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Riding through a winter wonderland on the Snowdon Quad

Riding through a winter wonderland on the Snowdon Quad 

Yes... it is still snowing.
Yes... there are plenty of freshies to be found if you look.
Yes... it is supposed to continue to snow tonight.
Yes... Killington is 100% open
Yes... Each ride up a chair lift brings a new adventure
Yes... Most locals will have trouble walking in a straight line by the end of the week.

It is hard to put the turn around in the fortunes of the New England ski industry in perspective. Just 2 weeks ago (13 days to be exact), the snow stake at the inn was displaying green grass with the crocus threatening to sprout. Two feet of snow later, which is a remarkable number when you consider it is real snow on the ground after compression due to settling, the skiing and riding at Killington is as good as it gets.

On March 1st, Killington had a mere 68 trails open for skiing and riding. While skiing was pretty good, for early spring skiing, most of the open trails were deeply scarred by a week of 70 degree weather. With the weather forecasters uncertain about the character of the storms that were due to hit in early March, it was looking a little bleak.

2 weeks after Mother Nature blessed us with feet of snow, the fortunes of the ski industry have changed. While the calendar for the season is waning, and Easter is very early this year, skiers and riders are answering the call of the mountains. The next several weekends should feature some spectacular skiing and riding in the North East, with Killington leading the way on open terrain, snow making, and length of season.

Astute skiers and riders will notice that the first few weeks of April, after Easter, should also be exceptionally good. Easter usually is the unofficial end of the season for the casual skier and rider. Although Killington attempts each year to stay open through May, and attracts a solid late season following, many casual snow sports aficionados move on to their spring and summer sports after Easter. Easter this year is very, very early (April fools day). With all this new snow on the mountain, casual skiers and riders should be able to enjoy the mountains for several more weeks into April, versus giving up the equipment till next season.

Assuming you are coming to Killington the weekend, you should anticipate the whole mountain open for skiing and riding on soft packed powder conditions. People who like the trees will find all their favorites available to enjoy. If you enjoy skiing on groomed trails, you should be out on the mountain early, With feet of soft snow, skier and rider traffic will develop Killington's famous bumps on many trails by the afternoon.

Wherever you may be, enjoy the outside and ---> "Think Snow" <---

Frizzy\'s deer covered in snow

Frizzy's deer covered in snow 

Thank You Mother Nature

For the first time in about 5 years, Killington is getting it's March storms.

When Mary and I were in a ski house (the "Suck-U-Inn"), and when were were second home owners at Killington, we always took the week of St Patrick's day off to come to ski at Killington. For many years there was always a very heavy snow storm at Killington sometime between the 10th and 17th of March. Bingo this year!

When I took the snow stake picture this morning, snow had been falling at about an inch an hour for 4 hours. The "Weather Channel", if it is to be believed, is predicting that snow will continue to fall at roughly this rate through the end of day tomorrow. Roughly 36 to 48 hours of continuous snow. While they are calling for 12 to 24 inches in total... you get the disconnect. What ever the final number is... it will be big.

Birch Ridge Inn once again covered with new snow.  Taken March 13, 2018
Birch Ridge Inn once again covered with new snow. Taken March 13, 2018

Road conditions in the area are snow covered by still passable. We went out for some errands around noon time. The Killington Road in front of the inn was being regularly plowed for people to get access to the resort and local businesses along the road. Winds in the area are light, but there is some minor blowing and drifting snow because the snow itself is a very light powder.

Ski conditions at the resort the next few days will truly be "Epic". I do not uses that word lightly because many times people who do not understand Killington call a 6 inch snow fall "Epic". Todays storm is in a whole different category.

If you can get to Killington, you will be rewarded. But don't put yourself in any unnecessary risk to get here. There is so much snow coming down right now, it will stick around for a while. Tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, and the weekend should be unbelievable.

Wherever you may be, be safe. Get to Killington if you can for what should be the best skiing and riding of the season.

Get out and play!.... Think Snow!

16 Inches of new snow at inn over 7 days

16 Inches of new snow at inn over 7 days 

2 in a row with a 3rd lurking.

Killington has been blanketed in snow over the last week. Just in time for spring.

Last week saw warm temperatures which took it's toll on the resort. While skiing was very good, the trail count dropped sharply as natural trails succumbed to the warm weather.

This week is a totally different story. Back to back storms have dropped around 8 inches of snow each on the inn. With the altitude of the mountain, that translates into several feet at the resort.

it should be a very good weekend to ski or ride at Killington.

