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Birch Ridge Inn
Snow Stake Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn Snowstake
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Back to green. Very warm the last 2 days.

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Killington Snow Report for Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Killington Conditions:
Open Trails: 18
Open Lifts: 5
Groomed Trails: 18
Service Conditions: Machine Groomed/ Packed Powder
Average Base Depth: 8" - 16"
24 Hour Snowfall: 0.0"
48 Hour Snowfall: 1.0"
7 Day Snowfall: 4.0"

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Killington Peak waiting for Thanksgiving Snow Storm

Killington Peak waiting for Thanksgiving Snow Storm 

While the last few days have not been forgiving for the natural snow that had fallen around Killington this last week, the value of snow making to the ski industry is on full display. In the aftermath of two days of abnormally high temperatures for this time of year, including a day where it r@!ned, the areas of the Killington resort where snow making operations took place these last few weeks are still bright white against the gray mountain.

Work around the inn is progressing as we get ready for the winter season. The annual fall maintenance activities are basically complete. The warm temperatures the last few days allowed the last bit of work outside to be completed in comfortable temperatures.

Now we wait.

Around town anticipation is running high. All eyes are looking at the sky, or the weather channel. All ears are hanging on every weather forecast. Will we get dumped on, or will the storm just graze the area. No matter what happens, it looks like cold weather will return to allow Killington to refire their snow making system. But, if the weather forecasters are to be believed, 6 to 12 inches of new snow provided by Mother Nature would also be a great Thanksgiving gift to ski country.

Twig season making a brief return to the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Twig season making a brief return to the Green Mountains of Vermont.

But never matter. Mary and I have a lot to be thankful for as we enter into the Thanksgiving weekend. If we get snow, that's great. If not, the Thanksgiving Turkeys are still going into the ovens on Thursday as we celebrate the holiday with family and friends.

Where ever you may be, have safe travels as you prepare to give thanks.

Let it snow!

Mary making here season debut on the snow.

Mary making here season debut on the snow. 

The Nile is a river in Egypt, but there is no denial possible in Killington. Winter is here!

Around the inn, the ground is now solidly covered white. While we are not talking snow that needs to be plowed quite yet, it was necessary to break out the snow shovel to clean up the walkways around the inn when we returned from skiing this morning.

On the mountain, there were other signs of winter. Mary made her first outing of the season. Chuckles, Howie, and a whole host of characters also journeyed out into the snow. Only the Bagel and Ruts were missing from the normal Friday ski group. But they will be skiing soon enough.

At the resort, conditions ranged from soft moguls to 3 inches of natural powder over a man-made base. The resort was skiing top to bottom today. From Killington Peak you could go play in the North Ridge Area, take East Falls back to the K1 Base Lodge, or play on Snowden. Elsewhere at the resort, it looks like ropes will be dropping this weekend(?) on Sky Lark and Bittersweet off Superstar, down Lower Chute to the Snowden Quad, on Rams Head from Rams Head Base and on the learning trail at Snowshed. The combination of cold weather over the last week, combined with some natural provided by Mother Nature is setting the resort up nicely for a great November ski weekend.

At the inn, we reopen our restaurant for the Winter Season this weekend with dinner on Friday and Saturday evening. We will have the same schedule next weekend over the Thanksgiving holidays, before we expand our dinner schedule as we head into December.

Where ever you may be this weekend .. dig our your ski clothes and come on up to Killington for some great early season skiing and riding.

Let it snow!

Snow guns cranking out manpow at Killington.

Snow guns cranking out manpow at Killington. 

Brrr.. Low 20's all day....

Yesterdays mess with snow, sleet, and r@!n was followed up by a blustery cold front. If it was not frozen before the sun went down last night, it will be rock solid as the sun goes down tonight. Winter has overtaken the Killington region. Where are my hat and gloves again???

