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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
4 3/4 inches. 2 inches of high moisture snow fell overnight, compressing the base. (Stake reades 7 inches on back)




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Killington Snow Report for Friday, December 09, 2016

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 48
Open Lifts: 8
Groomed Trails: 32
Service Conditions: Powder/Packed Powder
Average Base Depth: 12" - 18"
24 Hour Snowfall: 5.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 5.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 19.5"

feed provided by Killington.com Snow Report


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Snow covers the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington from last nights storm

Snow covers the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington from last nights storm 

Light snow has been the order of the day at Killington for the last few days. Continuous snow flurries have resulted in snow accumulations of between 4 to 6 inches on the ground around the inn. At elevation on the mountain, the resort is reporting over a foot of snow (14.5 inches to be exact) over the last 7 days.

Hopefully we have shaken off the ghost of last winter and we are establishing a new trend.

Where ever you may be, I hope your transition to winter is going smoothly. And remember...Let It Snow!

The 2016 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

The 2016 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

It has been a whirlwind 2 weeks. But also very successful.

2 weeks ago on the Monday before Thanksgiving, a group of us set out with a pickup truck, a trailer and a chain saw. We cut down 5 Christmas trees in Springfield Vermont, about an hour south of Killington. Most laid dormant outside for the rest of week as we all prepared for Thanksgiving and the Audi FIS World Cup which was held at Killington Thanksgiving weekend. Come the Monday after Thanksgiving, "Christmas Tree Monday", things kicked into high gear to begin the preparations to celebrate the Christmas season.

As with tradition "Christmas Tree Monday" began with a few hours of skiing to get some fresh air into our lungs. Conditions were very good with the resort making snow across most of the terrrain open off K Peak and Snowden Mountain.

To fortify ourselves with some protien to strengthen our muscles, we followed skiing with a lunch at Sushi Yoshi. No beers were consumed, after all we needed clear heads to focus on the job at hand for the rest of the afternoon, but General Tso did contribute a few chickens to the effort.

Motley Crew assembled to raise Christmas Trees.
Motley Crew assembled to raise Christmas Trees.

We gathered at the inn to begin the job of raising the Birch Ridge tree. This would be the first of 4 trees we would raise on Christmas Tree Monday, and it was one of the most difficult given its overall size.

The proverbial round Christmas Tree through a square door.
The proverbial round Christmas Tree through a square door.

The first problem was getting the tree into the inn itself. The tree had been covered with tarps in the yard in front of the Great Room. Snow from the prior week created a skim coat of white on top of the tree bundle. Laying on the ground, the tree measured a healthy 16 1/2 feet. The top foot or so was just a sprig, so it was easily dispatched with a pair of loppers. A chain saw was used to do the deed at the trunk of the tree. The initial cut was for 15 feet.

Rotating the tree in the Great Room.  The tree at this point is ~15 feet. The room is only 20 feet wide.
Rotating the tree in the Great Room. The tree at this point is ~15 feet. The room is only 20 feet wide.

Now what do we do?
Now what do we do?

At this point, the great debate always ensues...and this year it was not any different. Upon getting the tree into the Great Room, it was pointed out the the tree was a little "large". Maybe it should be shortened by another foot or so, as the ladders used to trim the tree only stand 12 feet tall. Mary, in her resolute fashion, would have none of that at this point. So the tree needed to go up.

Putting the stand of the tree is actually a multi-person effort.
Putting the stand of the tree is actually a multi-person effort.

The crew lifting the Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree into place.
The crew lifting the Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree into place.

The first lift of the tree, as it usually does, revealed that the tree was standing too tall in the room. As we are lifting the tree in position, we collectively heared Mary gasp at the size of the tree. As the tree was shaking itself into place, Mary began the negotiating process to have us take the tree down and start all over. With the exception of not bringing the tree outside to use the chain saw to remove another foot, we did it in the doorway, we started the process anew to finish the job.

The official measurement.  14 Feet.
The official measurement. 14 Feet.

This year was not too bad. We only had to take the tree down once, cut it, reposition the stand, and raise it again. For the record, one year we did this 4 times, so only raising the tree twice is kind of normal. With Birch Ridge done, we were off into the neighborhood around the inn to raise 3 of the other trees; each one was between 12 and 14 feet... although if you are reading this Ellen your tree is only 10 feet tall....I swear....

