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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Saturday, December 20, 2014
16 3/8 inches. Temps in the teens.

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Killington Snow Report for Monday, December 22, 2014

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 132
Open Lifts: 13
Groomed Trails: 61
Service Conditions: Machine groomed/packed powder
Average Base Depth: 16" - 24"
24 Hour Snowfall: 1.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 1.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 5.0"

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Snow guns crushing lower Skye Burst

Snow guns crushing lower Skye Burst 

It was nice to go skiing today, instead of being behind a 500lb snow blower for 3 hours. Don't get me wrong. We love snow. But we also love to get out and play in it as well.

Skiing and riding today at the Killington Resort were full on min-winter conditions. While there were peeks of blue sky on occaision, for the most part todays activities took place in temperatures that were in the low 20's under light cloud hanging at about 4100 feet.

Our ski journey today took us to Bear Mountain, Skye Peak, Killington Peak and Snowdon.

At Bear Mountain, aggressive snow making was taking place on Wildfire and Skye Burst. Surfaces were loose machine made fresh powder. My new skiis handled fairly well in the stuff, once I stopped making aggressive, tail bashing, turns. it is clear that the resort was going all out to make sure that conditions at Bear Mountain will be excellent during the holidays. Given all of the snow that has fallen in the area in the last 10 days, it would have been easy for the resort to pass on making new snow. To their credit, they have gone in the opposite direction, taking advantage of the colder tempertures to make a very high quality product.

From Bear Mountain we took our normal loop over to the Needles Eye area. We did not ski Needles, as it has basically stayed all bumpded and knarly from last weekend. We did do Cruise Control several times. it was set up nicely as a high speed groomer. We also went down Vertigo. The steep headwall of Vertigo was fairly flat. The surface was hard, but not ice. Making deliberate turns down the Vertigo headwall was easily achievable.

Also on Skye Peak, Bitter Sweet, Sky Lark and Superstar were all skiing nice. Middle Superstar was a little choppy from grooming machines working the hardpack, but the Upper and Lower headwalls were in nice condition.

Over on Killington Peak, the Canyon area is also seeing heavy snow making. Every available snow gun position was in use on Double Dipper to make snow on that trail. it was an impressive display of the power of the resorts snow making system, even though it made for a cold and noisy ride on the Canyon Quad.

With cold weather in place for at least the next couple of days, expect the resort to continue to make snow in many areas. It shoudl be a very good holiday period of skiing and riding at Killington.

Let it snow!

Superstar and Skye Peak in bright sunshine above the clouds

Superstar and Skye Peak in bright sunshine above the clouds 


The Killington Resort skiis so nice when the majority of trails are open. It is hard to believe it is Mid December.

We have to be caareful about boasting, because Mother Nature can give us the goods, but she can also take them away. But today, at least, Mother Nature was being very kind to all of the skiers and riders who were visiting Killington.

Ski conditions were predominately slightly bumped au natural packed powder. The resort was making snow on some trails to base build for the upcoming holidays; but for the most part they were soaking up the glow of the sunshine on last weeks copious snow fall.

In general, the mountain was skiing great with the exception of minor visibility problems caused by a thermal inversion. The mountain peaks down to the 3000 foot level were for the most part in bright sunshine accented by a stunning blue ski and a late fall crescent moon. Below 3000 feet, there was a 200 foot thick cloud bank which limited visibility. Below the cloud bank, the sunlight was greatly muted, but other than a little darkness visibility had returned.

The terrain at Killington was basically what you made of it. Rams Heas was groomed flat for easy cruising. Snowdon down Chute and Mouse Trap was firm to allow one to practive their mid winter self control. Superstar was an idylic groomed cruiser, while Upper Ovation and Sky Hawke on either side were a bumpers paradise. Bitter Sweet and Sky Lark had some texture. Some thinking was required to negotiate sections. Needles Eye was bumps as far as the eye could see. No matter what kind of terrain you wanted today, it was all there and it was all good.

Now...if Mother Nature will just let it stay that way.....

Let it snow!

Birch Ridge Inn buried in early season snow

Birch Ridge Inn buried in early season snow 

Sometimes you get what you wish for....

Almost 2 feet of heavy snow has blanketed the Killington region since snow began falling late Tuesday afternoon. The Killington Resort is revelling in the snow. Their plans to open large amounts of terrain for the holidays look like they will come to fruition, barring another wierd weather event. The heavy wet snow is forming a great base layer for future terrain expansion.

But with the silver lining of the snow at the ski resort, the storm did form a dark cloud around Killington from which many are still struggling to recover from.

