Killington 5/19&20/03

cd

New member
Two gorgeous days on Superstar. The previous Kmart review sums it up pretty well. Apparently they started Monday skiing on/off lift but by the time I got there mid-day we were carrying the skis. Had to walk down the top 1/3 or so of the headwall, then snow was continuous until a gap at the bottom of the lower steep pitch. This gap almost doubled in width just between Mon and Tues so it's starting to go quick. Gotta get those skis on quick in those spots before the blackflies catch up to you! The next gap will likely be the catwalk at the bottom of the headwall, which was down to a connection just a few moguls wide on Tues. Flatter middle section holding up surprisingly well, though there could be a gap or two by the weekend. As of Tues you could ski right up to the lift (after walking the lower gap) before taking the skis off, but the last connection there will also likely disappear by the weekend. They'll certainly be able to offer their Memorial Day events, but whether they'll try and stretch it another week to make Sunday 6/1 is an entirely open question (hey, we don't mind some walking!). Looks like there will be at least some snow for hike-up turns for a couple of weeks. <BR> <BR> Too bad we never got the May snow of last year. There was precip and cold temps but they never quite met in the right mix unfortunately. They'd be in much better shape if they'd made more snow on Superstar this year but they stopped doing so around President's Day by most local accounts. No way to know whether they did this with the intention of not trying to go so late, but the trend has clearly been away from them pushing the early/late season envelope. Hell, they could probably go well into the summer if they really wanted to, by making snow at *every* opportunity (there have been nights w/ temps at or below freezing up there even in recent weeks). I'll admit that it's not reasonable to expect them to do so, but it would be possible. Anyway, their closing will not be too far outside the average and it's certainly been a great season. Get it while you can.
 

Frankontour

New member
I read last year that a Finn ski area wanted to make snow the most as possible, to see if it was possible to ski all year long. The weather is a little bit colder than here (and VT), but if it gives good results, may be we could see other ski areas trying to do that around the world + US/CAN. <BR> <BR>I pray for that !! (and I hope to have news about that, as I didn't get some since last year)
 

cd

New member
I remember reading of an area somewhere that experimented with preserving a large patch of snow into the summer by covering it with a huge 'space blanket' of sorts. As I recall it worked quite well, but I never saw anything else about it. <BR> <BR> Many areas could certainly make a decent go of it with some creative and aggressive snow making/preserving techniques, especially those with an isolated higher-altitude lift which could be serviced by up/downloading another lift that would be running anyway for mt biking or sightseeing (ex the Glades area at Kmart or the aforementioned Profile run at Cannon). We've all seen just how much snow *can* be made given a low temp window, even if just overnight. Most area management bean counters would likely nix the idea out of hand, though I suspect it could be a viable additional off-season attraction with the right marketing and a cost-effective slope/lift operation.
 

Frankontour

New member
Good analysis. I would just add one thing I obviously learn last year on may 25 (like a punch in the face). The best places to keep snow are the "canyon" trails. I mean the trails that are done like natural halfpipes and where they blow enough snow to make them feel like "normal" trails. With that, it needs less snow to remain skiable a while (more narrow in the canyon center), there is more shadow on the trail and you can blow 30 feet high of snow in that without the impression of skiing above the tree level ! lol <BR> <BR>I know I posted many recents pics of it, but just by looking this pic, is someone able to figure out there is near 20' high of snowdepth in that place at that moment (april 19). I think it's obvious they could build another 20' without it looks too much exagerated and believe me, with that, I would be ok for July 4, as I'm going there tomorrow with still a huge snow coverage in a good part of the canyon. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2398.jpg" ALT="L-G once again"> <BR> <BR>Don't you have some north oriented canyon trails in New England ? If yes, I'm sure Superstar could be easily beaten !
 

riverc0il

New member
i think the reason you don't see many 'canyon' style trails is they could lead to an extremely bad errosion problem (maybe?). i notice lots of new england ski areas have made water bars accross trails that go straight down the fall line. i can't imagine areas that spend lots of money and time trying to control errosion would make a trail that essentially funnels run off down the center of a trail. <BR> <BR>but i can definitely see the benefits to packing down several feet of snow. i'm surprised a small upstart resort doesn't try to challenge Kmart for last closing duties by blowing snow every time the temp goes below zero. <BR> <BR>although it wouldn't be cost effective in the short run... maybe the marketing and PR value... and drawing in new skiers and spreading the good word would have a positive effect in the long run. it surely can't happen at most resorts, but it would only take one to de-thrown big K...
 