The Birch Ridge Inn 2016 Christmas Tree.
TThe Birch Ridge Inn 2016 Christmas Tree.

For the next week, Mary was on ladders rotating around our tree decorating it for the holidays. This years tree is a traditional, multicolored, family style tree. We expect that it will be gracing the Great Room of the inn through the weekend of January 6th.

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday plans are progressing. We look forward to a happy holidays at the inn with lots of snow on the montain for people to enjoy. Stop in for a visit if you are in K. We will be happy to take your picture under the tree. Let It Snow!

Superstar, site of this weekend\'s Audi FIS World Cup, covered in snow

Superstar, site of this weekend's Audi FIS World Cup, covered in snow 

I went to the mountain this morning and I honestly feel like a little kid again. THIS IS EXCITING!

Do you remember the first time you saw or felt snow. Thats what I felt like this morning while I was witnessing the awesome power of the Killington Resort's snowmaking system. It is just hard to comprehend what the resort has been able to accomplish over the last month. Combined with the help we received from Mother Nature, the resort will be ready to offer over the Thanksgiving Weeked top to bottom skiing and riding while simultaneously hosting the Audi FIS World Cup.

Resort employees are all over the resort this morning. Lots of activity is taking place, as one would expect, in the K1 area preparing the base for the World Cup. Snowmaking operations had ceased this morning on Superstar, but lots of activity was taking place on the upper headwall installing fencing and (what looked like from a distance) starting gates.

Killington Resort looking like mid-winter. Tuesday November 22, 2016
Killington Resort looking like mid-winter. Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Crews working at the top of Superstar setting up for this weekends World Cup
Crews working at the top of Superstar setting up for this weekends World Cup

Snowmaking operations were visible all over the mountain. Snowmaking was taking place on Sky Lark to support the World Cup. Snow making was also taking place on Great Northern, Bunny Buster, Moustrap, Chute, Caper, Vale, and parts of Rams Head. Cold temperatures resulting in high snow making production, combined with the foot of new snow the resort received during the Sunday/Monday storm should have the resort set up nicely for Thanksgiving Weekend.

Snow making on Chute and Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making on Chute and Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Snow making at the base of Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making at the base of Mouse Trap on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Snow making on Lower Bunny Buster back to the K1 Lift on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Snow making on Lower Bunny Buster back to the K1 Lift on Snowden Mountain at Killington, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

Lower Superstar with the VIP Tent and Grandstands in place for the Audi FIS World Cup, Tuesday November 22, 2016
Lower Superstar with the VIP Tent and Grandstands in place for the Audi FIS World Cup, Tuesday November 22, 2016.

At the inn we are getting ready to receive Thanksgiving visitors. Our chef is in the kitchen busily preparing our Thanksgiving and weekends menus. This year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the inn with dinner service starting at 5:00 PM. Dinner is open to the public. The menu can be found at the Birch Ridge Inn website Given the amount of people who are traveling to the resort to participate in and spectate at this weekend World Cup, reservations are suggested.

Also in other inn news, yesterday we harvested the Inn's Christmas Tree. It is wrapped in tarps, sitting outside in front of the inn's Great Room. The tree will be brought into the inn and raised on Christmas Tree Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 27th. We have a ritual to raise the tree on Christmas Tree Monday starting with skiing (we live at a ski resort after all) followed by lunch and then the tree raising. This years tree is 15 feet or so sitting in the yard. It easily weights several hundred pounds. It took 5 of us yesterday to lift it into the truck to bring it to the inn. It should be a fun day.

On a more somber note.... no self respecting Baby Boomer can forget the tragedy that took place this day in Dallas 53 years ago. I was a fifth grader at the time. I still remember the tears in the eyes of my mother and grand mother when they came to St Agnes School in Arlington MA to pick up my brother, sister and me at school. I will NEVER FORGET the look on their faces as they tried to be composed so as to not upset us kids. For the next 5 days were were sitting transfixed in front of the TV watching a true American horror story play out. I will carry the sadness of those days with me the rest of my life. The current brouhaha concerning President Elect Trump seems so trivial by comparison.

