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Birch Ridge Inn
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Saturday, September 26, 2020
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Ruts heading to his swan song run of the season on Cascade

Ruts heading to his swan song run of the season on Cascade 

The weather over the weekend might have made the Gorton's fisherman in his yellow slicker happy but it was not great for a ski resort.

Yet as if Killington has struck a Faustian bargain with the devil on April Fool's day, the snow cover remains all over the resort. And the skiing was actually good!

You had to be here the last couple of days to understand how good things are on the mountain. Yesterday, April Fool's Day, as long as you stayed on groomed trails, everything was aces. The resort had groomed most trails early. Mother Nature cooperated with a layer of fluff on top, which was just delightful to ski on. Some of the trails that were not groomed (Upper Wildfire for instance) were still quite enjoyable. The snow cover had not yet frozen on many of the ungroomed trails as the new snow was acting as an insulation of sorts from the cold temperatures. While skiing on these surfaces, you had the new snow on top with a generally pliable base that carved pretty nicely.

And today was even better.

The resort clearly had time to get out again and groom most trails. Some of the steeps were developing cookies as the surface was getting broken up. Others were developing some spring cream if they were exposed to the full sunshine that was bathing the resort all day.

All in all, a miraculous recovery from a r@!ny weekend. But as they say April (or late March) showers bring May flowers.

Today was the last day of the season for our friend Ruts. He is prepping for wind surfing so he decided that under today's bright sunshine he would hang the ski's in the rack for the final time this season. We have skied over 40 days together this year. Not bad at all... Looking forward to doing it again next season.....

Even with the wet spring weather we had last weekend, we have tons of snow on the mountain for you to enjoy this spring. Get your boards out and head to Killington!

And don't forget your sunscreen......

Foreboding clouds descend on Killington as Chuckles skates in front of K1 on way to Bubble

Foreboding clouds descend on Killington as Chuckles skates in front of K1 on way to Bubble 

Today was a surprise!

When I got up this morning with the intention to ski the 4th day in a row this week, I was not impressed when I looked outside. Heavy clouds were in the air over the inn. A light r@!n was falling. Temperatures were in the low 40's.

I hopped onto the Weather Channel app on my phone. Not to look at the forecast... That would be of no value in determining if I was going to head out to the mountain. I looked at the radar plot. I saw that Killington was on the northernost tip of a penisula of r@!n. We were about to enter a dry hole in the storm for around 2 hours. Time was of the essence.....

Mary put her boots on at the front desk. I put my left ski boot on, keeping street shoes for the right so I could drive to the mountain. After a quick trip out the door to a parking spot near the Snowdon Bubble, I put my right boot on in the parking lot and we were off. The r@In had stopped. The clouds were still heavy. But our hunch looked like it was playing out.

For the first run we headed to Highline. The entrance was a little slick with some minor crispyness. But the middle and headwall were pure delight. Cream cheese from edge to edge allowing for sweeping carving turns down the face of the headwall. And the snow was consistent as well. Score one for the team.

We pushed across to the Superstar quad and most of the trails on it's pod. Took a couple of runs off the Skyeship. Headed back to the Bubble for a tour of the Canyons as the Canyon quad was running today. And finished with a K1 run down Great Northern to head back to the car. Everywhere we went we found beautiful soft carving snow. A very deightful morning.

To reward ourselves, we did lunch at the Back Country Cafe. As we were eating lunch, right on time as predicted by the Weather Channel's radar, it began to shower.

Sometimes you pick your battles with Mother Nature. With so much snow covering Killington, it was a no brainer today to go skiing. And with a little help from technology... we stayed dry as well.

The forecast calls for some juice in the atmosphere this weekend. With temperatures expected to be above freezing for most of Saturday and Sunday, you can expect very soft snow with developing bumps across all the mountains of Killington. Come and get some.... you won't melt! And if you play your cards right, as the temperatures start to fall on Sunday, you will be greated with a little fresh snow to cap off your weekend.

So put in your clear lenses in your goggles, and come to the mountains. You won't be disappointed.

The gang wishing the Bagel off as he decides to focus on Apres Ski life

The gang wishing the Bagel off as he decides to focus on Apres Ski life 

What a fantastic ski day!

100% bright blue ski. Winter surfaces, Spring temperatures.... it does not get any better until it does....

The crewe started today punctually at 9:00 AM. Today on the slopes for the gang was an important day, and Mother Nature cooperated in all her glory.

It is virtually impossible to complain about any runs today. Every run had a firmness under foot mellowed by last weeks snow storm combined with the beginning of the spring softening across the landscape. While most trails still had winter hardpack as a base, and a couple were skiddy versus carvey, all the trails were covered with a packed powder coating that in some cases sprayed mid boot level under broad sweeping turns. As the morning progressed, each run seemed better than the last as the sun and skier traffic worked their magic softening up ski surfaces.

