Thanksgiving @ Beast of the East

Geoff

New member
The beast has been tamed. $60 day tickets, no novice terrain, and $1000 season pass prices with a $600 blackout pass seems to have done the trick at Killington. The four day Thanksgiving holiday weekend was delightfully uncrowded. Saturday is traditionally the most congested day of the year with all the parking lots stuffed full and cars lining the access road to below Rams Head. This year, the main Killington parking lot was full and the Vale lot was mostly full. Rams Head and Snowshead were empty and cars were only parked maybe 1/3 of the way down the access road. Friday, everybody fit in the main Killington lot and Sunday, the Vale lot was only half full. I never saw a significant liftline the whole time. I rarely had the feeling that I was about to get run down like a dog. You could get a seat in the bar. Every day, the rope dropped on new expert terrain. Saturday was fantastic on Cascade. Sunday was top to bottom on Superstar and Highline. They resurfaced East Fall for Friday morning and again for Sunday morning. They resurfaced Skyelark for Friday and kept the guns going on it all Saturday.

The announced trail rollout plan includes Downdraft, Double Dipper, and Ovation before they start expanding beyond the Snowdon and Superstar lifts. Snowshed isn't supposed to operate until mid-December. They haven't been wasting capacity resurfacing the intermediate terrain so the cruisers at the Glades triple and Snowdon are very slick by noon. Advanced skiers are just following the snowguns and smiling.
 

riverc0il

New member
And people wondered why, after all the negative press and bashing that occurred these past few months, I consider Killington a mid-season option now if they get a natural snow dump that missed northern VT whereas I would have rather stayed home than gone to Killington mid-season in years previous. This reads like a quality Trip Report and if you didn't read the subject or the trail names, who would suspect this report was from Thanksgiving at Killington?
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Exactly what I was thinking.

I'd like to see what other Kmart shoppers have to say... especially the ones spewing bile the entire off-season.
 

joegm

New member
geoff is real active on another board and makes no bones that he has a lot invested in K...I have given up on that place until they prove they are going to run the place for the reasons why i went there in the first place... geoff has property there.. i can understand him giving them more time to prove whatever it is they are trying to do is going to be the best thing in the long run...but for now, i have no reason at all to go there...for someone traveling say 2 hours or more, why go to Killington? what is it they have that is so attractive... in the past the answer for me was they had spinning lifts... be it late or early....late being the more critical of the 2... but mid winter? i just never got it... with jay's potential for snow and it's trees , or mad river's lines or stowe just being stowe all being pretty much equal drives to K, why in the hell would anyone who is not a local go to killington if the other three were open and spinning and offered the ( relatively ) same snow conditions?.... as geoff knows from the other board, the reason was the season.... it's just that simple for me...i know i'm not everyone but the fact is , K can;t hold a stick to any of the above mentioned hills mid winter- if the issue is skiing.
i could care less how good the skiing is a K in jan feb and march cause the odds are if it is good there, it is going to be just as good, snow wise at the other three....the difference is the other three, and some would argue even more areas, have much better terrain....until powdr shows a commitment to the late season, they get no money from me at all....they used to get my money for a season pass just for the right to ski it in nov and may....im sure they are not hurt one bit by not getting that anymore from me... so be it... i'll give it to wildcat and sunday river for the springtime if they are spinning...i;ll never say never.. but of now, i have no reason whatsoever that can justify me going there... kind of sad, because i really did like the vibe of the spring there....everything changes though i guess... just not always for the better.... even though , obviously, K regulars see an improvement so far as far as the on hill experience when looking at the whole season potential....good luck to them.. but you aint gonna see me there until there is a reason to go there... some of the "bile spewing " people as they are being called , had and have legit beefs, regardless of what any K waterholder has to say.... up until a few short years ago , K was skiing till memorial day...that appears to have been cut down now by 6 weeks or so....and that is an obscenity worthy of bile spewing i would say
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
As one of the bile-spewers, I have a few comments.

1) Killington's product Thanksgiving weekend sounds better than Jay or Stowe. More lift-accessed trails are open, more chllenging trails are open, and the off-trail (where Jay and Stowe are superior) isn't ready yet.
2) Powdr at first shot is succeeding in diminishing the "demolition derby" aspect of Killington's holiday reputation. Whether they are making money at it is anybody's guess.
3) The choice of where to blow snow in November is presumably better from the average FTO reader's viewpoint.

