KILLINGTON POWDER - AN OXYMORON

by Paul Maraschiello

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When I arrived at Killington, I noticed that the slopes looked a little different. You could see that there was a lot more snow on Superstar from the parking lot. The receptionist at the Administration Office told me that they had received more than 20 feet of snow so far that year and I believed her. They have stockpiled a huge amount of snow on Superstar and they will be skiing until the beginning of June.



Although my friend Glenn told me that he had been skiing powder all winter, I forgot that he likes to go as fast as he can and prefers it icy. I had just returned from Utah and was a little spoiled. Killington had a lot of snow but it had rained recently and the surface was FAST and just a little icy. In the vernacular of the Killington enthusiast, Killington powder is a synonym for ICE. Nicky Cicero, one of my old cronies liked to say, "ice is nice." If you can ski the ice at Killington, you can ski anything.



I never found the powder I was looking for at Killington but I did find some of the finest frozen hard-pack you could ever ask for. Because it had rained and the temperature had dropped, they groomed Outer Limits and Superstar, among many other trails. Both slopes were in good shape with small bumps. It was a great day to ski Outer Limits. Even I looked good that day. Because it was a little icy, I found myself looking for moguls to knock off my speed. Outer Limits was so good that I skied three times in a row.



The same was true of Superstar. The Headwall was in nice shape and I actually warmed up skiing Superstar. They had groomed it and there were big moguls on the Headwall and tiny bumps on the rest of the run.



SKI EVERY DAY FOR PEANUTS



I could go on and on telling you about all the fun I had zooming down icy expert trails at Killington but I've already done that in numerous articles. The big news I discovered on this visit was the great deal the American Ski Company has on their Spring Season Pass. You can purchase a pass at any of the ASC ski areas and ski the rest of the ski season (read: every day in April and May at Killington) for $199.00. This pass is good as all the ASC ski areas in the East. You can ski: Killington and Mount Snow in Vermont;
Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA in Maine; and Attitash Bear Peak in New
Hampshire on this pass. I picked up my pass and plan on skiing as many days as I can. For all of you Eastern skiers, this is a great deal.



If you like to ski on warm, sunny days, then spring skiing is just the ticket. Pick up your season pass, and spend the next two months skiing. All you have to do is go skiing two more weekends and you will be ahead of the game. Make it a long weekend and squeeze in a couple of more sunny days on the slopes and you will get the cost per day down to next to nothing. I plan on skiing at least 15 more days this year. I always take a week off in the spring time and ski myself silly. Look for me at Killington. I'll be the guy with SkiBumNews.com on the back of his fleece. I'll be skiing at Killington from April 5 - 12th. When you're there look for the real ski bums at the top of the mountain who take photos of the guests. Just for a change, I took their photo.



BEAR MT. MOGUL CHALLENGE



I'll be at the Bear Mt. Mogul Challenge because it's the best party at Killington. The weekend is usually blessed by sunshine and great weather. If you want to PARTY and see some great bump skiing and PARTY, put this event on your MUST list and meet me there. It will be on the weekend of April 5-6th this year.



The last time I was at Bear Mt. For the bump contest, the sun was shining and there was a little nip in the air. The snow had set up over night and the conditions were firm (so what else is new?) I took a run down Wildfire to warm up and then I was ready to ski Outer Limits. The bumps were big (not as big as VW's but BIG) and the snow was VERY firm. I skied the top fairly well, but ran out of legs half way down. The sun needed to shine on the snow a little more, to soften it up and then it would be perfect. For the rest of the run it was: make a few turns and stop, make a few more turns and stop, etc., all the way down.



As usual, I brought my camera and got some great shots of the competitors. There were a lot of really great bump skiers competing in the contest. Most of them were really good at turning in the bumps. Many contestants had problems in the air and would ether fall in the landing of the first jump or land so far back on their skis that they were in trouble.

Outer Limits is the LAST place you want to find yourself in the back seat, going down a mogul run at speed could be a disaster! I have to hand it to them, may of the bumpers were able to recover and put on a great demonstration of mogul skiing, even if it was just riding their skis straight down the fall line at high speed to cross the finish line.



The party at the base was really great! There were thousands of people and Killington had the grill out on the porch where they were doing burgers, sausage, chicken, and steak. They also a pig roast, sushi bar, clam bar and plenty to drink. The sun was shining and it was really a great day.





After I got done shooting the race, I put on my skis and skied down the narrow piece of snow to the right of the mogul course, directly under the chair lift. I skied the same section of Outer Limits as the competitors did and I skied it well.



I may still have a few problems skiing the bumps on Outer Limits. It all depended on the snow. When the snow as good, I can link my turns and look pretty good. If the bumps are really big, I'm only able to ski the first third of the slope before fatigue sets in and I run out of legs. Oh well, I'm not 25 any more.



When the conditions aren't ideal, Outer Limits always trashes me. Three or four turns, and I blow out of the fall line. I'm bounced around and forced into a traverse, or smacked into the side of the hill, playing "garage sale" with my equipment training behind me, lying on the snow. I try to pick my days and now only ski Outer Limits when the conditions are ideal. Over confidence still gets me in trouble and I pay the price demanded by the god of Bear Mountain.

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