|Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
|Sunday, March 9 2014
16 3/8 inches. Beautiful sunny day.
|Killington Snow Report for Tuesday, March 11, 2014|
Open Trails: 146
Open Lifts: 14
Groomed Trails: 73
Service Conditions: Machine Groomed/Variable
Average Base Depth: 12" - 30"
24 Hour Snowfall: 1"
48 Hour Snowfall: 1"
7 Day Snowfall: 4"
|feed provided by Killington.com Snow Report|
Life sometimes get's in the way... and then there is...
Since I last wrote, Killington has had the pleasure of several mid winter storms. One, on Valentines Day, produced over 2 feet of beautiful powder. I did partake, as my friend Ruts will attest. But as it was just before the Presidents Day Weekend, when I returned to the inn time was not available for some writing.
During this period Mary and I at the inn have been blessed with many holiday visitors, both over the President's Weekend/Week period, and this week as well. Many of them are past guests, and you know who you are. We have been having a great time trading stories of skiing glory at the bar these last few evenings.
Skiing on the mountain the last two weeks has been a study in contrast. During Presidents Week we had several strong powder days accompanied by many other days of generally soft conditions.
Then... not so much. Late last week we had a proverbial ice storm. About 1/2 inch of ice coated the world of Killington knocking lifts out of action; impacting power networks; turning parking lots into skating rinks. Only in an Olympic year is it acceptable to do a 'Triple Lutz' in the parking lot on your way to the lifts.
Monday when we ventured out on the slopes saw conditions back to the rock hard days we experienced during parts of January. Albeit we were probably a foot higher off the ground. What ever the distance may be, the base all around Killington is set up for a long spring skiing season.
Currently we are experiencing off and on heavy snow squalls. Each one blasts through town dropping an inch or two of fresh white powder down on the landscape in a hectic 10 minutes of pure white-out. It's as if Mother Nature knew she made a mistake in giving us ice over the weekend, and is now trying to cover it up as fast as she can to atone for her ski resort sin.
What ever... the snow guns are out covering up for Mother Nature as well. Snow guns are also base building on Superstar for the spring. Inn guests are coming back from skiing today with broad grins from all the new powder. I predict pouring a few Long Trails and swapping more stories of skiing glory in my near future...
Let it snow!
It does appear that Mother Nature's snow machine has finally decided to turn on at Killington. Light snow from a clipper system started falling in the area late last night. Snow totals at the inn are just a couple of inches of very light powder. Higher snow totals have fallen at the higher elevations.
We started our ski day with boots on in the Vale parking lot followed by a trip up the Ramshead Quad. As we were at Ramshead and there was new snow, we decided to take a first run down Swirl. Swirl was covered in 3 to 4 inches of light fluffy powder. Previous skiers and riders had chopped the surface up some what, but the snow was so light, that what looked like bumps when poof into the air when you skied across them. It was so much fun that we actually did it twice!
From Swirl we traversed through the ski tunnel at the base of Rams Head to the Snowshed Quad for a quick boost up to KBase level. A traverse over to Superstar and we were off on a more normal ski route.
Bear Mountain was in pretty good shape. The Stash with the new snow was fun. With the exception of the Stash, it looked like minimal grooming had taken place overnight, as there were areas of scraped off surfaces from the busy weekend. Never matter, there were plenty of good places to plant and turn our skis as we continued our descent to Bear Mountain base.
At Bear Mountain, Bear Claw, Skye Burst, and Wildfire were covered in small bumps. Not the kind that you see at the Olympics mind you, but enough that you needed to keep the cruising speed in check and make some turns. Panic Button and Lower Wildfire were slick in spots. The surfaces had been scraped down to the hardpack. Undoubtedly this was left over from the weekend, as there were not enough people on the mountain early Monday morning to scrape any trail down. There was a snow making pipe problem at the junction of the Stash and Skye Burst, resulting in a small brown river down the trail towards Wildfire. The area had been cordoned off by Ski Patrol, but I would expect that in the next day or so an excavator will appear on the trail to dig down to the problem. There was plenty of room to negotiate a nice skiing line around the pipe break, so the problem is more of a curiosity than anything else at this point.
Moving to the northern side of the resort, Bitter Sweet and Skye Lark were in nice shape. I hugged the tree line down the left side of Bitter Sweet to avoid some skier traffic and was rewarded with shin deep powder. Superstar was freshly snow covered. It did not appear to have been groomed overnight. Snow making operations were being restarted around 11L00 AM this morning. I am not sure if this is the beginning of the assault on Superstar to build base for the spring, or if this is just touch up to get ready for Presidents week. Either way, the resort is working to make sure the snow product on Superstar remains fresh.
