KILLINGTON (AP) - The Vermont Ski Areas Association says the state had another stellar season with 4.5 million skier and rider visits.

The number is about the same as last year's.

Preliminary figures of the National Ski Areas Association show that the 2013-14 count puts Vermont first in East and number three in the country for skier and rider visits.

VSAA President Parker Riehle says the season was most notable "for its record early start and incredibly strong finish."

He says nine alpine and three Nordic areas opened a week before Thanksgiving, thanks to cold weather that allowed for snowmaking.