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March 15th, 2020 - Public notice from the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington.

The Birch Ridge Inn has temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 Crisis.  Sunday March 15, 2020.
The Birch Ridge Inn has temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 Crisis. Sunday March 15, 2020.

It is with much love and sadness for our staff, guests, and good friends, that we must announce that the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington will be closed until further notice as a result of Covid-19 crisis. The rapid pace of events taking place around the world, and the virtual collapse of the North American Ski Industry last evening, clearly define the difficult path we must take. It is clear from listening to CDC officials that there is an urgent need for social distancing if the country is to successfully fight this virus. Encouraging our guests to travel to Vermont at this time is not in the community interest. Hence we will be temporarily closing our doors for all lodging, dining, and beverage services immediately.

In 22 year of doing business serving guests we have experienced economic downturns, wars, terrorist attacks, blizzards, hurricanes, and floods. We have been able to work each time to come out of those difficulties with a stronger business. We remain optimistic that we will be able to do the same as we work to meet this challenge.

We will be reaching out to inn guests, to coordinate future reservations, with more information as it develops over the next several days.

If you have any questions, call us directly at 800.435.8566, or email us at innkeepers@birchridge.com.

Stay Healthy.

Respectfully Bill Vines and Mary Furlong Innkeepers, Birch Ridge Inn, Killington.

Birch Ridge Inn, Killington VT

Birch Ridge Inn, Killington VT 

March 13th, 2020 - Public notice from the Birch Ridge Inn at Killington.

To all of our inn and restaurant guests, visitors to our bar, and staff...

The innkeepers, Bill Vines and Mary Furlong, are monitoring the rapidly changing situation concerning the impacts of COVID-19 on the general public.

At this time, the inn is open for lodging. Dinner service is currently scheduled on our normal winter schedule from Tuesday through Saturday evening starting at 6:00 PM in the restaurant and the Great Room Lounge.

The Number 1 goal of any action we take is to protect the health of our guests and staff. While we are already known for the cleanliness of our operation as reported by multiple online guest reviews, we take the current situation very seriously. The last thing we want to do by continuing operations is to aid in the further spread of Covid-19. With that in mind, we have instituted enhanced sanitation procedures and other changes to business operations, in line with recommendations we are receiving from various government agencies and business organizations.

Specifically:

For housekeeping, our staff has implemented strict sanitizing procedures for all hard surfaces, door knobs, light switches, remote controls, clocks, etc in addition to our normal sanitizing practices.

For the restaurant and bar, we have provided each work area with additional sanitizing supplies for our employees to use. Instructions on sanitizing server work stations, restaurant tables and chairs, and great room seating areas are being reviewed with each employee at the beginning of their shift.

While we have always offered generous seating space in our restaurant and Great Room, we are also taking additional procedures to offer distance between different groups using our establishment.

Earlier today we received information from the Killington Ski Resort that they will be cancelling all events planned for the next few weeks. The resort will continue to operate, offering skiing and riding to all who enjoy snow sports. However, they have also begun to change their operation to offer more distance between guests to help minimize the possibility of the virus to spread between people visiting the resort. Should there be any changes in resort operation, changes in government instruction, or other impacts effecting the health and well being of our guests and staff, we will provide additional updates.

For Inn Guests with lodging reservations, please reach out to us directly should you feel you a need to change your plans. If you have any questions, call us directly at 800.435.8566, or email us at innkeepers@birchridge.com.

Respectfully Bill Vines and Mary Furlong Innkeepers, Birch Ridge Inn, Killington.

Birch Ridge Inn covered with newly fallen snow.

Birch Ridge Inn covered with newly fallen snow. 

Just magical.... Thank you Mother Nature!

Some times Mother Nature giveths. Some times Mother Nature takes it away.....

Last weekend, Mother Nature took it away. After receiving about a foot of snow in Killington the first week of January, Mother Nature played a cruel joke on the area and caused the temperature to spike into the high 50's with liquid precipitation falling from a persistent gray sky.

This week, Mother Nature has been kinder to Killington with steady cold temparatures. Cold is good, because it gave Killington Snow Makers the opportunity to fire up Killington's snowmaking system and repair the damage Mother Nature wrought.

But this morning, Mother Nature giveth! The entire region has been blanketed with 4 to 6 inches of beautiful, bright white, snow. And the weather forecast is calling for snow to fall on and off again during the weekend as well. Just in time to give visitors to Killington over the Martin Luther Holiday Weekend fresh snow to play in at the resort, and around town as well.

If you are one of the lucky ones to visit Killington this weekend, may your travels be safe as you journey through the mountains to reach us. Let It Snow!

2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

It's official!

The total number of ornaments and bows on the 2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree is 427!

Congratulations to Connie Barbash who came in closest with an entry of 423. Connie wins a Champagne dinner for 2 at the inn.

Second place, worth a $50 gift certificate goes to Mike MacDonald with a guess of 417.

