With only 4 hours skiing at a half-open Seven Springs since Thanksgiving, we were ready for some serious action. Luckily early winter has been kind to New England, with cold weather and good snowfalls a recipe for a lot of open skiing. That’s why, on the Sunday before Xmas we found ourselves in the Snowshed Lodge at Killington having breakfast about 8.30. A bit groggy from the long drive and not much sleep, we were in no rush, as traditionally this wouldn’t be a busy day. We were spot on with that 😉
Another thing that was spot on was the excellently entertaining daily Killington snow report. The cover was good even in non-snowmaking areas, the open terrain was extensive, and there was some hootenanny skiing to be found. We explored all day, not skiing the same run twice. Skylark and Superstar provided fast, smooth warmups with some steep pitches to get the edge control in tune. We then found ourselves at Bear Mountain, where Wildfire was almost like warfare with the snowguns, but it made for some winding, bumpy, whale humpy action in the freshly blown pow.
Next we headed to Snowdon Mountain where Northstar was a beautifully formed bump run, firm and twiggy in places, but extremely fun. Ramshead was next for a high speed cruise in a 20 minute dumpage squall, before we headed up the K1 Gondola for lunch. I rarely mention food on here, but the Butternut Squash soup was worthy of a much more salubrious establishment. Nice lodge!!
For an after lunch warmup we headed off the back of Killington Peak and found The Jug. An old lift line with mostly gentle bumps all the way down until the steeper ‘Handle’ , it was a hoot. We almost felt lonely hopping over the mounds of round soft snow. A fabulous run.
Things got even better when we hit the gondola-served runs off Killington Peak. Cascade was a smooth, fast ripping steep run. Double Dipper was even better, with 1-day old bumps on a plunging fallline. East Fall and Downdraft were nearly as good. This was seriously good skiing. Patsy’s, a tree run on Snowdon rounded off a day when it would have taken The World’s Strongest Man to remove the grin off our faces. In conditions like this, Killington in a very fine ski hill.
The same grey, cool weather persisted into Monday. This allowed the gunpow and groomer crew to work magic overnight. Gateway skied like Western style carvable butter, Cascade was so smooth and steep it reminded me of the great fronstside groomers at Schweitzer. The Canyon Chair was running, which gave access to Double Dipper, Lower East Fall and Highline without the hassle of the gondola. These runs were all in primo conditions. We were ripping!!
To slow down, we found blue-run bumps on Great Bear that were a smile-inducing delight. Conclusions was more precipitous and seriously challenging, and the trees of Tin Man were East coast-tight, but well tracked so that any explorer like me could follow the routes to a safe exit. This was actually really good tree skiing.
I hope this winter remains as cool and generous as it has been so far in New England. We’ll not be needing too many plane rides West if it does, as skiing like this is rather fantastic. Merry Xmas!!
Seven Springs 4000m vert
Killington: 8100m, 8300m vert
Season Totals: 9 days. 64,600m vert,