Never never try to predict snow conditions from a distance. Don’t even try from a slope side bed. They can be worse or surprisingly much better than expected. When in doubt always, always go skiing. It is my experience that more often than not, conditions will be better, perhaps much better, than you think. Some times they can be surprisingly superb. Given today’s advanced snow making equipment, complimented by a sea of precision groomers with knowledgeable and experienced drivers at the controls, and cooperation from Mother Nature, good snow can easily be made, received or even miraculously transformed overnight.
I was rewarded recently for having that very opinion. In December during a few too short days at Killington, after one of the worst ice storms in Southern New England history, I was indeed rewarded for my persistence. That ice was more snow than rain in central and northern Vermont, and for first tracks on a Monday morning, after a warm up overnight, I was blessed with a multi-mountain full of trail choices, all of which had the most silkiest, soft carvable snow surface one could experience. The temperature had risen just enough to soften surfaces, but not enough to make them mushy.
Skiing on a Monday meant there was no crowd. And I carved long turns using the full width of trails with little fear of cutting in front of fellow sliders. Fast or slow, the turns felt good beneath my feet, as the radiused edges of my skis did most of the work for me [as they are designed to do]. I followed as my boards dipped and dove, over and around, as I progressed down the mountains with a big smile on my face. Following or leading my two fellow skiers, we wove a most pleasant web of marks on the hills. Up and down we went, till our legs requested a rest, and our thirst and appetites won us over.
Killington has long been known as the “Beast of the East”. Beast, by definition, means a large animal, i.e. a monstrous, living being. It is, by all definitions, both those things, but like all beasts, they can easily be tamed to serve, and better yet, more than reward our expectations. And new owner Powdr Corp. is doing just that, making the 7-mountain peak area readily accessible, convenient and understandable. Also, Mountain Ambassadors lead daily tours starting at the Snowshed Lodge, to help make the most out of your stay.
Powdr Corp. headquartered in Park City Utah, also owns 6 other ski and snowboard resorts nationwide, including well-known Mt. Bachelor in Oregon and Park City Mountain Resort in Park City Utah.
By far, Killington is the largest area in the East, encompassing 7 peaks, with a summit elevation of 4,241 feet and 88 miles of trails, and six terrain parks served by 30 lifts, including 2 gondolas. Add a vertical drop of 3,050 feet, an average of 20 feet of natural snowfall, the world’s largest snowmaking system, and it is apparent there is something here for everyone.
A Killington lift ticket is also good at neighboring Pico. Future plans still call for an interconnect between the two mountains. Pico opened on Thanksgiving Day way back in 1937. Pico is no small area. It still has classic Vermont skiing. Complete with 50 trails and almost 2000 feet of vertical. Its varied terrain is well known for its family friendly atmosphere.
Killington, celebrating its 50th season, has invested over 8 million dollars in recent improvements to ensure that our skiing and riding experiences will be more than positive. Those improvements include a new Skye Peak Express Chair (now providing a five minute ride from the base of Bear Mountain to the top of Skye Peak at speeds up to 1,400 feet per minute), a new Snowshed Magic Carpet and a new all-natural terrain park with 34 features called the “Burton Stash” at Bear Mountain. Many trail improvements have also been accomplished, including a new gladed trail called “The Stairs” of Skye Peak.
Nightlife abounds along the access road, long known for some of the most vibrant after hour’s entertainment in skiing kingdom, east or west. The area abounds with specialty shops and there are over 50 restaurants and clubs along the well-known road.
My tips for skiing and riding at Killington include studying the trail map before venturing out and taking advantage of a free mountain tour. Skiing early, avoiding lunch at noon, venturing away from the base areas, and always skiing and riding in control, are all good habits no matter where you spend your winters.