The Gift of Giving: Vermont Ski Areas Support Local Communities
Sarah Neith, Ski Vermont
Statewide, VERMONT - Community support and neighborly love define the Vermont way of life and Vermonters work together to support each other, Vermont values and their surrounding landscapes. Ski areas in Vermont know how much they rely on the love and support of the community and reciprocate with charitable events, festive fundraisers and good old volunteerism.
Getting the youth of Vermont on the slopes is a great incentive, and ski resorts have multitudes of programs that help them get out in the winter for cheaper, or even for free. Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport enables fifth graders to ski and ride for free at Vermont resorts and proceeds from the $10 processing fee go to Must Be the Milk, a campaign supporting our local dairy farmers. Last season, $8,830 was contributed and more than 2,200 kids utilized their passport to visit Vermont’s mountains. To find out more on Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport program and order online, visit skivermont.com/FGP
Vermont resorts also give nearly 20,000 complimentary tickets/passes and several thousand deeply discounted tickets to school children, local volunteers, rescue organizations and military families through out the season. There are also incentives for kids to hit the books as well as the slopes, as many resorts offer season passes to academic achievers.
Ski Vermont and individual resorts have also raised money for Sandy relief, currently totaling over $50,000. Understanding the impact of a devastating storm, this offered a chance to give back to the states that supported Vermont’s recovery from Irene in 2011. Poster sale proceeds from Ski Vermont’s iconic poster series will continue to support Sandy relief through December 31, 2012. You can find them here.
Let us share a few of the other great initiatives that Vermont ski resorts are partaking in this season:
Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo Mountain Resort promotes a culture of support for local community and charitable giving and owners Tim and Diane Mueller lead by example. Education is a recurring theme in the Muellers’ philanthropic efforts. Diane founded the Okemo Community Challenge, an organization that has raised more than $1 million to benefit local charitable and educational endeavors. Okemo annually awards about $10,000 in scholarships to resort staff and their dependents as part of the Okemo Academic Reward Program and awards season passes to local students in grades 7-12 who achieve and maintain Honor Roll status.
Twice a year, Okemo operates a food drive and rewards skiers and riders with discounted lift tickets for donating food items. The Resort also donates 100 frozen turkeys to the Black River Good Neighbors Christmas Basket Program each holiday season. Resort staff members celebrate Valentine’s Day by donating to the Resort’s Have a Heart Program, with Okemo-matched funds benefiting the United Way.
Most recently, Okemo donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. Learn more about Okemo’s charitable giving.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Continuing a tradition begun more than 20 years ago, this winter Smugglers’ Notch Resort will host a family sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to fulfill their simple wish: to have fun in the snow. The visits are enthusiastically supported by Smugglers’ employees, who have made special gifts and donated holiday tree ornaments, delicious treats, and Vermont mementos to the families to enhance their stay. Visiting families have enjoyed time together learning to ski or snowboard, building snowmen, gliding on ice skates, and touring on snowmobiles and sleigh rides, leaving with fond memories of their special Vermont holiday.
For the second year, Smugglers’ will host the Hope on the Slopes Vertical Challenge, an all-day downhill ski and snowboard fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Scheduled for March 2, 2013, Hope on the Slopes features a full day of skiing on Smugglers’ three mountains, with prizes awarded for skiing the most vertical feet and raising the most funds. Participants can join the event as an individual or as a team, and funds raised help the American Cancer Society support cancer research and the needs of cancer patients. For more information visit cancer.org/NEHopeOnTheSlopes
Stowe Mountain Resort
The FCS Race for Kids in Stowe - A very special annual event will take place January 3 through 6, 2013 at Stowe Mountain Resort. Members of the business and media communities will come together to ski-race and raise money for three charities that offer hope and comfort to children in desperate need.
The Financial Communications Society (FCS) is the presenting sponsor. Participating teams enjoy receptions and race camps prior to the competition. The main event takes place Saturday 1/5 with a Dual Slalom race. Since year 2000, this event has raised over one million dollars for The Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund, Downy Side, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. For more information please visit http://www.fcsraceforkids.org
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton Mountain and its people continuously work to improve the community out of which the resort grows. Supported and guided by the people who live, work and play at the resort, the Stratton Foundation works in southern Vermont to improve the opportunities, health and quality of life in our local communities. Following Hurricane Irene, the Stratton Foundation developed an emergency action plan to assist families and business with recovery. To date, they have raised over $400,000 for those affected by Irene with the help of the greater Stratton community in Vermont, New York, Connecticut and further afield. This season, guests can help the Stratton Foundation continue its work by skiing and riding at the 24 Hours of Stratton, a chance to cruise the mountain around-the-clock.
Stratton Mountain also supports other causes through growing events like the North Face Race to the Summit and the Heels to Paws 5K. Most recently, the Gobble Gobble Wobble 5K on Thanksgiving Day 2012 raised $6330 for Hurricane Sandy relief.
Learn more about the Stratton Foundation, their work and events on their website, www.strattonfoundation.org.
Trapp Family Lodge
For the past ten years, the Trapp Family Lodge has proudly hosted the Relay for Life NordicStyle, a fun-filled, overnight cross country ski / snowshoe event that enlists hundreds of volunteers to help fight cancer by raising money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society mission. Last year the event raised $93,0660 betwen 237 participants. The event will be held on March 16th starting at 6:00 pm through March 17th until 6:00 am. For more information please visit www.relayforlife.org/nordicstylevt
Topnotch Resort and Spa
Topnotch Resort and Spa partnered with Stowe Land Trust are working together on an innovative partnership designed to conserve the community’s natural and cultural landscapes. The innovative partnership encourages hotel guests to participate in conservation and stewardship of the land through a $1 nightly donation per room, supplemented with an additional $1 nightly donation by the hotel, which goes to the Stowe Land Trust, an organization dedicated to the conservation of scenic, recreational, and productive farm and forest lands for the benefit of the greater Stowe community. For more information, visit http://www.topnotchresort.com/en/stowe-land-trust.php