Wed, Feb 1, 2012 10:38 AM
Killington Resort is one of the nation's most famous pioneering
ski resorts with a reputation of international stature. How it got
there presents a chance to check your Killington IQ and perhaps
re-new your appreciation of how our mountain grew to be so
A is for Access Road and Apres-Ski.
It took 3 years to get the 5-mile road from Route 4 to the
mountain's base built so Killington could open (1958). Today, the
"Access Road" is one of the most famous in "skierdom" thanks to an
abundance of restaurants, shops, lodges and nightspots that
literally "rock the road" and make it synonymous with
B is for better.
Killington founder Pres Smith wanted to create a ski area that
offered a "better ski experience for all ability levels" with more
lifts and more trails to enjoy. That's part of the ambitious dream
for Killington that caused it to become the East's largest ski area
with six different mountain areas connected by easier ski
C is for Compton, Cousino, and Cumming.
Ian Compton and Yale Cousino serve as coaches for Monster Freeride
Sessions in the park. They help kids ages 7-18 take their skills up
a creative notch.
John Cumming is the CEO of Powdr Corp, a privately held company
that purchased Killington and Pico as Powdr's first Eastern
acquisition in 2007. Powdr, now the second largest
owner-operator of U.S. ski resorts, is a company to watch - witness
latest involvement with action sports.
D is for deck.
The Vista Deck is located along the Great Eastern trail (just
beyond Cruise Control) and sports a café open on weekends and peak
periods as well as superb views anytime!
E is for Egan.
Acclaimed adventure skier extraordinaire Dan Egan is leading an
All-Terrain skiing experience February 4-5 and on February 18-19
and March 3-4, 2012, he will impart advanced skills by teaching
about reading the terrain and picking the best line down the
F is for future.
As in the exciting prospects of a new Peak Lodge (debuts December
2012), a complete ski village, a detachable quad for Snowdon, and a
link-up of Killington and Pico with trails and lifts.
G is for Golf Course Clubhouse.
The Killington Golf Course Clubhouse is home to the new Tubing
Park (open weekends and peak periods) and snowshoe/cross-country
center in the winter months. It is located across from The Grand
H is for Herwig.
Herwig Demschar, a former racer, educator, and race coach
(Austrian National Team; U.S. Women's Ski Team) coached athletes to
13 World Championship medals and 5 Olympic medals, including Picabo
Street's Gold. With 10 years Olympics venue management experience,
he became Powdr COO (May 2007) and visits Killington
regularly. He sees development of the Village as crucial to being a
world-class destination resort. Also, watch for more racing action
at the mountain.
I is for intriguing.
Killington has an intriguing array of woods skiing, some on the
map (Julio, Anarchy, Patsy's and Low Rider) and some not.
Just as intriguing and delightful for families are the new
snowcat-drawn sleigh rides offered on Saturdays at 5 p.m. at
Snowshed. Affordable après-ski fun - a family must!
J is for Jay "Rosey" Rosenbaum.
As terrain-park supervisor, he is key to the elements as well as
the jams. Watch for his profile in an upcoming issue of the
K is for Killington Ski Club.
The KSC provides a home on the mountain for families, athletes and
program staff, as well as support for Junior competition programs,
adult ski programs and social activities. KSC has 300 family
members, comprised of 1,200 individuals, many of them adults who
enjoy the perks of their private slopeside club building and club
camaraderie long after their children have left home.
L is for lifts.
One of Killington's most distinctive traits is the far-reaching
and efficient lift system.
But did you know that the original Gondola was the world's longest
in 1970 and the first to sport four-passenger cabins that loaded
from both sides? The prototype gondola that was replaced by another
engineering feat when the Skyeship debuted December 10, 1994 as the
world's first heated, eight-passenger, art-in-the-sky gondola (a
two-stage gondola to Skye Peak).
M is for Motor Room Bar.
Combine the history of a lift-drive terminal with the newest
Saturday evening après-ski experience for adults (21 up). Following
a snowcat ride to the Motor Room Bar atop Devil's Fiddle, you'll
enjoy light hors d'oeuvres with libations as you take in the views
of Bear Mountain - and a return trip under the stars.
N is for novice.
Killington was founded on the principle that novices should be
able to enjoy the mountaintop and its beautiful vistas and scenery.
So all mountain areas feature easier ways down allowing novices to
ski from mountain to mountain. That was unique in its day (1958)
and Killington still remains unique in the East by offering the
greatest vertical descent for all ability levels.