Snowfall during the storm as measured at the Birch Ridg Inn SnowStake..
Snowfall during the storm as measured at the Birch Ridg Inn SnowStake..

Road travel around Killington on Wednesday and Thursday was problematical. While we did not hear of any major accidents, we did need to perform some rescues of staff and guests who were having trouble negotiating the roads.

Power in the area was a bigger problem. Upwards of 2700 people in Killington were without power during the height of the storm. The inn lost power for 19 hours from 2AM to 9PM on Thursday. We were the lucky ones. Many of or friends through out the area have been without power since Tuesday. GMP, the new state-wide power company, is telling them that they may not have power till sometime next week...so it goes.

But snow is a wonderful thing!

Bookings at the inn have gone vertical as skiing and riding fanatics have responded to the snow fall by making plans to visit Killington. People arriving at Killington today are marvelling at the winter wonderland that 2 feet of snow creates. It is just what a ski resort community needs as we head into the holiday season.

Where ever you may be, we hope that you can get out and enjoy the snow.

Let it snow!

Snow stake comparison - Tuesday 12/10 versus Monday 12/9

Snow stake comparison - Tuesday 12/10 versus Monday 12/9 

Your milage may vary....

Heavy snow late in the day and overnight on Monday December 9th dumped 15 inches at the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington according to before and after readings of the inn's snow stake. Situated in a protected area about 40 feet behind the inn, the snow stake is set up to measure actual snow fall without the influence of surrounding buildings or curious onlookers.

Last night's snowfall is very dense with a high water content. Given that it is early December, it should be the perfect snow cover to allow the Killington Resort to rapidly expand the open trail count across the resort, assuming that any follow on precipitation from the early December storm continues to be of the frozen variety.

At 10 AM as I write this, snow has currently stopped falling. According to various weather forecasters and the Weather Service, snow is to resume falling in the next several hours. If you do forecast shopping, you will hear various forecasters say that the Killington region could receive up to an additional foot of new snow today and tonight on top of the snow that which has fallen in the last 24 hours.

Bring your snorkle.

Let it snow!

Snow stake comparison early into the storm

Snow stake comparison early into the storm 

A pre-winter Nor-Easter spinning in the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of New England is dumping heavy snow in Killington.

While snow started earlier at the peak of Killington, at the Birch Ridge Inn at an altitude of 1850 FT the snow started just after noon.

Based upon a comparison of snow stake readings, approximately 2 1/4 inches of snow has fallen in the last 3 hours at Killington. (The reading at 3:34 PM ws 5 1/8 inches. The initial reading this morning at 8:47 AM was 2 7/8 inches for a net running total at 3:34 of 2 1/4 inches.)

Current local weather forecasters are creating a shopping situation. Believe the one you want! The overall concensus is that Killington will see about 5 inches of new snow through the early evening hours, with up to 10 inches of new snow total by Wednesday mid morning, when the storm looks like it will cut off for a few hours.

The National Weather Service is calling for accumulations to 2 feet by Thursday evening, with more snow anticipated on Friday.

It is going to be an interesting 72 hours.

Where ever you may be, keep warm, stay safe, think thoughts of skiing/riding, and let it snow!

Mary putting the finishing touches on the 2014 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

Mary putting the finishing touches on the 2014 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

One of the beautiful things about living in New England is the proverbial phrase "If you don't like the weather....wait a minute". And wait we shall.

While the weather channel and local weather forecasters develop frothy tones of possible future storms, those of us who call Killington our home know that patience is a virture. Mother Nature will bring us cold temperatures and lots of snow in winter. It may not always come at the most opportune moments; it may not come predictably; but come it shall. It is only a matter of time.

Of course... it is not winter yet. Technically, it is still autumn. Winter officially starts at the Winter Solstice on December 21st. It may look like winter..... it may feel like winter.... the ground is covered with snow like winter.... the resort is expanding skiable terrain every day like it is winter.... but technically at least it is still fall.

While we think winter has actually begun, in reality there is still lots and lots of calendar time for major snowstorms to pay homage to the mountains of Killington... and bring joy to the faces of skiers and riders who partake of the slopes.

Killington Resort taking full advantage of cold temperatures to make large amounts of snow.
Killington Resort taking full advantage of cold temperatures to make large amounts of snow.

