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Birch Ridge Inn
Fall Foliage Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn foliage
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Great Sunday to do some leaf peeping.




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Can you count the lights on the 2017 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree???

Can you count the lights on the 2017 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree??? 

The holidays are charging at us!

With great fanfare to a room full of well wishers, the 2017 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree was officially lit on Saturday. This years tree is the "Formal" tree decorated with white lights and crystal ornaments. The tree measures in at just over 14 feet from floor to ceiling, and is covered in lights. So many lights, that 2 different electrical circuits are required to drive the tree.

It has become a Christmas Tradition at the inn to have our guests and many locals come and have their pictures taken beneath the tree. This year, we are happy to introduce a fun contest around the tree. All you need to do is guess the number of lights used to illuminate the tree and you have a chance to win a Champagne Chefs Dinner for 2 at the inn.

The rules of the contest are very simple. Just visit the inn and fill out a contest entry form with your best guess. Using "Price is Right" rules, the person who guesses the closest to the correct number of lights on the tree, without going over the number, wins. You can fill out your entry form any day during the holiday season, right up to 9:00 PM on Friday January 5th. The winning entry will be announced in the Great Room on Saturday January 6th at 6:30 PM. No purchase is necessary and you do not need to be in attendance to win.... but you must come to the inn to get your entry form to enter the contest.

In addition to all of the activites around the Christmas tree and decorating the inn for the holidays, we did have a chance to get out on the mountain for a few hours to get the ski muscles moving. The "Bagel", after a brief hiatus away from Killington with the end of golf season, returned to take a few runs on the mountain with us. Conditions on Monday all across the mountain were great, even though we have not received a significant amount of natural snow yet this winter. The Killington resort has been going all out to make snow across all of the mountain. And it showed with a great day of skiing on Monday.

The Bagel joins us on the Snowdon Quad as we take our Monday turns on the mountain.
The Bagel joins us on the Snowdon Quad as we take our Monday turns on the mountain.

With the passing storm front that went through the area last night and today, temperatures across the mountain are getting decidely colder. Lake effect snow is cranking up over the Great Lakes which also usually brings some snow to the mountain. With "Winter" officially due to arrive in a couple of weeks with the Winter Solstice, the time is now to plan your trips to Killington to enjoy the mountain.

If you are inn Killington this weekend, stop in and say hello and enter the tree contast. But no matter where you may be ---> "Think Snow" <---

Birch Ridge Inn 2017 Christmas Tree Lighting

Join us in the Great Room of the inn as we officially light the 2017 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree this Saturday.

We hope you can join us. But wherever you may be, "Think Snow"!

Kudos to the Killington Resort

Kudos to the Killington Resort 

Before delving into the exploits of the Birch Ridge Crew and our annual expedition to locate the perfect Christmas tree, it is important to properly praise the Killington Resort for their success in running the Audi FIS Womens World Cup at Killington over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is impossible to call out everyone who was responsible for successfully implementing the project to hold the races, but clearly Herwig Demschar, Powdr Sr VP International Business Develp[ment, Mike Solimano, President of the Killington Resort, and Jeff Temple, Director of Mountain Ops at the Killington Resort and thier respective staffs, are to be congratulated for executing such an incredibly complex world class event at Killington. When well north of 30,000 people come knocking at your door and you invite them in, you better be ready...and was Killington ready! The Birch Ridge Inn was filled with guests all weekend who attended the event. And down to a person, they were all beaming with pride for Killington, and for the skiers racing in the event, when they returned "home" to the inn each evening. Thank you Herwig, Mike, and Jeff for having the confidence in the community to hold such an event in Killington, and for the your perseverence in seeing such a complex task through to a successful completion.

While all of the activites were taking place to welcome guests to Killington for the World Cup, in addition to preparing to host guests at the inn for the event, we were (and still are) busy implementing our plan to celebrate the Christmas Holidays. One of the major task, of course, is to hunt down the perfect Christmas tree for the inn.

This year, in addition to finding a tree for the inn, Mary also took on the task of finding 4 additional trees for friends and the inns chef.

The search for the perfect trees was on.
The search for the perfect trees was on!

Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree found and tagged
Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree found and tagged

Hauling the tree out of the forest.
Hauling the tree out of the forest.