The resort is taking advantage of the cold weather to pump out some man made powder across the resort. While yesterdays storm left them with some trail resurfacing to accomplish, by this afternoon the resort was making snow on Killington Peak, Snowdon, and Rams Head. The near term focus seems to be focused on getting some novice and intermediate terrain open as we head into the Thanksgiving period. With cold weather firmly entrenched in the area until late in the weekend, the Resort should be seeing some good snow production leading to more open terrain in the next few days.

Around the inn we have wrapped up winter preparations. The yard work is done. Anything left can be done in the spring. The ongoing task of minor building repairs continues. (The inn is a very large building after all). The first ski packages have been ordered for this coming weekend for guests from Killington. I visited with my mother down on Cape Cod last week. Mary is off doing shopping with her mom this week. And Chef Frizzie is back to work as the restaurant re-opens for the winter season this coming Friday November 21st.

Here is the latest video installment of our ongoing search for the perfect..... It is a little too early to use that word yet. Let's pay homage to the Pilgrims and celebrate Thanksgiving first.

Where ever you may be...Stay Warm. And Let it snow!

First bump run of the season!

First bump run of the season! 

Well..... it has to happen some time.

With Killington being open for the season for 9 days, and a ski pass in my possession for 7, it was about time that I ventured out on the mountain... Finally

With the hordes of other's skiing and riding on Veterans Day, I dug out my equipment (a task in itself) and rode the K1 Gondola to the peak. Killington has a couple of legitimate trails open (Rime and Reason with their lower cousins).

Killington has a couple of legitimate trails open (Rime and Reason with their lower cousins). My first run, fittingly, was in the bumps on Upper East Fall. Nice soft moguls in the sun. The best that spring skiing conditions could offer for New Zealand. But this is November and Killington and skiing in such warm temperatures was a little stange at best.

2 runs, 2 25 minute lift lines, and a hike out. Done... 1st day under the belt with hopefully a lot more waiting for me this winter.

Of course, as we head into winter, we have some other things up our collective sleeves as well. Stay tuned....

Let it snow!

Getting leaves away from the Snow Stake to be prepared for snow.

Getting leaves away from the Snow Stake to be prepared for snow. 

Busy...busy...busy.. This getting ready for winter stuff is a full time job!

It has been a busy week around the inn as we get everything ready for winter in Killington. Twig Season, being dull and gray, is conducive to getting work done. The warm blue sky of summer, just perfect for chasing little white balls down green fairways, has given way to a damp and dismal atmosphere just perfect for raking leaves, moving wood, hard-packing the driveway, and attending to the other items that need to be done before the first winter snows hit in earnest.

While I have picked up my ski passes (both downhill and uphill traveller), we have not yet had the urge to venture out onto the high slopes of Killington. From 18 years experience at the inn, we know spending time during twig season getting the inn in shape for winter will pay back with huge dividends in free time later in the winter when ski conditions will be prime. So we head outside, face the dull gray atmosphere, hold our faces firm into the light drizzle, and do what needs to be done to prepare for winter.

We have all been doing our share outside. Mary has brought down all of her gardens. She spends so much time on them each summer to make sure they make the grounds around the inn look beautiful. Now they are mounds of dirt, waiting to be covered by the first winter snows.

Chef "Frizzie" has been running the brush cutter. Most of his time has been spent on the Killington Road trimming the ferns which take over the hillside in summer. We try to trim them this time of year so that the area is receptive to early snow storms.

I have been out with my rake cleaning up parts of the front of the inn, and readying the Snow Stake. All of the leaves have been removed from around it. The height markers have been touched up to help make them visible for the camera. The stake has also been re-leveled and re-zero'd in the ground.

I also took apart the snowblower to get it ready for it's annual work out. In addition to changing the oil, I also stripped the gearbox; re-lubricating the works in the process to keep it running smoothly.

