With help from Mother Nature in terms of five inches of natural snow and cold temperatures and the work of an outstanding team of snowmakers, The Beast of the East, Killington Mountain Resort, kicked off the 2016-2017 on October 25th. For several years Killington has had the longest season in the east.
Killington had hoped to open at 9:00 AM but Mother Nature was not completely cooperative. The opening was pushed back to noon with the first gondola loading at 11:58 AM according to one skier who could just wait to get out. Many skiers and riders were queuing up at before the 9:00 scheduled opening. Those who closely monitored Killington’s Facebook page caught up to the minute details of the schedule.
Opening day was the annual Season Pass and Express Card holder appreciation day. Killington provided lunch for those who got out as well as free hot chocolate all day. Killington planned to open to the public on October 26th at 9:00 a.m. The Killington Parks season was scheduled to open on Wednesday as well, opening the early season Reason Terrain Park with six features.
Snowmaking continued throughout the day on Tuesday with temperatures and humidity right at the margins. It was 34 degrees in the parking lot and there were snow flurries in the valleys.
Skiing and riding was limited to Upper and Lower Rime and Reason and the North Ridge Triple was the only upper mountain lift operating. Limited terrain for sure, but, heck, it’s October!
Those exiting the gondola after downloading showed their enthusiasm for the sport. One skier said it was “wet but good, one and done”. Another said it good to get out and they were glad they did it.
Who can blame them after last season? The pent up demand after last season’s drought was just too much.
Staff in the ticket office was busy selling passes for those who had not gotten them before the opening day.
All of this will be good practice because in a little over five weeks Killington will host the Audi FIS Ski World Cup. The World Cup event will include the women’s giant slalom and slalom races and is expected to bring U.S. Ski Team superstars Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn to compete against the best women’s technical alpine skiers in the world.
Conditions are bound to get better in the coming weeks and months as the Beast of the East looks to set another record for the longest season in the East.