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Killington

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
For one reason or another I will be spending a week in Killington next February. Anyone been there? Is the off-piste accessable like in the Rockies? Any advice?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
One doesn't go to Killington for "off-piste". It is entirely below treeline. With very few exceptions, "off-piste" at Killington means to immerse yourself in impenetrable trees and brush. Exceptions exist, but usually these are small areas in the woods cleaned of brush in the summer by the locals and kept quite well hidden from visitors.

The closest to "off-piste" at Killington are the relatively small number of marked glades and larger number of ungroomed moguled trails.

More gladed areas exist at Jay Peak (VT), a few hours north of Killington, but even these will not come close to the above treeline expanses that you probably are used to in Europe or in the Rockies.

Sorry for the bad news.

Tom / PM
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
John. You might have more fun by escaping Killington for Stowe, Sugarbush or - for something really different (which I've not skied but my brother liked) Mad River Glen and its ungroomed terrain. Stowe and Sugarbush have real appeal for European skiers.

I thought Killington was a brute of a resort - loud, commercial and urban - though there's probably some fine skiing once you get out of the way of the sprawl below. I caught it in mid April, when most of the runs had closed, so I'm sure your skiing there will be ten times better than I experienced.
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Thanks for the replies. You have confirmed my fears! Still, it's free - so better than a week in the office. Because I have some work to do I cannot visit other resorts, perhaps next year.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
John Scott wrote:
...Still, it's free - so better than a week in the office. ...


My sentiments exactly: almost any skiing is better than no skiing. Besides, the on-piste offerings can actually be quite pleasant, particularly if you avoid the crowds and/or steel youself on those occasions when you can't avoid them.

It sounds like you might be there mid-week, so unless this happens to coincide with a national or school holiday, crowds shouldn't be that big of a problem. If this isn't the case, there are numerous other areas within an hour drive that you would probably find much less crowded and more pleasant, if not downright charming.

I remember someone posting a message on a different board suggesting how to navigate around Killington to avoid crowds. If I can find it, I will post the link. It sounds like you are an advanced skier, but will you be going with others that may be less advanced?

Tom / PM

PS - In case you encounter the phrase, "K-mart," this is the pejorative term for Killington that the locals and semi-locals (like myself) sometimes use. It derives from a huge chain of low-end stores in the USA.
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I will be repping out there, so hopefully most of the other reps (also only out there for a week) will be fairly competent skiers. Having said that, last year I did the same thing at Tahoe and a couple of the reps should have been in ski school.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I have to concur with just about everything said here, but I'll go further and say that despite all the criticisms (most of which are 100 percent correct), Killington still stands as one of the best resorts in Eastern North America. Midweek in February should be awesome--check out Cascade and Outer Limits for steep, bumped up terrain.

Also, search the Epicski archives for some insider tips on terrain and links to unofficial web sites for Killington.

Finally, don't miss out on Pico (Killington's little sibling down the road). Locals swear the skiing there is better than K-mart. Cool


Here's a firsthand report on Killington that I wrote last winter about a trip I made in December:

http://www.dcski.com/news/2003/12_28_2003/killington.php3

John
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ah. With your experience, the solution to crowds is easy - stay on the blacks and double blacks. Even on crowded weekends, you will often find yourself almost completely alone on these. The only exceptions are the extremely well known black runs that all the gapers want to say "they skied X at Killington". Outer Limits comes immediately to mind. Other black runs on Bear Mtn see much less traffic.

Here's my take on other parts of the mountain:

Ski the runs under the K1 gondola. Since the steepness can be seen on the way up, it scares the daylights out of most beginners through advanced intermediates and keeps them away.

Stay away from the Snowshed area like the plague. It is probably the most crowded area at the resort. It is only for beginners through novice skiers. Advanced skiers use it only as a way to get back to one of the main base areas to meet their less accomplished friends.

Rams Head is a bit steeper and ultra-groomed, so it can be great fun to streak down if no one is around (incl. the patrol - grin), but I think that it is officially a slow skiing, intermediate "zone".

Killington is a wide area and you will be tempted to check out all of the peaks, but you can waste lots of time on the catwalks going back and forth. Sample the wares on a low traffic day, so that when the crowds hit, you know how to navigate around and minimize your commuting time on the catwalks.

With respect to catwalks and other low angle runs, stay away from Great Eastern and Great Northern as much as possible when crowded. You might as well be on a Los Angeles freeway in rush hour. Don't even think about going all the way to the bottom of the eastern most gondola, "Skyship". It is too low /shallow, the snow often is poor, and if it stops running (which happens often), you will be left miles away from your car with minimal (if any) shuttle service.

In the same general area, don't even think of trying Juggernaught, the 5 mile trail. It will take forever and much of it will be at 0 to 5 mph because it is so shallow.

If crowded, avoid "The Glades" area. Contrary to its name, it no longer has trees, is not steep at all, and unfortunately is very easy to find, so it sees a lot of traffic.

In terms of individual runs, a lot of the more knowledgable skiers seem to congregate on Ovation and SuperStar. Others like some of the more narrow and twisty runs on Snowdon Mtn (I forgot their names), but there is lots of intermediate terrain nearby so these runs occasionally have people stopped in the middle of them.

HTH,

Tom / PM
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Hi John - Good, spot-on comments! Thanks for the link to your previous report. I had forgotten about it.

Tom / PM
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Hey Tom:

I always enjoy reading your posts... 5 stars for quality!

John
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
John Scott, I may be out working in upstate new york for about 6 months. I was planning on paying it a visit before x-mas if possible, jan if not. So i'll post anything useful i find out................ Shocked ..........may also be able to point you to someother areas around there.

From being out on the East Coast before, a lot of the resorts rely on snow cannons to keep the pistes fresh, so off piste was very rare and quickly tracked out. Although Physicsman and a couple of others were telling me in another post that there is sometimes so really good dumps of "lake effect" snow.

May still be out there at the end of feb. snowHead
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
All the above comments pretty much confirm my impressions of "K-mart" but, FWIW, here is a link to a report I wrote about a trip there last January: http://www.snowgo.com/archives/2004/01/12/killington.php

Its a shame you won't have the chance to go elswhere while you are there as there are certainly other ski areas in Vermont which sound more appealing - I would love to try Mad River Glen but they won't let me Sad
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