Frankontour

New member
Good point for erosion, and I have a little bit of difficulty to understand why the LG doesn't have this problem at all. The curve going out of the canyon probably helps and I think the main thing is that it's just sun-exposed few hours a day. Actually, it should be something like 2-3 hours in the day, but in winter, it's never, so it melts extremely slowly and the erosion don't become a big problem. <BR> <BR>But you're right, without shade, the canyon style trails couldn't be so much efficients. It's another element to the puzzle... not easy to solve it and find the best summer ski spot. As you say, many ski areas could beat Killington, if they really wanted. This year, there is a ski area in Ontario that tried to beat Mt Saint-Sauveur in Eastern Canada. They closed on may 3, compared to early april for every other ski areas of the province and I'd never seen an Ontarian ski area close so late in the last years. So I'm sure that few ski areas could beat Superstar, if they really wanted to close late, especially with the financial problems of ASC ! <BR> <BR>Hint : shade + canyon if shade + lift±dedicated + high elevation + northern exposure (or north east) + good reputation for snow and late closures + low costs to make snow (not like Quebec !) + the mentality that many skiers don't care for walking few yards <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)"> + of course, a great amount of natural snowfalls + a base lodge and parking near the trail (unless upload / unload on a gondola or Tram like at Cannon for Profile). + a good department of PR + good financial situation. <BR> <BR>Have an idea of the "perfect place" ?
 

JonnyD

New member
Frankontour: <BR>Which Ontario resort was it? I live in Ontario and didn't hear of a ski hill staying open that late.. (if i had, i would have gone there...) <BR> <BR>With the winter we had here (VERY COLD) it sure would be concievable to have a resort blow a lot of snow all season for a (relatively) long ski season. the only trouble with ontario is that we get viscious thaws beginning in February, which makes the snow hard to keep. <BR> <BR>But yeah, I agree with you guys, a sheltered trail, with dedicated snowmaking, altitude and a reasonably cool climate would be good. There could be a place like that in Quebec, if it was a bit more north of places like Tremblant and the like (Tremblant's budget wouldn't hurt either) <BR> <BR>Just my 2 cents though
 

Frankontour

New member
Jonny, it's Ski Searchmont (near Sault Ste-Marie). It's weird, I'd never heard about this ski area until this winter. (a little bit normal as I live near Montreal) They opened weekends only from late april to may 3 for cinco de mayo celebrations. I remember they had something like 8 trails open on 15, on april 26-27... don't know for may 3. <BR> <BR>For here, Tremblant could be a possibility, for the upper north side (where is actually located the snowpark). This trail closed on june 1, in 1997 and with pushing it at maximum, it could remains open until june each years. The only problem is that I "think" that the Lowell Thomas triple chairlift passes near the ground, in few places of Ropetow trail. So, it's tougher to blow a maximum of snow. Anyway, with the big crowd of skiers and boarders taking it during winter, it would need a really huge amount of snow. <BR> <BR>Anyway, according to me, Tremblant = SH**
 

