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Killington Snow Report for Thursday, June 04, 2015

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 3
Open Lifts: 0
Groomed Trails: 0
Service Conditions: Spring Conditions
Average Base Depth: 0" - 0"
24 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 0.0"

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Mary at Killington Peak on Great Northern

Mary at Killington Peak on Great Northern 

Finally... our first day on the slopes for the season is in the can....

While some of our employees are now solidly into double digit ski days, Mary and I finally got our act together and hit the slopes this morning for a few runs. By the time we had found all of the necessary bits and pieces to progress to the mountain, we managed to park the car in Bay 1 at the K1 base lodge at 9:15.

The Killington Resort has taken advantage of the last 5 days to make a tremendous amount of snow. While there has been skiing for several weeks in the North Ridge pod (Rime, Reason, Upper East Falls, Upper Great Northern, Upper Doube Dipper) it has only been in the last several days of cold temperatures that they have been able to make a break out and expand terrain. I know from first hand experience around the inn that last week the ground had not frozen. The cold weather over the weekend took care of that problem with the ground around the inn (and around the K1 Base Lodge) now solidly frozen.

With the cold weather, the resort has been able to make snow the entire length of Great Northern. Today was the first day where they were able to feature top to bottom skiing and riding with out the assistance of the stairway at the top of the North Ridge triple chair. In addition to the previously mentioned North Ridge Pod, the resort also opened Bunny Buster with it's Poma lift, to spread out those attending todays Thankgiving eve session.

Ski condtions were quite good with machine groomed man-made packed powder the length of the mountain. Surface depths are still relatively thin, given the lack of natural snow fall, but at no time did it occcur to us to ski on our rock ski's versus our all winter kit. There was some blowing and drifting snow around operational snow guns. Most were non events, although there was one at the base of Bunny Buster that was putting our slightly wet product. As with all early season skiing and riding, descretion is your friend in the face of variable conditions.

Looking forward to the weekend, the resort has made substaintial amounts of snow on Skylark from top to bottom on Skye Peak. In addition, they were also makeing snow in Snowdon down Chute to compliment Bunny Buster. I would expect that in addition to the K1 Gondola, the North Ridge triple, and the Bunny Buster poma that the resort should also be turning the Superstar and Snowdon quads to spread out Thanksgiving weekend skiers and riders.

At this point, skiing and riding is for intermediates and above. The resort has not had the opportunity yet to make snow on beginner terrain like Rams Head or Snowshed. The have started making snow in the learn to ski area at Snowshed and the Magic Carpet area on Rams Head. That would indicate that they are planning in the near term to have some nominal capability for opening ski school and childrens program, but we have not been privy to any announcements of availability for this weekend. But every indication is that it will be soon.

At the inn, we are back at work readying it for Thankgiving guests. We are not serving dinner to the general public on Thanksgiving day. We will be serving dinner Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 6:00 pm. You can find a copy of our restaurant menu online, as well as make reservations for dinner.

Where every you may be celebrating Thanksgiving, stay safe, and think snow!

Charcuterie Plate at the Birch Ridge Inn

Charcuterie Plate at the Birch Ridge Inn 

That was a short break!

Just 3 weeks ago we closed the restaurant to do a little re-tooling for the winter season (and to visit family down south). With that behind us, we are happy to announce that the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn has re-opened for the winter season this weekend.

For the next 2 weekends we will be serving dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 6:00 PM. As we move into December, as the ground around us turns white, we will expand our schedule. By December 15th we will be back to our full schedule with dinner served Tuesday through Saturday night from 6:00 PM. We will be open nightly during the holiday season from Tuesday December 22nd through Saturday January 2nd.

You can find a copy of our restaurant menu online, as well as make reservations for dinner.

We hope ypu can join us.

Reggie Serafin - Executive Chef - Birch Ridge Inn, Killington VT

Reggie Serafin - Executive Chef - Birch Ridge Inn, Killington VT 

Killington, VT, November 13, 2015: The Birch Ridge Inn at Killington is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard "Reggie" Serafin as Executive Chef. Serafin will be responsible for managing the inn's culinary activities, including menu development, staffing, and cuisine preparation.

"We are very excited to have Reggie re-join our team" said Bill Vines, who with his partner Mary Furlong are Innkeepers/Owners of Birch Ridge. "Reggie had worked for us as our sous chef for 4 years from 2000 thru 2004 before moving on to a Chef's position at another establishment. We have stayed very close in the intervening years, with Reggie most recently working for Birch Ridge during the 2010-2011 season with Chef Stephen Byrne. Reggie strengthens the inn's staff with his culinary experience, combined with his knowledge of Killington and our inn. He will be a great team leader for Birch Ridge's culinary operations."

Serafin is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute (Class of 98). He lives in Rutland with his wife, Lori, and their 2 children. When he is not in the kitchen, Reggie is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys foraging for wild mushrooms, deer hunting, and taking a few turns on the slopes at Killington and Pico.

The restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn will re-open to the public for the 2015-2016 Killington winter season on Friday November 20th.

About the Birch Ridge Inn
The Birch Ridge Inn has provided fine dining and accommodations since it's establishment in 1997. Birch Ridge has 10 individually decorated guest rooms; many feature fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. The inn is also known for it's restaurant, featuring New American cuisine with a Vermont flair served in the inns dining room and Great Room Lounge. The restaurant at Birch Ridge provides dinner service to inn guests and the public from Tuesday thru Saturday evenings starting at 6:00 PM. (Nightly during holiday seasons) Birch Ridge recommends reservations for lodging or evening dinner which can be made via phone at 800.435.8566 or 802.422.4293 or on the web at www.birchridge.com.

The perfect Vermont Fall Watercolor.Killington Peak last weekend with snow and fall colors.

The perfect Vermont Fall Watercolor.
Killington Peak last weekend with snow and fall colors. 

As the fall season approaches the last gasp for 2015, and with the 2015-2016 ski season already underway, it is nice to be able to sit at my desk for a few quiet moments to write down my thoughts.

Fall colors this season were late by historical standards. Usually in Killington the peak colors occur sometime between the 3rd and 7th of October. This year, with out a doubt, they occurred almost a week later, peaking on Columbus day weekend. Why the delay...who knows. The climate in Killington this summer was very benign. Not too hot, not too cold, and plenty of rain fall at points across the summer to keep the forest thriving. Combined with a warm early fall with no frost, and the trees just kept pretending summer would never end. I am sure some scientists somewhere are scratching thier collective heads on why foliage was late. But it does not really matter much for this season, as Mother Natures transition from summer to winter at Killington is still one of the greatest shows on earth.

While fall colors were slow to transition, the Killington Resort made a very rapid transition to winter operations. A shot of cold air came thru the region late last week allowing the resort to make snow on the upper reaches of Killington in the North Ridge trail pod. This past Sunday, Killington became the first ski resort in the US to open for the 2015-2016 ski season with lift serviced skiing and riding. While fall colors were a week late in changing, the ski resort opened about a full week early, versus the last several years. I am sure that the resort will need a little bit of luck, and a lot of compressed air, to keep the resort open every day...but the change of seasons is on their side. Each day at Killington right now is a little colder than the last as winter approaches.

At the inn, we are very much attuned to the changing seasons. The restaurant at the inn will be undergoing it's planned seasonal shift closing this Saturday for a few weeks before we resume our winter operations in early November. We have a full list of chores around the inn to complete before winter sets in, as we usually do. And there is some early season skiing we need to do so we are positioned mentally to enjoy the winter (and to help us find all of our ski kit that was hidden away late last spring.)

To all of our guests who visited with us during this fall season, Mary, I and the staff say "Thank You". We hope you enjoyed staying with us as much as we enjoyed meeting you and having you as our guests. Innkeeping is a rewarding profession. People from all over the world come to Killington to stay with us and dine with us at the Birch Ridge Inn. For that we are truly grateful.

Wherever you may be... enjoy the change in seasons. If you are out golfing, hit them straight... keep it in the fairway... and remember the fall leaf rule. Otherwise, dig our your winter skiing and riding kit... and think snow!

View of the Roaring Brook Valley from the restaurant at Birch Ridge.

View of the Roaring Brook Valley from the restaurant at Birch Ridge. 

Everything is shaping up to be a beautiful Columbus day weekend in Vermont.

Fall colors in the Killington area are starting to pop. The forest behind the inn is almost fully engaged in the fall spectacle. The tree tops have all started to change. The tree midsections are still showing green, but changes are starting to become evident upon closer inspection.

The sceen outside the inn towards the north along the Roaring Brook valley in Killington is beautiful. The reds, oranges, and yellows of the maple, oak, and birch trees are creating a watercolor like scene. With todays bright pastle blue sky, visitors to Vermont today have got to be thrilled.

The forecast calls from showers tomorrow. Given the state of the trees in the Killington area, I would not expect much in terms of color loss, assuming we do not have high winds with any squalls going through the area. After that, the weekend looks bright and cool. Perfect for touring around to take in the fall show.

In the mean time....Wherever you may be... hit them straight... keep it in the fairway... and start contemplating the fall leaf rule if you are out on the course.

Honey bee on Dahlia in front of the Birch Ridge Inn - busy collecting the last pollen of the season.

Honey bee on Dahlia in front of the Birch Ridge Inn - busy collecting the last pollen of the season. 

They say April showers bring May flowers.... what do September showers bring?

Today is moist at Killington. While rain is not currently falling, the atmosphere is saturated with moisture. Gray, lead colored clouds, hang over the mountain tops. The saving grace is that fall colors are brightening up an otherwise dreary landscape. Mother Nature is trying to put on a show to alleviate the feeling of dread that exists if you look straight up to the sky. She is trying. Her humble observers need to follow her lead and not get caught up in the day to day stew of the changing weather in the mountains.

