It was a comeback ski season for the homeland of Ben and Jerry’s and Maple Cremes.
Ski Vermont is reporting 3.76 million skier visits for the 2021-22 season, which is a 6.5% increase over the 2020-21 season. There are a few caveats to this stat though.
During the 2020-21 season, Vermont saw some of the most severe COVID restrictions in the United States. Outsiders who entered the state needed to quarantine for fourteen days.
According to Vermont Business Journal, visitation in the 2020-21 season was 3.5 million, while the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season saw 3.7 million skiers/riders. While 3.76 million visits is an improvement over the 2020-21 season, it is still below Vermont’s ten-year average.
Some factors include inconsistent weather throughout the season, and Canadian tourists dealing with COVID test requirements. The state’s best season from the past ten years was the very snowy 2014-15 season, in which they recorded 4.7 million skier visits.
Ski Vermont President Molly Mahar said the following about the 2021-22 season:
“Vermont’s ski industry has faced monumental pandemic-related challenges over the past few seasons, but our ski areas have shown incredible perseverance, resourcefulness, and resiliency in continuing to offer the skiing and riding experience for which Vermont is renowned. Even with last winter’s inconsistent weather, we still saw a solid rebound in business. Our member areas are committed to providing guests with the best possible experience, and as an industry, we’re also working to address the barriers keeping would-be skiers from the sport.”
Personally, my ski days in Vermont increased from five to ten days during the past two seasons. The pandemic restrictions kept me away for the most part during the 2020-21 season, but having an Ikon and Indy Pass this year helped me get up there more.
I bet they’ll have an all-time season next year with Canadian tourists roaring back down to the states without strict COVID restrictions. With this surge of Canadian tourists though, popular Vail properties Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Snow will likely see crowds that are equivalent to or greater than what they experienced last season. Mount Snow introduced paid parking last season to try to reduce crowds, and now Stowe will now have drivers pay for parking for the 2022-23 season due to the disaster that is Vermont Route 108 on peak days. Will this actually reduce traffic on Stowes access road and increase carpooling? That will depend on how the season goes in terms of snowfall and economic constraints that are currently facing the North American economy.
For those who are looking to ski in Vermont but don’t want to deal with massive crowds, I would recommend checking out the smaller ski areas of Vermont. Places like Ascutney Outdoors, Bolton Valley, Bromley, Burke Mountain, Cochran’s, Middlebury Snow Bowl, Suicide Six, and other smaller mountains may not be “Epic”, but not having to deal with massive crowds is a benefit to shredding these smaller ski areas.
Click here to read Ski Vermont’s official statement about the 2021-22 season.Image Credits: Killington Resort, Ski Vermont, Suicide Six Ski Area