joegm

New member
it was a good race with many worthy participants but my vote for no buller of the year goes to frankontour... great job with photos and commentary frankie... riverc0il gets the honorable mention...great discussion above... my non scientific uneducated opinion is the folowing.. i get a sense that there may be a window of opportunity in central nh for some new approach to the late season.. i have no basis of knowledge for this other than my 2 email conversations with dan egan over at tenney where they are clearly looking to gear it up early.. logic dictates that if the technology lets em get in going early, it could let carry it late... killington clearly has the infrastructure, the trail, the system, the logistics and all the rest to run the best late season skiing... it appears the high level management at k is in a state of flux now and is trying to decide the direction to take. observation #1 from the last month... shop guy at k said the spring pass that k put on for $199 on march 1st was a " huge" seller.. i don't know what that means and don't pretend to, but his reaction to the question indicated that quite a few had been sold...2) the fred's freeride owner stated that the corp. puts that pass on sale only when they desperately need a cash infusion... they offered it 2 years ago. my guess would be that based on skiing numbers i saw and my buddy saw late season at k this year, is that not everyone who bought the pass got their full value based on $39 a day late season.. what % did ? i don't know.. but i would suspect it was a plus for the company, in terms of if they did not offer it ( pass ) and having all those who would have skied buy daily tickets.. especially when k held the price of 39 bucks all the way through ( at least as of monday ). it seems pretty clear that k cannot be relied upon to have lift access worth while enough to attract all but the most fringe skier(s). the june marketing thing seems to be a farce at best, at least for now. i love the idea of cannon and profile.. and really see a lot reasons why they could TRY it... i don't think they will though, for many reason already presented by many on this discussion. the tenney idea i find intriging becasue it is based on somewhat a "fringe" element.. mainly, kids in a race program (s)at schools with money to pend to get their kids on snow ...i would guess that that is the justification for the infrastructure outlay that d egan has apparently decided to make with this new snow making system...how does this affect the rest of us regulars who just want to ski.. i'm not sure... my e mail inquiry to dan egan about early season access ( oct 1) was responded to today with a somewhat unclear response... my take on it was that he said he would be willing to get me and my buddy lift access for a limited amount of time during this pre pre season if u will period.. mainly oct 1st.. their original plan, for those who do not know, is to operate public skiing on the weekends only in october and race train m-f from 6 am to 6pm with programs... we asked if we would be able to access the hill mid week at all... his respose was like i said... yes, for a limited amount of time during the day. that's not gonna get it done as far as if k is up and running in late oct, and the options are teeny for limited time or k all day... i would think that if dan started getting inquiries about lift access for the public he would start to evaluate the plan in terms of how much terrain they will open early and how much of that new snow making system to invest in, what ever it is. my point is that if this snow making system was put into place in the preseason, could it not be utilized to prolong the seaosn?.. again this would take a measureable amount of interest , among many other things , to say the least... like i said , there may be a window of opportunity here for us late season sick birds... maybe , maybe not... i just want to believe that there could be a way for us to not have to deal with the nonsense and disgrace that is going on up at k right now....if k is the answer , praise god.. i love the superstar... but if the k mart corp. and otten's legacy is going to continue to progress down the road they appear to be taking, maybe there may be an alternative... i've never even skied tenney , so i have no idea of the layout, the sustainability of a late season trail, the exposure, the grade, the vert.. i don't know... but it may be worth some inquiries from any other sickies out there who long to ski through may without having to deal with the obvious slap in the face that is going on at k right now.. just my 2 cents... e mail dan at tenney if you think it will help out at all.. <A HREF="mailto:dan@tenneymtn.com">dan@tenneymtn.com</A>
 
Hi, <BR> <BR>Johnny: there isn't any other peaks close to Tremblant size further north. <BR> <BR>Late closing in Quebec: <BR>Tremblant and Ste.Anne are the only two areas that could possibly beat Killington closing's date. They have the market (less for Ste.Anne) and potentially the money. However I don't think that it is worth it for them to ski into June. Tremblant did it 1997, but never even came close since. Places like Val d'Irene near the Gaspe peninsula could definately try (snow + weather), but they are small and far. <BR> <BR>Ste.Anne: as mentioned in the report (May3 - closing weekend). Ste.Anne entire North side was still open + had a few runs on the south side too. That day, I skied the north side t-bar line, top to bottom. Almost 100% coverage, except for one or two bare spots at the bottom. Mind you, this would be mostly natural snow, except for the artificial snow blown through the woods from neighbouring trails. <BR> <BR>Tremblant: Frank, I hear they are changing the L-T triple this summer. <BR> <BR>PR & boasting: <BR>Money wise, I don't think Intrawest/Tremblant think it worth it to push the closing for PR purposes. In 1997, Killington was boasting in the end of May-early June that they were the only one left openned, but Tremblant closed on June 1st that year. I believe someone in MAss? beat K for the openning this year. Some area are very good choosing the right numbers when comparing themselves to others. <BR> <BR>Summer skiing in the East: <BR>I don't see happening, even it if would be possible. Sorry, but most people stop skiing long before the end of the ski season. Proof: What ever happened to grass skiing? <BR> <BR>I believe the first year that Blackcomb opened a lift on the glacier in 1988, they opened all year, I think they close now for a few months? A few years ago, I remember reading that some resorts on Vancouver Island (was or could be) open in July (no glacier here). The newspaper story mentioned that one small area had too much snow to run it lift(s) until June... when it was too late. <BR> <BR>Canyon runs: Frank, trails in the shade maybe fine for keeping snow, but the spring-skiing can be too brutal and icy for the average skier
 

