Top-to-Bottom Skiing at Killington

by Paul Maraschiello


I had received numerous press releases and e-mails telling me about the great top-to-bottom skiing that Killington had from the day they opened. This is the first time they had ever had top-to-bottom skiing this early in the season and I could not wait to get out on the snow. They had a really big storm the week before that dumped a foot of snow on the trails. Unfortunately it rained after the big storm, so I missed the really fantastic skiing but I was psyched.

We drove up on Friday and had reservations at the Summit Lodge. The Summit is a really classic ski lodge located behind the Grist Mill on the Killington Access road. They have a really nice atmosphere and one of my old friends, Ned works there as a bartender. After we checked in, we paid Ned a visit and caught up on old times.

The Summit Lodge provided the guests with a complementary continental breakfast consisting of juice, coffee, muffins and pastries. It was served in a spacious room with a large fireplace. The Summit has a couple of really large Saint Bernard dogs that added a nice touch to this first class ski lodge.

After breakfast, we headed up to the mountain. The Killington Base Lodge wasn't crowded and there were only a few people waiting in line for the K1 Express gondola that took us to the top of the mountain. We rode in comfort to the top of Killington Peak and took the Great Northern trail all the way down to the bottom. As it was my first day on skis, I felt no need to dice it out with the moguls and was quite content to look good on easy trails. It is going to be a long ski season and I will get my fill of double black diamond trails.

After warming up with a few runs down Great Northern, we took a couple of runs down the Glades. The runs were short but the moguls had started to build up a little and skiing this triple chair was fun.

We had lunch at the Killington Base Lodge and enjoyed the hand-carved turkey sandwich which was available in the bar area. It was fairly crowded at lunch and it made me think about how crowded the base lodge would be at the height of the season. Killington has expanded the base lodge area 400% since I lived there to accommodate all their guests.

We headed back to the mountain after lunch and made a few more runs, exploring the trails off the Snowdon chair. The snow was in pretty good shape and we skied all the trails that were open. We hopped on the triple chair which was moving a little faster than the Snowdon chair and were back on the top of mountain for another run. We skied all afternoon and then called it a day. The snow was starting to get skied off and the trails were beginning to get crowded.

We made use of the spa after a hard day on the slopes. The hot water bubbled away our minor aches and pains. There is a sauna at the Summit for those who like to bake and sweat and a misuse will give you a great massage, if you need one. We also got a little sack time in our room before going out.

We stopped in the Grist Mill to see a few old friends for happy-hour. Carl Lorenzo is still tending bar on weekends and it was great to see him. There was a live band playing as usual and the place was hopping.

After a little happy-hour libation, we headed to the Pasta Pot for dinner with friends. The Pasta Pot is one of the best Italian restaurants in the Killington area. We had the mussels fra diablo and they were excellent as usual. Pasta Pete, the owner greeted us when we arrived and we received VIP treatment. Whenever I am at Killington, I try to dine at the Pasta Pot and I am never disappointed. The food is excellent, the ambiance is great and the prices are reasonable.

It's strange how after a hard day of skiing, dancing the night away loses its appeal. We were both a little tired, so we headed back to the Summit Lodge. We had a nightcap with Ned in the bar and then headed off to bed.

The next day we awoke to threats of a Noreaster storm. The last time I skied at Killington during a Noreaster, the wind was so strong that you could come down the mountain without turning. In fact, to go down the hill, you had to get into a tuck and instead of turning, all you had to do is stand up and use you body like a sail to slow down. Luckily the wind wasn't blowing that hard but it was also foggy and visibility was poor.

The gondola was closed, so we took a ride up the triple chair and one run down Great Northern and then headed over to the Superstar chair. Skylark was open and in pretty good shape. Visibility made dealing with the moguls a little difficult. You could see the bumps but the fog threw your depth perception off and made skiing the bumps difficult. Skiing bumps by brail may be fun for some people but it was only my second day on the snow and I could do without it.

Because I was worried about the roads, we headed home a little early. My assistant, Regina was having trouble with her boots, so we stopped in Replay Sports and she got a great deal on a second-hand pair of boots that made her feet feel really HAPPY. There is nothing worse than trying to ski when you boots are killing you. Replay Sports had a large selection of used skis, boots, and other equipment for those who are on a budget. My friends and I always are able to find great bargains there and I seldom drive by without stopping in for a quick look around. You never know what you are going to find and I like paying one tenth of the original retail price for ski equipment that has hardly been used. It's also a good place to take your old equipment and sell it on consignment.

It started to rain as we left Rutland but at least the freezing rain failed to develop. The trip back was uneventful, just the way I like it.

All in all, my first weekend on skis was a success. Killington was in great shape for so early in the season and we had a blast, although there were only 20 trails open. The skiing at Killington is consistently better than most of the other resorts in the area because of their extensive snow-making, not to mention that they were one of the few ski areas that were open so early in the season. Killington is always a sure bet for good snow. When everybody has good conditions, the skiing at Killington will be better than usual. It will not be too crowded because people will elect to go to other places to ski. When conditions are poor, Killington will have good conditions because of all the snowmaking they do. I like to tell people, "The only one that makes more snow than Killington is God . . . and that's only on some days." Early in the season and late in the season, you are assured of good snow at Killington. They are historically the first to open in the East and the last to close. The skiing is also pretty damn good between Thanksgiving and Easter too.