Wherever you may be, enjoy the outside and ---> "Think Snow" <---

Jane \

Jane "I have is all" on Bittersweet 

Thank You

We will keep it to the headlines today as there is a lot to talk about.

First and foremost, Killington caught the northern edge of the Nor'Easter which has been raging havoc in coastal communities on the east coast. At the inn by noon we had received about 7 inches of new snow, covering ground that had gone green with the warm temperatures we had experienced this last week. Snow has continued to fall all afternoon.

The new snow, combined with colder temperatures allowing the resort to resume snow making operations, should result in a large jump in available trails at the resort for skiing and riding this weekend.

We had the opportunity this week to ski 4 days. Overall conditions were late winter on the top of all of the peaks, with late spring conditions around all of the base lodges. Todays new snow and colder temperatures should return the mountain to mid-winter conditions through out.

Birch Ridge Inn covered with new snow.  Taken March 2, 2018
Birch Ridge Inn covered with new snow. Taken March 2, 2018

In other news, Powdr, the resorts owner, announced last night at a Killington community wide meeting their summer plans to continue their investments in the resort. Overall, $16 Million dollars has been committed for improvements at the resort to be completed in the summer of 2018 in time for next years ski season. Included in the plans are :

1. New Snowdon Lift. A high speed, detachable, 6 person, bubble chair. The chair is set to cut the time required to reach the top of Snowdon from approximately 12 minutes (on a good day) down to 4.5 minutes. In addition to the new chair lift, a chair barn will be built at the base of Snowdon to protect the new chairs from inclement overnight weather with the goal to improve overall reliability of the lift.

2. Completely refurbish the K1 Gondola including brand new gondola cabins and a new gondola haul rope (the cable used to lift the gondolas up the mountain). In addition, the current open air barn used to protect the current gondola cabins from inclement weather overnight will be replaced with an enclosed heated barn. As in the case of the new barn at Snowdon the intent is to improve the overall reliability of gondola operations.

3. New South Ridge Lift. A fixed grip quad will be installed along the South Ridge section of the resort, replacing the old triple lift "giggle chair" which was removed several years ago. The new quad will not have the signature left hand mid station turn that the former "giggle chair" was famous for, instead following a straight line path along the route previously used as the return line for the old lift.

4. Moving the Poma Lift on Bunny Buster to Swirl on Rams Head. Also moving the KMS skier training course from Bunny Buster to Swirl. The goal here is to allow Bunny Buster to be open everyday to the general public with KMS training moved to one of the lesser used trails on the mountain.

5. Multiple ski tunnels around the resort. In an effort to improve skier safety, open up more top to bottom terrain, and live up to the founder Pres Smiths vision of having top to bottom green trails from each peak in Killington, multiple ski tunnels are to be installed on various trails at what are currently now high traffic cross overs. Included will be tunnels at the Stash, Sky Burst, and Bunny Buster to name a few.

6. The resort is moving to an RFID system for all season passes and lift tickets. The current system of hand-held bar code readers is being replaced with a fully integrated electronic gate system accessed thru RFID technology (think EasyPass). The goal is to both make the lift boarding process at the resort a little more friendly, and more efficient, at the same time.

7. In addition to the above, snow making extensions and some trail work will be completed to support the new additions and to continue to improve skier/rider flow across the resort.

The resort also announced a list of summer events, which many years would be dominating the conversation but which I will return to in another blog when more information becomes available.

If you are coming to Killington this weekend, drive safe. Prepare to have several days of good hard skiing. If you can't make it to Killington, there is still time as this snow should stay around for a while.

Wherever you may be, get out and play!.... Think Snow!

Killington Peak bathed in brilliant blue sky from Highlander

Killington Peak bathed in brilliant blue sky from Highlander 

100% sunshine, temperatures in the upper 20's to low 40's, and plenty of snow. It was just a perfect day to ski at Killington.

Started the day in the Stash. The entrance was suffering slightly from groomer marks, but the traverse through the park was delightful. Surface underneath was soft packled power. Very pleasant first run.

Bear Mountain in general was skiing well with the upper sections firm and the lower sections starting to beach sand out. Upper Wildfire was a collection of small soft bumps. Nothing special, more like lack of grooming, But they were fun. Bear Claw and Skye Burst were groomed flat. Snow making was taking place at the top of Skye Burst and on the cossover from Skyeburst to Wildfire/Bear Claw. Lower Wildfire was smooth if you picked your line, heavy if you went straight down the middle. Same was true of lower Skye Burst, but since that trail is wider, the line you took was less forgiving.