Frankontour

New member
Wow ! no-buller of the year ! lol <BR>Thanks a lot for this honor, Joe ! <BR>On my side, I particularly appreciated the incredible reports of Mr Left Gully himself (with Way2ski at the end of season). Before this year, I had only hiked & skied a mountain once, and now, I'm up to 8-9 just this year. More, I had only seen few pics of Tucks and I never thought there was any other skiable spots on Mt Wash. Now, I almost dream to that !!! (next year !) You completely changed my idea about skiing, wow thanx ! <BR> <BR>I liked a lot too the nice reports of Riverc0il, with in particular the super nice looking pics of the top of Cannon from the top of Mittersill. And Joe... I liked a lot you're coverage of the end of season at Killington + the potential of Tenney. Also, thanks to have begun the big debate for the best trails to keep snow until july <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)"> with your angry message after the closure of Cannon ! I hope the debate will exit of this website and that we'll have news of that in the ski industry in the next years. <BR> <BR>Finally, I liked a lot all the interesting infos + reports I got on the New England mountains and thanks a lot, Marc, to let us express our sensations and frustrations on this website !!! <BR> <BR>PS, Joe, For Tenney, it's 1400' high and I think this is more an intermediate terrain than an expert one... but never went neither so I don't really know more about it.
 

Frankontour

New member
Good news Patrick, if they finally change the LT triple chair this summer. My parents wait that for 10 years, since they began to change all the chairlifts. It's a very strategic side and it was the worst lift-serviced. <BR> <BR>By the way, in 1997, St-Sauveur closed on June 2, so they've beaten Tremblant. I remember that year to have skied Tremblant in 8" of powder on late april + ski T2B on south side on may 17. I'll never see that anymore. Even "la Vertige" was skiable top to bottom, but needed to walk most of the length of lower ZigZag. <BR> <BR>Val D'Irene closed on april 21, Mt Comi on april 27 and le Valinouet closed on may 3, this year. All those ski areas don't have snowmaking, so with snowmaking, it's sure they could operate until june, but they don't have the market for that. Ste-Anne could have it, on the north side, but with 2 lifts needed, so it's less good. But : le Massif du Sud could probably be a ski area for that in Quebec. I know at the beginning of season, they increased their "ski days" of 400% and it's not really a secret anymore. It's now considerated like one of the best ski areas in Quebec by many sources. So, they're going to have the market, they have the most snow in Quebec, it's a north side and it's just 1h of Quebec city. <BR> <BR>Woodbury, Connecticut, effectively opened on oct 24, 1 day before Killington. Wild Mountain (minnesota) also claimed to be the first in the "east", opening on oct 23 and Trollhaugen, Wisconsin (I think), opened also on oct 24. But I can tell you the open terrain was less big on those (mountains) that L-G canyon was today... compared to something like 1700' high on Killington on oct 25, so.... (NB, la Reserve also opened on oct 26) For Blackcomb, they now usually close after the first week of August and they just open near the end of november, for the winter season. <BR> <BR>And finally, for the canyons, you don't have to operate 9h-4h necessary ! At ±11h, the snow is already correct.
 

Frankontour

New member
Talking of Woodbury super opening day... what a worth !!! I prefer Loup-Garou... quite steeper, although just intermediate, with the snowpack (advanced if no snowmaking) <BR> <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2404.jpg" ALT="Yep... Woodbury was the first to open... it's a fact, but...">
 

Kevin

New member
I am new to posting messages at this site but I have been reading the first hand snow reports for some time. Since the subject has recently focused on what resort would be best for late season skiing, I thought that I should add my 50 cents to this conversation. My favorite ski area in the east is Sugarloaf/USA, this area would be ideal for late season skiing as it has a high base and summit elevation, and is located far into the interior of northern New England. I recall skiing there in late April of 1996 with the resort being <BR>100% open with 10' + snow depths and the management making the call to close for the season. I believe this is the year that the mountain reopened for a weekend of skiing in June <BR>just because so much snow was remaining on the mountain, in fact that particular year snow remained on the mountain until August!!. You can see the remaing snow cover on the mountain as of May 16th by visiting http://www.sugarloaf.com. The trails <BR>to the right of the picture such as skidder, hayburner and kings landing still have alot of skiable snow left. If the management chose to do so they could make snow on the middle of the mountain on trails such as sluice and spillway in such quantity to easily stay open until June 1st <BR>and probably way beyond that point. The biggest problem with this is that Sugarloaf is a long way from nowhere and there are is not enough demand to <BR>keep such a remote area open for an extended skiing season like Killington. Still it is very frustrating for me to see a mountain with great late season potential go unused.
 

