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After a rough start, Vermont ski resorts glide into the end of the season

People are set up to watch the eclipse from Stowe Mountain Resort on Monday.
Stowe Mountain Resort
People are set up to watch the eclipse from Stowe Mountain Resort on Monday.

It was a rough winter for Vermont’s ski resorts, and then it wasn’t. A barren January and February was followed by a snowy March and April, given a boost by a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse.

“We were probably 15% or 20% behind our budget headed into fiscal March,” said Steve Wright, president and CEO of Jay Peak. “We’ve made up all that ground as a result of both the natural snow we’ve received — which is over 100 inches in the last six weeks — and also the eclipse.”

Wright said Jay Peak’s late season — the resort closed in early June the last two years — helps it attract spring skiers when other resorts have closed. This upcoming weekend, Wright said, rooms are completely sold out.

Other resorts have benefited as well: Stowe extended its season an additional week, now ending on April 21, to take advantage of the snow.

And while resorts in the path of totality may have reaped the most benefits from the eclipse, March and early April’s snow brought two to three times as many visitors to resorts in the southern half of the state as they’d generally see in spring, said Bryan Rivard, director of communications at Ski Vermont.

“The only areas that wouldn’t have benefited from [the snow] — and everybody that I spoke to did — would have been those that have closed,” Rivard said. “So some of the areas that were either of smaller operations or didn’t have full time staff or didn’t have a lot of snowmaking ability.”

At Killington, March typically has the highest snowfall of the season, said Kristel Killary, the resort's brand marketing and communications manager.

And Rivard said that late spring storms, rather than being an anomaly, have happened enough to form a pattern the industry will adapt to.

“The last two years, we’ve seen pretty big spring storms that have come in just this time of year,” Rivard said. “This is pretty standard, I think, for what we’re seeing now and we’ll be ready for it in future years.”

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Corrected: April 16, 2024 at 4:19 PM EDT
An earlier version of this story misspelled Bryan Rivard's name.
Corey Dockser is Vermont Public’s first data journalist, a role combining programming and journalism to produce stories that would otherwise go unheard. His work ranges from complex interactive visualizations to simple web scraping and data cleaning. Corey graduated from Northeastern University in 2022 with a BS in data science and journalism. He previously worked at The Buffalo News in Buffalo, New York as a Dow Jones News Fund Data Journalism intern, and at The Boston Globe.

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