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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Thursday, March 26, 2015
23 7/8 inches. Light snow showers overnight. Temps above freezing.

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Killington Snow Report for Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 146
Open Lifts: 11
Groomed Trails: 69
Service Conditions: Machine Groomed/Frozen Granular
Average Base Depth: 30" - 40"
24 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 3.0"

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Glorious sunshine, warm temperatures, soft snow....

Glorious sunshine, warm temperatures, soft snow.... 

It is time to officially say that spring skiing and riding season has arrived at Killington. For the 3rd day in a row, temperatures have been slightly above freezing allowing snow surfaces through out the resort to soften up nicely.

Yesterday was my first day on the mountain without a coat since last season. Just my normal shell pants, a turtleneck, a vest, and some light gloves were all that I required to spend almost 4 hours on the snow. And yes, the goggle tan is just beginning to appear.

South facing trails were the softest at Killington. Bear Mountain trails including Skyburst, Lower Dream Maker, Lower Wildfire, and Outer Limits were soft and creamy. The temperatures were warm enough to eliminate any vestiges of sandy snow, resulting in a very smooth, forgiving surface.

Outer Limits was nice and soft with little bumps developing. It was so user friendly, that Mary decided it was her day to take Killington's signature spring skiing trail for a run.

Mary on Outer Limits.
Mary on Killington's signature trail of spring...Outer Limits.

At the Basin side of the resort, conditions were beginning to soften on most of the trails. East Falls, Bunny Buster and Mouse Run were delicious. Cascade, Downdraft and Double Dipper were still showing some winter firmness, but even on these trails the surfaces were softening up to the point that setting edges to carve sweeping turns was never a problem.

Off Skye Peak, Needles Eye was a delight. The bumps on skiers right were still icy firm at noon time. It might take several more days for them to release. Bittersweet, High Road, Sky Lark, Superstar and Upper Ovation were all superb. The crunchy ground up snow cookie effect on Superstar has beginning to relax with the warmer temperatures. But the overall surface still had a mid-winter feel to it.

All in all... just a beautiful spring day on the slopes of Killington.

Last night we saw mixed precipitation traverse the area. At the inn, it was mostly a light wet snow which coated all surfaces. Nothing significant, but better than r@!n. This afternoon, the forecast is calling for showers changing to snow followed by a cold front (temps in the high 20's to mid 30's) descending across the area. It should be a great weekend to visit Killington to ski and ride.

Let it snow!

At the base of the Superstar headwall

At the base of the Superstar headwall 

It's starting. The last 3 outings on the mountain required one less under layer and no neck gaiter.

Now it's quite possible that my body is refusing to acknowledge that the temperatures are still within a range of 5 to 15 degrees. It is also possible that the winter has been cold for so long that my body has now fully acclimated to it. But, in the spirit of Occam's Razor.... I choose to believe that spring is in the air at Killington.

On our Tuesday excusion around the resort, ski surfaces were still very flat and fast. With the exception of some snow sand developing at the bottom of Wildfire and Skyeburst, brought on by the afternoon sun and continious grooming cycles, the primary surface on all of the trails at Killington is packed (tight) powder. While many inexperienced skiers and riders would call the surface ice, upon closer examination it is really not. While surfaces are hard, the graciously accept groomers laying down perfect early morning corduroy. There are also no "blue slip and slide" areas. There is also no fish under the surfaces. (One of Mary's favorite phrases is that "it is not ice if there are no fish under it". While this makes sense for defining ice on a ski slope, ponder for a minute the cube in your evening cocktail....but I digress.)

Temperatures today when we started were sub 10. Bright sunshine and no wind moderated the morning chill quite nicely. All of the trails we hit today were skiing beautifully, if not a bit fast. Crowds were so light however we were able to mitigate the speed by taking edge to edge radius turns on much of the terrain.

It is hard to pick a ROTD. I am partial to Superstar which is skiing beautifully on skiers left from the top of the lift down to the speed fence at the bottom. Cascade was probably marginally nicer as a result of less skier traffic. The feeling of making wide carving turns down Cascades compound fall line is exhilarating. At the same time the false confidence generated by the ability to make sweeping turns combined with the adreniline kick of reaching pseudo terminal velocity on the way down make Cascade a hard trail to beat on a quiet Tuesday. And then there is Highline. Even though it was in full sunshine, the cold temperatures kept Highline firm. Basically it was solid corduroy. But the sunshine is glorious. Goggle tans are important afterall.

The near term weather forecast for Killington is indicating that temperatures will rise into into the 30's over the next few days. Some light showers may soften ski surfaces on Thursday with some light weekend snow re-whitening them to make everything look nice. Spring might finally be making an appearance at Killington.

Let it snow!

Whispy clouds, warm temps... a bluebird day in Killington

Whispy clouds, warm temps... a bluebird day in Killington 

The vernal equinox is still 8 days away, but thoughts in Killington are turning towards spring.

