Op-Ed: The Vermont Way

Parker Riehle, president of Ski Vermont, reflects on what the Hurricane Irene Disaster says about the culture and community of the state.
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As Vermont quickly returns to its welcoming and peaceful self, the community of Vermont--our state ethic of neighbor helping neighbor, friend or complete stranger--has shone through brighter than ever. It is a tremendous reminder of the authenticity and resiliency of Vermont--and is something very powerful to behold.

As you would expect, our resorts have been reaching out to neighbors in the surrounding valleys. Ski area employees with shovels, bucket loaders, ATVs and whatever equipment they can lay their hands on have jumped in to help with their customary know-how for getting things done. Killington, Mount Snow and Stratton have provided free lodging for families displaced in the surrounding villages. 

Okemo pulled together a concert event within days to benefit the local community, just one example of ski area fundraising efforts across the state.

Vermont is moving forward--you knew we would; that’s the Vermont way--and we want to let you know our ski areas are open and ready to welcome you for golf and other on-mountain activities and our spectacular fall foliage and events are on schedule all across the state.

So keep your travel plans or, even better, make some. With I-89, I-91 and over 85% of our roads fully open--and more opening every day--you can get here from there. 

And, with the first snowfall not long after the leaves fall, and resorts all across Vermont making major improvements in the guest experience, we’re looking forward to turning the lifts in the fall for foliage season and for the 2011-12 ski & snowboard season.

The tourism economy is vitally important to Vermont. Fall foliage season is a major driver of the well-being for our villages and towns, and our unrivaled winter experience makes us the third-most visited ski state in the country. 

That’s why the best thing you can do to help is to keep, or make, your travel plans to Vermont. The leaves will turn and the snow will fall and we’ll be here to greet you with a warm smile when you arrive.

-- By Parker Riehle, President of Ski Vermont, a non-profit trade group

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