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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Thursday, January 19, 2017
4 3/4 inches. Light snow falling




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Killington Snow Report for Saturday, January 21, 2017

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 128
Open Lifts: 16
Groomed Trails: 75
Service Conditions: Machine Groomed/Packed Powder
Average Base Depth: 16" - 24"
24 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 1.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 8.0"

feed provided by Killington.com Snow Report


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Killington Peak bathed in sunshine

Killington Peak bathed in sunshine 

It sure looked nice this morning when we headed out the door to ski. The sun was out. The temperatures were in the low 20's. A light dusting of snow painted a patina of white on the frozen surfaces. Optimisim run rampant.

Mother Nature had other plans.

Arriving at the mountain, groomers were still out trying to work their magic on Bear Mountain. A wierd little "Tidy Bowl" had developed on the mountain side of the K1 Base lodge. From best we could tell it was some left over blue snow marking compound mixed in with some of the run-off from Cascade from this weeks weather. It was an interesting sight. Never matter... off to the K1 Gondola we skated.

Our first several runs were in the North Ridge Area. Rime and Reason were well covered. Grooming operations left them covered in frozen corduroy. Plenty of stuff to turn on, but the foot massage was set to high. Great Northern was slightly softer as we did a left hook back to the North Ridge Triple. East Fall would have skied better on the second run if we had done one instead of running out to Superstar. East Fall was set up perfectly flat. If one follwed th sage advice of an old friend ("Point em down hill you chicken s@!t") then East Fall would have been nothing but a fast cruiser. But instinct said to turn to check speed, so it took some care to keep skiing versus skiding.

Lifting to the top of Superstar, we headed off the back to Bear Mountain. Bear Claw was a crusty mess of death cookies. Lower Wildfire was flat and fast with a few trail features that required evasive action. Upper Skyburst was a combination of flat and fast and death cookies. Take you pick. Lower Skyburst was in the process od developing a beach sand consistency, the result of groomers continiously working the surface.

The Needles Eye quad required multiple do-overs. Cruise Control on skiers left was quite passable. Midde Cruise Control was covered with ejecta which the tails of people skis were launching airborne. Needles Eye was totally flat and fast. It was your basic ice corduroy rocket ride. Bittersweet was a study on contrasts. Upper Bittersweet was both horrible and great. The first time through we skied in a crowd. With a mixed up surface, it was not fun. The second time around, everyone had disapeared. Upper Bitter skied quiet nicely with no one on it. Lower Bittersweet was another story, which once again included copious death cookies.

The outlook for the weekend should improve. With temperatures falling and surfaces firming up, the resort's grooming fleet will be out in full tonight working the mountain. In addition, snow making operations were resuming across the mountain today as temperatures fell. it will be chilly this weekend, so dress accordingly. But above all... have fun on the mountain.

Where ever you may be, get out and enjoy the winter season. And remember...Let It Snow!

A dark and foreboding Killington Peak

A dark and foreboding Killington Peak 

A mix of topics. I have not posted for a while with the frenetic activities of the Christmas and New Years Holidays. Here are a few blurbs on what I am following....

Skiing and Riding at Killington... In simple terms, this winter so far has been good. We have had adequate snow fall to allow the resort to open upwards of 90% of their terrain. A combination of snow, r@!n, and cold temperatures have created a solid base which will serve us well through the ski season. While today the resort is seeing wet weather, on the back side of what we are experiencing today is a bubble of very cold air. The resort will restart their snow making system as soon as the current storm clears. Because they are very good at it, I have no doubt that ski conditions for the Martin Luther King Weekend will be quite good. Undoubtedly firm, so bring your ski's to your favorite shop for a tune; but good conditions none the less.

On the Holidays.... The Christmas-New Years period at Killington were very strong. While the holiday season was somewhat compressed with the actual holidays taking place on a Sunday, the overall level of activity at Killington, at least from our perspective, was just about as good as it gets. Looking forward to the rest of the season, our weekend bookings are coming in quite strong. If you have a favorite weekend you like to come and visit, I suggest you book soon or run the risk of getting shut out.

On our new President in waiting.... UGH... I have held my comments for the last couple of months. But the news coming out the last couple of days is more than I can stand. Without talking speciics here are a few of my thoughts.....