Warm temperatures over the last couple of days have soften up surfaces and sent locals into their closets to find lighter clothes to wear. Heavy ski jackets and multiple layers are being shed for spring shells. While it is way too early to put the cold weather gear away here in the Green Mountains, Mother Nature is certainly teasing us with lots of sunshine.

With the resort amply covered in feet of snow, the softening surfaces are causing skiers and riders to rejoice. The warm sunshine is also causing ice covered roofs all over town to release. Several roads have started to experience early mud season as well.

But what Mother Nature gives us, she can also take away. The next 10 days in Killington are calling for some nice spring skiing and riding weather with temperatures in the upper 20's to low 30's during the day, falling into the teens at night. Snow is predicted for Saturday and Sunday just to but a little frosting on winters cake. It is important to keep everything bright white of course.

Where ever you may be, enjoy the first glimpses of spring...but don't put your skiis and boards away yet. There is plenty of snow covering the mountains of Killington just waiting for you to play on.

Let it snow!

Datingadvice.com names Killington a Sexy Destination

Datingadvice.com names Killington a Sexy Destination 

This was something fun which crossed my desk llate yesterday afternoon. The website DatingAdvice.com has chosen Killington to be one of their Sexiest destinations in America to celebrate spring break.

All of the destinations chosen on the list were put there based upon popularity with college students, various online surveys, and interesting activities to do. Of note is that the only ski resort in America listed is Killington.

And, of course, the Birch Ridge Inn is listed as one of the sexiest places to stay in Killington. But as a blog reader.. you already knew that!

It's all in great fun of course. Which is what a visit to Killington is all about.

The complete list of sexy destinations for spring break can be found on DatingAdvice.com

Let it snow!

Layers of snow on the roof of the front portico at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington

Layers of snow on the roof of the front portico at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington 

Killington has had its fair share of "Nor'inchers" this winter. While shovelling snow around the inn, or on the roof, the layers of snow created by each storm are fairly obvious. But no where is it more obvious than on the portico covering the front entrance to the inn.

The portico is un-heated and east facing. The snow on its roof is untouched by human hands and free of any mechanical manipulation. The only force acting on the snow on the portico, other than atmospheric conditions, is gravity which causes the snow to gradually compress as air is being foreced out of each layer.

Each storm is represented by a unique layer in the snow. Just like tree rings, each layer represents a unique event. By definition, some of the layers are thicker than others, the result of more snow accumulating during an individual snow event.

Counting the snow layers, it looks like there have been on the order of 30 significant snow events this far this year. With any luck, we will have a few more before the ski season is over.

The front portico of the Birch Ridge Inn with layers of snow in it's roof.
The front portico of the Birch Ridge Inn with layers of snow in it's roof.

Let it snow!

Fresh Baked Frizzie Rolls at back!

Fresh Baked Frizzie Rolls at back! 

And just so you are not confused, we are not talking about Johnny Moseley in todays blog.

Operating a small, high quality, restaurant is a tough job. Our dinner guests reap tons of advantages. Because we buy in small quantities, everything is always fresh. Everything is cooked a la minute (ie to order). That composed dish that you see on your plate when it is presented by our servers was cooked just for you... and only you, based upon what you ordered.

On the flip side, as a small restaurant operator, we are fighting battles every day to put out a high quality product. Because we DO NOT purhase tractor trailer loads of of food each week from our suppliers, we are constantly vying for their attention to get the best product. We work with a lot of little suppliers to acquire special ingredients. Acquiring product to turn into finished meals to present to our guests is a veritable ballet that needs to be choreographed every day.

Then there is staffing. Owning a small restaurant means managing a small staff. Each staff member plays an important role. The loss of any one staff member can throw the whole rhythm of the restaurant out of wack and negatively impact product quality.

And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened just before Christmas when we lost our chef for the past 9 years and our dear friend, "Frizzy" Stephen Byrne, resulting in the restaurant at Birch Ridge being closed for 6 weeks while we regrouped.

But the restaurant is now back. Somehow Mary and I, with our core front of the house restaurant staff of Merisa and Aja, were able to keep together during the dark time. With some selective hiring, most notably our new chef, Leo Scotti, we were able to pull off a nearly impossible feat... doing a restaurant start up in Killington during the month of February.

Our dear friend, Frizzy, is sorely missed. One of his enduring legacies was his passion for making dinner rolls for the restaurant. For almost his full time working as our chef, he made dinner rolls every day to serve to our dinner guests. If you look at some of our restaurant reviews, you will see many guests comments about them. Most are very positive. Some are down right comical talking about problems getting a second (or third) serving of rolls. But "Frizzy Rolls" became synonymous with the dinner experience at Birch Ridge. So the search for a new roll to serve our guests became an urgent task these last couple of months.

We have tried a lot of rolls from many different bakers. Some have been good; some have been downright dreadfull. But nothing was right. Then we got lucky.

