Slow Start Kept Vermont Visits Down in 2006-07

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SAM Magazine-Warren, Vt., June 8, 2007-Skier visits declined 7 percent in Vermont last season, according to Vermont Ski Areas Association (VSAA). In 2006-07, Vermont ski areas tallied 3,820431 visits, down from the approximately 4.1 million skier visits in 2005-06. The decline was consistent with numbers across the country: total skier visits across the United States dropped an estimated 7 percent, and the Northeast region as a whole suffered a seven-percent decline, according to preliminary numbers released by the National Ski Areas Association.

Members of the Vermont industry cited the rough start to the state's winter, with warm temperatures plaguing the area, resulting in delayed openings. "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 VSAA president Parker Riehle.. "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-truly the perfect storm that arrived in time for the Presidents' Week holiday."

It was thanks to the late blast of winter that numbers didn't slip more. Presidents' Week set records for the state. Significant snowstorms continued through February, March and well into April. The favorable weather conditions prompted Vermont legislators to pump an additional $250,000 into a marketing blitz, which resulted in an 8.5 percent increase in business over March of 2006. Even so, the season still fell short of Vermont's ten-year average of 4.1 million skier visits.


Vermont Skier Visits

I'm having a hard time believing that the 7% decline in Vermont skier visits this winter were on pace with the national average. The extreamly warm weather for the first 1/2 of the winter and the fact that it never got cold enough to make enough snow until early February should indicate a disaster for the season in regard to skier days. I suspect that these number are marketing spin.