Mother Natures minions will not be detered in their preparation for the season of white. Wooly caterpillars are crawling hither and yon, searching for the perfect spot to cacoon for the winter. Honey bees are really active in the flower bed in front of the inn. Each flower, and there are still many, has its own little bee busily collecting the last bits of pollen to bring back to the hive to make honey. If you think you work hard, take a break and watch the bees for a few minutes. Their safety net is in the honey they produce, and they are working it hard to maximize their output.

So what do September showers bring?

Full snow making ponds of course!

The Killington Resort covers a lot of its terrain with snow making. When they turn the system on later in October, they use a lot of water to cover the trails with beautiful white snow. And full snowmaking ponds due to September showers is a great situation to have when the temperatures turn favorable for making snow.

Tonights rain will depart from the scene soon enough. As it does, the tree canopy will continue to develop more color each day. We hope to see you at the Birch Ridge Inn during your fall visit.

In the mean time....Wherever you may be... hit them straight... keep it in the fairway... and don't forget your sunscreen.

Blood Moon - Lunar Eclispe seen from Birch Ridge Inn last night

Blood Moon - Lunar Eclispe seen from Birch Ridge Inn last night 

If the changing colors, colder temperatures, and last nights Blood Moon are not enough evidence for you that change is in the air, then todays announcement by the Killington Resort of ski ticket prices for the 2015-2016 ski season should be a reality check. Summer has come to an end. Fall is all around us. Winter is just a short time away.

The Killington Resort announced today, via an article in the local Rutland Herald, that they will be opting for a single price lift ticket at the ticket window this winter. People who walk up to the ticket window and purchase a day ticket will pay the same price mid-week as on weekends...$94 per day. ($96 during holidays).

While this might seem like a large number, it is important to understand that less than 10% of lift tickets are purchased at the ticket window.

Most lift tickets today are purchased online associated with lodging packages or advanced reservations. Killington in fact sells lift tickets online for people who plan their trips at a significant discount versus window pricing. This year, Killington has adopted an "Airline" pricing model to their advance ticket sales. The price of a lift ticket online for a future day will vary based upon a number of factors. As a result, Killington could actually change their online lift ticket price for future dates EVERY DAY! Bottom line... if you are planning ahead, when you see what looks like a deal....Grab It! because it might not be there tomorrow.

As an innkeeper, this has made life interesting. But coming out of an engineering background, I viewed this change on Killington's part as a challenge.

On our website, birchridge.com, and on it's mobile companion m.birchridge.com, the inn has always allowed guests to determine the total cost of a ski/ride package, including lodging, lift tickets, rental equipment, lessons, etc. In the past, the software would examine static tables with lift ticket price information to compute the overall package cost. Easy Peasy.... like adding 2 or more numbers together.

The changes made by Killington have added several additional layer of complexity to the problem. As prices for lift tickets can change every day, our website needs to be adaptive. Each day we go out and collect pricing information from Killington. While that sounds pretty easy, the total data collected from the resort each day comes in at about 500MBytes... yes you read that right... 1/2 Gigabytes of information related to current lift ticket pricing is collected each day. And this is just for Killington. An equivilent amount of information will be generated for Pico when lift ticket pricing is published for that subset of the resort.

While creating a table with this information is a trivial task, downloading 500MBytes of data down to a clients PC or Cell Phone each time they wanted to compute a lodging package is not nice. Most cell phone plans have data caps of 2 to 10Gbytes... We want our guests to be able to pay for a visit to Killington, not have a larger cell phone bill. As a result, taking advantage of some Web 2.0 technology(Ajax, Json), I developed a series of processes which collect the lift package pricing from the birchridge.com server only for the days that the guest plugs into the Ski/Ride package calculator. This keeps the communications load between the guests device and the server light, eliminating large data charges. While it does introduce a small amount of latency to the process as the clients device communicates with the server, the overall process due making the data transfers light weight is roughly the same as it was using our older methods.

So what does this mean for the potenital guest to the Birch Ridge Inn....

Very simple.... when ever a guest calculates a lift ticket package with a stay at the Birch Ridge Inn, our web site is quoting the best price we can give based upon the current pricing for lift ticket products from the Killington Resort. (Please note... restrictions in our agreement with Killington do not allow us to break out lift ticket prices separately from our lodging packages. Hence we can only show a combined price with lodging and lift ticket products.. But you can look at our lodging only pricing and figure it out.)

If you would like to get a quote for a Ski/Ride and Stay package from the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington, go to our Ski Package Calculator on birchridge.com.

Fall folage colors are continuing to progress nicely around Killington. We hope to see you at the Birch Ridge Inn during your fall visit.

In the mean time....Wherever you may be... hit them straight... keep it in the fairway... and don't forget your sunscreen.

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