Visitors to Vermont's ski country may be surprised to find some restaurants and stores boarded up in the valley town near Mount Snow -- one of the communities hardest hit by Tropical Storm Irene -- but the skiing and riding should be the same depending on the snow.

Many Wilmington businesses have already reopened or vow to do so -- it's just a matter of when.

"It's mind-boggling to think what I have to do to think about reopening," said Lori Downey, who with her husband hopes to reopen Bean Head's coffee shop, after losing everything in the flood -- from coffee grinders, a cappuccino maker, refrigerators and freezers to panini grills, meats, cream cheeses and coffee. "What we're going to have to do is start small and build our stuff back up."

So much of the center of the small town is boarded up that the chamber is trying to figure out how to spruce the place up before winter, maybe with a mural painting contest.

"The biggest thing about Wilmington is that our entire business community was gone," said Rothman. The Aug. 28 storm turned streams and rivers into raging waterways and carried away bridges and large segments of roads around Vermont, cutting off at least a dozen communities and damaging or destroying at least 840 homes.

The slopes and buildings at Mount Snow, however, were unharmed. A snowmaking pump house that became submerged in water has been replaced.

At Killington Resort, part of a lodge collapsed in the flooding. The resort has opted to replace it with a deck and two outdoor heated umbrella bars.

It also had to regrade parking lots, dredge a snowmaking pond and replace carpets and drywall in some of the lodges that had water damage.

Farther north, parts of the Mad River Valley -- home to Sugarbush and Mad River Glen -- also were hit hard by flooding, though the resorts were unharmed.

American Flat Bread -- a popular pizza restaurant in Waitsfield -- has reopened after losing 40 cords of spit firewood for its wood-fired oven and flood damage to its offices, property and parking lot. The Mint restaurant in the center of town is serving lunch in a local church while rebuilding, and the Green Cup is seeking donations as it seeks to rebuild.

At New Hampshire's Loon Mountain, river flooding tore away the abutments of a bridge to the resort and part of the Kankamagus Highway through the White Mountains. A temporary bridge is scheduled to be open this week until the damaged bridge can be repaired in the spring.


If you go:

Call or check websites for exact opening dates and snow conditions.

Mount Snow: West Dover, Vt. (; 800-245-7669).

Killington: Killington, Vt. (; 802-422-6200).

Mad River Glen: Waitsfield, Vt. (; 802-496-3551).

Sugarbush: Warren, Vt. (; 800-537-8427).

Loon Mountain: Lincoln, N.H. (; 800-229-5666).