Conditions on Killington Peak seemed 5-10 degrees colder than either Bear Mountain of Skye Peak. I began our traverse back to the car on Great Northern by dropping down FIS. It was nicely snow covered, and a great way to avoid the crowds. Great Northern down to the Chute was nice and soft. Lower Chute between the junction of Great Northern and Mousetrap had beautiful powder high and tight to the trees on skiers right. Lower Chute continued the small bump paradigm leading back to Great Northern for the run back to the Vale lot.
With our morning jog completed it's back to the inn for some work (like writing this blog) before we hit the slopes again tomorrow.
Let it snow!
17 runs. 2 hours 35 minutes. Bright sunshine. Temperatures in the mid teens. Machine groomed packed powder or little 2 foot bumps. Wow!
I had Mary in the lift line at Superstar this morning at 8:50AM. There were about 15 people in front of us. It had all the makings of a great ski day. It did not disappoint.
We started, as we often do on cruising days, in the Stash. Nicely groomed with a slight coating of fresh powder made for a good warm up. After that it was multiple loops on the Skye Burst Quad, the Bear Chair at Outer Limits, the Needles Eye Quad, and the Superstar Express. Even though there were more people than previous Fridays, we barely spent more than 30 seconds waiting for a chair; many times being able to ski right to the lift after all of the group assembled from the previous run.
The choice today for us was primarily between machine groomed packed powder trails, or little soft bumps.
The trails at Bear Mountain were the former. 3-5 inches of packed powder covering a firm base allowed Skye Burst, Bear Claw, Stash, Dream Maker, and Lower Wild Fire to become a series of high speed cruisers. Upper Wildfire featured some large bumps which we choose to ignore. In todays conditions, large bumps meant 3-5 foot mounds with hardpack skid plate between them. Very navigable if you found yourself in the middle of such a bump field, but with so many trails to choose from today you did not need to subject your knees to that kind of torture.
On the Skye Peak side of the resort, Needles Eye was just a beautiful little bump field. 1 to 2 food powder bumps with plenty of soft snow in between. It was a welcomed change from the high speed loops at Bear Mountain. You had to think about your line, execute turns, get into a rhythm. Give me more!
Bitter Sweet, Skylark, Superstar, Ovation, and Vertigo offered much of the same. Each featured stretches of packed powder interspersed with stretches of small bump fields, the product of skier and rider traffic.
After 17 runs, we were "cooked". The 1 hour ski nap back at the inn was, to quote members of the Klingon empire, "Glorious". It should be a great weekend to ski at Killington.
Let it snow!
It's about time! Just as the weather forecasters had predicted (they got one right!) a heavy snow storm swept into the Green Mountains during the overnight hours. By the time the lifts opened at 9:00 AM, the Killington Resort had received 4 to 6 inches of new snow. It has been snowing heavily most of the day.
I was on a chair lift at 9:00 AM. I had told a friend that I could ski for an hour or so this morning, as work does get in the way. But what a nice hour.
The first run, which shall remain nameless, was just great. We had hit a trail which had only been touched by either a lifty going to work, or a lone ski patroller checking the terrain before opening. Untracked shin to knee deep snow the whole way. The snow was a little heavier than I was expecting. Given the cold ground temperatures last night (low to mid teens), I was expecting a light fluffy powder. While this was no where near Sierra Cement, it still had some density to it. In the scheme of things, it is probably very good, as it will do a nice job in the long term covering the hardpack base. But it was a little surprising on the first run.
The second run was down Panic Button to Middle/Lower Vertigo. Again, basically untracked the whole way. Panic Button was previously groomed flat, so the new snow was very consistent. Vertigo had slight, rolling, bumps. Nominal attention needed to be paid to the ski line to minimize any jarring bump impacts. But since any line you took was fresh.. who really cares.
By this time, people were starting to discover untracked areas so we headed back into the resort proper. A trip down Skye Lark and Bittersweet were next on the list with a side detour down Low Road. By this time, Skye Lark was pretty chopped up by people who don't spread out on a powder day. The sides were still ok, but as the snow was dense, there was some rodeo riding to be done based upon your speed down the trail. Low Road was probably a mistake. Sometimes it can be a nice little trail besides the woods trail with deep powder. The snow was there, but there were also huge bumps lurking just underneath. So it goes.
My final run of the morning was down Upper Ovation to Lower Superstar. Upper O was a little choppy; not nearly as bad as Skye Lark. Skiers right near the bushes was pretty consistent. Skiers left was a little skiddy between the hardpack and the new snow. Not a bad finishing run however.
From Middle O I went over to lower Superstar and took this mornings picture. Skiers right, where most of the skiers went, was pretty much scraped off. Skiers left, which I mentioned was groomed in a previous post, was really nice. Fairly deep, with nice soft snow the whole way down.
I only spent an hour today... but it was the right hour to be on the mountain!
Let it snow!