O is for Otten.
Yes, Killington's second owner Les Otten was a tad ambitious when
he formed ASC (1997) which became America's largest ski resort
company and which he lost control of due to over spending during
the era of irrational exuberance and some tough weather
But he deserves credit for: the Killington Grand Summit Hotel with
spacious ballroom; the K-1 Gondola (named in honor of Pres Smith);
the Ramshead Express Quad and Family Center with enlarged Ramshead
Lodge for kids' programs and childcare and outdoor learning area
with carpet lifts; Needle's Eye Express Quad and the Northbrook
Quad; usage of Woodward Reservoir for snowmaking water. He also
gave up Parker's Gore lands in exchange for 400-acres for a village
center and preserved Pico as one of Vermont's oldest, best loved
family areas by purchasing it when it went belly up in 1996.
P is for pioneering.
Can you name ten "firsts" that were innovated or advanced at
Killington to the betterment of the area and skiing as a
1. Long ski season. 2. Factual snow reports. 3.
Ticket wickets. 4. Snowmaking system. 5. GLM (graduated
length method of ski instruction) 6. Winch cats. 7. Gondola
lifts. 8. All-inclusive ski-vacation package - lifts,
lodging, food, equipment and lessons. 9. Cash registers with
automated ticket printing. 10. Snowshed beginner slope.
How about the person(s) responsible for those
1 and 2: Pres Smith. 3: Charlie Hanley. 4: See "R" below. 5:
Smith and Ski School Director Karl Pfeiffer in concert with SKI
magazine. 6: Killington staff participated in the testing of winch
cats on Outer Limits. 7: Smith, lift ops staff. 8:
Foster Chandler, marketing guru. 9. NCR specifically
developed them for Killington in 1967 to speed up the ticket
purchase process and for greater control. 10. Smith and "K"
founders wanted a gentle slope for learners but some thought he was
R is for R & D (research and
Killington did not invent snowmaking, but when the first system
was turned on in 1963, it blew up so Smith fired the company that
had designed it and hired his own engineers. They and future staff
developed their own (patented) snow guns and an extensive
snowmaking system (88 miles of pipe, 1,500 snow guns).
By the 1980s, Killington's snowmaking prowess was well known in
Europe! Later yet, a Killington subsidiary sold them to areas
around the world.
S is for stellar.
Whether describing the views from the highest lift-served skiing
in New England or from the 4,241-foot summit in summer (easily
reached by K-1 ride and short hike), the Stash, the Snowsports
School, Ski Patrol, or snowmaking system, Killington has "star
power" best summed up as "stellar."
T is for terrain.
From the "gentlest" beginner slopes (Snowshed and Juggernaut) all
the way up to offering the top pitches in the East (double-diamond
blacks Outer Limits, Ovation, Devil's Fiddle, sections of
Superstar, Cascade, and Downdraft), the big K's trails comprise
"the greatest terrain variety in the East." And that quote came
from a competitor!
Icing on the cake? You can ski/ride on Pico Mountain on a K
ticket, adding another 52 trails and glades.
U is for Umbrella Bars.
New this year, the two Roaring Brook Umbrella Bars and expansive
deck adjacent to the K-1 Lodge (replacing the pub and deck
destroyed by Irene) offers a unique place to enjoy a light snack
and libation with a view.
V is for Village.
SP Land Company plans for a ski village in the Snowshed and
Ramshead areas enters the permitting stage soon and promises an
exciting 20 years of development ahead.
W is for Women Only Weekends and
Killington regular Donna Weinbrecht and top resort female coaches
lead a special women's program February 10-12 for intermediate to
expert skiers. Donna, the world's first Olympics Moguls Gold
Medalist, honed her bump skills on Outer Limits, noting, "After OL,
I wasn't afraid of any moguls course."
X is for "X-rated."
Whether it's the corkscrew top of Devil's Fiddle, the outrageous
steeps of Ovation ("steepest terrain possible in East before
avalanches set in"), or the challenge of the 500-foot superpipe
with 22-foot-tall walls, Killington offers an extraordinary
extravaganza of exciting experiences.
Y is for Yurt.
You can enjoy a groomer-drawn sleigh ride from Snowshed to the
Ledgewood Yurt where a five-course fine-dining "experience" awaits
your inner gourmet.
Z is for Zaugg.
A Zaugg pipecutter implement gets those walls perfect in the
It's also for "zee end" although "Big K" adventures truly are
endless with a host of events and an entire town to explore!