Yesterday, I got my first day of the season heading up north to Killington Resort in Vermont. An abnormally warm October led to the normal front runners for East Coast ski resort openings, Killington and Sunday River, not having the chance to open. After a cold stretch last week, Killington was able to get their North Ridge area open. Sunday River has been making snow but has yet to announce an opening day.
I arrived around noontime and took the K1 Gondola up at the summit. For the first two days of the season, skiers had to take a catwalk from the summit down to the top of North Ridge. They opened the upper portion of Great Northern on mid-day Saturday, which allows skiers and riders to shred to the bottom of the North Ridge Quad. From North Ridge, the only two runs open are Rime and Reason. Reason has been set up as a Woodward pop-up terrain park, and it’s an impressive layout for the early season. Both runs are groomed, but moguls pop up pretty easily, particularly on Rime. After you are done skiing, you have to take the seven hundred and fifty-foot catwalk back up to the summit. A good thing to note is the catwalk up is no joke. Taking on the steps with ski boots on isn’t a particularly fun task. I went later in the day to avoid firm early morning conditions(it rained Tuesday night and froze over Wednesday night) but moguls dominated much of the Rime trail due to my timing. Great Northern didn’t have many bumps on it due to its lessor usage, and I was able to get some quality turns on there with my new Nordica Enforcers. The trail conditions on Rime and Reason alternated between soft on the moguls, and firm yet carvable on the remaining groomed sections. Still, it’s the early season in New England, so there’s not much to complain about.
A big question is if the trails will survive the rainstorm coming today and tomorrow. There were definitely bare spots, especially on Rime. The grooming team will have their hands full being open this weekend. Over at the base of K1, workers are amassing what will be the spectator section of the Killington Cup. The FIS Ski Women’s World Cup will hopefully occur on the Superstar trail during Thanksgiving Weekend (November 27-28). Killington usually doesn’t have a problem getting the course ready for the race, but warm weather could wreck these plans. The upper part of the course is well covered and likely won’t be an issue, but the lower portion has little snow at the moment. Rain on Friday and Saturday could melt what Killington was able to blow last week. There will be some opportunities in the evening next week, but warm temperatures during the day could slow down momentum. Killington has a great snowmaking team, so I imagine they’ll figure it out. Photos of the World Cup setup are below.
Image Credits: Killington Resort, Ian Wood