It is impossible to call a run of the day.. they were all good. But a slight tip of the hat goes off to Superstar as spring settles over the resort. Over the last couple of days Superstar has morphed from a collection of skid turns to a carvers delight. From top to bottom the surface is trending softer. Not yet soft enough to build the mega-bumps of spring, but the trend line is clear. In the meantime, if you dont want mega-bumps and like to carve, Superstar was the place to go get some today.

But today was also about the Bagel. After a multi-decade ski carreer he has decided to focus his efforts on the Apres Ski life. Between wintering in Florida, his love for golf, and his blender with frozen margaritas, he decided that today was the day to call an end to his regular ski excursions to the mountains. While he may still be coaxed out to make a guest appearance, he has decided, like many before him, that the time was right.

I have enoyed the Bagel's company on the slopes of Killington for almost 30 years. We have a lot of great ski days under our belts together. Many have skied with him 40 or more years. In addition to skiing with him at Killington, he introduced Mary and I to the many great golf courses in the area. And once we were hooked on Killington in both the winter and the summer, it was only a matter of time before we decided to relocate our lives to Killington and start the Birch Ridge Inn. Damn you Bagel!

Speaking for Mary and myself, we will miss the Bagel on the slopes of Killington next winter.... but in the meantime, we look forward to many rounds of golf with him this summer when the snow melt turns the mountains and golf courses of Vermont green. And so it goes....

The ski trails of Killington are resplendent in the spring sun. By all means, get out and enjoy the bounty Mother Nature has given us this winter. When you venture onto the slopes, have a great time... and don't forget your sun screen!

JLooking towards Superstar from the top of Caper at Rams Head (Taken Monday 3/18/19)

Looking towards Superstar from the top of Caper at Rams Head (Taken Monday 3/18/19) 

Lots to talk about in my first post in a while.

To start out.... it has been a VERY busy winter. Mother Nature has looked down fondly at the Killington Resort. The improvements made by the resort in the summer of 2018 are paying huge dividends in improving the on snow experience people are having across the resort. Major marketing initiatives like the FIS Women's World Cup and participation in the IKON pass program are getting Killington's name back out onto the world stage. It's all good!

We have had the good fortune of being able to get out on the mountain many days this month. But that is not the news.

Today the resort is being pummeled by a spring storm traveling up the Atlantic Coast. Heavy wet snow has been falling since the early morning hours. By 12 noon, 5 inches of heavy wet snow had fallen at the inn's snow stake. The snow level is approaching the peak that it has been all year behind the inn. Tomorrows reading should be interesting.

But if the snow were not enough to continue to have people excited about the resort, and they should be because it looks like we will have a long spring skiing and riding season, last night at a community meeting attended by north of 500 people the resort announced their development plans for the 2019 construction season. The highlights include :

At Pico Mountain - $2.1million dollar investment to improve snow making infrastructure. Pico has always been limited in the amount of snow that could be made there due to water problems. To solve those problems, Powdr is proposing a 16850 pipeline to cross the area interconnecting Killington and Pico to bring water to Pico. The interconnection of Killington to the Woodward Reservoir several years ago has seen Killington experience a surplus of snow making water for the winter. (The reservoir needs to be drawn down each year to prevent damage to the surrounding shore line.) The pipeline, in addition to new pumps, will see snow making capacity doubled across the Pico portion of the resort.

At the Killington Resort..... Lots of news....

Just a quick summary of new snow making improvements.
- 12k feet of new snow making pipe
- 60 new semi automated hydrants
- 400 new low e guns
- 120 new low e towers

New construction at the Killington Resort during the summer of 2019 will include :
- A new ski tunnel on Great Bear at Snowden
- Completing the apron work and regrading the tunnels installed in 2018 based upon winter experience
- Change some of the new RFID mazes to improve skier flow to some of the lifts
- A new lift a North Ridge. The new lift will be a quad running along the same lift line as the current North RIdge Triple. Construction on this lift will begin at the end of April with removel of the old Triple chair. The new lift will be running in October to support the start of the 2019-2020 winter season.
- A new Youth Progression area at Rams Head taking advantage of some of the teaching experiences gained from the Powdr subsidiary Woodward. A new 600 foot magic carpet will be installed to bring kids further up Rams Head to progress ski training for childrens programs.
- New K1base lodge.(This is the big Kahuna!). The resort is currently working to finalize the construction plan with BreadLoaf Construction to build a brand new K1 Base Lodge. Construction will take place over 2 years. The first phase will begin in May with a new building being constructed in what is now the current turn around area at the K1 Gondola in front of the existing K1 Base Lodge. This area will ultimately be used to greet guests, support retail operations, have ski lockers etc. The plan is to progress as far as possible over the summer of 2019, while keeping the existing K1 base lodge open for summer visitors and for the 2019-2020 season. Next summer, the plan has the existing K1 base lodge being knocked down and a new lodge rising in approximately the same foot print (if I read the drawings put up on the screen last night). The combined space of the new buildings will be approx 58000 sq ft versus the current 37000 sq ft building. If all goes according to plan the new lodge will be available for the 2020-2021 winter season.
- One thing to note on all of these plans is that the resort is currently working through the permitting processes. While they feel confident in their proposals, we are talking some major work at the resort. So stay tuned for further updates.