In our politics, the electorate reaps what it sows. I hope that the electorate writ large understands the consequences of low voter participation, and the casting of "protest votes". While more people than ever before voted, as the population at large keeps growing, voter partipation rates were at 55%. When people complain at the bar over the next 4 years, expect to ask if you voted. If you did not you do not have a right to complain. "Protest votes" on the other hand are a little more problematic. The United States might have better elections with a strong third party. But the reality of 2016 was that a strong 3rd party once again did not exist. As a consequence, those who voted for the various progressive parties, now have to accept a conservative strong man at the helm of government.

I am horrified at some of the actions, and comments, of the President in waiting. I find I can not in general support the person. But at the same time, love of country demands that I show the office of the presidency respect, regardless of who occupies the chair. The constitution of the United States has a well tested system of checks and balances. Surely, over the coming months, those checks and balances will be put to the test once again..

But remember...like wet weather at a ski resort.... This too shall pass.

Where ever you may be, get out and enjoy the winter season. And remember...Let It Snow!

A cold snow covered Killington Peak glistening in the sun

A cold snow covered Killington Peak glistening in the sun 

They are coming fast. With the winter solstice just a day away the month of December is just screaming bye. With Christmas this coming Sunday, we are in full court press at the inn to get ready for the holiday season.

This weekend we got together with friends who participated in our annual Christmas Tree Monday. When we harvested Christmas trees this year, in addition to the large tree we got for the Birch Ridge Inn, the group of us also got 3 additional large trees for friends who live in Killington within walking distance of the inn. Over the last several weeks, everyone has been furiously decorating their trees to get ready for the holidays. Each of us have taken multiple trips to various hardware stores and internet web sites to acquire additional strings of lights for the trees, as each was so big. The whole process culminated in, our now traditional as we have done it 2 years in a row, a Christmass tree stroll where we visit each others houses to view the tree, enjoy some refreshments, and celebrate the holidays.

Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Ed, Richard, Mary, Connie, Howie
Front L-R: Ellen, Sherry, Bill, Mary

First stop was at Birch Ridge for cocktails and appetizers. Merisa tended bar for us. One of the specialty drinks she mixed was our "Hot and Sexy Gentlemen" which was co-created by Ed for us to serve at the inn. It uses Gentleman Jack and Blenheim Hot ginger ale. Just perfect for a cold and snowy night.

The Smiths Christmas Tree
The Smith's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Bill, Howie, Connie, Mary, Mary, Peter, Ed, Ellen
Front L-R: Sherry, Righard

Next stop was to Peter and Ellen Smith's house for more refreshments and appetizers. Peter and Ellen own the Forerunner Ski Shop, where many of our inn guests go for equipment during their stay in Killington.

The Albert's Christmas Tree
The Albert's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Connie, Howie, Sherry, Ellen, Mary, Ed
Front L-R: Bill, Mary, Richard

Next up was a trip to the Albert's house. To warm us up, Ed and Sherry served a rustic home made tomato soup with cheese tortellini, spinach, and an asiago crisp....with lots of wine of course to keep everyone in the Christmas spirit.

The Mercier's Christmas Tree
The Mercier's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Bill, Ellen, Peter, Mary, Richard, Ed, Howie, Connie
Front L-R: Mary, Sherry

The final stop of the evening was to view the Mercier's Christmas tree. Mary and Richard served a delicious Red Velvet Cake accompanied by Grand Marnier to finish off the evening.

While we have been having a good time creating new holiday traditions, Mary and I have also been working to get the inn just right for the holidays. Mary is continuing to put out holiday decorations. I have been working with the Chef to develop the holiday menues. Our Christmas menu is now available for viewing online. We will be serving this menu both Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Reservations for either evening are recommended, especially for the dining room at the Inn. We will also be serving the same menu at the bar in the Great Room if you would like a more casual setting.

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday season is joyful. We look forward to a happy holidays at the inn with lots of snow on the montain for people to enjoy. Stop in for a visit if you are in K. We will be happy to take your picture under the tree. Let It Snow!

Mary on Chute on Snowdon mountain at Killington.

Mary on Chute on Snowdon mountain at Killington. 

