(Host) The new owners of the Jay Peak ski area want to build a four season resort.
They want to build another hotel, as well as a new water park and a bowling alley.
VPR’s Ross Sneyd has more.
(Sneyd) Skiers know Jay Peak as a snow magnet.
Storms seem to hit the resort at the northern end of the Green Mountains and just sit there.
Last winter there were 420 inches of snow.
Bill Stenger has been a manager at Jay for 25 years.
Despite all the snow, he’s not going to count on the weather alone.
(Stenger) “I think in today’s ski industry, relying solely on winter is a very, very difficult thing. So, we’re working aggressively to make sure that we have essentially weather-proof amenities and services. And the new company going forward will be focused on that.”
(Sneyd) That’s why Stenger and the other new owners plan to invest $80 million in projects that aren’t usually associated with a ski resort … things like bowling, an indoor water park, and skating.
(Stenger) “It’ll essentially and most importantly allow for guests to be here 12 months a year, every month of the year. And our staff and our community to be active for 12 months of the year.”
(Sneyd) The prospect of year-round jobs is welcome in a corner of the Northeast Kingdom that often has the state’s highest unemployment rate.
Steve Patterson is executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association.
(Patterson) “The economic development in the Northeast Kingdom is actually coming along. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on. But at the same time, it still remains a challenge. And when you get a company like Jay Peak that is by all appearances doing incredibly well and headed toward year-round employment, it really makes a difference.”
(Sneyd) For years, ski resorts have searched for ways to generate revenue when it’s not snowing.
Condominiums and hotels have generally been a good bet and so have golf courses.
Troy Hawks of the National Ski Areas Association says resorts in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have recently opened water parks similar to the one planned at Jay.
(Hawks) “It’s not only trying to become a four-season resort as it is catering to a broader slice of demographics. There’s something for Mom and Dad. There’s something for the kids. And maybe even if it’s a whole family, multi-generational. Grandpa and Grandma can go bowling while Mom and Dad and the kids are skiing during the day.”
(Host) According to a recent survey, resorts collect just seven or eight percent of their annual revenues, on average, from summer attractions.
Which is why Bill Stenger isn’t giving up on the skiing at Jay Peak. Part of his plan calls for new trails and chairlifts on the mountain.
For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.
AP Photo/Jay Peak