Vermont is in a unique position. Largely rural — and without a major metropolitan area within the state’s borders — Vermont has avoided the levels of infection from the pandemic that have affected other states in the Northeast, and the rest of the country.
While infection rates in Vermont aren’t really that different than many of the more rural areas of New York, because Vermont doesn’t have those dense urban areas, the statewide rate for infection has been much lower than other states. (For example at the time of this writing, Chittenden County infection rates are equal to or above those in the neighboring NY counties just across the lake.)
Of course, there’s more to Vermont’s relative success. Leaders have taken significant steps to limit transmission and citizens have, so far, accepted most of those moves. In addition, influential media within the state have worked to curtail misinformation in the public domain.
In particular Vermont’s quarantine regulations have been the focus of skiers in the northeast. In the midst of the pandemic, Vermont has put in place travel restrictions, that have the potential to dramatically affect the upcoming ski season.
In a normal winter season, Vermont gets much of its tourism from out-of-state skiers. According to VTDigger, Vermont is the fourth largest “ski state” with 4 million skier visits each year, bringing in $900 million in direct spend and almost as much in additional indirect spend. As many as 80% of skier visits come from Vermont’s northeastern neighbors.
If new rules are enforced and honored, this season will be difficult financially. For most practically purposes, the weekend warrior, so important for the industry, will be excluded.
In our view, this is Vermont’s choice to make. If the government and the people of Vermont have the will and ability to enforce the new guidelines, that is their right.
We also believe that when it’s all over, hopefully by the 2021/22 season, those who are excluded this year, are going to be a critical part of the solution moving forward.
There is a lot that those of us outside the Green Mountain state can do to help keep Vermont’s infection rates low, starting with respecting and honoring Vermont regulations. Skiers love Vermont and few are going to be happy staying out of the state for a full season. But collectively we can help them by skiing our home states or elsewhere.
If you’re a second homeowner who can work from home, consider relocating to Vermont now to get your quarantine started, and stay for as long as you can. Locals will appreciate you abiding by the rules and supporting local business.
Vermont skiers can pave the way for a robust rebound by avoiding some of the “us vs them” stuff we’ve seen online. We need to move beyond the idea of protecting “our season.” It’s our collective well-being that is a stake.
From within Vermont, encourage compliance with guidelines. Avoid confrontation and plate hate. Consider letting go of the urge to post your pow shots on social media, if you don’t want create demand for an activity you are hoping to discourage.
Skiers will make their own decisions and I can only speak for myself. For that reason, the byline on this piece is mine.
I’ll honor Vermont’s rules as long as they’re in place. As always, I’ll continue to use our weather pages to find the best snow I can, focusing on New York. And when Vermont is ready for me, I’ll be there, in line for first chair.
Come on Vermont! We’re rooting for you.
21 comments on “Come On, Vermont!”
Thank you for the thoughtful post, Harvey. As a Vermont resident, watching our infection rates starting to increase dramatically over the past week, I’m honestly concerned about whether there will even be a ski season for those of us who live here. It’s not looking good right now. I’m looking at xc and bc skiing as a back up.
So goes Vermont, so goes the nation.
Vermont is a great place to ski.
We can’t handle all the overflow skiers at Gore and Whiteface. We need a common sense plan for the ORDA and private Catskills hills.
As another Vermonter who’s a fan of this blog, I also appreciate this thoughtful post. The best way to ensure we have a Vermont downhill ski season is to stay healthy and respect the quarantine regulations. Folks from out of state who want to come to VT to ski this winter can do so by quarantining for a week and then getting a negative covid test — before you arrive here. It’ll be burdensome but hey, worth it once you get here.
I hope everyone will respect the regs. They are there for a reason, and even without a massive influx of skiers who haven’t tested negative, Vermont’s once-low covid rates are already rising.
Wait.. that’s a BRIDGE!!
Get to a state and stay there! Ski New York. Live in New York.
Happy Fall and get your gear ready!
So what is a Jersey guy to do? that is what you didn’t address?
