Ski Resorts Help the Northeast Bounce Back from Irene

By AlpineZone News |
Sep 15 2011 - 08:32 AM

Montpelier, VT – Even though sustaining damage themselves, ski resorts around New England and New York are helping to lead the recovery effort from damage caused by the flooding rains of Tropical Storm Irene even as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are again inundating the region.

Over the next two weekends, Jiminy Peak Mountain Adventure will be for a good cause as 50 percent of the ticket sales from the Massachusetts ski resort’s two summer activity parks, the Aerial Adventure Park and Mountain Adventure Park, will be donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Irene and to year-round staff members from Jiminy Peak’s sister resort, Bromley Mountain in Manchester, Vt., who were directly affected by damage caused by Irene.

In the Catskills, Hunter Mountain ski area and NY Zipline Adventures staff members on Tuesday hosted children from the hard-hit community of Prattsville, which is located less than 15 miles west of Hunter. The children participated in indoor and outdoor activities, including the NY Zipline Adventure Tower. Transportation, meals and activities were provided for over 100 children.

When the magnitude of the August 28 flooding became apparent, the board of directors of the Belleayre Conservatory quickly decided to turn the final show of the Belleayre Music Festival’s 20th anniversary season into a benefit for flood victims. As of midday on Monday, net proceeds from the show held at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, plus received contributions, totaled more than $32,500 with more donations still arriving to be turned over to the flood relief effort.

“It was the most amazing night in the 20-year history of the festival,” said Mel Litoff, artistic director and producer of the Belleayre Music Festival, adding that it was truly a magical evening of community support and great music.

Adding another dimension to its inspirational response to Irene, the State of Vermont today announced a multi-disciplinary task force charged with restoring tourism, and the vital economic activity it generates, during the state’s celebrated fall foliage season. Composed of representatives from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Ski Areas Association, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation, Vermont-based communications firms HMC2 and Hen House Media and state tourism officials, the task force will use a comprehensive communications campaign to highlight the accessibility of Vermont and that most areas of Vermont are ready to provide the inspirational foliage experience the state is known for.

“While Vermont continues to work diligently to revitalize areas impacted, Governor Shumlin and Lt. Governor Scott have tasked us with doing everything we can to communicate that, with a few exceptions, our communities-and their inns, bed and breakfasts, attractions, restaurants and resorts -are open for business and that, without exception, our foliage season is going to be spectacular,” said Steve Cook, the state’s deputy commissioner of tourism. “With the interstates and 85 percent of the state’s roads fully open, visitors can have the authentic Vermont foliage experience that our state is so very proud to provide.”

“We want people to know that Vermont is open for business, we are ready to welcome visitors for our spectacular fall foliage, and there are a ton of memorable things to do and see here in the Green Mountain State,” added Vicky Tebbetts, vice president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

“Vermont is moving forward-that’s the Vermont way and it’s an impressive sight to behold,” said Parker Riehle, president of Ski Vermont. “One very important way to help with this effort is to keep or make travel plans to visit Vermont. We’ll be here to greet everyone with a warm smile when they arrive.”

The task force expects to launch the first element of its effort Friday and sustain the campaign through foliage season. For example, in addition to traditional media, and given the significant role that social media and user-generated content have played in the response to Irene, this task force will make extensive and innovative use of grassroots social media outlets that will allow Vermonters and visitors alike to actively participate in the campaign.