Tree waiting in front yard before coming into the inn.
Tree waiting in front yard before coming into the inn.

With the trees found, cut, and brought to their respective homes on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we all attended to our other respective duties. There were turkeys to cook, guests to greet, races to watch.... The Christmas trees had been safely filed back in our minds for a week until the arrival of "Christmas Tree" Monday with its attendend celebration and work.

For the last 4 or so years, we start Christmas Tree Monday as people living is a ski resort properly should.....we go skiing. After that, we follow up with a lunch at the local Oriental restaurant, Sushi Yoshi, followed by a full afternoon of moving the Christmas trees previously cut into the inn and local homes.

Skiing at Killington was great on Monday.  Mary, Richard, Froggy. Peter, and Howie line up to begn a run.
Skiing at Killington was great on Monday. Mary, Richard, Froggy. Peter, and Howie line up to begn a run.

The Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree unwrapped before bringing it into the inn.  Froggy standing by to help haul it in.
The Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree unwrapped before bringing it into the inn. Froggy standing by to help haul it in.

A little tree surgery to get the Birch Ridge Inn tree to fit into the inn.
A little tree surgery to get the Birch Ridge Inn tree to fit into the inn.

Sometimes it all boils down to muscle.  Hauling the tree into the inn.
Sometimes it all boils down to muscle. Hauling the tree into the inn.

Attaching the stand.
Attaching the stand.

Supervising the adjustments.
Supervising the adjustments.

The Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree.  Successfully raised on Christmas Tree Monday waiting to be decorated.
The Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree. Successfully raised on Christmas Tree Monday waiting to be decorated.

In addition to raising the Birch Ridge Inn tree, our day was not yet done. We still had 3 other trees to put up before our day was done. (The fifth tree, our chef.s, is being put up separately.)

Richard and Mary M's tree waiting to be decorated.
Richard and Mary M's tree waiting to be decorated.

Froggy and Sherry A's tree waiting to be decorated.
Froggy and Sherry A's tree waiting to be decorated.

By this time the crew was going to the dogs so we called in some reinforcements.
By this time the crew was going to the dogs so we called in some reinforcements.

Peter and Ellen S's tree waiting to be decorated.
Peter and Ellen S's tree waiting to be decorated.

With Christmas Tree Monday successfully under the belt, the full week is allocated to decorating the trees. The Birh Ridge Inn Tree will be "Officially" lit on this coming Saturday at 6:30 PM. Stop bye if you are in town.

And wherever you may be as we start off the holiday season....Think Snow!

The Snow Stake at the Birch Ridge Inn - Prepped for winter

The Snow Stake at the Birch Ridge Inn - Prepped for winter 

it is finally here....

With great anticipation, and a little nervious anxiety looking at the calendar, the 2017-2018 winter season of skiing and riding at Killington began this morning. Season pass and express card holders were invited by the mountain to begin the season today at 9:30 AM. And hundreds showed up to enjoy the first turns of the season.

Tomorrow the resort will open for the general public at 9:00 AM with service to Killington Peak via the K1 Gondola. Skiing and snowboarding terrain is on the Rime and Reason trails, including an early season terrain park on Reason. The open trails are serviced by the North Ridge Triple chair, which will load until 3:45 p.m. Last run down Rime and Reason is at 3:30 p.m before guests will be asked to walk out of the area on the "Stairway to Heaven" to Killington Peak to download on the gondola.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, inn business kept Mary and I away from the mountain today (more on that later)... But several of our employees were able to partake. From thier reports back, they were really stoked by the conditions, which included beautiful soft snow, moderate temperatures, and a brilliant blue sky.

Chef Colin out for some early season turns on his board today.
Chef Colin out for some early season turns on his board today..

20 years ago, to the day, the first large pieces of machinery arrived at the property Mary and I bought. The transformation of 37 Butler Road from a private residence to the Birch Ridge Inn was beginning. In a fit of irony, 20 years later, heavy construction machinery is onsite again as we prepare the inn to greet guests for the winter.