How long will this advantage be sustained? Possibly until the natural 40 inch base benchmark is attained farther north.

I am still 100% with joegm on the late season issue. But I believe in selecting the best area for any given day I want to ski. If I lived in Vermont I would have no problem skiing Killington regularly in November/December and never setting foot there later if that's what conditions dictated.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
After the long Kmart thread, I was disappointed that no one had responded to Geoff's TR, so I had to smoke you "bile-spewers" out. :lol:

For the record, the closest I've ever come to skiing Killington is going to Pico a handful of times (and I love Pico) mainly for the mid-winter reasons joegm listed.
 

ChrisC

Active member
I think Killington can be a good choice even mid-season - especially during 'challenging' weather. Thaws, warm temps, low snow, etc.

I have never been too impressed with the expert terrain Sugarbush or Stowe can open via snowmaking:
Stowe - Liftline, National, Hayride
Sugarbush - a little better - South: Stein's, Ripcord, Organgrinder, North: U. FIS, Exterminator, Green Mountain liftline(?)

At Killington, all the trails in the Bear Mountain, Superstar, Canyon/Killington Peak sectors are reliably open by mid-season and link together really well. I think this combo skis better than almost anything steep in the East during warm spells. Furthermore, resurfacing -- Killington generally puts more effort into mid-season resurfacing than others.
 

Sharon

New member
Killington generally puts more effort into mid-season resurfacing than others.

this generality will need to be proven if Powdr is going to continue with this. Snowmaking is very expensive. Powdr cut the early/late season because of the cost of snowmaking. We'll see what they do during the season once most of the trails are covered. Remember, this isn't the "old" Killington.

The crowds have always been the biggest turn-off for me at Killington. Killington is a 5 hr drive. Stowe is 6 1/2 hrs. Sugarbush is 6 hrs. Killington is an easy trip, plus I have friends in that area. This is why it is favorable to me, though I do love Stowe, I think the terrain at Killington is not that much different in difficulty and Killington seems to have much more variety. At Stowe I ride only 2 lifts. At Killington I could ride 8+ lifts accessing a wide variety of trails and non-trails, steeps, bumps and glades.

I used to be an Mtn Ambassador back in the late 80s and early 90s. I know that mountain well. It skis really nice when there's good snow and no crowds. I got really sick of the crowds and only went there early/late and didn't even get there last year at all. I hope to get back there some time. It may be sooner than later.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I do think we need to wait and see how this plays out over the whole season.

Powdr's strategy looks like a positive in terms of crowds.

But one of the ways Powdr Corp slashed expenses big-time at Mt. Bachelor was cutting way back on grooming. Now we all know this would be a really dumb idea in the East. Time will tell whether they adapt to their different markets or operate on a "one size fits all" basis.
 

ChrisC

Active member
Sharon":1tfyq6k9 said:
Killington generally puts more effort into mid-season resurfacing than others.

this generality will need to be proven if Powdr is going to continue with this. Snowmaking is very expensive. Powdr cut the early/late season because of the cost of snowmaking. We'll see what they do during the season once most of the trails are covered. Remember, this isn't the "old" Killington.

Good point. Generally, most areas need to refresh by Feb 1st for some thaw event. Regroomed man-made snow leaves something to be desired. But obvious room for cutback.

The crowds have always been the biggest turn-off for me at Killington. Killington is a 5 hr drive. Stowe is 6 1/2 hrs. Sugarbush is 6 hrs. Killington is an easy trip, plus I have friends in that area. This is why it is favorable to me, though I do love Stowe, I think the terrain at Killington is not that much different in difficulty and Killington seems to have much more variety. At Stowe I ride only 2 lifts. At Killington I could ride 8+ lifts accessing a wide variety of trails and non-trails, steeps, bumps and glades.

I used to enter Killington primarily through Bear or more usually Skyeship which are generally less crowded. Trail densities were the biggest issue for me.
 

salida

New member
Smoked me out I guess.

