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Still mid winter on Killington Peak

Still mid winter on Killington Peak 

Thank you to all of the guests who visited with us this season in Killington. The innkeepers and the staff are truely grateful for all of the support and encouragement we have been shown throughout the winter.

And what a winter it has been.

Winter is still going strong on Killington Peak. Skiing today, based upon my personal experiences this morning, was typical for mid February.... with the exception being that fewer lifts were operating due to the reduced number of skiers and riders visiting Killington at this time of year.

Surfaces off Killington Peak from the K1 Gondola, and off Skye Peak from the Superstar Express Quad were primarily frozen machine groomed granular with a nice top layer of fresh snow. Snow has been falling at Killington Peak all week, and the forecast calls for more this weekend. The ski season lasting into June is being openly talked about by Killington Resort management... and the snow is on the ground to get them there barring some major disruption of Mother Nature.

Around the inn we will be closing after this weekend to perform our normal spring repairs. Our restaurant closed for the season last weekend. Food and beverage staff have been in all week deep cleaning the kitchen to close out the season. The same has already started with some rooms of the inn this week, with it accellerating next week when we close for lodging for the season.

The inn will re-open for lodging on Friday May 22, just before Memorial day. The restaurant will re-open for the summer season in late June on June 25th. In the interim, if you are planning your summer vacation or your fall foliage visit and you would like to make reservations with us for either the inn or restarant, you can always go online to birchridge.com or call the inn directly at 800.435.8566. We would be happy to accomodate you.

To all of our friends and acquaintences - Thank You for a great season!

And over the next couple of months, whether you are on snow, water, or chasing the little white ball down a green fairway somewhere..... don't forget your sunscreen!.

Mary on the upper headwall of Superstar

Mary on the upper headwall of Superstar 

Spring has finally decided to make an appearance at Killington.

I had planned on skiing this morning. Unfortunately, melting snow and ice found their way into a tear on one of the inns rubber roofs requiring my attention. A hour of snow and ice removal followed by 3 tubes of roof sealing compound appears to have corrected the problem... Of course, until it r@!ns it is anyones guess. So it goes.

We did have the great forture to venture out on the slopes 3 days this week. Conditions steadily improved from mid-winter to early spring with the passing of each day.

Conditions earlier in the week resembled mid-February with firm surfaces throughout the resort. By Thursday, after several afternoons in the mid-40's, conditions had shifted to soft, spring snow. It's about time!

Trails over at Bear Mountain are starting to take on their typical sandy appearance. Early morning skiers and riders break up the groomed surfaces, resulting in round snow pellets which do not adhere to each other. Ankle deep snow sand starts to develop, especially in areas where lots of turns are required at the bottom of the trails. After several hours of sunshine, the sand starts to melt slightly with the surface taking on a creamy texture. Thats when things start to get fun.

Killington Peak to Superstar from the junction of Killink and Royal Flush.
Killington Peak to Superstar from the junction of Killink and Royal Flush.

Killngton Peak from the top of Highline.
Killngton Peak from the top of Highline.

Steep trails are skiing beautifully. OL is taking on the normal spring softness that has made it into the premier bumps trail in the east. Superstar, whose headwalls are still in shadows for long stretches of the day is taking on a nice medium texture. It is not too soft, yet surfaces are soft enough that turns are easy to execute with minimal side slipping taking place. I have skied all sides of the lower headwall on Superstar. I still really like skiers left under the lift. But when I had the chance to be by myself on the lower headwall, the middle was also a lot of fun. The surface was very compliant, encouraging wide sweeping turns; something you can do on Superstar only when you are alone with the trail.

Continuing on Skye Peak, Vertigo was good. The upper headwall is a one or two turn event with minimal bumps. The middle section softens nicely as the day wears on. The lower section is still somewhat firm, being mostly shaded. As temperatures rise, I would expect the lower section to also soften up considerably.