It is inevitable. Snow dances are taking place with reckless abandon. Virgins are being sacrificed to Ullr. (Well maybe sacrificed is poetic license.) The cold and dry weather pattern we have been stuck in since the r@!ns before Christmas has to break sooner or later. Is tomorrow the day?
Currently the mountain is skiing beautifully. With a hardpack base, a surface of machine groomed packed powder, and a bumpless flat and fast contour to every trail, the resort has been set up for a while to accept a major dump from Mother Nature. 6 inches of new snow on top of current conditions will seal the deal for great skiing and riding this coming weekend. We can only dream of more to seal the deal for the entire month of February and beyond.(Don't jinx the storm!)
During my adventures on the slopes the last 4 outings, I have been on terrain as diverse as Outer Limits to Snowshed. Mary is starting to complain that I am not turning enough, even though I point out to her that I start my runs on skiers right and usually end the runs on skiers left. That seems like a turn to me!
Last Thursday, Friday and Monday the atmospheric conditions were dark at the resort. High to full overcast with minimal sunshine defined every day. Today, we got our reward, with full, bright sun and comfortable temperatures in the low 20's. Just a perfect day to begin the development of a goggle tan for spring.
The next couple of days... who knows.(Don't jinx the storm!) But I have a feeling that I know where I will be if things pan out.
Let it snow!
If you took this week off to ski, and you had the right clothes, you were rewarded in coming to Killington. With the exception of snow (there's a good word for this winter) that fell on Monday, the rest of the week has been characterized with brilliant sunshine and a near cloudless azure/blue sky.
Conditions on the mountain are flat and incredibly fast. If you are using your own equipment, a good tune at a local ski shop is in order. While there is limited visible ice on the ski trails of Killington, much of the resort is covered in a white styrofoam hardpack. I had my skis tuned last week. They are performing flawlessly this week, with nary a sideslip on any of my high speed turns. If you have the chance, get your skis tuned and you will have a lot more control on the trails under this winters conditions.
Relative to the mountain, the typical trails including the Stash, Bear Claw, Lower Wildfire, Sky Burst, Outer Limits, Cruise Control, Needles Eye, Bittersweet, Skye Lark, Superstar, Ovation, FIS, Cascade, Great Northern, East Fall, Bunny Buster, Chute, High Road, Low Road, Snowshed, and the trails at Rams Head are all flat and fast with a packed powder surface over hardpack. The terrain park in Dream Maker is now in play with a selection of rails and boxes at the start followed by massive ramps and jumps. While lower Dream Maker leading the the Superpipe is not open, the terrain park is still a lot of fun with the way it is set up.
If you are looking for some bumps, the only ones visible were on Upper Wildfire where snow making operations burried the trail last week. They may or may not be there this coming weekend depending upon the mountains grooming schedule.
Natural terrain is sketchy at best, although some can be negotiated with care. Tracks were visible on West Glade and Royal Flush after the fresh snow on Monday, however, I value my equipment (and body) too much to venture onto these trails right now with the thin cover.
Be observant of exposed steep terrain. Early in the week there were some high winds which scoured some exposed ridge lines. Upper Dream Maker is a prime example of a trail that had it's hardpack polished to a high gloss sheen by the wind.
The resort operations team deserves all kinds of kudo's for the work they have been doing day and night on the resort. Strategic snow making, and great grooming, have left a very nice snow product for all of us to enjoy. The resort has done all this without much help, except for cold temperatures, from Mother Nature. It is a testament to the current art of snow making and snow farming. With a warm up coming with temperatures predicted to reach the high 20's, it should be a nice weekend for casual skiing and riding at Killington.
Let it snow!
7 inches at the snow stake and we have not had a real snow storm since before Christmas. It has been one of those winters... but these little clipper systems traversing the area are getting the job done!
This morning on the resort can only be described as dark and stormy. Temperatures were in the high 20's with a 35 mile an hour wind with blowing and drifting snow. Just a beautiful day to be on the mountain.
The wind was playing tricks with some of the lifts, in particular the K1 Gondola and the North Ridge Triple. This effectively limited skiing and riding to Skye Peak, Bear Mountain, Rams Head and Snow Shed and Snowdon. By late afternoon, the cold front had pushed through the area. I would guess its passing would have relieved the wind holds on the lifts, but of course by the time the front had cleared the area we were already back to the inn enjoying lunch.
Other than lighting, conditions on the mountain were mid winter / pseudo-blizzard. Surfaces were all well covered with packed and wind blown powder on a hard packed base. Wind driven snow was obscuring cross-over areas. But overall skier traffic on the mountain was light, so the risk of collisions with other skiers/riders was low.
Seasonably cold temperatures are expected to descend upon the area for the next couple of days. Expect the resort to resume making snow in spot areas as they continue to resurface terrain. Now if Mother Nature would cooperate and give us a foot or 2.. You got to stay positive. Right!
Let it snow!