I've got a pass there, I'm not afraid to admit it (but I've also got passes elsewhere). While I have been dismayed at how dramatically the season has been cut short, K is still producing the highest "quality product" early season. They will have the most expert trails open this weekend (Ovation, Superstar, Dipper, Cascade, East Fall, etc), and the snow they have been laying down is pretty good. It says a lot of good things in my mind when I was up there pre-opening and they have a front loader moving snow around on Launch Pad so they can open SS and Ovation from the K1, that really does make me happy.

IF K can open ovation and such this weekend I will be very impressed. I have to say I hate the shortened spring season (yet that remains to be seen), however I do love the lack of crowds, more expert trails being open, and the good snow on the hill.

I can't wait for the natural so I can move from K over to Pico.



ALSO, for those saying K can match expert terrain, I disagree. Stowe/MRG/Jay will always have better, more technical, expert terrain than K does, and that terrain will be accessible a larger amount of the season due to more natural snow fall. Sure, K has some good hardy glades, cliff drops (pico A slope under the triple or the bears ass) but it'll never have the stuff that the mountains further north have.

*edited for typo in final paragraph
 

joegm

New member
salida said:
ALSO, for those saying K can match expert terrain, I disagree. Stowe/MRG/Jay will always have better, more technical, expert terrain than K does, and that terrain will be accessible a larger amount of the season due to more natural snow fall. Sure, K has some good hardy glades, cliff drops (pico A slope under the triple of the bears ass) but it'll never have the stuff that the mountains further north have.


couldn't agree more ....

K- the reason was the season :shock:
 

skiadikt

New member
i too was at k this weekend. ran into geoff a few times and totally agree with his report. it was a follow the guns weekend especially since the grooming was very poor. but between the smaller crowds and the focus on opening advanced terrain, i have to give k kudos-though they do get a demerit for not opening the weekend before they did. i was one of those spewing bile, and while many of those issues remain, particularly the announced early close, have to admit they've proved me wrong so far with the in-season product.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
have to admit they've proved me wrong so far with the in-season product.
This is the early season product. We'll evaluate the in-season product come January and February.

Killington's massive snowmaking capacity gives it a natural advantage early season. So far Powdr is doing a good job with that part. Mid-season the grooming will be come more important, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
 

skiadikt

New member
Tony Crocker":11rzin7i said:
Mid-season the grooming will be come more important, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

if that's the case, then they haven't done a good job. on sunday, 3 days after the rain/freeze event, it wasn't very encouraging that east glade & a couple other trails had very chunky grooming. then again mid-season i hope to be nowhere near the groomers.
 

Geoff

New member
skiadikt":d1k0nowz said:
Tony Crocker":d1k0nowz said:
Mid-season the grooming will be come more important, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

if that's the case, then they haven't done a good job. on sunday, 3 days after the rain/freeze event, it wasn't very encouraging that east glade & a couple other trails had very chunky grooming. then again mid-season i hope to be nowhere near the groomers.


Yep. Midwinter, most of us spend as much time as possible on the ungroomed natural snow parts of the mountain. Grooming is only important when those areas of the mountain aren't skiable.
 

ChrisC

Active member
I assume the snowmaking star just denotes the trail has snowmaking. Thought it meant 'Snowmaking in the last 24 hours' or whatever that symbol means.

OK, makes sense.
 

mtnstoke

New member
I'll never get the knock on K-Mart as far as the terrain goes. There's plenty of good stuff there. My many days on that mountain have always held me in good stead on expert terrain everywhere else I've been, including places like J-Hole and Mt. Washington.

I can understand the arguments re: crowds and New Yorkers. But really, if you know the place well, the crowds are almost always avoidable.

And honestly, as many have noted, nobody does the early season, or lean seasons, better.

Jay Peak is really not a good comparison if you're from Southern New England - it's farther by a LONG way for most, and when you're driving back tired as hell on a Sunday evening, every hour matters.

That being said, I am one of the p.o.'ed former All For One Passholders. I am completely disheartened by what POWDER has done w/r/t the season pass, daily lift rates, closing date, and layoffs. I won't spend the bulk of my money there any more, though I cannot say that I won't go at all. I will, only it'll be every now and then as conditions dictate.
 
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