One of our dinner guests knew a little french baker. (And yes, the dinner rolls were that important to some of our dinner guests that they participated in the search for weeks as well!)

We contacted the baker and gave him our recipe for "Frizzy Rolls". We went through a trial run to see if they could be made to the standards created by Chef Frizzy. Working with our new baker, we tweeked it a little. This week, the first batch to be served to dinner guests arrived.

Nothing, of course, will be exactly the same as what was made by Frizzy. But the new rolls we are proud to serve, in his honor, are a big step to declaring that the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn is truely back!

To all of our great guests and friends, thank you for the support and love you have shown all of us these last few weeks as we worked to re-open the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn. It really makes a difference.

Let it snow!

I Voted

I Voted! 

I went skiing. I went to vote. Now I am at work.... What is your excuse! It's town meeting day in Vermont. Get out and vote!

Vermont is characterized by small towns. Killington is more the rule, with less than 1000 voters, than the exception. And in a small town, every vote counts.

With the change to an Australian Ballot format several years ago, voters in Killington now go to the polls at the Killington Town Hall to cast their ballots on town meeting issues. The town holds an informational meeting to review the articles up for vote. It occurred last night at the Killington Elementary School. Today is the day to cast ballots. The polling place at the Killington Town Hall is open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This years Town Meeting in Killington is not very controversial. In addition to the election of local office holders, the only other item of consequence on the ballot is the town budget. This year the town budget will stretch for 18 months as Killington makes the switch to a fiscal period of July to June, versus the current annual budget period. There are many reasons for the switch, the most cogent being the advantages of coming in sync with the overal State of Vermont budgetting process. The switch is not on the ballot, as it was approved by Killington voters at last years town meeting. Only the budget for the transation period is on the ballot this year.

For local office holders, the only contentious election is for the 3 year term for Selectman. Chris Bianchi, the incumbent, is seeking election to his third term. Jim Haff, who was a selectman previously defeated by current selectboard member Patty McGrath, is seeking to recapture his seat. Jim has run a campaign of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) calling into question the selectboards handling of the town budget, while Chris has tried to take the high road and present his case calmly and positively to the voters. It will be interesting later this evening to see which approach prevails with the voters of Killington, as each candidate has their group of supporters.

Highline bathed in sunshine.
Highline bathed in sunshine.

Before going to vote, I did take a couple of hours and "throw myself down the mountain". This morning started with brillant sunshine. After sauntering over to the K1 Gondola from putting my boots on in the car, there was only 1 run to start on....Highline. Gleaming brightly in the morning sunshine; groomed edge to edge with soft corduroy; there was just no doubt which run to start on. And it was glorious.

From Highline, I sped over to the Superstar Quad for a trip off the backside to Bear Mountain. I hit a few features in the Stash before crusing down lower Wildfire. The trails were empty at the early hour I was out this morning, so edge to edge radius turns at high speed were the easy choice as I cruised towards the Skye Peak Express quad. The next run was pretty simple....Skyeburst to Lower Dream Maker beside the Bear Mountain Half pipe. Lower Dream Maker was soft snow left over from last nights nor-incher. Just the right thing to get the legs firing for a few bumps to come.

Next on the docket was Wildfire from top to bottom. Upper Wildfire was filled with wind blown snow over soft bumps. Skier traffic by this time was increasing, with some herbage hogging the line down skiers left. But not to matter... Skiers right was untracked. Score one for the good guy after all.

With the legs warmed up, I headed off to the Superstar pod. Upper Ovation on skiers left was just beautiful with loads of soft snow. The middle of the trail was fairly scraped off... but why would you ski there if you have all this soft snow off to the side? Old Superstar was a study in contrasts. I hit the entrance really hard. Based upon earlier trails, I was travelling at warp speed for the first dozen or so bumps before a big slowdown was in order. Windblown snow clogged the bumps just as the trail makes a slight left turn. The slowdown was probably a very good thing, as a little further down, the top of the exit towards Superstar was polished smooth. So much so that a little bush wacking was in order to make a safe entrance to the Superstar exit trail.

Superstar, Skye Lark and Bittersweet were all good. The resort has made so much snow on these trails that it would be hard for them to be bad. There was a few polished spots on the lower sections of Skye Lark. But in comparison to Old Superstar they were nothing. And since you could still make carving turns into them, I guess they were really not that polished after all.

I finished with a boost up the Snowdon Quad (boy is it slow after a morning riding high speed lifts) which saw me taking a run down Upper Royal Flush to Highline. Upper Royal Flush was beautiful soft snow. Highline had not changed a bit since I had seen it 2 hours previously.

My legs were still in great shape, so I hopped the single's line a couple of times at the K1 Gondola for final runs down Cascade and Highline before heading to the Killington Town Hall to vote. Both still had groomed corduroy on them at 11:30. It was that kind of ski day.

If you are a Killington or Vermont resident... go out and vote today at Town Meeting. If not, get outside and enjoy a beautiful winter day.

Let it snow!

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