On January 9, 2019

Businesses, resorts report strong holiday week

Staff report

The skiing was so good, Okemo Mountain Resort had to scramble to find employees after the holiday period ended on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Resort officials anticipated ski visits to drop off after New Year’s Day, but the mid-week days following the holiday turned out to be as strong as they were during the holiday week.

“We were calling people in when they were off,” said Okemo Public Relations Manager Bonnie MacPherson. “It was surprisingly good.”

MacPherson declined to give total numbers of resort visits, explaining that was proprietary information since Okemo was purchased by Vail (a publicly traded company).

Killington Resort Communications Manager Courtney DiFore also declined to share the specific number of people who visited Killington, but said the number of visitors at Killington and Pico was up from last year. However, rain and warmer weather caused some challenges for both resorts on Friday, Dec. 28.

After the warm weather, “We had that quick drop in temperature and it all iced over,” she said.

DiFore and MacPherson said the resorts rebounded quickly when temperatures dropped and snowmaking could continue.

The rainy day was a benefit to area businesses.

“People couldn’t go skiing and they went shopping instead,” said Book Nook owner Scott Stearns in Ludlow. “It felt busier than it had been the past couple years.”

Business owners said the holiday week was far better than last year, which saw frigid temperatures.

“It was a busy week. It exceeded last year’s quite substantially,” said Choices’ owner Claude Blais.

“There was a lot of optimism coming into the holidays with the storms and quality of snow,” said Blue Sky Trading Company owner Greg Hart.

Rutland also felt the effects of the strong holiday period.

“I think people are all pretty pleased with the season in general,” said Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Cohen.

The Downtown Rutland Partnership started promoting Rutland at the end of November.

About 1,200 people came to a holiday stroll event at businesses downtown in November. About 1,000 people participated in voting for their favorite holiday window, said Executive Director Steve Peters.

“People said they had a good season,” Peters said.

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