Welcome to Killington, the Beast of the East.
When you call yourself a “beast” there are certain standards that you have to meet.
First, you need to be big.
Check that. Killington is the big mountain in Vermont (a small state with an astounding amount of skiing – I count 19 alpine resorts and even cross-country venues).
With 1,509 skiable acres, including boundary-to-boundary tree skiing in the resort’s Natural Woods area, Killington has 3,050 feet of vertical, making it by far the tallest and largest ski resort in the Green Mountains.
Next, you’d better be “bad,” as in good. You know, baaaad.
Check, again. With an annual average of 250 inches of natural snow, and snowmaking capacity over 80% of the mountain, Killington often has the longest season in the east, from November to May, with some years stretching into June.
A stunningly steep mountain in places, Killington is also a fantastic place to learn to ski or snowboard, or to improve your skills, learning from some of the sport’s best.
Get a Great Start at Ramshead and Snowshed
Killington has 6 distinct peaks, from the summit of 4,241 foot Killington Peak at to Sunrise Mountain, at 2,456 feet over on the east side of the resort.
The heart of the resort, with most of the lodging, parking, and amenities like the Killington Tubing Park, are found at Snowshed and Ramshead, adjacent base areas lying below the K1 Lodge on the west side of the resort.
These areas are also where you’ll find the resort’s Snowsports School and teaching terrain.
Children and youth programs are found at the Ramshead base, with its Snowplay area and magic carpets. The Snowsports School offers a vast range of childcare, lessons and camps for kids 12 weeks to 17 years old. Kid’s groups are either Max 3 or Max 5, ensuring a personalized experience.
While I could pretend to know more about the junior offerings, I don’t. Luckily, I know Killington’s Snowmama, Jen Roe, and I am happy to share her expert tips.
Adult programs are located at the Snowshed base, an area surrounded by beginner lifts and gentle learn-to-ski/ride terrain. All adult “learn-to” classes at Killington are Max 5.
In addition to lessons for all levels and abilities, Killington has three unique ski and ride school programs.
Learn to Ski. Get Some Skis. If you learn to ski, you might as well have your own skis.
Although this package is limited to a certain number of students each year, new adult skiers who complete a four-day, learn-to-ski package are rewarded with free Elan e-Rise Killington branded skis and bindings, as well as a voucher for ski boots.
As you might expect, advance registration is required and the program sells out quickly.
Become an All-Terrain Skier. Dan Egan, an adventure skier and “one of the best skiers of all time” (Powder Magazine) teaches the resort’s All Terrain Ski Camps.
Dan has a great personality, and a gift for distilling teaching tips into memorable quips. For example, “it’s better to kick them than kiss them” (trees, that is). Egan teaches “total body skiing” to improve your alignment, no matter how steep the terrain.
Handle Bumps with the Best. In 1992, Donna Weinbrecht, won the first Olympic Gold medal in mogul skiing at the Albertville Olympics.
New Jersey by birth, but Killington by training, Weinbrecht teaches Women’s Weekends and Mogul Camps (for women and men). Killington has the longest and steepest mogul run in the East (Outer Limits on Bear Mountain), making it a great place to learn bump skills and practice picking lines.
My friend Wendy Clinch joined a Women’s Weekend last season. Her report: “In addition to being a sweet, unassuming, and generous human being, Donna knows her stuff. It was a real treat to ski with her and get feedback from one of the best in the world!”
The Rest of the Beast
Even if you’re not taking a lesson, Killington is a fun mountain, that skiers and riders of all levels can enjoy. As with most big resorts, I think it’s good to pick an area to explore before moving onto the next peak.
Why traverse back and forth when you can rip down and ride up?
While I only had three days to explore the mountain, some of my favorites include Bear Mountain, home of the aforementioned Outer Limits (groomed and über-steep when I skied it), Devil’s Fiddle, an ungroomed bump run, with a few small cliffs (you can easily avoid them) and no manmade snow, as well as some fun groomers that connect back to Skye Peak, where you’ll find lots of sweet intermediate terrain and some good advanced stuff, too.
Killington Peak, topped by the new Peak Lodge (a beautiful stop for lunch), has terrain for everyone, whether they prefer gentle, winding greens or steep-as-heck double blacks.
No matter what your level, take the K1 Gondola to the top and savor the long views of the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Focusing closer in, I enjoyed counting all the neighboring ski areas.
Two other chairs, the Canyon Quad and the North Ridge Triple open up other runs on the Peak, while skiers and riders seeking a little more mellow experience should check out the intermediate pleasures of Snowdon Mountain and Ramshead.
Wednesday: Pico Mountain, Killington’s Local Sister
- Family Skiing at Mad River Glen, Vermont, December 17, 2012.
- Why I Love Skiing at Okemo, Vermont, October 27, 2011.
- Why My Family Loves Skiing at Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, January 26, 2011.
- Why Our Family Loves Skiing at Sugarbush, Vermont, December 16, 2010.
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