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New Jay Peak lodge brings jobs

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Jay, Vermont - December 18, 2009

Skiers go to Jay Peak for the snow. But the resort hopes a new lodge will get them to stick around after they come off the slopes.

The resort officially opened the new Tram Haus Lodge Friday. The $20 million development is the first phase of a $100 million expansion. Owner Bill Stenger said he hopes it will change the complexion of the Northeast Kingdom's economy over the next three years.

"In this lodge and the support services that go into this building will be about 130 employees," he said. "And then we have future phases next year and the year after that will add an additional 400 or 500 more employees directly on the property."

Employees Friday were stocking the coffee shop, prepping the restaurant, and readying the 57 suites for the lodge's first guests Friday night. Nearly every contractor and subcontractor that built this lodge were Vermont companies, Vermont companies can be seen throughout the building -- from Johnson Woolen Mills blankets in the guest rooms to meals in the dining room. Nearly everything on the menu is made with Vermont ingredients.

"We believe in the Vermont brand," Stenger said. "We believe in our communities and we want to invest wherever we can in Vermont."

State officials said that employment is critical, especially in a region and an industry that need the work.

"You see probably a couple hundred people working out there," Vt. Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn said. "But for this project, they would probably not be working right now. We're in the down season for construction, but there are construction workers out there today that are gainfully employed."

Dorn says there's also a multiplier effect at play -- for every job created onsite, one or two are created in the wider community.

"So the impact goes well beyond what's happening right here on the slopes and in this building today," he said. "It goes all over northern Vermont."

The Tram Haus Lodge is the first phase of a $100 million development. Over the next two years, Jay Peak also plans to build an ice arena, water park, and conference center.

Kate Duffy - WCAX News

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