They can be very rare, but today was a pure December powder day at Killington. The snowfall was not waist deep powder like storms can deliver in February or March. No, instead was a pure 6 inches of super light, fluffy, bright white, soft snow delivered to the mountain by a passing artic cold front. It was the perfect amount to cover the months of man-made snow the resort has been laying down to get the winter started. When balanced with the snow the resort received earlier in the week, Killington is now looking at most of it's terrain being covered in up to 20 inches of natural snow.

With snow making continuing on many un-opened trails, expect a lot of ropes to be dropping across the resort in the next several days as operations switches from trail maintenance to trail expansion.

Where ever you may be, get out and enjoy the early winter season. And remember...Let It Snow!

Snow covers the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington from last nights storm

Snow covers the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington from last nights storm 

Light snow has been the order of the day at Killington for the last few days. Continuous snow flurries have resulted in snow accumulations of between 4 to 6 inches on the ground around the inn. At elevation on the mountain, the resort is reporting over a foot of snow (14.5 inches to be exact) over the last 7 days.

Hopefully we have shaken off the ghost of last winter and we are establishing a new trend.

Where ever you may be, I hope your transition to winter is going smoothly. And remember...Let It Snow!

The 2016 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

The 2016 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

It has been a whirlwind 2 weeks. But also very successful.

2 weeks ago on the Monday before Thanksgiving, a group of us set out with a pickup truck, a trailer and a chain saw. We cut down 5 Christmas trees in Springfield Vermont, about an hour south of Killington. Most laid dormant outside for the rest of week as we all prepared for Thanksgiving and the Audi FIS World Cup which was held at Killington Thanksgiving weekend. Come the Monday after Thanksgiving, "Christmas Tree Monday", things kicked into high gear to begin the preparations to celebrate the Christmas season.

As with tradition "Christmas Tree Monday" began with a few hours of skiing to get some fresh air into our lungs. Conditions were very good with the resort making snow across most of the terrrain open off K Peak and Snowden Mountain.

To fortify ourselves with some protien to strengthen our muscles, we followed skiing with a lunch at Sushi Yoshi. No beers were consumed, after all we needed clear heads to focus on the job at hand for the rest of the afternoon, but General Tso did contribute a few chickens to the effort.

Motley Crew assembled to raise Christmas Trees.
Motley Crew assembled to raise Christmas Trees.

We gathered at the inn to begin the job of raising the Birch Ridge tree. This would be the first of 4 trees we would raise on Christmas Tree Monday, and it was one of the most difficult given its overall size.

The proverbial round Christmas Tree through a square door.
The proverbial round Christmas Tree through a square door.

The first problem was getting the tree into the inn itself. The tree had been covered with tarps in the yard in front of the Great Room. Snow from the prior week created a skim coat of white on top of the tree bundle. Laying on the ground, the tree measured a healthy 16 1/2 feet. The top foot or so was just a sprig, so it was easily dispatched with a pair of loppers. A chain saw was used to do the deed at the trunk of the tree. The initial cut was for 15 feet.

Rotating the tree in the Great Room.  The tree at this point is ~15 feet. The room is only 20 feet wide.
Rotating the tree in the Great Room. The tree at this point is ~15 feet. The room is only 20 feet wide.

Now what do we do?
Now what do we do?

At this point, the great debate always ensues...and this year it was not any different. Upon getting the tree into the Great Room, it was pointed out the the tree was a little "large". Maybe it should be shortened by another foot or so, as the ladders used to trim the tree only stand 12 feet tall. Mary, in her resolute fashion, would have none of that at this point. So the tree needed to go up.

Putting the stand of the tree is actually a multi-person effort.
Putting the stand of the tree is actually a multi-person effort.

The crew lifting the Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree into place.
The crew lifting the Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree into place.

The first lift of the tree, as it usually does, revealed that the tree was standing too tall in the room. As we are lifting the tree in position, we collectively heared Mary gasp at the size of the tree. As the tree was shaking itself into place, Mary began the negotiating process to have us take the tree down and start all over. With the exception of not bringing the tree outside to use the chain saw to remove another foot, we did it in the doorway, we started the process anew to finish the job.

The official measurement.  14 Feet.
The official measurement. 14 Feet.

This year was not too bad. We only had to take the tree down once, cut it, reposition the stand, and raise it again. For the record, one year we did this 4 times, so only raising the tree twice is kind of normal. With Birch Ridge done, we were off into the neighborhood around the inn to raise 3 of the other trees; each one was between 12 and 14 feet... although if you are reading this Ellen your tree is only 10 feet tall....I swear....