While todays project does not involve digging a new foundation for a building, it is equally important. Each year before the onset of winter, we grade out the driveway to make sure that it can be snow plowed effectively. This year, in addition to doing the re-grading, we asked the contractor to re-work some of the drainage on the driveway to better handle water flow. While we have always gotten a lot of precipitation in Killington, over the last 5 or so years the nature has changed dramatically. What used to be slow and steady showers has turned into an all or nothing proposition. Now when it r@!ns, it usually comes in a torrent. The torrents, over time, eroded the ditches on the side of the driveway that were rebuilt in 2011 after Hurricaine Irene. In addition to digging out the trench on the right side of the driveway (going up to the inn), we also had our contractor add a new drain pipe under the driveway from the carriage way.

Working on rebuilding the driveway to the inn.
Working on rebuilding the driveway to the inn.

At the same time the driveway work was taking place, one of our neighbors had his contractor digging in a sewer line right in front of the driveway and carriageway. We had the inn on a planned shut down so we could continue our efforts to transition from the fall to winter seasons, so business was not impacted. But, needless to say, access to the inn has been a little tricky the last couple of days.

All is not lost, however. Our neighbor had the local asphault contractor re-pave in front of the driveway and carriageway this morning. Before the paving took place, our contractor had multiple yards of material deposited on the driveway to build it up for re-grading. That began this afternoon. Access to the inn should be back to normal tomorrow (Thursday November 9th), with the exception that the scars of heavy equipment will be still visible until the first snow fall of the season erases them from view.

Just because we were land locked at the inn does not mean we were sitting idly bye. The annual "Leaf Rodeo" at the inn was underway in earnst today. Pick your favorite weapon....rake, tarp, wheel barrow, leaf blower. They were all in operation today. The Green Mountains are really beautiful in the summer and the fall... but the piper needs to be paid when the leaves decide to head for the ground. Fortunately, today was crisp and sunny. The perfect day for picking up leaves.

"Leaf Rodeo 2017 " underway with the assist of a leaf blower today at the inn
"Leaf Rodeo 2017 " underway with the assist of a leaf blower today at the inn.

We will be working around the inn for the next couple of days as we prepare to re-open for the winter season on Friday.

If you are inn Killington this weekend, stop in and say hello. Wherever you may be, however, "Think Snow" at least for those of us up here in Killington.

Birch Ridge Inn

Birch Ridge Inn 

.... and we have not looked back since!

They say time flies when you are having fun. Its has been one helluva ride...

20 years ago today, October 31, 1997, in the offices of the Woodstock Bank in Woodstock Vermont, Mary and I signed the paperwork which would define the majority of our adult lives. We bought a property on Butler Road in Killington Vermont which we intended to convert into an inn.

Our journey actually started 11 months earlier in December of 1976. Over the Christmas Holidays several life events had caused some introspection. Over many glasses of wine, it had become obvious that we loved being in Killington and that we wanted to redirect our lives to live in this community. What followed was a period of intense activity as we analyzed various business opportunities, spoke with real estate agents, hired consultants to guide us, hired a lawyer, hired an accountant, contracted with an archtect and a developer, and interacted with too many agencies in the State of Vermont to imagine. Oh.... and there was the little matter of winding up our corporate lives which we needed to attend too as well.

With a lot of chutzpah, and anxiety, the actual closing on the purchase of the property was a marker in the ground, committing us to an uncertain future. We look back on it now and understand it was an inflection point in our lives where we took control. We decided our own destiny.... and we have not looked back since.

Of course, looking back to 1997 is a lot harder than it is today. The concept of carrying around a full fledge computer with camera in your pocket was still a dream. People were very careful taking picture, because film and developing cost a lot of money. But I did find some old pictures from our library that I scanned into the computer so you can get a sense of what 1997 was like.

Bill and Mary in the summer of 1996... And we thought we were old then....
Bill and Mary in the summer of 1996... And we thought we were old then....

The building at Butler Road prior to conversion to the Birch Ridge Inn
The building at Butler Road prior to conversion to the Birch Ridge Inn

The original front portico.  Has a Golden Arches sense about it...
The original front portico. Has a "Golden Arches" sense about it...

The original Snowshed which now call the Covered Carriageway.
The original "Snowshed" which we now call the "Covered Carriageway".

