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At Issue: Ski Season & Weather - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

At Issue: Ski Season & Weather

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

We had a good start to the ski season and then the ice and warm temperatures came, putting a damper on things.

Despite that roller-coaster ride, ski areas say they had a strong Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. That's key because winter recreation is an important part of Vermont's economy. The Vermont Ski Areas Association says skiers and riders bring about $700 million every year in direct spending to the state.

Now the numbers are down from last year's season, which was the second-best on record. But officials say snowmaking has helped them guard against Mother Nature's weather swings.

"The prospect of the temperature and that intimidating the day market has been a challenge but the good news is that the lodging bookings have held up very strong and those crowds have come through in a big way for us," says Parker Riehle with the Vermont Ski Areas Association.

Riehle says 80 percent of the out-of-state visitors to the slopes are from Boston and the Tri-State area. He also says they're feeling optimistic about President's Day weekend next month and that booking for that crucial holiday remains strong.

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