While some parts of Vermont may see snow on Monday night, a lot of ski resorts in Vermont and elsewhere have closed down for the season. This year was critical as some resorts tried to make up for seasons interrupted by the pandemic.
Some ski resorts say this past season brought a higher turnout and in some cases, numbers are climbing back to where they were before March 2020. The Killington Resort was the first to open this season and is still seeing skiers on the slopes. The resort says this season has brought more customers. “We have seen more visits this year and we’re just excited to welcome everyone back to Vermont,” said Kristel Killary, the Communications Manager for the Killington Resort.
Ski Vermont says that translates into more money for Vermont’s economy. “Having a strong ski season is not only good for the ski area but it’s good for a lot of surrounding businesses as well,” said Molly Mahar, the President of the Vermont Ski Area Association.
One of these places includes the Von Trapp Family Lodge, where people can stay in the winter. Owner Sam Von Trapp says he has seen more travelers this year. “We happened to benefit here at Trapp Family Lodge,” said Von Trapp. “Our space is 2800 acres and has restaurants and high ceilings which make people feel comfortable.”
Ski Vermont says the biggest challenge resorts faced were restrictions for out-of-state travelers. “Last season, not being able to freely come in to quarantine really depressed our skier visits for last season.” There were similar impacts on nearby businesses. “For the winter of 2020 to 2021, there were a lot of travel restrictions still. The vaccines were just becoming available but for older folks but not available for everyone yet.”
While skiers were more plentiful, staffing remains an issue, but Von Trapp says business is still strong. “We’d rather have twice the business and half the staff than twice the staff and half the business.” He’s happy to see more visitors traveling to the Green Mountain state.
“We really appreciate being in the position to provide an escape for people who many of them have been cooped up in their room, many aren’t as fortunate as we are to live in rural Vermont where we have access to all this recreation and space. People are really excited for people who didn’t get to see us last year. So they are making sure that they get to see us this year.”
In some places, there’s still time to get back on the slopes. Killington Resort is open 7 days a week the rest of the month, then weekends in May. Other resorts staying open include Jay Peak, Sugarbush, and Mount Snow. The Ski Vermont organization says it expects to see more Canadians hit the slopes as restrictions continue to ease up at the border.