With post-holiday traffic and everyone on vacation, it was a long ride from NYC, but we still hit the Killington area by late afternoon on the 26th. After we unloaded the cars we paid a visit to one of our favorite saloons, ‘The Back Behind’ for a couple of pops and some vittles. If you’re not familiar with Killington, this place is ideal for either sitting at the bar for a local micro brew, or chowing down one of their awesome open-faced steak sandwiches. Or my favorite…both. As we ate and drank, the barkeep told us of the mornings’ freshies. He raved about the tree riding which was exactly where we were heading the next day. Unfortunately for me, Moose and Pepe, we were one day late. They would have all night to groom the fresh powder into cords and we just knew they would. To alleviate our frustration we ate and drank until we were sufficiently merry and called it a night.
We arrived in the morning at the Skyeship Gondola base lodge at about 8:00 for an early start. Skyeship base is a good place to launch from if you want to finish your day with a long run that will make your thighs wish they were someone else’s. It’s also a lift where you will almost always find very small to no lift lines. We rode Killington peak first and then moved to The Glades for East Glade and Rime. From there we worked our way around Snowdon Mountain. Snowdon is cool because the Snowdon Quad and Triple chairs are also lifts where you will usually find short lines. This is because most people opt for the neighboring K1 Express Gondola where they can ride in real comfort. I can’t say I blame them I just hate standing in lines.
We hit the fusion zone between Rams Head and Snowdon but it seemed like everyone else did too so there were no freshies to be cut. I have to admit there was a lot of snow everywhere so I’d be a fool to complain. I just kept thinking we were a day late and a dollar short considering they had gotten somewhere around 30 inches just two days before. We rode the woods on both sides of the Rams Head Quad for a while. These woods are really good for people who are just starting to explore tree riding. The slope is fairly tame and the trees are well spaced. (You won’t whack too many heads on these trees) After Rams Head we went to South Ridge and rode Echo Woods a few times. Some long top to bottom cruisers on the Skyeship Gondola followed. The one trail that many people take is Great Eastern. One thing to keep in mind about Great Eastern is that sometimes it gets extremely crowded. This is the trail that every mountain has which says ‘Easiest way down’ on the signs. If there were only a way to get everyone off that trail and bomb some top to bottom runs with your buds it would be a lot of fun. We often do just that but many times it feels like you are running a slalom course because of all of the people. You should try Home Stretch as a way to avoid some of the Great Eastern crowds.
By the time we made it to the base on our last run we had just missed the last gondola and Grizzly wouldn’t let us go back up. We rode from about 8:30 to just after 4:00. Our legs weren’t the only things that were burning. In the end, it was a great day. There were a lot of new flakes and even more smiles. We knew we just had a great day but we also knew we had to get back in the car and drive to Jay Peak. After all, Jay Peak was the plan from the start and we had already made reservations to stay in St. Albans. After two plus feet of snow though, we would have been fools if we didn’t stop in Rutland to ride Killington on the way up. As usual we weren’t disappointed. If you decide to put Killington on your itinerary, you will almost always be glad you did.
Until then, the powder is where you find it.