Snow Business: Ski Country Aims to Cash in on Storm

Resort areas of Vermont hope for a boost from the snowfall.

Vermont’s Killington Resort was thrilled to see heavy snow start falling mid-day Wednesday.

"Pennies from heaven," beamed resort spokesman Michael Joseph. "Fresh snow always makes things better."

Predicted snowfall totals for Vermont varied based on geography, with more expected in the southern and eastern parts of the states. Accumulation forecasts could range from several inches to around a foot or more in some Vermont communities, according to meteorologists.

Joseph said Killington had lost a lot of the machine-blown cover from its snow guns back in that warm-up and rain Sunday and Monday. Joseph said a big snowfall does what not even Killington's sophisticated system of snow-spraying machines can do in opening up a network of trails.

"This natural snow helps us connect those areas and expand much faster," he added.

Joseph said Killington is seeing strong bookings for Thanksgiving Day and the holiday weekend. Several other Vermont ski resorts will also be open on the holiday.

However, Jay Peak Resort announced Wednesday it would not be open for skiing and riding on Thanksgiving Day. In a statement, Jay's chief marketing officer Steve Wright explained the resort wanted to give a large portion of its more than 1,500 employees a day off.

"We made the conscious choice to remain closed through the holiday even if a storm swung our way," Wright said in a news release. "We have long winters up here and this is the only holiday a lot of our team can spend with their family."

The announcement noted not all of Jay's employees will have Thanksgiving off, because the resort is serving meals at three restaurants. Seven-day-a-week lift operations resume on Friday, with Jay Peak optimistic this ski season will last into May.

In Mendon, Marty Salter's ski and board tuning business just picked up in a big way. Marty's Budget Ski Rental has a bunch of jobs to get to for folks looking to have their gear sharpened and waxed in time to enjoy what the storm's bringing.

"I opened Saturday and I had people right away," Salter told New England Cable News. "All skiers appreciate natural snow. There's a softness to it."

The Downtown Rutland Partnership, a business district promotion group, said it expects to be busy this weekend, in part because of the snowfall.

"This really kind of gets people into the holiday spirit," said Mike Coppinger.

Coppinger told NECN he expects contractors and the city's public works department will stay on top of this storm, clearing streets, parking areas, and sidewalks so Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping can go smoothly, especially with extra skiers in the area.

"This is great, because it'll get folks from Connecticut and Massachusetts coming up this way to experience the great recreation we have in the mountains and hopefully stop into our downtown and check out the great things we have," Coppinger said.

The snow is expected to keep falling in much of Vermont Wednesday night into Thanksgiving morning.

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