• Ski areas report robust holiday business
    January 02,2013

    By Bruce Edwards

    The state's ski resorts are basking in the afterglow of the first major holiday of the ski season – one that received a boost from two well-timed storms that dumped more than two feet of snow over the Green Mountains.

    The Christmas-New Year's holiday period was one of the best in years with several resorts reporting record business, Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, said Wednesday.

    The percentage increase in business over last year's holiday period, which was not a good year, “was anywhere from 20 to 50 percent higher,” Riehle said.

    “Just off the charts,” he said.

    Killington Resort, the largest resort in the East, reported a double-digit average increase in business levels over the holiday period compared to last year.

    “We were up 14 percent across the board,” Killington spokeswoman Sarah Thorson said Wednesday. “So, lessons, food and beverage, retail, rental, lodging and skier visits.”

    It wasn't a record breaking holiday at Okemo Mountain Resort, but an excellent holiday all the same, said Okemo spokeswoman Bonnie MacPherson.

    Although exact numbers weren't available, MacPherson said business was “way up” from the year ago holiday period.

    Even before the recent storms, she said lodging reservations were already at 90 percent capacity.

    The first major storm right after Christmas gave Okemo's snowmakers a bit of a rest.

    “We were really scrambling prior to the holidays with snowmaking,” MacPherson said. “Going into that week, we had gone through 115 million gallons of water in our snowmaking system and we'd logged over 500 man hours staffing snowmaking.”

    It was also an excellent holiday at Bolton Valley.

    “The fresh snow really helped boost business.” Bolton Valley spokesman Josh Arneson said in an email. “Overall, for the week we were ahead of budget and way ahead of last year's numbers.”

    For the complete story, see Thursday's Times Argus.

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