Frankontour

New member
Effectively, one of my ski buddies told me he skied Sugarloaf on may 2 with 100% open terrain, few years ago. This is not a ski area we often talk here, but it's true that trails like Skidder / Hayburner / Kings landing look to keep their snow really a long time. <BR> <BR>As you said, their problem is that it's far from the big cities. Montreal is 3½ hours off and I don't know for Boston, but it's probably more. For the mid-size cities, they're often closer to Killington or Tucks or they're not "skiers cities", so I'm not sure if there is a place for this ski area in june, unfortunately <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/sad.gif" ALT=":("> It's a little bit like the 3 ski areas in QC I talked before. Just too far from all.
 

Kevin

New member
The larger problem is that Sugarloaf is owned by <BR>American Skiing company. In the old days of ownership under SKI Corp there would be competition between Les Ottens Sunday river and Killington over who could open first and close last. Sometimes the conditions in the early and late season were ridiculously bad. I remember skiing upper cascade in October in the late 80's <BR>and literally skiing from one mogul to the other with pure mud in between just because Sunday River was still open with just as bad conditions and Killington did not want to get caught closing first. This is to illustrate the fact that profit was not the only motive for early and late season skiing but that bragging rights were a more important marketing incentive. If Sugarloaf were owned by lets say Booth Creek OR Intrawest they would have the money and the right resort (Sugarloaf) to beat Killington at its own game. It is sad that most of the prime resorts in New England are owned by American skiing company as there is no longer any other real competition to <BR>push the envelope of extended ski seasons in the area.
 

Frankontour

New member
Hello Kevin, I don't really agree for Intrawest. Their financial situation is OK and even that, Tremblant close near april 20 since 1998. They could run the north side up to mid-june easily, if they were doing the same amount of snow than Killington makes on Superstar. For the other ski areas of Intrawest, they don't look to try to remain open as long as possible. For Booth Creek, I less know them, but it seems to me than their resorts don't close particularly late neither. I must say I don't know if those resorts could operate real far into spring, like Tremblant. <BR> <BR>But I agree for the necessity of competition between the resorts and I liked to see that ASC began to sell some of their ski areas. I hope Sugarloaf is the next on the selling list, cause it could come back as interesting as it was before ASC !
 

Kevin

New member
You are right that areas in Quebec Could also win out over Killington with a longer ski season but Sugarloaf has the advantage of a high base 1600ft <BR>and a very high summit 4237ft that is hard to match. Based on the remaining snow cover that the mountain still has as of May16th and compared with images on RSN of other mountains in New England and Quebec my money is on sugarloaf. But like you said there is not enough of a population base to support it. If Sugarloaf is sold it must be to a person or company where interest in skiing <BR>takes first place to profit as I doubt that Sugarloaf makes that much money for its owners. What will Killington do when a little mountain such as Tenny in New Hampshire can make snow in september with there new system and be the first to open?. This will be an interesting development indeed.
 

Frankontour

New member
You're right about the base of Sugarloaf, but Skidder and the other ones don't start at 4237' neither and I don't see the mountain operate the Boardwalk / Spillway double chairlifts (or the Superquad) ++ The Timberline Quad. <BR> <BR>The bottom of the actual L-T triple at Tremblant is at about 2000' and the summit is near 2900', so it's a correct vertical (±900') and a correct elevation too, I think, considering it's far northern than Killington and Sugarloaf ! <BR> <BR>Anyway, Tremblant still su*** and I would possibly even prefer skiing L-G canyon up to june than pay 50$ to ski 1 trail with chairlifts at Tremblant.
 

Kevin

New member
To be able to offer late season skiing Sugarloaf would have to use the boardwalk chairlift as access to the double runner chairs and make a huge quantity of snow on either sluice or spillway. A better alternative would be running the timberline quad with lots of snow being made on upper tote road and access via the super quad. <BR>In this fashion you could utilize the full elevation and the benefits of colder temperatures. <BR>Either way unless there is more competition out there we are stuck with superstar as the only late season lift served skiing. Im from Long Island and Woodbury ski area is very close by. The mere prospect of this little ski area beating Killington by even one day was awesome. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy skiing at the big K but its time for someone else to take the torch as skiing the same trail late season year after year becomes boring.
 
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