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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Short Twig Season! 2 inches of wet snow around the inn.

Birch Ridge Inn
Fall Foliage Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn foliage
Sunday, October 23, 2016
That was a very short Twig Season! Or is Mother Nature just toying with us. Last Fall Foliage Picture of 2016. 2 inches of snow covering the ground around the inn. Follow the snow level this winter with Killingtonblogs SnowStake Gallery.

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Killington Snow Report for Thursday, October 27, 2016

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 3
Open Lifts: 2
Groomed Trails: 2
Service Conditions:
Average Base Depth: 8" - 12"
24 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 5.5"

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First snowfall of the 2016-2017 winter season surrounds the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington

First snowfall of the 2016-2017 winter season surrounds the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington 

That was a really short twig season.

A lot of conflicting weather signals have occurred at the Birch Ridge Inn over the last several days.

First off, the Fall Foliage season went exceptionally long in the Killington region. Based upon over 10 years of taking fall foliage pictures and posting them on the blog, October 23rd is the latest fall foliage picture ever posted, matching the record set in 2011. The last fall foliage picture trends have been getting later. For the record, they are as follows :

- 2016 October 23
- 2015 October 21
- 2014 October 19
- 2013 October 17
- 2012 October 15
- 2011 October 23
- 2010 October 17
- 2009 October 20
- 2008 October 21
- 2007 October 19
- 2006 October 15

To be sure, there is no science in the end date of the fall foliage gallery pictures. The last date is the date that I judge that the fall colors have basically ceased to be of interest to fall foliage visitors to the Killington region. (Please note, this is not to state that fall colors are done in Vermont in general. Good color was being reported in southern Vermont by inn guests over the weekend.) While there is some oscillation in the end date, seaming to hold a pattern over 5 years, the information is anecdotal, not statistically significant. If you were to look at the fall foliage gallery, you may get the impression that the fall season is happening later. But the data sample is way to small to statiscally say that is happening... but anecdotally????

What is interesting about the last fall foliage picture of 2016 is what is on the ground around the inn. Snow.

To be sure, we have had snow around the inn in years past at this time of year. If we look at the Birch Ridge Inn snow stake, the first measurable snows have occurred as follows :

- 2016 October 23
- 2015 December 4
- 2014 November 2
- 2013 October 24
- 2012 November 3
- 2011 October 27
- 2010 October 14
- 2009 October 13
- 2008 October 22
- 2007 October 21

What is interesting to see when you compare the last fall foliage picture with the first snow stake picture is that the is some overlap between the 2. However, if you really look at the two data sets, you will see that in prior years, the first snow fall reported was generally a light dusting (or a heavy frost), barely putting a crust on the fallen leaves around the inn, not a general multi-inch snow fall like we have seen this year.

At this point, I will leave it to others to crystal ball the winter outlook for the 2016-2017 season. Suffice to say I am optimistic. But I will also give you the caveat that I am a small business owner in Vermont... a class of people who are usually optimistic.

Enough on the data... I did take some snow pictures today of the resort. The mountains of Killington are resplendent today in a deep white coat. Uphill skiers were out in force this morning taking early season turns. While the lifts at Killington are not turning for general skiing and riding, the resort is clearly making snow in a pattern that indicates that the official season opening can be any day now (or any hour for that matter.)

Snow covers the Killington resort, Sunday October 23, 2016
Snow covers the Killington resort, Sunday October 23, 2016.

Snow making in full swing on Superstar to prepare for the Audi FIS Work Cup in November, Sunday October 23, 2016
Snow making in full swing on Superstar to prepare for the Audi FIS Work Cup in November, Sunday October 23, 2016

Snow making ongoing on Rime in preparation for the official opening of the 2016-2017 skiing and riding season at Killington, Sunday October 23, 2016
Snow making ongoing on Rime in preparation for the official opening of the 2016-2017 skiing and riding season at Killington, Sunday October 23, 2016.

Killington Peak covered in snow, Sunday October 23, 2016
Killington Peak covered in snow, Sunday October 23, 2016.

At the inn, we have had a good fall. We have a few weeks of work ahead of us to reconfigure the inn for the winter season... But our thoughts on the subject are very simple ... Let It Snow!

The Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake surrounded by fallen leaves

The Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake surrounded by fallen leaves 

Fall colors have had a good run this year at Killington.

A mild winter followed by a mild summer with reasonable rain fall has made for an extended and colorful fall season. But, in the proverbial last act of the season, the leaves have started to fall from the trees around Killington. While color in the area will still be nice through this weekend, the sound of crunchy leaves under foot while walking along mountain paths will be provide an audible signal that the seasons are in transition at Killington.