Needles Eye, Great Eastern, Cruise Control were all a mess due to the combination of snow guns on Great Eastern and the trail closure of Needles Eye for racing. Beginners taking Great Eastern under the guns were struggling. Add advanced skiers into the mix because of the closed trail... you get the picture. It was not pretty. We took the chair to No Where out instead of taking the Gondola to the top of Skye Peak to avoid the carnage.

Superstar and Ovation were skiing great. We did multple laps of Middle Ovation to Lower Superstar. Surface conditions were well groomed with a fairly soft surface devoid of the beach sand and chunks found over on Bear Mountain. Definately a do over.

The North Ridge area was skiing very well. Rime, and Reason are well covered from a season of snow making. Again worth multiple runs.

To go home we took Downdraft to Cascade. Downdraft had not been groomed in a few days and was distinctly firm. No problems setting the skis on edge, as Downdraft was not iced over. However, you could tell it had not been groomed in a while. Lower Cascade was similar to lower Superstar in that it was firm with a soft cover. However, the overall depth of the soft snow on top of the base was significantly less. The run out to the K1 Base Lodge was a piece of cake. Overall a nice finish.

Goggle tans are sprouting up all over town as the last few days have seen plenty of sunshine. Now if we can catch a break with a few more snow storms from Mother Nature, we should have a long spring to to get that tan just right.

We can only hope! No matter where you may be ---> "Think Snow" <---

Killington Peak still enveloped in snow

Killington Peak still enveloped in snow 

The hallmark of weather in New England is that if you don't like it, wait a minute. That has truly been the case at Killington this winter season.

From early season glory, the brutally cold Christmas and New Years season, a week of mid season epic powder, and 5 freeze-thaw cycles, we have seen it all this winter. But the resort carries on...

Base depths in Killington have been effected by the warm temperatures of the last several weeks. When the temperatures dropped late last week, snow making operations began once again to refresh the mountain for skiers and riders. Mother Nature even cooperated with a couple of inches of snow to make everything white again. And March is right around the corner.

Historically, March is the snowiest month of the year, with an average snowfall at the Resort of 57 inches on Killington Peak. Will we get our normal snowfall this year... realistically there is now way to really know. However, if the weather forecasters have their say, it does look like we are in for an interesting weather pattern shift over the next week with the potential for large coastal storms to develop along the east coast. Exactly the types of storms that make March the snowiest month of the year.

We can only hope! No matter where you may be ---> "Think Snow" <---

Progression of snow at the Birch Ridge Inn Snow stake over the last week.

Progression of snow at the Birch Ridge Inn Snow stake over the last week. 

From rock hard scrabble..... to billowy soft powder. Mother Nature has given Killington a a gift over the last week.

it has been an up and down snow season at Killington. We were blessed with decent snow early season and throught the Christmas holidays. Then we had brutal temperature swings including one 36 hour period where temperatures changed 80 Degrees F. Warm temperatures saw r@!n. Cold temperatures created the firmest of hard pack. But Killington kept going.

This week we have seen the "winter" side of Mother Nature. Over 16 inches of new fluffy white powder has fallen at the snow stake at the inn over the last 7 days. More has fallen on the mountain due to higher altitude. And smiles are all over the place.

Birch Ridge Inn covered with new snow.  Taken February 8, 2018
Birch Ridge Inn covered with new snow. Taken February 8, 2018

Skiing today was without question the best of the season. The hard pack of last week has been replaced with super soft snow underfoot. Ungroomed trails have pillows of powder in unskied areas and soft bumps every where else. Groomed trails are super soft with small "skier traffic" created bumps appearing as the day wears on.

To top it all off, the Killington Resort was also making snow on many trails all over the mountain this morning. From Showshed, to Highline, to Superstar, the resort was adding to the base that Mother Nature had provided. Assuming we escape near term freeze thaw cycles, we should have several great weeks of skiing and riding at Killington on soft powder in store over the Valentines Day / Presidents Day periods.

If you are coming to Killington this weekend, you are blessed. Prepare to ski long and hard because conditions are just plain fun. If you can't make it to Killington, it's time to get in gear and plan a trip. Conditions are the best of the season and should not be missed.

Wherever you may be, get out and play!.... Think Snow!

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