These Vermont Ski Areas Are Offering Free Skiing to Furloughed Federal Employees

This week, three Vermont ski areas announced they will offer free skiing to furloughed federal employees during the government shutdown. Here’s why.

On January 19, Mad River Glen announced it will offer free ski lift tickets to federal employees who are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. Beginning on Tuesday, January 22, all federal employees who are furloughed or are working without pay can ski for free any midweek day until the shutdown comes to an end.

The offer is NOT VALID during holiday periods, like President’s week,  February 18-22.

On January 22, Sugarbush Resort made a similar announcement, extending the offer to federal workers’ immediate family members during the shutdown.

Geoff Hatheway of Magic Mountain in Londonderry said Tuesday that the mountain will offer free tickets to furloughed federal employees through the shutdown, with discounted $29 lift tickets offered on weekends.

According to Mad River Glen’s Marketing Director, Eric Friedman, the idea came about when a furloughed worker called the ski area to ask if it offered any discounts to government workers during the ongoing partial government shutdown. Employees at the skier-owned mountain started discussing the idea over their daily staffwide lunch and decided it was a great one.

“As a business that is at the whim of Mother Nature, our staff members have been the recipients of generous offers during tough times and we very much wanted to pay it forward,” wrote Friedman in a press release from January 19, just before Winter Storm Harvey dropped 18 inches of cold powder on General Stark Mountain on Sunday and Monday. High winds and sub-zero temperatures forced the ski area to halt lifts on Monday, so despite the holiday weekend, those furloughed federal employees will be in for a treat this week.

“This is a difficult situation for many families around the country and the last thing we want to to do is make light of it in any way or have it viewed as some kind of publicity stunt. This really is a very sad state of affairs and we want to show our support for these federal employees,” reads the press release from January 19.

Federal furloughed employees will need to show a copy of their furlough notice letter and their Federal ID to receive a lift ticket. Those working without pay need to provide some kind of proof that they are not being paid and the offer will expire when the federal shutdown comes to an end.

“Hopefully a day on the slopes of General Stark Mountain will help lift the spirits of our fellow citizens. We also hope that this will be a short-lived promotion,” wrote Friedman this weekend, speaking on behalf of Mad River Glen.

As of Tuesday afternoon, nine furloughed federal employees had taken Mad River Glen up on its offer. “They were really psyched and appreciative,” said Friedman. “These people are dealing with a lot of stuff that none of us would want to deal with.” Friedman said Mad River Glen employees were eager to pay some good karma forward. “Three years ago we had a really crappy ski season. People were laid off and it was really hard. It was really cool how our neighbors and some of the local businesses did a lot to help us and our staff out that year. It really meant a lot to us and we remember that.”

At Sugarbush, owner Win Smith said today, “We wanted to offer those on furlough and their families an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of skiing and riding especially when conditions are so nice.” In a press release, the resort asked skiers to share the message with affected friends and family and linked to Mad River Glen’s site, referencing their offer.

For more details about skiing Mad River, visit Mad River Glen’s website, or see the full press release here. For more information about how to ski Sugarbush, visit their website, or see the press release here.

Featured Photo courtesy Mad River Glen, where the woods are already starting to look lovely, dark and deep. 

Abagael Giles

Abagael Giles is the Assistant Editor at Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine. She loves free-heel skiing and exploring her home state of Vermont–one ridgetop at a time. Find her on Twitter at @AbagaelGiles.