Back on the basin side, Ovation is still flat and fast. Cascades is starting to soften. The lower portion which joins into Double Dipper is still slick in spots. Downdraft has been closed most of the week when I was on the mountain. Early morning slickness has probably caused the ski patrol to rope it to prevent unnecessary rescues. East Fall is ok. Highline is prime. In full sunshine most of the day, the surface is becoming one creamy piece of goodness.

The weather forecast for Easter Weekend in Killington is definitely New England weather. It looks like we are supposed to get a mixture of everything, including some new snow overnight on Friday. Next week is calling for more of the same, with snow showers in the forecast most days. Just what we need to keep refreshing the slopes of Killington to allow many more weeks of skiing and riding.

A friend of mine remanded me for continiously ending by blog with "Let it snow"! After the winter the northeast has had, I totally understand. So in homage to the sunshine, it's time for a change....

Unless you are working on a serious goggle tan..."Don't forget your sunscreen."

Glorious sunshine, warm temperatures, soft snow....

Glorious sunshine, warm temperatures, soft snow.... 

It is time to officially say that spring skiing and riding season has arrived at Killington. For the 3rd day in a row, temperatures have been slightly above freezing allowing snow surfaces through out the resort to soften up nicely.

Yesterday was my first day on the mountain without a coat since last season. Just my normal shell pants, a turtleneck, a vest, and some light gloves were all that I required to spend almost 4 hours on the snow. And yes, the goggle tan is just beginning to appear.

South facing trails were the softest at Killington. Bear Mountain trails including Skyburst, Lower Dream Maker, Lower Wildfire, and Outer Limits were soft and creamy. The temperatures were warm enough to eliminate any vestiges of sandy snow, resulting in a very smooth, forgiving surface.

Outer Limits was nice and soft with little bumps developing. It was so user friendly, that Mary decided it was her day to take Killington's signature spring skiing trail for a run.

Mary on Outer Limits.
Mary on Killington's signature trail of spring...Outer Limits.

At the Basin side of the resort, conditions were beginning to soften on most of the trails. East Falls, Bunny Buster and Mouse Run were delicious. Cascade, Downdraft and Double Dipper were still showing some winter firmness, but even on these trails the surfaces were softening up to the point that setting edges to carve sweeping turns was never a problem.

Off Skye Peak, Needles Eye was a delight. The bumps on skiers right were still icy firm at noon time. It might take several more days for them to release. Bittersweet, High Road, Sky Lark, Superstar and Upper Ovation were all superb. The crunchy ground up snow cookie effect on Superstar has beginning to relax with the warmer temperatures. But the overall surface still had a mid-winter feel to it.

All in all... just a beautiful spring day on the slopes of Killington.

Last night we saw mixed precipitation traverse the area. At the inn, it was mostly a light wet snow which coated all surfaces. Nothing significant, but better than r@!n. This afternoon, the forecast is calling for showers changing to snow followed by a cold front (temps in the high 20's to mid 30's) descending across the area. It should be a great weekend to visit Killington to ski and ride.

Let it snow!

At the base of the Superstar headwall

At the base of the Superstar headwall 

It's starting. The last 3 outings on the mountain required one less under layer and no neck gaiter.

Now it's quite possible that my body is refusing to acknowledge that the temperatures are still within a range of 5 to 15 degrees. It is also possible that the winter has been cold for so long that my body has now fully acclimated to it. But, in the spirit of Occam's Razor.... I choose to believe that spring is in the air at Killington.

On our Tuesday excusion around the resort, ski surfaces were still very flat and fast. With the exception of some snow sand developing at the bottom of Wildfire and Skyeburst, brought on by the afternoon sun and continious grooming cycles, the primary surface on all of the trails at Killington is packed (tight) powder. While many inexperienced skiers and riders would call the surface ice, upon closer examination it is really not. While surfaces are hard, the graciously accept groomers laying down perfect early morning corduroy. There are also no "blue slip and slide" areas. There is also no fish under the surfaces. (One of Mary's favorite phrases is that "it is not ice if there are no fish under it". While this makes sense for defining ice on a ski slope, ponder for a minute the cube in your evening cocktail....but I digress.)

