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Ski conditions still \

Ski conditions still "Mid Winter" at Killington 

Spring will come. It is only a matter of time.

Mid-winter ski conditions have dominated Killington in the last several weeks. With multiple feet of snow, and no recent freeze-thaw cycles, skiers and riders at Killington have been greeted with 100% open terrain on beautiful packed powder. It has been a great March to be skiing at Killington

Conditions on the mountain look like they will hold up well this coming week. Some weather may be coming in mid-week which will impact the region, but overall it does not seem significant enough to change the overall dynamic. With Easter weekend up next, followed by the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge on April 7th and Pond Skimming at the base of Superstar on April 14, the calendar over the next 3 weekends is filled with good reasons to come and ski/ride at Killington.

Mary on Killink heading to East Falls earlier in the week
Mary on Killink heading to East Falls earlier in the week

Join the team from Birch Ridge this week at Sushi Yoshi on Wednesday March 28th for the "Killington Iron Chef Benefit" in support of the Chris Franco Scholarship Fund. It will be a great time for a great cause.

If you are in Killington this week, stop bye and say hello. And in homage so some of my friends, I respectfully change today's blog closing to --->"Think Spring" <---

Killington Peak in the background as todays group gets ready to journey out.  Notice the \

Killington Peak in the background as todays group gets ready to journey out. Notice the "Huge" crowds at the starting bell. 

At the 9:00 AM start this morning we enjoyed crisp ( 6) temperatures and 100% sunshine at Killington. If it were not for the temperatures, todays outing on the mountain would have resulted in some deep goggle tans. Alas, the sun was kept off our faces by our gators keeping us warm.

Ski conditions on the mountain were prime. The resort is wall to wall packed powder where ever you venture.

Groomed trails, and there are a lot of them, were silky smooth corduroy. Wether you chose sweeping turns, or headed straight down, the trail conditions were soft and pliable with minimum leg stress (and minimum aerobic activity as well).

Bumped trails, and there are a lot of them as well, were predominately low, soft and sweet. Even the troughs between bumps are still filled with soft packed powder.

We spent the day at Bear Mountain and Skye Peak. Starting in the Stash, we cruised down Lower Wildfire which was groomed to perfection. We followed that run with a trip down Skyeburst, through the Viper Pit to Lower Dream Maker. Conditions were so good we were in full excursion mode.

Every loop we did though Bear was just one sweet cruiser after another. With bright sunshine, the cold temperatures actually seemed warm on the south side of the resort.

The Killington Resort taken Sunday March 18th.
The Killington Resort taken Sunday March 18th.

We left Bear Mountain to visit the trails off Skye Peak

Cruise control lived up to its name. The whole boulevard was soft with minimal bumps. Needles Eye was similar, with a little scratch on Panic Button on the way in. Vertigo was bumped up. Very irregular through Middle Vertigo which did not allow for any rhythm down the fall line.

Bittersweet was really interesting. There was a strong North Wind coming up the trail. I can say definitively that this was the first time I ever did Bittersweet in a full tuck. Standing up resulted in no forward progress. Tucking into the wind was the only way to get down the upper portions of the trail.

Skye Lark was not as windy as Bittersweet. Lower Skylark had some large whales on it that were hard but not icy.

Superstar was covered in whales, the result of weekend long snow making efforts by the resort. Upper Superstar was a cross between Upper Bittersweet and Lower Skylark. A severe upslope wind was souring the surface. There is so much packed powder on the pitch that the turns were still soft and sweet, but the wind did make it a little more difficult than the trail conditions would have indicated.

We were out today for about 3 1/2 hours. It seemed like we did well over 20 runs, basically going lift to lift. It was just a beautiful ski day.

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

Snow Makers going to work on Superstar

Snow Makers going to work on Superstar 

So last weekend we hit daylight savings time. Next week we hit the Vernal Equinox. By all rights the resort should be settling down, figuring that with the past few weeks of heavy snow that the spring skiing season would be in the bag.

But nooooooooo.......

Late yesterday the Killington Resort brought out the snow guns again to stockpile snow on Superstar to support a long spring season. Today, snow making operations were going on the length of Superstar, and along Great Eastern leading to the Stash and Bear Mountain. Teams of snow makers were visible along Superstar adjusting the guns to direct the snow where they wanted it to fall. Each year the resort builds 20 to 30 feet of snow on Superstar to allow skiing and riding to continue well into May. Warm weather during February prevented the resort for completing the task. But with cold weather due to stay over the area for the next week, the conditions were right to finish the job.

Ski conditions today were fantastic. Groomed trails were covered with deep soft packed powder. On every trail, small to medium sized bumps were developing in response to skiers and riders moving the snow surface around.

Ungroomed trails were nothing short of spectacular. As more and more ropes are dropping across the resort, freshies were exposed for all to enjoy. There were ungroomed trails I skied on today which easily had 3 to 5 feet of untracked powder. Many trails which had a cursory grooming a couple of days ago were showing 2 feet of new snow on them as Mother Nature has continuously dropped the white stuff on the resort all week.

It should be a great St Patrick's day weekend to ski Killington.

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

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!

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