Vermont ski resorts see strong weekend despite warmup ahead of holiday
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The long Presidents Day Weekend-- a week off for some-- is traditionally a perfect opportunity to hit the slopes, but a 50-degree, rainy day heading into the weekend had some area resorts nervous.
However, they found visitors came anyway and groomers were able to make the weekend work despite winds and a few snow squalls.
It was 30 degrees at Bolton Valley on Presidents Day and hundreds of visitors spent the day on the slopes.
“You can’t have a bad day when you’re skiing with your grandkids,” said Peter Nowlan of Randolph.
“It’s a lot better than being at school,” said Atticus Cryer-Crosby of Burlington.
Monday might be an ideal day to shred but the vital weekend came with its challenges at first.
“It was a little nerve-wracking. If you remember we had a big rainstorm last week midweek,” said Lindsay DesLauriers, the president of Bolton Valley.
But DesLauriers says visitors weren’t scared away. Their hotel has been fully booked and the mountain looks full.
“We’re at full max in our rental shop and full max in our ski school. That means people are skiing from out of state and they’re excited to ski and get outside here in Vermont,” DesLauriers said.
Up at Jay Peak, the resort just below the Canadian border says the rain turned to snow and they were pleased to kick the weekend off with 6 inches of fresh powder.
“We haven’t seen a weekend like this since 2018 for Presidents Day,” said J.J. Toland of the Jay Peak Resort.
Toland says Presidents Day revenue and ski visits are up 10% ahead of pre-pandemic levels, lodging and the water park are booked full. But he says they are seeing fewer Canadian visitors due to COVID restrictions at the border.
“The U.S. market is making up for that gap right now,” Toland said. “It’s been nuts to put it in vernacular.”
“You never like to see 50-degree rain in the middle of a ski season but to have it come on the cusp of a holiday weekend was particularly challenging,” said Adam White of Vail Resorts, which includes Stowe, Okemo and Mount Snow.
White says the resorts were able to turn it around after a rocky start. He says Mount Snow is one resort famous for snowmaking and Vermonters know that.
“I think a lot of skiers and riders from the south know they only need to go as far north as Mount Snow to get good conditions after an event like we did last week,” White said.
White adds that this is the second-leanest natural snow winter in 15 years and resorts are crossing their fingers for a powder-filled March.
Regardless, if this winter has proven anything it’s that visitors are ready to travel and experience the Green Mountains.
“Travel is back,” DesLauriers said.
“People want to get out and play,” Toland said.
One resort also mentioned that every handful of years, Vermont February break aligns with other New England breaks, allowing for a perfect storm of visitors on the holiday.
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