In terms of popularity, Vermont’s ski resorts take the cake in the east with the most skier and rider visits.
Killington, — At the Vermont Ski Areas Association annual meeting at Killington Resort, the state’s resorts celebrated another 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 & meals tax revenue over last year while March posted an 8.5% gain. Overall, the winter season generated a 6% increase in the rooms & 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.
Vermont resorts pulled down several state and national awards for marketing, workplace wellness and environmental excellence:
Vermont Travel Industry Conference
Jay Peak Resort: Governor’s SMART Award for Creative Marketing in Tourism
Smugglers’ Notch Resort: Nancy Illemann Rock – Travel Person of the Year
National Ski Areas Association
Stratton Mountain Resort: Best Overall Safety Program Award
Killington Resort: National Safety Awareness Month Photo Contest Winner
Killington Resort: Conversion Cup Finalist
Jay Peak Resort: Marketing Award for Best Use of Old School Media
Mount Snow Resort: Steve Slivinski, PhatCat Groomer Challenge Winner
Vermont Business Magazine
Okemo Mountain Resort: Best Places to Work in Vermont Award
VSAA Green Mountain Awards
Killington Resort: Greenest Overall Resort in Vermont
Mount Snow Resort: Most Improved Resort Overall
Stratton Mountain Resort: Most Improved Carbon Footprint
Mount Snow Resort: Most Improved Water Consumption
Stowe Mountain Resort: Most Improved Waste Reduction