Killington calls itself the "Beast of the East". On paper it offers the most vertical in the East (3,050 feet), but in practice the vertical on any given trail pod tops out at 1,645 feet which is not impressive. There is no doubt that Killington does offer the longest skiing in the East. It opens at roughly the same time as other early season players, but its extended season really comes through in the spring which is a credit to the prolific snowmaking on a single trail, Superstar. In 2016 closing day was May 25th, and in 2017 it was June 1st.
Killington stands out as one of two ski areas in New England that are accessible by train (the other is Wachusett). Amtrak offers daily service from New York and Albany to Rutland, and there is a shuttle from the Rutland train station to the mountain. Friday and Sunday train service is schedule to allow for departure from New York after work and departure from the mountain at the end of the ski day. One-way fares are around $100 from Penn Station. The train ride is 5.5 hours, plus plan on another hour for the shuttle bus transfer and ride. This seems like a much more convenient travel option as now you can have food and drink on the way. And you don't really need a car once you're there.
A shuttle bus (called The Bus) services the restaurants, bars, base lodges, and hotels along the access road. It is free along the access road and is $2 fare to Rutland. Service runs 7:15 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. daily. A separate base area shuttle operates between all base areas from opening until 5pm.
Base Areas and Parking
Parking is available at all base lodges. Traveling from the highway (89 or 91), parking at Skyeship saves a lot of drive time. A walkway is available to cross the road if the small lot next to the base is full. Bear Mountain is a popular base for those looking to be closer to the skiing and have a quiet base. Ramshead has daycare and children's lessons. K-1 is the best bet early and late season.
Snowshed and Ramshead are the beginner areas. Snowshed is a wide open slope. Ramshead adds a little more pitch and turns. The two base areas are connected by a quick walk through a tunnel under the street. Both areas get busy but advanced skiers usually stay away.
Intermediate trails are everywhere. Snowdon Peak has the best density of intermediate terrain. But taking the ride to Pico for a day is a must. Crowds are much smaller there, the trails are longer, and the terrain is more intermediate focused. Pico has a much more low key family vibe.
From the Superstar lift, Skyelark to Bittersweet is popular. As is Bear Claw from Bear Mountain.
Outer Limits at Bear Mountain is known as the longest steepest bump run, and is the site of the annual Mogul Challenge. Ovation is the steepest run, with several other double blacks to choose from.
Vertigo, Ovation, Superstar, East Fall, and Double Dipper are good advanced choices for groomed terrain. This area off of Skype and Killington Peaks is filled with the best advanced terrain. Work the Canyon Quad and Needle's Eye Quad to get the best of it while avoiding the worst lines.
- Tree Skiing / Glades
Take Launch Pad to access the steepest and tightest glades like Anarchy.
Squeeze Play on Ramshead is an intermediate-accessible glade.
Easy Street Progression park at Ramshead is a the learning area for parks. Lil' Stash a tiny natural-terrain learning park at the very bottom of Ramhead. Right next to it is NeffLand, a small space-themed park. Timberline park at Ramshead has small to medium sized features. Dream Maker is the medium to large feature terrain park running from Skye Peak to Bear Mountain. At the bottom of it is the Superpipe. Also from Skye to Bear Mountain is the stash, a large natural gladed terrain park.
- What to ski when
Dining and Drinking -- On Mountain and Off
The new Peak Lodge at the top of the K-1 gondola. Recommended for great views and is conveniently located at the summit, but can get busy so is best mid-week. The menu includes burger, sandwiches, some pasta dishes, chicken, and daily specials. There is a full bar. Prices $13-$26. Small bites like cheese plates or sliders are available at the bar.
Open Holiday weeks and weekends, the Ledgewood Yurt is a recommended as secluded restaurant off of the Snowshed slope. The menu is limited (salads, a few sandwiches, lamb, mac and cheese, brisket. Beer and wine. Prices $14-18.
