Killington Invests $5.7 Million for 2017-18
Posted by The Beast on October 5, 2017
Carrying the momentum of a two-year commitment to host the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in 2017 and 2018, Killington Resort and Pico Mountain are excited to announce a number of guest experience upgrades coming this season. Parent company to Killington and Pico, POWDR, has invested $5.7 million in capital improvements across the two resorts. The investments will enhance snowmaking equipment and infrastructure, upgrade and rebuild lifts, expand summer activities at Killington and improve the overall experience at both resorts.
Since POWDR purchased Killington Resort and Pico Mountain in 2007, infrastructure improvements have exceeded more than $50 million, including a new lift, lift drives, snowmaking systems and Killington’s signature Peak Lodge. POWDR is committed to creating sustainable communities and engaging the next generation of action sports enthusiasts and their significant investment at Killington and Pico support this mission.
“As we prepare to host another Ski World Cup in November, investments are being made to further enrich the experience at Killington and Pico,” said Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “The investments being made this year will help Killington and Pico preserve leadership in resort operations, sustainability and overall guest experience year-round. Last year, we hosted the longest winter season in the East, operating 201 days between October 22 and June 1, and we’re hopeful that 2018 will be bigger and better with these enhancements.”
Snowmaking Equipment and Infrastructure
Major investments to Killington and Pico’s state-of-the-art snowmaking capabilities are currently underway, highlighted by a partnership with Efficiency Vermont to add 163 new low energy tower snow guns. This significant increase in low energy tower guns, along with a number of other critical system improvements, not only pushes the resort closer to a sustainable operation, but allows Killington to open ski terrain much more quickly and efficiently. Best-in-class snowmaking is a key reason Killington is able to host the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in November. In total, Killington Resort will earmark $1.7 million in snowmaking improvements and upgrades for 2018.
Pico Mountain is improving its snowmaking capacity too, by increasing water storage in two snowmaking ponds with a dredging project completed this past summer. Additionally, key pipelines at Pico have been replaced, valve stations upgraded and pump houses augmented to improve snowmaking at Pico Mountain. This $200,000 snowmaking investment will enhance the guest experience and conditions throughout the 2017/2018 season and beyond.
Snow Grooming Machines
Killington has added three new grooming tractors to its already impressive fleet. The new state-of-the-art groomers will enhance Killington’s ability to deliver the best possible snow surface. One of the machines, from Prinoth, features the latest technology for terrain park grooming, providing the ability to creatively shape the trending features necessary to maintain world-class terrain parks. Killington will invest $965,000 in new snow grooming equipment this year.
Lift Upgrades and Rebuilds
Killington Resort will also make significant upgrades this year to its lift infrastructure, totaling $665,000 in improvements. As design and pricing is ongoing for a proposed new South Ridge lift for 2018/19, existing ski lifts are being upgraded. The Snowdon Triple is undergoing significant upgrades over two years with new haul rope, additional towers, a mid-station, new communications infrastructure and lift line tower heads while the K-1 Express Gondola, Sunrise Village Triple and Superstar Express Quad also receive upgraded equipment. These improvements are part of an annual program to upgrade older lift technology. The upgrade program, along with the proposed addition of a new ski lift, continues to enhance the guest accessibility to ski terrain with the resort’s massive 27 lift network.
Summer Activity Upgrades
Although summer is now marching into fall, the warmer season remains top-of-mind with recently completed investments. Killington added activities for young children in the Adventure Center for this past summer, building on the wide array of existing attractions such as a trampoline jump, zip lining and the popular Beast Mountain Coaster. Adults enjoyed improvements to the Snowshed Umbrella Bar, a year-round bar and deck located slope side near the water at Snowshed Pond while guests of all ages can enjoy a new bocce ball court, and enhanced Witchcraft event programing this fall, as well as a variety of other projects to improve the guest experience. In total, $689,000 will be allocated to summer activities at Killington.
Mountain Bike Park
The Killington Mountain Bike Park is in the midst of a multi-year build out designed by Gravity Logic, a world leader in the design of sustainable, progressive mountain bike trails. New projects include a new 2.5 mile jump trail, Skills Zone and a 1.6 mile old traditional/hybrid singletrack trail for an exciting and diverse riding experience bikers of all levels can enjoy. Three high-speed detachable lifts, including the K-1 Express Gondola service all of the bike park’s terrain, setting Killington Resort apart from the competition. No other bike park in New England is served by as many high-speed lifts. Also, added this year are state-of-the-art bike carriers on the Snowshed and Ramshead Express Quads, which allow riders to self-load their bikes for ease of use and increased uphill carrying capacity. With the addition of more than 10 new miles of trail in the last two bike seasons, there are now 30 miles of trails, making it the largest downhill bike park in eastern North America. Killington will have invested $500,000 in bike park improvements before the end of operations this fall.
Solar Sites and Renewable Energy
Already a leader in sustainability, Killington Resort and Pico Mountain will increase renewable power capabilities as a part of POWDR’s Play Forever sustainability efforts. Killington and Pico will have nine solar installations for 2017/18, featuring six resort locations, each with three AllEarth Solar Trackers that designed, tested and engineered in Vermont. The units use GPS technology to follow the sun throughout the day, allowing them to produce up to 45 percent more energy than a fixed system. The trackers, plus three new rooftop installations, are expected to generate approximately 200,000 kWh of clean electricity annually.
In addition to the on-mountain solar installations, Killington partnered with Namaste Solar to develop four off-site solar farms within a short drive from the mountain. The four projects will be energized before the end of 2017 and generate more than 3,000,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to nearly 12% percent of the resorts annual usage. The projects allow Killington to realize significant savings while doing its part to help the state of Vermont meet the visionary goal of achieving 90 percent of Vermont’s total energy needs from renewable sources by 2050. The projects also help the resort reinvest into its energy future. Additionally, two new electric car charging stations are being added along with the existing unit at the Grand Hotel. Each new site will have both a Tesla and a universal charger.
Ongoing Infrastructure Improvements
Killington Resort will continue to improve the overall delivery of service to its guests with a number of other infrastructure and operations improvements at the property. Fiscal year 2018 improvements will include a new state-of-the-art tuning machine for its demo and modern rental ski fleet, new vehicles, and other impactful guest experience projects.