About 3 weeks ago I surrended my ritual of putting shorts on in the morning for long pants and blue jeans. This morning, I covered my golf shirt with a fleece as I sit in the office of the inn writing this blog. The Killington Resort has been running tests of the snow making system for the last 10 days to make sure it is ready to fire up in earnest with the arrival of cold temperatures. Yes, the seasons are changing. And we are ready to embrace the change.

At the inn, we will be taking a break for a few weeks to configure the inn for winter operations. This year, the time frame to be ready for winter will be shorter, as we are gearing up to support the Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Killington over the Thanksgiving weekend. Before that happens, however, we are watching the sky for signs of snow in anticipation of taking some early season turns ourselves on Killington peak.

All in all, it's been a great summer and fall. Seasons come, seasons go. Now it's time to Think Snow!

Peak fall colors around the Birch Ridge Inn

Peak fall colors around the Birch Ridge Inn 

Peak is here... at least in Killington.

A few days late by historical standards, but well within the statistical distribution, fall foliage visitors to Central Vermont over this Columbus Day weekend have see great color across the area. While there were some low clouds on Saturday and early Sunday due to hurricaine Mathew, overall fall visitors should have been able to enjoy the great show Mother Nature puts on each year in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Color in Vermont will hold up for several more weeks as we make the transition to winter. While the leave are starting to fall from the trees in Killington, expect great color to continue to the south and west of Killington through for several more weeks.

Where ever you may be, enjoy the fall show.

And remember.... Snow making has begun at Killington as we start the ramp to winter. With the Women's FIS World Cup at Killington over Thanksgiving, you know the mountain will be going all out to get skiing and riding going for the 2016-17 season as early as possible. Time to get your stuff together and begin thinking about skiing and boarding this winter.

Fall Mums in bloom on the walkway leading to the inn.

Fall Mums in bloom on the walkway leading to the inn. 

It's coming. It will be soon now.....

Fall colors have been a little slow to date in the Killington region. But you can sense change is imminent.

What has been a warm and relatively damp late summer is quickly turning into fall. Temperatures in Killington have literally plumetted in the last several days. Daytime temperatures the last several days have changed from high 70's low 80's to struggling to get to 65. Night time temperatures are flirting with the frost line. We have not had a frost yet, but there have been warnings. We have hit the low 40's the last few nights with night time temperatures in the high 30's predicted the next several days. While I am still in my summer shorts, I have needed to get a fleece the last couple of nights while sitting in my office doing the day's closing paperwork. And today as I write this, the office windows are closed during the day for the first time since last winter.

Colors showing on the Rams Head lift line, Sunday September 25, 2016
Colors showing on the Rams Head lift line, Sunday September 25, 2016.

On the mountains around Killington, fall colors are just starting to expose themselves. They are not vibrant just yet, as many of the trees in the forest canopy are still green. But in a matter of days the scene will switch, especially if the weather stays cool as predicted.

This weekend it is relatively quiet around Killington. It is literally the quiet before the proverbial "storm". Next weekend the region will see a large influx of weekend people for the annual Killington Brewfest. After that we have the run up to Columbus Day Weekend. Fall colors will be getting more vibrant every day. Mother Nature always puts on a good show!

And then, of course, all eyes are on the Killington Resort to divine some clue on when the snow-making system will be turned on, signally the unofficial start of the ski season. This years early snow making will be particularily significant, as Killington will be hosting the Audi FIS World Cup on Superstar over the Thanksgiving weekend. But we should be skiing on Killington weeks before that. Our staff is getting ready for ski season. Are you???

Wherever you may be, keep hitting the ball straight (at least for the next few weeks). Remember the lost ball leaf rule. And start thinking snow!

Hints of fall color appearing around Killington

Hints of fall color appearing around Killington 

While it is just beginning, in my travels around Killington this week there are distinct signs that fall colors are getting ready to make their annual appearance. Colors are not distinctive yet by any measure, but noticable changes are taking place. The Mid-September change is but a prelude to the colors of early October. But while those how may wish to cling to summer for a few more weeks will have their wishes granted, it it impossible to ignore that the season is changing.

Around the inn there are random splotches of color. The color is not highly pronounced. It is randomly mixed at the lower levels of many trees in the forest around the inn. A casual observer would still see a forest canopy layered in green. But looking more closely, the color is there for all to see.

Over the next few week, we will document the progression of colors around the inn with our daily fall folliage picture. The annual ritual of fall colors in Vermont is unique in the world, and we are blessed to have a front row seat right in the middle of it all.

Where ever you may be, keep it in the fairway, and savor the last days of summer.