To grab a quick bite on the go, Jerk Jamaican Grill is at the Skyeship gondola mid-station. They offer Jamaican themed meats and sandwiches. There is a full bar. Prices around $12.
The Wobbly Barn is a steakhouse owned by the mountain that is very popular. During dinner hours it has family dining. By night it turns into the best nightclub in town. It is on Killington Rd and they offer a free shuttle.
For cheap and quick, Outback Pizza on Killington Rd (and The Bus) is a popular option and also has a busy bar. Decor is mountain meets modern. Tables and bar seating are available. Prices $10-16. They offer their own shuttle, and are the only wood fired pizza in town. Domenic's has better beer selection. oven baked pizza and more Italian dishes on the menu. I-Pie has the most varied toppings but has little seating.
Sushi Yoshi is a popular Asian restaurant -- sushi, Chinese, hibachi -- with widely varying prices $15-60. They have both tables and hibachi seating. They are on Killington Rd and The Bus.
The Foundry has excellent atmosphere (wood and exposed stone) and food; it's a step up from basic casual dining with prices $18-30. After 7-8pm on weekends they offer live local music. It is just off Killington Rd and easily accessible on The Bus.
Birch Ridge Inn is the best food on the access road according to many. Claude's Choices is chef owned and is the other favorite. The Garlic has 2 for 1 tapas before 7 and an a la carte italian menu. Jax is tavern food and open late night. Baja Burito for Mexican. Lookout is the apre bar of choice with free peanuts and dinner entres if you want to stay.
Inn at Long Trail has an Irish pub and a full restaurant. They are on Rte 4 at the top of Pico Pass.
In Rutland, both Roots and Table 24 are upscale American dining with a progressive Vermont vibe. Both have prices $10-22, are in downtown Rutland less than a block apart, and accept reservations. Little Harrys is a well known favorite, and The Hop'n Moose is a brewpub/wood fired pizza place that is well worth checking out. They can be reached on The Bus as they are about a block from the downtown Rutland stop. If you're looking for affordable and reliable, the 99 Restaurant in a New England chain for with good food at good prices. The 99 is located next to Hannaford's Super Market at the end of The Bus route in Rutland. Prices $10-20.
- Late Night
Killington is the single best destination in New England for skiing nightlife. Some of the best ski town night life in the country is found here. There is a strong party culture. The Pickle Barrel, Outback, Lookout, and Wobbly Barn offer free shuttles along the access road. The Bus also runs until 1:15am.
Annual Special Events
This will be the second year for the Women's World Cup on Thanksgiving weekend. Saturday is GS and Sunday is Slalom. The Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge is a mogul competition and big spring party held on the second Saturday in April. (varies) It's one of the biggest skiing parties of the year in New England and attracts hundreds of people. The competition is held on Outer Limits, and the entry fee is $50 (not including a lift ticket).
Local Ski Shops
Northern Ski Works on Killington Rd is one of the best ski shops around. If you need boot fitting, make sure to get Hal. The cheapest rentals in town are at Root's Ski Shop. Other favorites are Aspen East, The Basin, and Black Dog Sports. Killington Sports at the base of the Access Road has a wide selection of many manufacturers, and is the best spot for logo gear.
Where to Stay
Adult tickets are $105. The Killington Express card gets 25% weekends and 50% of weekdays, plus the seventh day is free. It costs $84 early season. You'd have to do some math and compare it to lodging packages to decide if this is really worth it for a single trip. It is nice to have flexibility on your ski days.
Tickets valid 3+ days give you access to Okemo for one day. All Killington tickets are also valid at Pico. Both Killington and Pico are treated as separate mountains for purposes of counting Max Pass days.
If you book a learn-to-ski program at least 48 hours in advance, you get an additional lift ticket for free. There is a helmet promo in the second half of January where if you buy a new helmet, you get a ticket to return at a later date.
For more information: http://www.killington.com/
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Edited by IPS Temp Admin