The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Killington Resort, one year after Tropical Storm Irene

When we received word that a tropical storm was heading towards New England, Killington Resort crews began preparing on Thursday, August 25. While the preparations were helpful and alleviated the extent of damage in some locations; we were in awe of the amount of water flowing down the regional brooks and rivers eventually flooding the surrounding area.

Our region lost dozens of homes, miles of road and a number of bridges, yet surrounding communities came together to help one another. In three short months, nearly all the regional infrastructure was repaired and the entire state truly became "Vermont Strong."

Local Vermonters kindly volunteered their time, their physical and emotional strength, their construction equipment, and more to help those in need; it was remarkable to witness the strength of our community - whatever needed to be done, was done with no questions asked. Families and residents of the surrounding areas who needed a temporary home were invited to stay at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel.

There were many people and businesses that needed support across the state including farmers, so the Resort created an online auction, "From the Ground Up," to assist Vermont farms that sustained damage from the tropical storm. All proceeds from the auction went directly to the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund to help local farmers begin to rebuild.

We were incredibly grateful for the generous auction items donated by local businesses, Resort partners and sponsors. The auction lasted for two weeks and we were able to donate nearly $30,000 to Vermont farmers.

Fortunately, most of the Resort's infrastructure received only moderate damage; Irene destroyed K-1 Lodge's Superstar Pub and has since been replaced with the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bars and deck.

With the help of many contractors, our crews were able to get things back in order allowing Killington Resort to be the first resort on the East Coast to open daily for skiing and riding, just two months after Irene on Saturday, October 29. For the 2011-12 winter season, our guests enjoyed 177 on-snow days, the most in the East; a lift served Tubing Park, the Motor Room Bar, Snowcat-Drawn Sleigh Rides, the Winter Dew Tour and much more.

After the snow melted, our crews were back in action. This summer has given us the opportunity to pick up where we left off last fall with construction of the new Peak Lodge. In July, in-house crews completed the excavating of rocks and crushed them up on the mountain to 1 and 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch gravel that will be used as the base material for the lodge's first floor.

Crews have finished pouring the concrete footings and are setting up the stem wall forms for the first floor walls. By September, the exterior walls of the first level of the new building will be completed and crews will put the structure to bed for the upcoming winter. When spring arrives, crews will return to the Peak and begin standing steel to build the next level of the building. Construction will continue through the summer of 2013 and the new Peak Lodge will debut in December of 2013.

As we move forward, we remember the strength of our communities, the kindness of our neighbors and the hard work from all the volunteers across New England; after all we are "Vermont Strong."

Tagged: hurricane irene, recipes, reflections