Around the inn our winter preparations are just about done. Carpets all over the inn were cleaned last week. The heating system has been tuned up. A new primary tank is being installed in the hot water system today(who does not like a hot shower after a day of skiing or riding?). Mary has finished her work decorating the inns Christmas tree. I have been working with our purveyors to identify which new wines to bring into the cellar for the start of the winter season.(I know... it's a tough job by somebody has to do it.) Chef Frizzie is working to build the Christmas and New Years menus, calling his specialty suppliers all over the country to see what treats they can provide us. Merisa has been working her deliciousness testing out new concoctions at the bar to please guests. All of us have been doing training of new staff members who have joined the team to work at the inn this winter. And of course, most of us have been hitting the trails of Killington as often as we can to get our quads in shape for the heavy winter snows we all know will be coming any day now to the mountains for us to enjoy.

It's a surprisingly full time job getting ready for winter. We are ready... are you?

Let it snow!

Ruts and the Bagel return to Killington for the winter season.

Ruts and the Bagel return to Killington for the winter season. 

All is right with the ski world again. Ruts and The Bagel have returned to Killington for the 2014-2015 ski season.

Ruts and The Bagel were founding members of the now defunct 80's ski club, "Suck You Inn" formerly located on West Hill Road in Killington. Ruts and The Bagel have been regular skiers at Killington for 30 or so years. (Rut's did turn to the dark side and shredded the slopes for about 10 years.. but we do not hold that against him.)

Our ski excursion today could be characterized as crisp. Conditions were very mid-winter with 9:00 AM starting gun temperatures in the low 20s. After a few obligatory turns in the North Ridge area so Ruts and The Bagel could regain their ski legs, we dove right into it with a pass straight down East Falls on our way to Superstar.

Solitary snow maker adjusting the snow guns on Lower Superstar.
Solitary snow maker adjusting the snow guns on Lower Superstar.

Conditions in the North Ridge area were primarily packed powder surfaces that were firm yet snow covered. The contidions in North Ridge look like the resort is resufacing the terrain (ie making fresh snow) regularily to improve the base. East Falls was your basic GS glacier. While ice was not visible from a litteral sense, the absense of sunshine and the smooth flat surface brought home the fact that on some ski trails gravity is really in charge. A friend who has since passed into the beyond used to say "Point em downhill you chicken sh!t". They were words to live by on East Falls as the surface was firm enough that turning did not make much of a difference.

After an uneventful run out from the borrom of East Falls, we did a few laps on the Superstar Quad. The Resort was busy at work making snow on the lower reaches of Superstar. A lone snow maker was going from snow gun to snow gun makeing adjustments to fine tune the final end product. It will require a few more sessions before Lower Superstar will see skier and rider traffic (unless, of course, Mother Nature intervenes with a snow storm).

From the Superstar Quad, the resort was skiing Upper and Middle Superstar, top to bottom Bittersweet, and top to bottom Sky Lark. Conditions were very different depending upon which trail you decided to pick.

The Superstar Headwall was interesting. There is probably barely enough snow covering the headwall, given the severity of the angles involved in skiing down it. What is usually a consistent, yet steep, pitch in mid winter had several spots where the slope seemed to go vertical. The Superstar headwall snow was relatively soft and carveable, so after a few quick turns, you were down the bottom, facing a series of choices.

Middle Superstar was the obvious choice. It was a solid carpet of golf ball sized ice chunks, most likely the remnants of several attempts to groom the candy coating which blanketed the Killington region on Tuesday and Wednesday. With nods to both my dentist and orthopedist, the fillings in my teeth and my left knee held together on the ride down to the Sky Lark cutoff. A thrill ride perhaps. Fun... well so it goes...

Sky Lark was a tale of 2 trails. Upper Sky Lark appears to have seen recent snow making. Surfaces were relatively flat and fast, but there was a great amount of soft, pliable, snow to be found, especially once your ventured outside of the straight middle of the trail. Lower Sky Lark had many of the same qualities as Middle Superstar, however, once again it seemed like there was some additional snow mixed in as the vibrations were no where near a severe as those experienced elsewhere.

BitterSweet was you basic flat and fast. Skier and Rider traffic had broken up any vestigal remnants of grooming leaving a granular covered surface on a solid base. Like Sky Lark, there were plenty of opportunities to make nice carving turns. Skier traffic was somewhat heavier on Bittersweet as it is percieved to be "easier" than Sky Lark. But we are still talking early season so comments about skier traffic are somewhat laughable.

Overall, today was a good excursion on the mountain, testing my new skis on varied terrain with varied mid-winter conditions. Killington sent out their Drift newsletter today talking about terrain expansion... I'm ready... let's make it happen!

Let it snow!

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