Thank you to all who stopped at the inn over the holidays to see the tree. Stay tuned for the "March of the snowmen". Let It Snow!

2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

Christmas is coming fast. With one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday season is on us quickly this year. Hope you have your shopping done!

This weekend we got together with friends who participated in our annual Christmas Tree Monday. When we harvested Christmas trees this year, in addition to the large tree we got for the Birch Ridge Inn, the group of us also got 5 additional trees for friends (and thier adult children) who live in Killington within walking distance of the inn. Since the completion of the World Cup, everyone has been decorating their trees to get ready for the holidays. Between multiple trips to various hardware stores and internet web sites, and laser light shows in front yards, the rush to decorate for the holidays for family, friends and guests has been in full swing. Last night, we got to view each others work with a Christmass tree stroll to each others homes to view the trees, enjoy some refreshments, and celebrate the holidays.

Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Richard, Mary M, Sherry, Mary, Ed
Front Bill

First stop was at Birch Ridge for cocktails and appetizers. For starters, we served spicy shrimp wrapped in bacon, and Duck breast waffles with cranberry drizzle. After a few adult beverages we were off to our next stop.

The Smiths Christmas Tree
The Smith's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Ed, Sherry, Mary, Peter, Mary M
Front L-R: Righard and Bill

Next stop was to Peter and Ellen Smith's house for more refreshments and appetizers. Peter and Ellen own the Forerunner Ski Shop, where many of our inn guests go for equipment during their stay in Killington. Their son, Brian, now runs the shop as Peter has "retired". Put even though he has retired from day to day at the shop, Peter still enjoys keeping things in order. For instance....

Santa at the Forerunner
Santa and his reindeer at the Forerunner Ski Shop

Peter and Brian have been having a great time these last couple of months refurbishing an old Killington gondola cabin. Brian mounted it in front of the Forerunner several weeks ago. Peter, inspired by the holiday season, comandeered the gondola cabin turning into a sleigh for Santa, complete with tiny lighted reindeer to pull Santa on his way. We could not resist on our stroll last night not stopping to have our picture taken with Santa.... There is a little kid still left in each of us.

The Albert's Christmas Tree
The Albert's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Ed, Sherry, Mary, Mary M, and Richard
Front: Bill

Between the Smiths and the Forerunner, we stopped at the Alberts for some soup and salad. Ed was functioning as mixologist creating a new cocktail with his favorite spicy gingerale. It went down really well, and my head did not hurt too much this morning. As they say... Happy Holidays!

The Mercier's Christmas Tree
The Mercier's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Bill, Ed, Mary, Sherry, Mary M, Peter, and Richard

The final stop of the evening was to view the Mercier's Christmas tree, share some dessert(a delicious Red Velvet Cake) and share a night cap.

Holiday traditions make the holidays real. Every year for the last 22 years, Mary and I have also been working to get the inn just right to greet our holiday guests. In addition to decorating the inns Christmas Tree, Mary has been busy putting out decorations all around the inn. I have been working with the Chef to develop the holiday menues. Our Christmas menu is now available for viewing online.

For holiday dinners this year, we will be serving at the inn on both Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Reservations for either evening are recommended, especially for the dining room at the Inn. We will also be serving the same menu at the bar in the Great Room if you would like a more casual setting.

Also, while at the inn, take a few moments to register for this years Christmas Tree contest. This year Mary has created a contest where you guess the total number of Christmas Ornaments and Bows she put on the tree. The winner, who guesses closest or equal to the number wins a dinner for 2 at the inn.

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday season is joyful. 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!

Let our personal ski season begin.  Getting equipment on in the K1 parking lot at Killington

Let our personal ski season begin. Getting equipment on in the K1 parking lot at Killington 

The alarm went off at 7:45 this morning.

The night before we had spent a couple of hours finding our ski kit. No matter how hard you try at the end of the last ski season to clean it and put it all away together, there are always items that escape. If we're not careful, there can be a large round of "Where is my blankety blank" as we try to find all of the stuff to support our skiing habit. We've done that on the first day of skiing before... we were determined not to do that this year... and for the most part we succeeded.

With the kit found and packed the night before, and a bowl of raisin and spice oatmeal in the microwave, we proceeded to get ready for our first day on the mountain of the 2019, 2020 ski season. With the exception of a little banter about "boots on in the house" or "boots on in the lodge", everything went very smooth.

"Boots on in the house" won, which means Mary puts her boots on at the inn, and I put my boots on in the parking lot. With all of the construction taking place to build the new K1 base lodge, it only made sense to ski from the car. No matter what approach we would find in the parking lot, some hiking would be required. But it is easier to go straight to the lift, than it is to schlep all of the kit to the far side of the K1 lodge away from the construction and then put it all on.

An artifact of Boots on in the house .... Making helmet adjustments in the K1 parking lot before beginning our ski day.
An artifact of "Boots on in the house" .... Making helmet adjustments in the K1 parking lot before beginning our ski day.

