Improvements to lifts and snowmaking improve reliability and sustainability across resorts
KILLINGTON, Vt. – Vermont’s Killington Resort, the largest ski and snowboard destination in Eastern North America, continues to invest in capital improvements, adding year-round attractions, expanding its mountain bike trail network, and upgrading lifts and snowmaking systems for the upcoming 2015-16 winter season. Since Powdr Resorts purchased Killington Resort and Pico Mountain in 2007, infrastructure improvements have exceeded $40 million, including lifts, lift drives, snowmaking systems and Killington’s signature Peak Lodge.
“We had a tremendous winter with snowmaking production to match, and remained open for skiing and riding through Memorial Day, once again owning the longest season in the East. Building on that energy, we added the Snowshed Adventure Center with ten attractions and a host of new mountain bike trails. Already our summer business has increased 100% compared to last summer,” stated Mike Solimano, president and general manager for Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “We invested significantly in the Beast Mountain Coaster and other attractions for this summer, and will operate many year-round, adding depth to what was already the best winter destination experience available in the East.”
Killington continues to invest in infrastructure and guest-experience projects, including efforts to increase the reliability of the most expansive lift network in the East. This year’s capital improvement budget includes investment at the new Snowshed Adventure Center in excess of $3.5 million, and lift and snowmaking improvements exceeding $1 million.
In addition to the significant investment in projects to improve guest experience, Killington recently signed a 20-year purchase agreement with Namaste Solar to receive 3 MW of power from six new 500 kW solar arrays constructed in Vermont. Building on the resort’s commitment to sustainability and being the greenest resort in Vermont, the 4,700 MWh’s of new solar generated electricity will cover all energy needs required to pump water to snow guns on ski trails at both Killington and Pico.
Another large-scale project underway at Killington is a $750,000 reimagining and remodeling of the Ovations restaurant at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel. New plans call for an open-air bar and restaurant in the hotel’s lower lobby, creating the premier destination for après ski dining and drinking in the Killington region.
This summer, Killington Resort formally kicked off a five-year mountain bike park expansion, directing over $175,000 to trail building efforts, with many new trails already open for riders. Killington’s mountain bike park initiative is in partnership with Gravity Logic, the Whistler, British Columbia-based mountain bike trail design experts. Gravity Logic is working with the resort to transform Killington’s mountain bike offerings to include more beginner and intermediate-friendly terrain while continuing to add more flow and freeride trails for experts.
New mountain bike trails are also being integrated seamlessly with the new Beast Mountain Coaster, with six trails passing under and over the coaster on bridges built from recycled steel from the original Killington Gondola’s Skye Peak terminal.
Over $600,000 has been earmarked for installing new electronic lift drive systems on the K-1 Express and Skyeship Express Gondolas, plus communications lines, new haul ropes, component upgrades, and improvements at load and unload terminals for a number of lifts across Killington and Pico resorts.
Another $600,000 is allocated to mountain improvements directly improving visitor experience including ski trail edging and widening, new ticket scanners, paving projects and a new park-specific grooming machine. Winter visitors will also feel the positive effects of snowmaking improvements including the replacement of key artery water pipelines to Killington Peak and Pico Peak, plus the rebuilding of hydrants, water pumps and additional new snowmaking hose.
Snowmaking infrastructure has been redesigned and relocated on the lower section of Superstar trail. This investment will enhance snow production on the signature trail by utilizing fans guns to make snow faster and more efficiently. This snowmaking improvement will impact the guest experience through the final day of the spring ski season with better snow coverage and depth.
In partnership with Killington Mountain School, over $600,000 is being invested to further improve the race and training venues at the resort. A new mid-station unload for the Snowdon Triple lift, and a permanent bag jump venue on lower Superstar will be constructed, setting the stage for future competitions and training programs. The bag jump will feature a full ramp and will be used year-round, creating a much more extensive jump site than existed before, capable of hosting summer jump camps, bringing additional energy to the resort.
“Our mountain crews have been very busy this summer with the extensive investment in both summer and winter improvements at the resort,” stated Jeff Temple, director of mountain operations and facilities maintenance for Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “With construction completed in record time for the highly successful Beast Mountain Coaster, new gravity-fed mountain bike trails and other summer activities, our focus now is on the many lift and snowmaking upgrades.”
“During the 2014-15 ski season, skier visits were up 9% over the 2013-14 season, and that helped drive significant growth in lodging, retail and food and beverage,” said Rob Megnin, director of sales and marketing at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “Summer business has been growing rapidly as well, and we plan to carry that momentum into this winter.”
Killington Resort continues to focus on improving the overall on-mountain guest experience by providing unparalleled access to the most extensive trail network in the northeast. During winter 2015-16, Killington skiers and riders will enjoy over 200 trails and nearly 2,000 acres of skiable terrain on one ticket, plus access to 20 other resorts across the country with the M.A.X. Pass add-on. The best prices on Killington and Pico Season Passes are available through October 15, 2015.
Weather permitting, Killington snowmaking will resume in mid-October, once again setting the stage for the longest season in the East.
About Killington Resort
Killington Resort is a four-season destination that sits on 3,000 acres in the heart of the Green Mountains in Central Vermont. The Resort boasts more than 73 miles of diverse snow sports terrain spread out over six peaks and offers the most expansive lift network and snowmaking system in the East. After the snow melts, Killington features an 18-hole championship golf course as well as 35 miles of mountain biking trails and 15 miles of hiking trails, and the new Snowshed Adventure Center which features 10 attractions including the Beast Mountain Coaster. The numerous après, dining, shopping and lodging options in the area have made Killington a world-class destination for East Coast skiers and riders for over 50 years. Killington.com
About Pico Mountain at Killington
In 1937 on Thanksgiving morning, a legend was born: Pico Mountain Ski Resort. Though humbly equipped with only a 1,200’ rope tow powered by a Hudson motor car engine, skiers – true skiers – loved it. No other big mountain has so much quaint charm. Since then a lot has changed; families and skiing traditionalists now enjoy 57 trails and the Triple Slope Terrain Park serviced by seven lifts, including two high-speed detachable quads. PicoMountain.com