Even though the cold front descending upon the area brought copious gray clouds, it was still a nice morning to ski at Killington. Temperatures started just below freezing, with a constant light snow falling across the resort.
We started our ski morning with a couple of runs through the North Ridge area, after boosting to Killington Peak on the K1 Gondola. With much more terrain open on the mountain, Rime, Reason and Upper East Fall have all had time to "rest". The light snow falling at the peak, combined with multiple grooming cycles, have left surfaces in North Ridge reasonably soft. The skid plate found in some of the other high traffic spots around the mountain has been replaced with a loose granular. Generally a couple of inches deep in most places, it had a nice consistency to practice turns at speed, without worrying about highly variable conditions down the trail.
From North Ridge, we traversed across the top of the resort on Bear Trax. It was a little strange passing the bump in the terrain where the old South Ridge Triple terminal called home. But change is inevitable, and the skiing across to Bear was a nice mid morning cruise.
At Bear Mountain, your choice was Upper to Lower Wildfire, or Upper Sky Burst to Lower Wildfire, as the resort continues their work on Dream Maker, and Lower Sky Burst to get ready for the Dew Tour. Upper Wildfire was really nice, although I did catch some unanticipated air off of a couple of unseen bumps in the dim morning light. Lower Wildfire early was well covered. The normal places (where the fall line goes compound for instance) were hard under foot, but there was plenty of nice snow for turning. Upper Skyburst was more of the same, although by 10 AM the middle was getting down to the hard pack in places.
Cruise Control was well covered. Snow making has covered most of the loose stones that were tilled to the surface last week. The resort was diverting people by the closed Vista Deck on Great Eastern, versus upper Cruise Control. There was a machine doing some excavating on Cruise Control at the Snow Shed Cross Over which they were trying to protect.
Bitter Sweet and Sky Lark were both nice, albeit flat and fast. The upper sections of both were reasonably soft, with the lower sections showing some hard pack down the middle. As long as you stayed on either skiers right or left on the lower section, you could find plenty of nice soft snow.
Superstar presented some challenges. The upper headwall was set up for some nice carving turns. Middle Superstar needed a re-groom. Baseball to softball sized death cookies were everywhere. It was not particularly fun. Lower Superstar was the site of the most carnage of the day. Wet snow guns were piling soft sticky snow onto the trail to be chewed up by skiers and riders. It was entertaining to watch from the lift, but not so much for those riding the trail.
The resort is continuing to stockpile snow at Bear Mountain for the Dew Tour. Snow Guns were appearing at random locations across the resort, however, as they begin their efforts to refresh surfaces for the coming MLK weekend. Hopefully, Mother Nature will help. Let it snow!!!