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The gang wishing the Bagel off as he decides to focus on Apres Ski life

The gang wishing the Bagel off as he decides to focus on Apres Ski life 

What a fantastic ski day!

100% bright blue ski. Winter surfaces, Spring temperatures.... it does not get any better until it does....

The crewe started today punctually at 9:00 AM. Today on the slopes for the gang was an important day, and Mother Nature cooperated in all her glory.

It is virtually impossible to complain about any runs today. Every run had a firmness under foot mellowed by last weeks snow storm combined with the beginning of the spring softening across the landscape. While most trails still had winter hardpack as a base, and a couple were skiddy versus carvey, all the trails were covered with a packed powder coating that in some cases sprayed mid boot level under broad sweeping turns. As the morning progressed, each run seemed better than the last as the sun and skier traffic worked their magic softening up ski surfaces.

It is impossible to call a run of the day.. they were all good. But a slight tip of the hat goes off to Superstar as spring settles over the resort. Over the last couple of days Superstar has morphed from a collection of skid turns to a carvers delight. From top to bottom the surface is trending softer. Not yet soft enough to build the mega-bumps of spring, but the trend line is clear. In the meantime, if you dont want mega-bumps and like to carve, Superstar was the place to go get some today.

But today was also about the Bagel. After a multi-decade ski carreer he has decided to focus his efforts on the Apres Ski life. Between wintering in Florida, his love for golf, and his blender with frozen margaritas, he decided that today was the day to call an end to his regular ski excursions to the mountains. While he may still be coaxed out to make a guest appearance, he has decided, like many before him, that the time was right.

I have enoyed the Bagel's company on the slopes of Killington for almost 30 years. We have a lot of great ski days under our belts together. Many have skied with him 40 or more years. In addition to skiing with him at Killington, he introduced Mary and I to the many great golf courses in the area. And once we were hooked on Killington in both the winter and the summer, it was only a matter of time before we decided to relocate our lives to Killington and start the Birch Ridge Inn. Damn you Bagel!

Speaking for Mary and myself, we will miss the Bagel on the slopes of Killington next winter.... but in the meantime, we look forward to many rounds of golf with him this summer when the snow melt turns the mountains and golf courses of Vermont green. And so it goes....

The ski trails of Killington are resplendent in the spring sun. By all means, get out and enjoy the bounty Mother Nature has given us this winter. When you venture onto the slopes, have a great time... and don't forget your sun screen!

JLooking towards Superstar from the top of Caper at Rams Head (Taken Monday 3/18/19)

Looking towards Superstar from the top of Caper at Rams Head (Taken Monday 3/18/19) 

Lots to talk about in my first post in a while.

To start out.... it has been a VERY busy winter. Mother Nature has looked down fondly at the Killington Resort. The improvements made by the resort in the summer of 2018 are paying huge dividends in improving the on snow experience people are having across the resort. Major marketing initiatives like the FIS Women's World Cup and participation in the IKON pass program are getting Killington's name back out onto the world stage. It's all good!

We have had the good fortune of being able to get out on the mountain many days this month. But that is not the news.

Today the resort is being pummeled by a spring storm traveling up the Atlantic Coast. Heavy wet snow has been falling since the early morning hours. By 12 noon, 5 inches of heavy wet snow had fallen at the inn's snow stake. The snow level is approaching the peak that it has been all year behind the inn. Tomorrows reading should be interesting.

But if the snow were not enough to continue to have people excited about the resort, and they should be because it looks like we will have a long spring skiing and riding season, last night at a community meeting attended by north of 500 people the resort announced their development plans for the 2019 construction season. The highlights include :

At Pico Mountain - $2.1million dollar investment to improve snow making infrastructure. Pico has always been limited in the amount of snow that could be made there due to water problems. To solve those problems, Powdr is proposing a 16850 pipeline to cross the area interconnecting Killington and Pico to bring water to Pico. The interconnection of Killington to the Woodward Reservoir several years ago has seen Killington experience a surplus of snow making water for the winter. (The reservoir needs to be drawn down each year to prevent damage to the surrounding shore line.) The pipeline, in addition to new pumps, will see snow making capacity doubled across the Pico portion of the resort.

