KILLINGTON IS NO TURKEY
by Paul Maraschiello
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I decided to drive up to Killington for a little skiing on Thanksgiving weekend. I made good time and arrived at the Vermont Inn in plenty of time to visit one of my favorite haunts for a wee libation and still get to bed at a reasonable hour. I stopped in at the Grist Mill and ran into Johnnie "O" who is a big-wig with the Killington racing program. I also got a chance to meet the new Manager. Kenny sold his interest and as luck would have it this restaurant is now being run by Jon Lamb's wife. Jon is an old friend and one of the top ski instructors at Killington and has contributed Ski Tips to the Ski Bum News.
The next day, one of my old cronies Tex, joined me for a breakfast and we headed to the slopes. After booting up in the Killington Base Lodge, we headed off toward the K1 Express gondola but there was a long line. As we gazed past that line, a few yards away, we spied the Conclusion Triple Chair and there were only a few people waiting for the chair, so we put on our skies and made it over to that chair.
We have both skied Killington so many times that it didn't matter if we went to the top of the mountain. It was a wise decision. Tex is in great shape, he runs and windsurfs in the off-season and does a lot of other things that keeps him in shape. I on the other hand, have been sitting on my duff since last ski season and am in the poorest shape that I have ever been at a beginning of a ski season. I know how important conditioning is for skiing and I've published a number of articles on getting in shape for the ski season. I KNOW BETTER! But here I was, starting the ski season as a "couch potato".
Well, we got off the Triple Chair and started down the hill. I was really glad that we were warming up on something easy. A blue run was all I was able to handle. I knew what to do but somehow the message got lost on the way from my brain to my skis. I wasn't falling down or anything but I knew how badly I was skiing. We made a few runs down the trails serviced by the Triple Chair and the Snowdown Chair. The Chute was in good shape and Lower Bunny Buster had some moguls that were manageable.
The conditions were excellent winter conditions and after skiing all morning we got a chilly. We made a stop at the Warming Hut near the top of Snowdon and Tex introduced me to a few of his friends who work at Killington and were in there working and having lunch. After a couple more runs, we headed into the lodge. The lodge was packed and we enjoyed chatting with some of the other guests. It's amazing how many people were at Killington for Thanksgiving. I retrieved my ski-tuning tool from my ski bag and touched up my skis. "Tune them to turn them," has always been a by-word if you ski Killington. After touching up my edges, we headed back to the slopes. The K1 Express was still crowded so we rode up the Triple Chair once more. We skied all the trails on that part of the mountain services by the Snowdon Chair. My old legs were starting to feel it and the trails were beginning to get skied off, so we decided to call it quits around 2 PM and have lunch at a nice restaurant.
THE VERMONT INN
After a nice leisurely lunch, we headed back to The Vermont Inn. We arrived just in time for the apres skiing snack. They were serving coffee and hot cider and home-made cookies. We sat around with some of the other guests and chatted with them and the owners Megan and Greg Smith.
This lovely inn is located on Rt. 4, just a few minutes from the Killington access road between Rutland and Pico. This is a classic inn that was rated on of the top 50 inns in America by the "Inn Times". It is the top "Vermont inn" on most Internet search engines and I thought it was appropriate that the Editor of the top "ski news" web site was staying there. My room was very nice but they have even nicer rooms for their guests. The inn provides a full country breakfast in the diningroom, featuring home-made baked French toast, special pancakes and a variety of eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, dry cereal, juice, etc. They also serve dinner but I was too stuffed after my late lunch to sample the faire. They have a small bar and a nice selection of fine wine to accompany the gourmet menu. The two cats that are permanent residents are very friendly, as were the host and hostess and the other guests. If you are looking for a quaint country inn, I can recommend the Vermont Inn. Prices range from $80 - $250 per night during the ski season including breakfast. Call (800) 541-7795 and tell them that the "Ski Bum News" sent you.
Although I got to the slope the next day by 9 AM, the upper parking lot was full, so I had to park in the new parking lots located near Ramshead. They have shuttle buses to take skiers to the Killington Base lodge but it was such a short walk (just across the road) to the trails at Ramshead, that I decided to ride up the Ramshead lift and ski over to the Snowdon Chair. The lift line was so short and the trail under the chair looked so good that I decided to take a few runs on Ramshead. This turned out to be an excellent decision. The snow was in excellent shape and most of the trails on this mountain were in better shape that the trails that we had skied the day before, so I decided to continue to ski Ramshead.
I had lunch in the Ramshead lodge and decided to continue skiing Ramshead. The snow was so nice, the line so short that I felt ne need to even visit Killington Peak. As this was only my second day on the snow and I was not in the shape I should be, skiing an easier trail in the afternoon was in order. I skied for another hour and then packed it in for the long drive home. Killington was in great shape for so early in the season and I'm really glad that I decided to spend Thanksgiving weekend at my favorite ski area in the East. Having lived at Killington for many years, I know that no matter how many people are skiing Killington, I can always find trails that aren't too crowded and I'm guaranteed to have a good time. If you visit Killington, no matter what your skiing or snowboard riding ability, you will find trails made-to-order for you.
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