Friends and supporters of the Vermont ski and snowboard industry gathered at Killington Resort for the Vermont Ski Areas Association’s 48th Annual Meeting. Alpine and Nordic members, marketing partners and associate members were among those who celebrated the 2016-17 comeback season.
After a challenging 2015-16 season, Vermont’s ski areas came back strong with statewide Thanksgiving weekend openings, the World Cup event at Killington Resort, and a multitude of historic snowstorms. While adverse weather cycles dampened some periods throughout the winter, early February snowstorms prompted a first-ever Powder Day Proclamation from the Governor and March roared in like a lion to finish the season strong with a record 21 Powder Alerts sent out from Ski Vermont. The result was a rebound to 3,922,970 visits, which represents the most accurate totals to date with nearly every resort now switching to scanning or RFID technology to track season pass usage, rather than using multiplier estimates.
“This was a strong comeback season for the State of Vermont,” said Ski Vermont President Parker Riehle. “Thanks to Winter Storms Caly, Orson, Pluto and Stella, matched with our state’s world class snowmakers and snowmaking technology, Vermont had the longest season in the East. That’s not only great news for the ski industry but it was also critical to Vermont’s economy which depends heavily on the $900 million in direct winter spending that our ski and snowboard resorts bring to the state in a good season.”
During the annual gathering, Ski Vermont presented an overview of the 2016-17 season and the impact of their marketing, public relations and governmental affairs efforts. Year after year, Ski Vermont continues to see record increases in earned media, website traffic, social media and Learn to Turn initiatives like the Take 3 Pass and the Fifth Grade Passport program. Proceeds from the Fifth Grade Passport program provided a record donation to support Vermont’s iconic agricultural brand through the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. Overall, Ski Vermont helped to introduce over 5,000 new skiers and riders to the slopes this season as the result of their programs.
Michael Berry, President of the National Ski Areas Association was presented with the Industry Achievement Award for his 25 years of service at the helm of NSAA. In addition, Ski Vermont presented the Friend of the Industry Award to Justin Pill, the industry’s point person with longtime marketing partner Long Trail Brewing Co. Ski Vermont also recognized retiring longtime ski industry employees Steve Wry and Nelson Cushing of Smugglers’ Notch Resort and Betsy McKeever of Okemo Mountain Resort with Career Employee Awards and announced multiple ski area awards for marketing, safety, workplace wellness, leadership and guest satisfaction:
National Ski Areas Association
Killington Resort: Best Overall Marketing Award
Stratton Mountain Resort: Best Overall Safety Program
Pico Mountain: Best Bring a Friend Campaign
Burton Snowboards Chill Foundation
Bolton Valley: Mountain Award
Ski Area Management Magazine
Okemo Mountain Resort: Ethan Mueller – SAMMY Leadership Award
Vermont Business Magazine
Okemo Mountain Resort: Best Places to Work in Vermont
Stowe Mountain Resort: Best Places to Work in Vermont
Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports
Sugarbush Resort: Win Smith – Vermont Wellness Leadership Award
Liftopia Best in Snow Awards
Magic Mountain: #1 Top Ski Area in North America
Mad River Glen: #3 Top Ski Area in North America
Jay Peak Resort: #5 Top Ski Area in North America
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, a 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 20 Alpine and 30 Nordic member resorts in three major areas: Governmental Affairs, Marketing and Public Affairs.