Temperatures today when we started were sub 10. Bright sunshine and no wind moderated the morning chill quite nicely. All of the trails we hit today were skiing beautifully, if not a bit fast. Crowds were so light however we were able to mitigate the speed by taking edge to edge radius turns on much of the terrain.

It is hard to pick a ROTD. I am partial to Superstar which is skiing beautifully on skiers left from the top of the lift down to the speed fence at the bottom. Cascade was probably marginally nicer as a result of less skier traffic. The feeling of making wide carving turns down Cascades compound fall line is exhilarating. At the same time the false confidence generated by the ability to make sweeping turns combined with the adreniline kick of reaching pseudo terminal velocity on the way down make Cascade a hard trail to beat on a quiet Tuesday. And then there is Highline. Even though it was in full sunshine, the cold temperatures kept Highline firm. Basically it was solid corduroy. But the sunshine is glorious. Goggle tans are important afterall.

The near term weather forecast for Killington is indicating that temperatures will rise into into the 30's over the next few days. Some light showers may soften ski surfaces on Thursday with some light weekend snow re-whitening them to make everything look nice. Spring might finally be making an appearance at Killington.

Let it snow!

Whispy clouds, warm temps... a bluebird day in Killington

Whispy clouds, warm temps... a bluebird day in Killington 

The vernal equinox is still 8 days away, but thoughts in Killington are turning towards spring.

Warm temperatures over the last couple of days have soften up surfaces and sent locals into their closets to find lighter clothes to wear. Heavy ski jackets and multiple layers are being shed for spring shells. While it is way too early to put the cold weather gear away here in the Green Mountains, Mother Nature is certainly teasing us with lots of sunshine.

With the resort amply covered in feet of snow, the softening surfaces are causing skiers and riders to rejoice. The warm sunshine is also causing ice covered roofs all over town to release. Several roads have started to experience early mud season as well.

But what Mother Nature gives us, she can also take away. The next 10 days in Killington are calling for some nice spring skiing and riding weather with temperatures in the upper 20's to low 30's during the day, falling into the teens at night. Snow is predicted for Saturday and Sunday just to but a little frosting on winters cake. It is important to keep everything bright white of course.

Where ever you may be, enjoy the first glimpses of spring...but don't put your skiis and boards away yet. There is plenty of snow covering the mountains of Killington just waiting for you to play on.

Let it snow!

Datingadvice.com names Killington a Sexy Destination

Datingadvice.com names Killington a Sexy Destination 

This was something fun which crossed my desk llate yesterday afternoon. The website DatingAdvice.com has chosen Killington to be one of their Sexiest destinations in America to celebrate spring break.

All of the destinations chosen on the list were put there based upon popularity with college students, various online surveys, and interesting activities to do. Of note is that the only ski resort in America listed is Killington.

And, of course, the Birch Ridge Inn is listed as one of the sexiest places to stay in Killington. But as a blog reader.. you already knew that!

It's all in great fun of course. Which is what a visit to Killington is all about.

The complete list of sexy destinations for spring break can be found on DatingAdvice.com

Let it snow!

Layers of snow on the roof of the front portico at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington

Layers of snow on the roof of the front portico at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington 

Killington has had its fair share of "Nor'inchers" this winter. While shovelling snow around the inn, or on the roof, the layers of snow created by each storm are fairly obvious. But no where is it more obvious than on the portico covering the front entrance to the inn.

The portico is un-heated and east facing. The snow on its roof is untouched by human hands and free of any mechanical manipulation. The only force acting on the snow on the portico, other than atmospheric conditions, is gravity which causes the snow to gradually compress as air is being foreced out of each layer.

Each storm is represented by a unique layer in the snow. Just like tree rings, each layer represents a unique event. By definition, some of the layers are thicker than others, the result of more snow accumulating during an individual snow event.

Counting the snow layers, it looks like there have been on the order of 30 significant snow events this far this year. With any luck, we will have a few more before the ski season is over.

The front portico of the Birch Ridge Inn with layers of snow in it's roof.
The front portico of the Birch Ridge Inn with layers of snow in it's roof.

Let it snow!

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