During my Christmas break in Vermont I managed to squeeze in a couple of days riding at Killington so I thought I would post some thoughts on the place.
Being more used to alpine villages, albeit often 1960s concrete ones, nestling high in Mountain valleys I found the layout of the place a bit soulless.
The main lifts are situated at an altitude of 350 metres at the end of a five km long access road running south from Route 4 which runs east-west across mid Vermont. All the resort facilities are spread out along this road so there is no sense of arrival and you have to drive everywhere.
We found that, as we were coming from the east (Woodstock), it was most convenient to access the resort via the Skyeship Express gondola on Route 4 which is much less congested than the main resort area and the fast gondola takes you right to the heart of the resort. Alternative access is also available at the Bear Mountain base station and lodge although here you are always at the periphery of the ski area.
As we were there during 'holiday' season lift tickets were even more expensive than usual and we paid a whopping $130 each for two day passes which left rather a bad taste in the mouth, especially as the place was crowded and we had to jostle and queue for 15 minutes to part with our cash to surly and unhelpful staff.
Conditions while we were there were not the best with day one being sunny, icy and crowded and day two being wet and sleety but with the advantage that we practically had the mountain to ourselves.
The ski area has about 950 metres of vertical and claims to be spread over seven peaks, though in practice it is more like five. Sunrise Mountain, at 750 metres, really only serves to give access to the resort from the Sunrise Village Condos complex and Pico Mountain is not linked but is a separate ski area covered by the same pass. Skimaps.com has a good high res trail map which shows the area clearly.
Despite Killington's famous snow making capabilities many runs were still closed due to lack of snow cover but we still had plenty to choose from.
Favourite runs included the Glades area between the main Killington Peak and Snowdon Mountain and the East Face route from here back to the base of the Killington Peak gondola. We found that the Snowshed Base and Rams Head Mountain areas were best avoided as they were extremely congested.
For the north eastern US Killington offers a good deal of skiing but it feels rather brash and more suitable as a place for a quick riding fix than somewhere I would want to spend a holiday.