With all of our kit assembled, we headed off across the parking lot towards the K1 Gondola. We were in what was originally "Bay 3" in the lot. To reach the K1 Gondola we needed to climb 2 sets of stairs and traverse around the K1 Gondola car storage shed before arriving at the lift. Carrying only skis and poles, it was not a bad walk at all. Plus the exhilaration of actually committing to our first day of skiing this season also took the sting out of the walk.

The stairs across the parking lot bays heading towards the K1 Gondola.
The stairs across the parking lot bays heading towards the K1 Gondola.

The next obstacle to overcome was the RFID pass gates at K1. The first time through each season is always a challenge...Will they work? or will I need to go to guest services and have something fixed. They Worked! We dodged that bullet.

The gondola ride up was uneventful. We rode up with some KMS staff who had a bunch of kids with them spread out over multiple cabins. As we got about halfway up, the cloud deck eveloped the cabin. Not a great sign for the first day of skiing, but totally predictable for Killington where a storm is due to move in later in the day. To our relief, the clouds were not on the ground at the top of the mountain. Visibility was decent, in flat light. Anytime you can actually see the trail you are skiing is a big plus on the first day out.

Mary on Great Northern from Killington Peak
Mary on Great Northern from Killington Peak

Of course we skied right to the new North Ridge Quad. We had to partake in the newest edition to the Killington lift portfolio. Several items to note.... it's fast, it's smooth, it does not creak or make strange sounds at every stanchion. Ski patrol still has a funky corral at the lift entrance at the bottom which was annoying, but given the crowds this new lift has seen over the last few weekends, it is perfectly understandable. Oh... did I mention it's fast!

It's so fast, several of our friends advised us to exit the chair at the top quickly so the chair does not catch up to you as it swings down the return line. So when the chair reached the top, exit promptly we did. With no problems what so ever....

The new North Ridge Quad... what a sweet ride.
The new North Ridge Quad... what a sweet ride.

In addition to K-Peak, Snowdon was open today for skiing and riding.
In addition to K-Peak, Snowdon was open today for skiing and riding.

Being the first day, and with low light conditions, it was not a ski till you drop day. We took a few runs down Rime and Reason, and a few runs at Snowden on Bunny Buster and Mouse Run. Conditions everwhere were primarily a mix of natural and man-made snow that was skiing soft and pliable. Just perfect for our first day out.

Snow season has definitely arrived at Killington. If you haven't already, find your equipment, and get ready for your own personal first day of the season. It will be fun. Let it snow!

Utility pole feeding the Birch Ridge Inn downed by Thursday nights storm.

Utility pole feeding the Birch Ridge Inn downed by Thursday nights storm. 

A big "Thank You!" to Green Mountain Power.

The utility pole feeding power to the inn snapped on Friday morning at 2:30 AM as a result of a large tree falling across the lines. It was an interesting night.

Green Mountain Power was great. I met with their advance team at the inn at 5:30 AM to determine the logistics of getting everything back as quickly as possible. While Mary was cooking breakfast and making sure our guests were cared for, Green Mountain Power sent a dozen people to the inn with multiple pieces of heavy equipment to replace the utility pole and restore service. We had a contingency plan in place with another nearby inn to relocate guests, but fortunately we did not need to execute it. GMP had the power restored with a new utility pole, new transformer, and new high tension line by 3PM allowing Mary and I to get the inn, with the help of our employees, fully back in operation by evening dinner service.

Below are some pictures of all the comings an goings at the inn.

The tree that brought down the utility pole.  Snagged wires snapping the pole just above ground.
The tree that brought down the utility pole. Snagged wires snapping the pole just above ground.

Temporary road being cut to access the utility pole.
Temporary road being cut to access the utility pole.

Another view of the temporary road.
Another view of the temporary road.

Large tractor up at the site of the damage.
Large tractor up at the site of the damage.

Behind the tractor with bucket deployed.
Behind the tractor with bucket deployed.

The tractor is quite a rig with a crawler base, auger attachment, Cherry Picker attachement, and small plow
The tractor is quite a rig with a crawler base, auger attachment, cherry picker attachement, and small plow

50 FT Cherry Picker brought in to assist.
50 FT Cherry Picker brought in to assist.

Mid-air ballet to repair the lines.
Mid-air ballet to repair the lines.

Testing the connections before throwing the switch.
Testing the connections before throwing the switch.

Thank You Green Mountain Power for quickly reacting. It is unsettling to say the least when you walk outside of your home and see a snapped utility pole. The quick response was awesome.

The storm that brought down the utility pole at the inn also blanked the top of Killington with snow. While we were too busy taking care of our guests, Merisa did make the hike up to earn her turns.

Snow season at Killington will arrive any day now. If you haven't already, beging you ski/boarding excercises.... find your equipment, and get ready for opening day. It will be soon.....





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