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Did COVID hurt Killington businesses this holiday weekend?

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 2:50 PM EST
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - This past weekend is usually one of the biggest of the season for ski resorts, bringing in tourists for the long weekend. Under state guidelines, resorts are required to limit lift loading to 50% of capacity and indoor occupancy of lodges is also limited to 50% capacity. But as Martin Luther King Jr. weekend wraps up, businesses in Killington tell us they actually did really well.

“In general, it was a fine weekend and the snow really helped,” said Greenbrier Inn and Gift Shop owner Jennifer Innantuoni.

She says business in her gift shop has been great, about the same as a normal year. But her 21-room inn has been significantly affected by COVID because of lodging restrictions.

Looking ahead to Presidents Day, the next big week for skiers and riders, Iannantuoni says she expects some annual guests won’t be able to make the trip.

“I would imagine the families who visit us will be off, but we’re looking forward to a good Presidents week, as well,” she said.

One of Iannantuoni’s gift shop customers is Eric Lewis, a snowboarder spending his first weekend in Killington.

“The Beast of the East. I saw the trails and I had to come,” said Lewis.

While here from New York City, Lewis ate and shopped locally.

“Got a couple things for my little cousins and my mom and all of them, got them a couple gifts because I am super thankful and this looked like the perfect spot,” said Lewis.

On the mountain, all parking reservations were filled Friday and Saturday. And some parking lots were full on Monday.

Courtney DiFiore of the Killington Resort says business is down about 50% or more across the board at Killington and Pico Mountains, but fewer people means some added benefits, like being able to take more runs.

“It’s probably a great experience for them because you have all this wonderful snow and there’s not as many people as you would normally have, even though it is at capacity for us this season,” said DiFiore.

“Business is great this week and weekend. We were definitely busier through yesterday, which would have been Sunday,” said Donna Stanley, the manager at Forerunner Ski Shop in Killington.

Stanley says they had a busy Christmas and holiday week. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend has been a bit slower than years past, but Stanley knows COVID plays a big role.

“Some people might not be able to quarantine or meet the requirements just for the weekend, so that could be why the numbers are a little bit different this weekend, too, but we expect to see them up high again for Presidents week. I’ve already got some phone calls and inquiries about rentals,” said Stanley.

All businesses tell WCAX News they are looking forward to the rest of the ski season and hope we still get more snow.

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