Pico Mountain stands in the giant shadow of Killington Resort, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a tiny ski hill. It has a nearly two thousand-foot vertical drop, with a variety of terrain for all abilities. This includes racers, in which their facilities got a major upgrade this offseason.
Vermont Business Magazine reports that Pico Mountain put in 2,800 feet of air and water pipe, and 45 hydrants on the A Slope trail. Back in the summer of 2021, they sculpted the A Slope Cut-Off trail, which makes the A Slope training area off the Little Pico Triple chairlift more accessible. This year, they’ll finish building a new pumphouse.
The $450,000 capital investment was made possible by a $125,000 donation from POWDR and Killington Resort, while the rest was made possible by fundraising from the Pico Ski Education Foundation.
Nate Freund, who is the President of the Pico Ski Education Foundation, said the following about how the trail setup will work now.
“Having snow making on A Slope will benefit the Pico Race Program by allowing multiple age groups to train simultaneously as well as creating a more consistent and longer lasting surface over the course of the season. It will also allow the Program to host a race on B Slope and still be able to train on A Slope at the same time, which historically was rarely possible without consistent natural snow.”
Lori McClallen, who is the Pico Ski Club Program Director, described the importance of the upgrades:
“This whole project is so important to our ski racing program. A Slope is one of the best trails for our youngest racers. The whole project started from widening and regrading A Slope Cut Off, which made the venue accessible for our beginner racers. Prior to the improvements made to the cutoff, the upper part of the trail was more appropriate for an advanced skier. This improvement, coupled with the removal of trees and brush on the lower section, will enable us to utilize various teaching tools to help our athletes develop proper turn shape and to learn the basic fundamentals of ski racing.
The width and gradual terrain will help build confidence in our younger athletes but also allow our older athletes to continue to strengthen their technical skills on consistent terrain. Snowmaking completes the venue providing us with a consistent surface to be used all season long. The A Slope venue is critical for developing our PSC athletes on age-appropriate terrain and it will help create efficient training sessions for our program.”
Pico Mountain’s youth ski racing history dates back to the 1950s. They had a J-bar in the 1950s and 60s, and then a T-bar in the 1970s and 80s, which created a bustling racing scene. Both lifts were eventually removed. They recently considered adding a T-bar back into this area, but it was determined to be cost-prohibitive. Today, the Pico Ski Club Racing Program has 175 athletes out of four age groups.
Image Credits: Pico Mountain