JAY PEAK, VT (June 6, 2012) – The Vermont Ski Areas Association announced at its annual meeting at Jay Peak Resort that Vermont ski resorts recorded 3,903,171 skier & rider visits, just 5% off of the ten-year average. Once again, Vermont proved to be a bright spot in the Northeast and compared favorably to other regions in the country where the overall national skier visit tally was down 16%.
Despite low natural snowfall during the 2011-12 ski season, state-of-the art snowmaking and grooming enabled Vermont ski areas to have significant amounts of open terrain, often unmatched in percentage by any other ski state. “The 2011-12 season stands as a testament to the resiliency of our ski areas and showcased the unrivaled prowess of our industry’s snowmaking and grooming capabilities,” said VSAA president Parker Riehle. “The caliber of our 75% statewide snowmaking coverage means, for example, that we have over 1,000 acres more terrain with snowmaking alone than all of New Hampshire’s total ski area terrain.”
As a cornerstone of the Vermont economy, the ski industry’s ability to maintain winter conditions in a low-snow year helped bring tourism revenues in stronger than expected, with a combined year-over-year increase of 2.5% in collections from the rooms & meals tax and the sales tax.
At the annual gathering of more than 200 industry members and marketing partners, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott gave opening remarks and VSAA presented efforts over the past year in governmental affairs, marketing and public affairs. NSAA President Michael Berry gave an overview of the season from a national perspective and keynote speaker Bill Carter with Fuse Marketing entertained the crowd with his approach to brand marketing and the use of social media.
Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark was presented with the Industry Achievement Award, and Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith received the Friend of the Industry Award. The Career Employee Awards were presented to three longtime ski area employees – Peter Hand, Dave Williamson and Bruce Maxham – who represent over 120 years of service.
In addition, the industry gathering celebrated an impressive eight state and national awards given to Vermont ski areas for environmental excellence, marketing, safety programs and industry achievements:
Sugarbush: Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award with VHB, Inc. for the restoration of Rice Brook to high water quality conditions
Burke: NSAA Sustainable Slopes Grant Award for composting program and wind turbine installation
Jay Peak Resort: NSAA Marketing Award for Best Direct Marketing Program
Burke: NSAA Marketing Award for Best Traditional Media
Killington: NSAA Safety Award for Best Terrain Park Safety Program
Killington: Finalist – NSAA Conversion Cup Award for efforts in converting beginners into lifelong skiers
Stratton: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Silver Award for exemplary event organization of the U.S. Freestyle Championships
Stowe: PSIA-AASI Educational Excellence Award to Dave Merriam