At the Vermont Ski Areas Association annual meeting at Killington Resort, the state’s resorts celebrated another stellar season with 4,503,269 skier & rider visits, nearly identical to last year’s near-record numbers. The 2013-14 season tally once again ranks Vermont number one in the East and number three in the country, according to preliminary figures from the National Ski Areas Association.
“This season was most notable for its record early start and incredibly strong finish,” said VSAA president Parker Riehle. “We had an industry first with nine alpine and three Nordic areas opening a full week before Thanksgiving, owing to ideal snowmaking conditions and Vermont’s immense statewide snowmaking arsenal. After a challenging January, winter storms Electra, Hercules and Vulcan joined forces with an epic Valentine’s Day blizzard to set the stage for another strong season that marks our third-best on record.”
The record early start and strong finish to the season were welcome boosts to Vermont’s coffers as well, with November business netting a 13 percent increase in the rooms and meals tax revenue over last year while March posted an 8.5 percent gain. Overall, the winter season generated a 6 percent increase in the rooms and meals tax revenues while matching last year’s strong sales tax revenues, once again highlighting the ski and snowboard industry as a cornerstone of the Vermont economy.
At the annual gathering, with a record attendance of more than 300 industry members and marketing partners, Tourism Commissioner Megan Smith gave opening remarks and Christina Miranda from Redpoint Marketing PR, Inc. surprised and delighted attendees with her keynote presentation on creating brand evangelists. Retired Smugglers’ Notch president Bob Mulcahy was presented with the Industry Achievement Award and former longtime chairlift inspectors Al Barber and Joe Devenow received Friend of the Industry Awards. The Career Employee Awards were presented to three longtime ski area employees at Okemo Mountain Resort Larry Abelman, Dan Boyer and Doug Devereux.
VSAA also presented its season in review showcasing the industry’s presence at tradeshows, media events and the State House, as well as promotional initiatives that spurred significant increases in earned media, website visits, sales of 5th Grade Passports and participation in the Check In to Win program.
Ski Vermont (Vermont Ski Areas Association) is a proud ambassador of the thriving winter tourism industry in Vermont, where the legislature has designated skiing and snowboarding as the official state sports. Vermont is not only the #1 ski state in the east and third in the US, but also reigns supreme in snowmaking quality and coverage, variety of terrain and historical impact on the sports of skiing and snowboarding – making it one of the most significant ski and ride destinations in the world. Ski Vermont’s mission is to help create a legislative, economic and social environment in which the state's ski areas can grow and prosper. It serves its 18 Alpine and 31 Nordic member resorts in three major areas: Governmental Affairs, Marketing and Public Affairs.