Original line drawing showing the birth of the Birch Ridge Inn
Original line drawing showing the birth of the Birch Ridge Inn

The Birch Ridge Inn
The Birch Ridge Inn

The front portico to enter the Birch Ridge Inn
The front portico to enter the Birch Ridge Inn

The Covered Carriageway this fall.
The Covered Carriageway this fall..

None the worse for wear after 20 years living and working in Killington
None the worse for wear after 20 years living and working in Killington

Construction work began to convert the property into the inn 1 week later, on November 7, 1997. For the next 5 months, right thru the end of February, it snowed almost every day while the inn was being constructed. On April 1st, 1998, Mary and I moved into what is now Room 3 in the inn, having sold our Killington home to a friend. It was not until Memorial day in 1998 that we were ready to receive our first guests. But that is a story and a celebration for another day.

Mary and I have had quite the ride over the last 20 years. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for us to live and work in Killington all these years.

2017 Fall Foliage Peak Color at Birch Ridge Inn

2017 Fall Foliage Peak Color at Birch Ridge Inn 

There is the old adage "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". And no more is that apparent then when people are discussing fall foliage colors in Vermont.

Peak color can arrive on any given day at any given time under any given lighting conditions. Peak color is not universal across Vermont. Heck, it is not even universal within the same photo frame to different people. It is more a zen like quality, and definitely a state of mind.

Today finally just feels like fall. While I write this still dressed in summer shorts in my office, it is significantly cooler today than others this fall season. Temperatures are struggling to get to the mid 50's in Killington. And that is even with full out sunshine and a blazingly beautiful blue sky.

Aerial view of the Birch Ridge Inn taken by Steve Kent of Killington's Outside TV.  Taken October 12, 2017
Aerial view of the Birch Ridge Inn taken by Steve Kent of Killington's Outside TV. Taken October 12, 2017

Our next door neighbor, Steve, who happens to be the manager of Outside TV in Killington had his drone up this morning. The photo above is a stunning shot of the fall colors with the inn in the fore ground and the mountain in the back ground. It is as pretty a photo of fall colors as I have seen this year.

Mother Nature presents this scene only once a year to those lucky enough to capture it. Vibrant fall colors in Killington and the surrounding mountains will probably last for a few more days. If you have not had a chance to take your fall ride to see the colors, now is the time.

Wherever you may be, keep it in the fairway.....remember the leaf rule, and ask Mother Nature for some cold air so Killington can begin snow making.

Superstar, site of the November Audi FIS Womens World Cup, bathed in color

Superstar, site of the November Audi FIS Womens World Cup, bathed in color 

The remnants of Hurricane Nate cleared the area overnight. In the process, the counter clockwise rotation of the weather system has pulled down some delightlfully cool air from Canada. With a sky filled with deep blue and big puffy clouds, it finally looks and feels like fall in Killington.

Color on the mountain, in the Killington basin area, and at the inn has popped. The short lived phenomenon of peak fall color is all around those of us who live and work in Killington. For the next few days we will be soaking it all in, as we continue our preparations for the winter season to come.

Air compressors lined up in the Vale parking lot at Killington over the weekend waiting to be deployed.
Air compressors lined up in the Vale parking lot at Killington over the weekend waiting to be deployed.

Speaking of winter, planning and preparation for the change of season is in full swing. A fleet of air compressors were sitting in the Vale parking lot over the weekend. When I went up to the mountain this noon time to take todays blog picture, the compressors were moved; presumably deployed to the compressor farm in the woods on skiers left off of the Snowshed ski trail.

Snow making at the resort is imminent. There have been reports coming from people at the resort that various tests of the system have been taking place for the last few weeks. Everything seems set with the start of snow making only waiting on Mother Nature to envelop the resort in cold air. And with the Audi FIS Womens World Cup returning to Killington over Thanksgiving Weekend, snow making at Killington can not begin too soon.

The next couple of weeks will highlight the changing seasons in Vermont. Beautiful color will be in abundance around Killington for a few more days before shifting to the south and west of the area. After that, yours truly and many others in Killington will begin our various incantations to encourage Mother Nature to blanket Killington in snow.

Wherever you may be, enjoy the fall foliage, and don't forget the leaf rule if you happen to be chasing the little white ball around in your pursuit of happiness.





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