More detailed information on all of Killington's plans can be found on the Mountain Improvements page on Killington.com.

Last but not least, Killington announced their season pass pricing for the 2019-2020 season. Way to many options to talk about here. Several things to take note of... The price of passes for the 2019-2020 season saw minor increases. On many of the pass products, unless you have personally purchased one last year and have your reciept, you will barely notice a difference. The other item is ACT NOW! Buy your 2019-2020 season pass to Killington NOW! Season passes are heavly discounted when purchase by June 13, 2019 so act fast for the best deals. Pass information can be found on Killington.com under their Season-Passes pages.

We have tons of snow on the mountain for you to enjoy this spring. Get your boards out and head to Killington!

Killington Peak with snow making operations taking place all over resort. (Picture taken Monday 1/28/19)

Killington Peak with snow making operations taking place all over resort. (Picture taken Monday 1/28/19) 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Mother Nature is at it again.

The Weather Channel Hyped "Polar Vortex" is hitting Killington with at least a glancing blow this week. Temperatures have been in the single digits and low teens. On days like yesterday when we had 100% sunshine, it seemed almost warm. On days like today, with no sun combined with blowing and drifting snow, it is just cold.

Overnight weather forecasts have the area under a "Winter Storm Warning" until 7AM Wednesday morning. The forecast is calling for 5 to 8 inches of snow with temperatures in the low teens. Tomorrow should be another great day to ski and ride at Killington.

Think Snow!

Chairs hung on new South Ridge Quad

Chairs hung on new South Ridge Quad 

What happened to January. It has been a pretty wild ride...

Between the wait a minute weather.... is it hot is it cold, is it snowy, is it icing, is it r@Ining (I refuse to type that word in the winter), Mother Nature had kept us off balance. In general it has been a pretty good snow month, the last few days not withstanding. We should be exiting the month with very solid base conditions to carry us through the rest of the season.

At the inn it has been snow blowing, plowing, industrial augering, bucket loading and a bunch of sand and calcium chloride. it is all good. The one bill that we like to pay (don't let it go to your head Mark), is our snow plowing bill. More plowing means more snow, more skiing, more fun.... it is a pretty simple formula.

Mary and I have been up on the mountain at least 2-3 days every week this month. Conditions are varying greatly due to the capricious behavior of Mother Nature, but the resort is taking things in stride. During the very cold periods, they were stockpiling snow for the spring on Superstar. During the snowy periods, they were judiciously grooming. Both powder hounds and casual cruisers should have been satisfied with the work done by the resort on snow days. In addition, the resort also made significant strides in completing the build of the new South Ridge Quad. Everything looks ready for testing.... Keep your fingers crossed but we should be hearing about an opening date soon.

With February fast approaching, we are now entering the prime of the ski vacation season. it's a great time to plan your Killington getaway. With the snow pack in the area, we have a long season left.

Where ever you may be, Think Snow!

2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

The holiday season is coming to a close.

Around the inn, Christmas decorations are slowly being put away; being replaced with Mary's collection of snowmen. By weeks end, they will be scattered around the inn dancing their odes to Ullr to encourage copious snow around the inn. (Some night I think that they are all going to come alive like some cheesy Dr. Who episode.)

For the first time since the holidays we were able to venture out on the slopes today. It was definitely a cold day on the hill. Conditions were generally flat and fast with loose powder on most surfaces. Snow making operations are taking place at many strategic locations around the mountain, most notably on Outer Limits and at the half pipe at Bear mountain.

The new 6 pack "Bubble Chair" on Snowden is a thing to behold. The whole nature of skiing Killington has radically changed with this welcomed addition to the resorts quiver. it is now quick and seamless to traverse across the entire resort, instead of having a major choke point at Snowden. And the new chair is surprisingly warm even on a day like today where temps were struggling to get out of single digits.

Last Saturday, the winner of this years contest to guess the number of ornaments on the 2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree was announced. 223 ornaments adorned the tree this year. 289 people entered this years contest with guesses ranging from a minimum of 55 to a maximum of 3900. 160 guesses were over the 223 number and were disqualified under "Price is Right" rules.

M Fitzpatrick won the first prize with an exact guess of 223. They win a "Champagne dinner for two" to the Birch Ridge Inn for their efforts. Second place, and a $50 gift certificate, goes to Phill Fallo with a guess of 220 ornaments. Congratulations all!

Where ever you may be, Think Snow!

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