From the Top :: New Year News
Posted by Mike Solimano on January 1, 2016
Happy New Year to all our faithful Killington guests! As you all know, the early season brought us very challenging weather, but the forecast for the next week is cold with snowfall likely on several days, which should allow us to expand terrain quickly. Now that winter is properly upon us, I want to give everyone an update of our snowmaking plans, and to try and dispel the rumors I’ve been hearing.
Terrain Expansion Plan
New trails coming on line this weekend include Blue Heaven and Launch Pad off Killington Peak, giving you quick access to the Skye Peak area, plus Upper and Lower Bittersweet for more runs off Superstar Express Quad and Upper Chute and Highline off Snowdon Peak adding another option easily accessed by the Snowdon Quad chairlift.
As temperatures continue to drop, trails in the Snowshed area including Snowshed and Highlander, as well as trails in the Canyon area including Lower East Fall and Cascade Runout will likely open during the next week. Our long awaited signature trail, Superstar, will have snow guns running on its entire length through the weekend and beyond, getting it ready to open by early in the week.
Following this next wave trail openings, the fast-moving expansion plan will move ahead as we build the multi-feature Mouse Run Terrain Park on Snowdon Mountain, coupled with an aggressive march to Needle's Eye for weekend of January 9-10, all accessed by the Needle's Eye Quad and the Skyeship Gondola (from the mid-station).
Bear Mountain is next on the list; we are hoping to get to Skyeburst, Cruise Control and Bearly trails, all accessed by the Skyepeak Express Quad by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
With a trail expansion plan that includes terrain for all ability levels, the snowmaking production plan will continue to be focused on adding trails within each mountain area and increasing snow depth on trails for spring skiing.
The Rumor Mill
As plans had to change on the fly throughout the early season, rumors began to circulate, so I would like to quell speculation about three major misconceptions I’ve heard:
1. We have NOT given up on Pico.
We have made snow at Pico at every opportunity but the warm weather and significant rain wiped away much of our snowmaking through December. We opened 2 lifts serving 3 trails on the lower mountain today (January 2) and snowmaking is in progress on the upper mountain, with a target of opening 49er off the summit by next Saturday, January 9.
2. Bear and Skyeship ARE on the plan this year.
As outlined above in our terrain expansion model, we plan to continue making snow on our signature trails as we expand into the Bear Mountain and Needle’s Eye areas. The Skyeship Express Gondola, which typically opens after Bear Mountain, serves terrain down to Route 4 and will have to be assessed as we move forward, but has not been struck from any plans.
3. We are NOT cutting back snowmaking.
Every time temperatures have allowed, we have made snow. Plus we went for it a few times when temps didn’t allow, laying down wet base snow on closed trails. The mountain team has been more aggressive this year making snow in marginal conditions than any year I can remember, as choices have needed to be made on the snowmaking plan that differed from past years as we reacted to unusual weather.
The ground is now white and it looks much more like winter than it did just a week ago. We appreciate all the support during such a challenging stretch, but 2016 is already off to a cold, snowy start, and we still plan to ski late into spring on Superstar!
I value your input on ways we can improve the resort so please email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year!