Mary was not around when I got everything back together. It is hard to see if it is really working right, as the works are in the front of the machine, and the operator, your's truly, is in the back. Not to be denied, however, I used my trusty Iphone to shoot a short clip reminiscent of a scene from the cult movie "Lawnmower man". Now I just need about 2 feet of snow to play with to really make sure it is working...

Winter is in the way. Let it snow!

Not a good sign on the first day of skiing and riding at Killington for the 2014-15 season

Not a good sign on the first day of skiing and riding at Killington for the 2014-15 season 

It's done. The first skiing and riding of the 2014-2015 season in the North East North America took place today at the Killington Ski Resort. Kudo's to the resort for getting the job done by making snow during the cold snap the area experienced over the last 48 hours.

Mary and I did not partake in the festivities today. As luck would have it, the cold snap also put the first real strain on the heating system at the inn for the season. The heat has been running for about a month, but with temperatures dipping into the low 20's last night, both heating furnaces were called into action. Unfortunately only 1 responded.

There is a reason we have 2 furnaces. On very cold, -30 degree winter nights in late January, we need both furnaces online to heat the inn. Under normal heating demands, the heating control system at the inn rotates furnace operation, so that one furnace does not see all of the usage. Sometime last night, both furnaces were called into action at the same time. When they did, a circulating pump on one of the furnaces decided it had had enough and decided to fail. Fortunately we on on good rapport with our plumbind and heating contractor, so they dispatched a person to the inn this morning to investigate/repair the situation. But so much for skiing...so it goes.

Snow on Killington resort on Sunday November 2nd as they prepare to open.
Snow on Killington resort on Sunday November 2nd as they prepare to open.

Skiing and Riding took place today in the North Ridge area starting at 11:00 AM. Tomorrow(Tuesday November 4th) the lifts start turing at 9:00 AM. Killington will be providing lift serviced skiing on Rime and Reason, plus they will have a jib set up in the Reason Park to allow those inclined to show off their stuff. Open terrain is for advanced skiers and riders only. Lift tickets for those who do not have a season pass are priced at $49.00

This is just the start of what is hopefully a long season at Killington. Mary and I hope to get out later in the week, if all goes according to plan.

Let it snow!

The Birch Ridge Inn at Killington.  It is not snow covered like this today... but it will be real soon...

The Birch Ridge Inn at Killington. It is not snow covered like this today... but it will be real soon... 

Do you know where your snow pants are??

UPDATE!!!..Just after I posted this blog, the Killington Resort announced that they will begin ski operations for the winter this coming Monday November 3rd. Monday will be limited to Season Pass and Express card holders. (That's one of the perks for being a loyal Killington skier.) Day ticket sales for those without passes will begin on Tuesday November 4th. Winter Is On!!!! END OF UPDATE.

All around Killington questions similar to this are being asked as the winter season is on the verge of beginning at Killington. With fall foliage visitors clearing the area last week, the break between seasons has been a short one. But it's time.

On the mountain, the resort turned on the snow making system. When lift serviced skiing will begin is anyones guess, Mother Nature being a quirky lady. But I can bet that a few people will be making the trek up to the top of the mountain to partake in the ribbon of snow laid down by the resort in the next few hours or so.

Visit the full Birch Ridge Inn website at birchridge.com.

On top of the work started by the resort, this morning we experienced the first snow falling from the sky at the inn. Not measurable, mind you; it basically melted as soon as it hit the ground as the ground is still too warm at this altitude to support snow. But it was a not so subtle reminder to get things ready to go, because winter will be here soon.

Over the last week, I have been busy working on our website to support our winter business. In addition to being able to find out everything about our inn, on birchridge.com you can also use our ski package calculator to get a full quote for your snow vacation at Killington including lift tickets, rental equipment, and lessons.

In the next couple of days, Mary and I, like many of our friends, will be loading our personal quivers with our ski equipment. (I still have golf clubs in my car for instance.) But winter is coming. Time to get ready.

Let it snow!

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