But enough of that...

We have a lot to give thanks for this year. We look forward to hosting many guests over the weekend, both overnight at the inn and in our restaurant. We and our families are healthy. And we remain quite optimistic about our community and our country. Let It Snow!

Rime at Killington from the North Ridge Triple earlier this week

Rime at Killington from the North Ridge Triple earlier this week 

Tall order of subjects in the title.... I will devote blogs in the near future to more detailed posts on each subject... but for today just a synopsis.

Skiing....

Mary and I had the good fortune of being able to get our first ski day in last week. The first ski day of the season is actually a ritual to find all of the ski stuff that was put away at the end of last season. After several hours of hunting down equipment..."Where are my ski socks..." we both headed off to the mountain to enjoy a few runs. As is usually the case early season, up until the snowstorm which is going through the area today, Killington has been offering skiing and riding at North Ridge off of Killington Peak. Pretty simple really. Take the K1 Gondola to the top...ski down Great Northern to Rime or Reason...head to the North Rridge Triple.... loop the area until you call it quits. When you are done, a hike back up to the K1 gondola on Killington's "Stairway to Heaven" is required.

Overall conditions have been mam-made machine groomed snow. Suface conditions have ranged from packed powder to beach sand depending upon the weather conditions, snow makeing schedule, and grooming techniques applied to the terrain. Your milage may vary..... but hopefully with some snow, Killington will be upping the trail count substaintially, thereby eliminating the Northeasts early season spin cycle off of Killington peak. No complaints... it's great to be skiings...Mother Nature let it snow!

Thanksgiving....

The traditional celebration of the pilgrims successfulling having their first harvest in the new world in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621 is upon us once again. This year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the inn with dinner service starting at 5:00 PM. Dinner is open to the public. The menu can be found at the Birch Ridge Inn website Reservations are suggested.

World Cup....

If you do not know it already, the Audi FIS Woman's World Cup will he held at Killington over the Thanksgiving weekend. Top rated women from around the world will be competing in both Giant Slalom and Slalom races on Killington's Superstar Trail. VIP and Grandstand tickets are at a premium. But general admission is Free. Snow makers have been hard at work for the last month making snow on Superstar to support the race. Grandstands and other buildings have been constructed at the base of Superstar to support the event. Media is traveling in from around the world to broadcast the event from Killington. And you can still be part of it with the free admission spectator area set up just off the race course on the side of lower Superstar. The Audi FIS World Cup will make Killington much more memorable this Thanksgiving weekend.

Politics....

Ugh....

After the election 12 days ago, I received a number of messages from friends around the country (and the world) asking for me to comment. Many people know that, having been brought up in Massachusetts by a politically active mother, that I enjoy the "Sport". I am a firm believer that one of the most patriotic things we as citizens of the United States can do is talk politics in a bar... because if politics were not talked about in bars in the late 1700's, the United States would not exist. That being said, I am somewhat non-plussed by the election results. I loath the public personna depicted in the media for President-Elect Trump (most of which has been created by Mr. Trump himself). I have promised myself that I will refuse to stay silent, no matter the consequences, if his administration devolves into hatred, bigotry, and misogyny, as I hope all patriotic Americans will do. However, I also refuse to be as dispicably un-American as now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was in 2008 when he pledged to work against the then incoming administrion to keep Barack Obama a one term president. We are all in this together. We have to figure out a way to make this work. Or the union, I am afraid, will break apart.

As do many of the people I have spoken with, I have some grave concerns. And the tweets put out by Mr. Trump on simple subjects like Mike Pence's night out at "Hamilton" and his criticism of Alex Baldwin's caricature of him on "Saturday Night Live" cut immediately to the core of our American democracy with their not so subtle hits at the First Amendment. Today Mr. Trump, President Elect Trump, is still a private citizen. My support of the First Amendment, quite frankly, allows him as a private citizen to speak for himself. On January 20th however, when he is inaugurated, he is no longer a private citizen. As president, he is OUR EMPLOYEE. He no longer speaks for himself. He will be speaking for all of us. I wonder if he understands what that means? We are in for an interesing ride... more later....

Where ever you may be, I hope your Thanksgiving plans are progresssing nicely. And remember...Let It Snow!

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.





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