Your post is right on target. I was NY resident, but now MA resident. That looked good (I’m a part time -35days- ski instructor in VT), until Berkshire County Covid infection rate ticked higher than VT a week ago. BUT, anyone who believes that the large VT resorts will spin their lifts all season for 100-250 local Vermont skiers per resort, per day, are just nuts. The resorts will be bleeding cash as soon as they open, and if they don’t have a reasonable chance to do better than breakeven, wouldn’t be surprised to see all but the tiny ski areas close down for the season.
Stay in NY
I have to agree. Family was looking at our first trip out West in 2021 (Steamboat), but chances are we’ll, end up cancelling. That made me think it would be great to book a long weekend or two in VT, but the current travel regulations make that unrealistic. We can do some day trips to Snow and maybe Okemo, but would really like to get away a couple of times.
I agreed with you 100% Harvey. I’m a shareholder @ Mad and will do whatever to support them and others.
Hey, who’s the hack in the Magic picture?
I’m now a 1/2 year NH resident and 1/2 year VT resident. In NH we live far away from the Boston bedroom communities that have been nuclear red on the State of VT’s Travel Map for months. In fact, the county I live in has lower rates than neighboring Windham County across the river in VT but was yellow so restrictions applied. But we abide by the rules and will definitely quarantine before our move west in a couple of weeks. Hoping we have a season but totally prepared to ski the BC this winter.
Spot on. During the summer and season pass sale “season”, I was contemplating Magic or Ikon. Settled on the NY SKI3 because I just couldn’t predict what travel restrictions or restrictions at ski resorts would be. As a New Yorker at least I can travel in-state. I feel for all the small ski resorts in the Northeast. I’m used to driving from LI every weekend to wherever and sleep and live in my car to ski. I hope to visit all the independent ski areas next year and show my appreciation to them all hopefully when things get a little better.
I don’t like travel restrictions any more than the next person, but I think they’re necessary. Also I don’t think the state of VT is jumping for joy about imposing restrictions. Lots of businesses are gonna be hurting this winter.
Agree with John Gelb above that some locals in Vermont who are drooling over the possibility of skiing by themselves without New Jersey and NY and MA invading shouldn’t get their hopes up. The big mountains are already slashing costs (basically no ski school at Killington) and will continue to if their revenue streams are shut down by extraordinary factors. They already got hit hard by missing March of last year, and the ultimate goal is just to stay open this year and break even or not lose too much. Lucky you if you have a condo or home up there, but, if it’s a marginal snow year (like last year), don’t expect a lot of snowmaking and grooming to sustain the experience, and expect a lot of lifts sitting idle.
As far as “hey, I’ll just ski Gore”, well, don’t be surprised if that isn’t a cluster even on weekdays. Water finds it’s own level, and skiers gotta ski. All those Vermont skiers will be invading your hills. Like me.
Btw, ironic in some way that the bridge pictured was made in China.
Benny, when did you hear that Killington would not run its ski school?
I have a friend who has been teaching snowboarding for twenty years there. He’s not working, along with many. Maybe some small private things, that’s it.
I mean, have you ever walked through one of those rooms where a hundred beginners are booting up? Toxic.
Ya, looks like Killington is limiting lessons to 1/2 days & full days. Stratton where I work, is doing their instructors orientation on Saturday 11/14
Just cancelled my Epic pass have skied VT my whole life. Live upstate NY follow all the safety rules but think your Gov has gone over the edge in my opinion only.
Resorts had done there part but Gov didn’t care. A lot of people are going to go out of business and bankrupt people and companies.
So VT get ready for it will be a typhoon of business closing.
I just want my money back from Vail!!!
No skiing no money!
Great post, Harvey. Since I can’t cross the border, skiing anywhere in New England is off my list for this winter. We’ll be hiding in the trees up here in Hinterlandia.
Thanks for all the feedback.
The news today was good and I’m optimistic that humanity will meet the challenges we face. I look forward to returning to the days when maximizing my powder days is my biggest concern in winter.