areas Association’s annual meeting at Jay Peak Resort, where over 200 industry members and marketing partners attended. 

The low snowfall due to state-of-the art snowmaking and grooming enabled Vermont ski areas to have significant amounts of open terrain. 

These factors helped turn Vermont into a more preferable ski destination than other locations across America.

“The 2011-12 season stands as a testament to the resiliency of our ski areas and showcased the unrivaled prowess of our industry’s snowmaking and grooming capabilities,” VSAA President Parker Riehle said. “The caliber of our 75% statewide snowmaking coverage means, for example, that we have over 1,000 acres more terrain with snowmaking alone than all of New Hampshire’s total ski area terrain.”

Winter season tourism is crucial to the Vermont economy. Even with a low-snow year, Vermont helped bring tourism revenues in stronger than expected. There was a combined year-over-year increase of 2.5% in collections from the rooms & meals tax and the sales tax. 

Also at the meeting, VSAA presented efforts over the past year in governmental affairs, marketing and public affairs.

The meeting was started off with opening remarks from Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott. Other speakers included, National Ski Areas Association President Michael Berry discussing an overview of the season from a national scale. Keynote speaker Bill Carter of Fuse Marketing gave his opinion on brand marketing and social media. 

Awards were given out at the meeting to ski resorts and individuals, who made a difference in the ski industry. 

Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark earned the Industry Achievement Award, and Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith received the Friend of the Industry Award. Other individual awards went to three longtime ski area employees – Peter Hand, Dave Williamson and Bruce Maxham, who earned The Career Employee Awards.

Vermont’s Ski Resorts received eight state and national awards for various outstanding achievements. Below you can find a list of the awards.

  • Sugarbush:  Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award with VHB, Inc. for the restoration of Rice Brook to high water quality conditions
  • Burke:  NSAA Sustainable Slopes Grant Award for composting program and wind turbine installation
  • Jay Peak Resort:  NSAA Marketing Award for Best Direct Marketing Program
  • Burke:  NSAA Marketing Award for Best Traditional Media
  • Killington:  NSAA Safety Award for Best Terrain Park Safety Program
  • Killington:  Finalist – NSAA Conversion Cup Award for efforts in converting beginners into lifelong skiers
  • Stratton:  U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Silver Award for exemplary event organization of the U.S. Freestyle Championships
  • Stowe:  PSIA-AASI Educational Excellence Award to Dave Merriam