Warren, Vermont - January 14, 2012
It's what skiers and riders have all been waiting for.
"Winter's finally here, it's January 13th winter has started," said skier Dana Hood.
More than a foot of snow hit Sugarbush ski resort just in time for the busy holiday weekend. "I think it's been one of the slowest starts I can remember," said Dave Gavett, headmaster at Green Mountain Valley School.
Sugarbush resort held a fun race with representatives from around the state and kids from Green Mountain Valley ski school. The event commemorated the new T-bar lift at the resort and a sizable investment Gavett says has eased the pain of the slow start to winter.
"We are show-casing these new energy efficient guns which literally use 90% less energy than traditional guns which will have a tremendous impact and is a real game-changer in the industry," Gavett said. Each energy efficient snow gun costs 13,000 dollars, Sugarbush purchased 40 for the upcoming season. The total cost -- $520,000.
"When we are fully operational it will cut our bills in half," said Adam Greshin, co-owner of Sugarbush and state representative of Warren. He says Vermont's tourism industry is holding it's ground after a strong foliage season. "We tend to find that people book vacations and they come. If they're not skiing or on their snowmobiles they're in the shops and in restaurants," Greshin said.
Saturday's event involved a political race as well, Republicans and Democrats faced off on the slopes, racing for Vermont made products. "As you might imagine in Vermont the Republicans are a bit outnumbered but some of the Independent's are racing for them and we have prizes for the fastest democrat and the fastest republican," said Dave Gavett.
With the snow finally in place tourism officials can continue touting their fall message, that Vermont is open for business.