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Friday, Jan 20, 2012
A day can make a huge difference at Killington
Ruts and the Bagel scanning Needles Eye

Ruts and the Bagel scanning Needles Eye

Ruts and the Bagel scanning Needles Eye

Ruts and the Bagel scanning Needles Eye

Oh boy! What a day...

3 to 5 inches of new fluff on the mountain, plus some strategic, and not so strategic snow making, and Killington was a brand new resort this morning. The crust of yesterday was lurking like a great white shark just below the waves, but if you were able to keep on the bumps and away from the troughs, it was a beautiful day to ski at Killington.

Here's what Ruts and the Bagel are looking at....Needles Eye in all it bumpolicious glory!.
Here's what Ruts and the Bagel are looking at....Needles Eye in all it bumpolicious glory!
Click to enlarge..

Our first run brought us down Bear Claw just after the lifts opened (officially). For some reason, it was pretty skied off, which had us a little suspicious that there may have been a few early morning "practice" runs for competitors at this weekends Dew Tour. Upper Bear Claw had some scratch between small snow bumps. Exiting on to middle Wildfire, we found some pure delight. 4 inches of prime fluff over a flat base. Just enough to check speed and keep from bottoming out on the hard pack at the same time. It was a great start to the day. Lower Wildfire was under the guns. A soft velvet was accumulating on the trails. We would see later that inexperienced skiers and riders would take theses bumps like rodeo riders on a bull, but the first run down in relative solitude was just a blast.

Upon arriving at the base of Bear, we hopped on the Bear Mountain Quad to the top of Outer Limits. Snow guns were covering the top 3rd of the trail in a man-made blizzard. The rest of the trail looked groomed, so off we went. OL provided the perfect study in contrast for the day. The area under the guns, other than a very active ice slime by one of them, was just a delight. Lower OL, being groomed relatively late in the night, was a mix of the light fluff interspersed with golf ball sized chunks. While it was the proverbial "adrenaline rush" it was not a do over.

One more boost up the Bear quad brought us to a full top to bottom run on Wildfire. Sweet. Upper Wildfire, once you made the turn around the entrance, was beautiful powder. Because the surface was flat underneath, you knew that you could hit the building snow bumps with abandon, causing them to break apart in a poof of snow all around you. Really nice!

By this time, the Dew Tour Village was bringing in a lot of people of different abilities, making the junction of all trails at Lower Wildfire "interesting", so we decided to do Upper Skyburst to Dream Maker to Cruise Control. Upper Skyburst had the same chunk as OL. Dream Maker was not groomed, so the nights fluff was everywhere. Cruise Control was, shall we say, a low energy high speed run to the bottom. For some reason, I kept thinking of Sonny Bono on Cruise Control. Not good to have your mind wander from the task of skiing the trail at hand.

From the bottom of Cruise Control, we saw Needles Eye. Beautiful, bumpy, deceptive, alluring, lit by bright sunshine, all in one. The first run down was justifiably tentative. The entrance was just knarly. You had no idea on the first run if the snow was going to be soft, rock hard, slabtastic, or what!!! We all headed towards skiers right, where it looked like untracked powder... Oops... not enough base under foot... not good. So we headed back towards skiers left to where snow guns running all week left what looked like huge slabs of snow. Slabs they were, but soft and velvety as well. A total fake out from what we saw from the lift.

The second run down Needles Eye was just fun. Now being able to read the snow, we knew to drop into the trail on skiers left. Beautiful snow had blown in between the whales created by snow making. The little windblown crust on the top smoothly broke to reveal beautiful soft snow underneath. The bumps on Needles Eye were a sharp contrast to the groomed boredom of Cruise Control. Once a very physical rhythm was established, Needles Eye was just a delight to ski. It was a leg burn well worth the effort.

After Needles we did a few more runs off of Sky Peak including Bitter Sweet, High Road, and Skylark. They were nice, broad boulevards of snow, but they also seemed devoid of the character of the trail we had just challenged.

Having only gotten 4 hours sleep last night (a guest arrived at the inn very late at night or very early in the morning depending on your point of view), I broke off for the day and headed back to the inn. The boys ventured over to the Killington Peak side of the resort. I look forward to their tales of glory this evening at the inn around the fire in the Great Room.

The weather forecast is calling for snow tonight and tomorrow at Killington. If you are coming up to ski/ride or see the Dew Tour competition... be safe...

Let it snow!!!

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