WARREN, Vermont — Vermont ski areas recorded 3,820,431 skier visits for the 2006-07 season, a 7 percent decline from last year, according to the Vermont Ski Areas Association at its June 6 Annual Meeting at Sugarbush Resort. This represents a slight decrease from Vermont’s 10-year average of 4.1 million skier visits. Total skier visits for the country are estimated to have declined by 7 percent while the Northeast region also suffered a 7 percent decrease, according to preliminary reports from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).
“This year’s season was marked by a painfully slow start to the winter weather with Vermont resorts effectively missing the critical Christmas and Martin Luther King holiday periods,” said Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. “The winter season finally started to show signs of life after mid-January with business and snowfall slowly building toward the record-setting Valentines Day Blizzard ??вЂњ truly the perfect storm that arrived in time for the Presidents’ Week holiday.???
Following record ski business levels for Presidents’ Week, significant snowstorms continued through February, March and well into April. To capitalize on the superb winter conditions and the pent up demand for Vermont skiing and riding, legislative leaders and Governor Douglas authorized the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing to launch a $250,000 mid-winter marketing blitz in Vermont’s core markets. The state’s rooms and meals tax receipts for March showed the return on the Legislature’s well-timed investment with an 8.5% increase over March of 2006. Although this season’s skier visit totals trailed last year’s numbers, the snow-filled finish to the season averted what could have been a disastrous year.
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas gave opening remarks at this year’s annual meeting, followed by a panel of ski industry veterans led by NSAA President Michael Berry. The panel discussed NSAA’s growth model for the ski industry relative to efforts and progress made in Vermont.
Long-time ski industry veteran Bob Fries and Pepsi/Mt. Dew’s Frank Tansey were honored at the VSAA Annual Meeting for their contributions to the Vermont ski industry. Fries received the Industry Achievement Award and Tansey received the Friend of the Industry Award.
Vermont Skier/Rider Visits for the Past Five Seasons
2006 – 2007 3.8 million
2005 – 2006 4.1 million
2004 – 2005 4.4 million
2003 – 2004 4.2 million
2002 – 2003 4.4 million