My Honda CRV is back on the road.

My Honda CRV is back on the road. 

In a blog post on April 7th I commented on a recall letter I had received from Honda North America informing me about a potentially life threating problem with the Takata airbags used in my 2011 Honda CRV. I am happy to report that the problem has been addressed by Honda and replacement airbags have been installed. As a result, my Honda is back on the road.

The airbag recall was an interesting adventure. I learned a lot through the process which I will try to communicate in the rest of this post.

First, I have nothing but praise for the way Honda North America and Shearer Honda of Rutland Vermont dealt with me while they worked to correct the problem. I was taken aback by the stearn warnings of the original recall letter. Honda North America, at this point in their efforts to address the industy wide Takata Airbag fiasco, were completely transparent in their efforts to resolve the problem, and provided me with support in the form of a rental car for 3 months while parts were not available to repair my CRV. Working through their Rutland Vermont dealer, Shearer Honda, an efficient process had been put in place to support me as a Honda vehicle owner. From telephone support to the people in the service department at Shearer Honda, everyone was available with consistent advice on how to address the situation. Clearly Honda North America and Shearer Honda in Rutland did everything that they could to make a very bad situation palatable. I have no doubt that a significant portion of the profit Honda earned in initially selling me my CRV was consumed by 3 months of car rental payments to Enterprise Car Rental.

Both my driver side and passenger side airbags were replaced. I was originally notified of a problem with the driver side airbag in late March. When I brought my CRV to Shearer in July to get that airbag replaced, I was informed that a new recall was put out on my passenger side airbag. I was advised to call Honda North America about the details as I had not yet received my official recall notice. When I did, I was told by the Honda North America support person that the passenger side needed replacement as well, and NOT to turn in my rental car. Fortunately within a week, Shearer Honda was able to receive a new passenger side airbag to install in my CRV, allowing me to return my rental and take my CRV back to the inn.

In the process of doing the airbag repair, my Honda did sit unused for 3 months. I did drive it once a week around the parking lot of the inn to keep fluids moving in the car. But over the 3 months, as we are in a very wet environment, corrosion did develop on the brakes. To their credit, Shearer Honda in Rutland worked with me to fix the brake problems that developed. They could have easily pleaded some excuse for the brake problem, but to their credit they owned the fact that the car was not drivable for 3 months and repaired the problem.

If you have a Honda that is impacted by the Takata Airbag Recall, you should take it seriously. Many people across the world have died as a result of this defect. While the odds of getting into an accident are low (about 3% per year per NTSB statistics), the consequences of havng a defective airbag in your car are very high and should not be treated lightly.

From my personal experience, even though it was a very expensive process for Honda, they dealt with my situation professionally. They treated me with the utmost in respect during the whole process. For that I am grateful.

Where ever you may be this weekend, have a great time, keep it in the fairway, and don't forget your sun screen.

Riding the lift in full regaliato start my mountain biking adventure

Riding the lift in full regalia to start my mountain biking adventure 

Posted by Mary

On Monday I went Mountain Biking for the first time since opening the inn. Merisa, our bar tender, was my guide/instructor... and it was great! A week ago I hiked the beginner trails on Snowshed early in the morning to do a reconnaissance run. On Monday, with borrowed helment, googles and gloves from our friend Kelly I was off to the mountain to bike.

Once at the resort, the bike shop set me up with shin guards, elbow pads and the bike. They gave me a mini lesson on floor mounted equipment and off to the parking lot we went. The differences between road biking and mountain biking are many and Merisa pointed them out as we road around the base area for a few minutes.

Next it was onto the lift. Getting on the lift without snow was odd but the attendant handled the bikes. Merisa and I just sat down for the ride. Off the lift was equally as easy; with all the heavy lifting being done by the liftie at the top. The good news was no one else was around to see my first run, so down "Easy Street" we road.

Mountain biking Snowdon at Killington
My first day back on a mountain bike at Killington
Click again to resume rotation.

The first run was real slow with brakes on most of the way. I had a death grip on the handlebars and had to pedal some because in a few up patches I didn't have enough momentum to carry all the way. The second run I was much more comfortable and let the bike run some which actually made it easier and smoother, who knew.

I was thinking about a third run but just like in skiing if you have to think about one more run the answer should be no. Big thanks to Merisa for encouraging me to try Mountain Biking and the patience to take me out.

Now I can recommend Mountain Biking to all of our guests. It is not just for the adrenaline junky, it can also be a great way to experience the mountain.

Merisa was very encouraging. She told me that with a little more practice it will feel like skiing.

Only time will tell. But I am game to do it again to find out.

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