The Birch Ridge Inn 2016 Christmas Tree.
TThe Birch Ridge Inn 2016 Christmas Tree.

For the next week, Mary was on ladders rotating around our tree decorating it for the holidays. This years tree is a traditional, multicolored, family style tree. We expect that it will be gracing the Great Room of the inn through the weekend of January 6th.

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday plans are progressing. We look forward to a happy holidays at the inn with lots of snow on the montain for people to enjoy. Stop in for a visit if you are in K. We will be happy to take your picture under the tree. Let It Snow!

Superstar, site of this weekend\'s Audi FIS World Cup, covered in snow

Superstar, site of this weekend's Audi FIS World Cup, covered in snow 

I went to the mountain this morning and I honestly feel like a little kid again. THIS IS EXCITING!

Do you remember the first time you saw or felt snow. Thats what I felt like this morning while I was witnessing the awesome power of the Killington Resort's snowmaking system. It is just hard to comprehend what the resort has been able to accomplish over the last month. Combined with the help we received from Mother Nature, the resort will be ready to offer over the Thanksgiving Weeked top to bottom skiing and riding while simultaneously hosting the Audi FIS World Cup.

Resort employees are all over the resort this morning. Lots of activity is taking place, as one would expect, in the K1 area preparing the base for the World Cup. Snowmaking operations had ceased this morning on Superstar, but lots of activity was taking place on the upper headwall installing fencing and (what looked like from a distance) starting gates.

Killington Resort looking like mid-winter. Tuesday November 22, 2016
Killington Resort looking like mid-winter. Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Crews working at the top of Superstar setting up for this weekends World Cup
Crews working at the top of Superstar setting up for this weekends World Cup

Snowmaking operations were visible all over the mountain. Snowmaking was taking place on Sky Lark to support the World Cup. Snow making was also taking place on Great Northern, Bunny Buster, Moustrap, Chute, Caper, Vale, and parts of Rams Head. Cold temperatures resulting in high snow making production, combined with the foot of new snow the resort received during the Sunday/Monday storm should have the resort set up nicely for Thanksgiving Weekend.

Snow making on Chute and Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making on Chute and Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Snow making at the base of Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making at the base of Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Snow making on Lower Bunny Buster back to the K1 Lift on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making on Lower Bunny Buster back to the K1 Lift on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Lower Superstar with the VIP Tent and Grandstands in place for the Audi FIS World Cup, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Lower Superstar with the VIP Tent and Grandstands in place for the Audi FIS World Cup, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

At the inn we are getting ready to receive Thanksgiving visitors. Our chef is in the kitchen busily preparing our Thanksgiving and weekends menus. This year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the inn with dinner service starting at 5:00 PM. Dinner is open to the public. The menu can be found at the Birch Ridge Inn website Given the amount of people who are traveling to the resort to participate in and spectate at this weekend World Cup, reservations are suggested.

Also in other inn news, yesterday we harvested the Inn's Christmas Tree. It is wrapped in tarps, sitting outside in front of the inn's Great Room. The tree will be brought into the inn and raised on Christmas Tree Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 27th. We have a ritual to raise the tree on Christmas Tree Monday starting with skiing (we live at a ski resort after all) followed by lunch and then the tree raising. This years tree is 15 feet or so sitting in the yard. It easily weights several hundred pounds. It took 5 of us yesterday to lift it into the truck to bring it to the inn. It should be a fun day.

On a more somber note.... no self respecting Baby Boomer can forget the tragedy that took place this day in Dallas 53 years ago. I was a fifth grader at the time. I still remember the tears in the eyes of my mother and grand mother when they came to St Agnes School in Arlington MA to pick up my brother, sister and me at school. I will NEVER FORGET the look on their faces as they tried to be composed so as to not upset us kids. For the next 5 days were were sitting transfixed in front of the TV watching a true American horror story play out. I will carry the sadness of those days with me the rest of my life. The current brouhaha concerning President Elect Trump seems so trivial by comparison.

But enough of that...

We have a lot to give thanks for this year. We look forward to hosting many guests over the weekend, both overnight at the inn and in our restaurant. We and our families are healthy. And we remain quite optimistic about our community and our country. Let It Snow!





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