At the Killington Resort..... Lots of news....

Just a quick summary of new snow making improvements.
- 12k feet of new snow making pipe
- 60 new semi automated hydrants
- 400 new low e guns
- 120 new low e towers

New construction at the Killington Resort during the summer of 2019 will include :
- A new ski tunnel on Great Bear at Snowden
- Completing the apron work and regrading the tunnels installed in 2018 based upon winter experience
- Change some of the new RFID mazes to improve skier flow to some of the lifts
- A new lift a North Ridge. The new lift will be a quad running along the same lift line as the current North RIdge Triple. Construction on this lift will begin at the end of April with removel of the old Triple chair. The new lift will be running in October to support the start of the 2019-2020 winter season.
- A new Youth Progression area at Rams Head taking advantage of some of the teaching experiences gained from the Powdr subsidiary Woodward. A new 600 foot magic carpet will be installed to bring kids further up Rams Head to progress ski training for childrens programs.
- New K1base lodge.(This is the big Kahuna!). The resort is currently working to finalize the construction plan with BreadLoaf Construction to build a brand new K1 Base Lodge. Construction will take place over 2 years. The first phase will begin in May with a new building being constructed in what is now the current turn around area at the K1 Gondola in front of the existing K1 Base Lodge. This area will ultimately be used to greet guests, support retail operations, have ski lockers etc. The plan is to progress as far as possible over the summer of 2019, while keeping the existing K1 base lodge open for summer visitors and for the 2019-2020 season. Next summer, the plan has the existing K1 base lodge being knocked down and a new lodge rising in approximately the same foot print (if I read the drawings put up on the screen last night). The combined space of the new buildings will be approx 58000 sq ft versus the current 37000 sq ft building. If all goes according to plan the new lodge will be available for the 2020-2021 winter season.
- One thing to note on all of these plans is that the resort is currently working through the permitting processes. While they feel confident in their proposals, we are talking some major work at the resort. So stay tuned for further updates.

More detailed information on all of Killington's plans can be found on the Mountain Improvements page on Killington.com.

Last but not least, Killington announced their season pass pricing for the 2019-2020 season. Way to many options to talk about here. Several things to take note of... The price of passes for the 2019-2020 season saw minor increases. On many of the pass products, unless you have personally purchased one last year and have your reciept, you will barely notice a difference. The other item is ACT NOW! Buy your 2019-2020 season pass to Killington NOW! Season passes are heavly discounted when purchase by June 13, 2019 so act fast for the best deals. Pass information can be found on Killington.com under their Season-Passes pages.

We have tons of snow on the mountain for you to enjoy this spring. Get your boards out and head to Killington!

Killington Peak with snow making operations taking place all over resort. (Picture taken Monday 1/28/19)

Killington Peak with snow making operations taking place all over resort. (Picture taken Monday 1/28/19) 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Mother Nature is at it again.

The Weather Channel Hyped "Polar Vortex" is hitting Killington with at least a glancing blow this week. Temperatures have been in the single digits and low teens. On days like yesterday when we had 100% sunshine, it seemed almost warm. On days like today, with no sun combined with blowing and drifting snow, it is just cold.

Overnight weather forecasts have the area under a "Winter Storm Warning" until 7AM Wednesday morning. The forecast is calling for 5 to 8 inches of snow with temperatures in the low teens. Tomorrow should be another great day to ski and ride at Killington.

Think Snow!

Chairs hung on new South Ridge Quad

Chairs hung on new South Ridge Quad 

What happened to January. It has been a pretty wild ride...

Between the wait a minute weather.... is it hot is it cold, is it snowy, is it icing, is it r@Ining (I refuse to type that word in the winter), Mother Nature had kept us off balance. In general it has been a pretty good snow month, the last few days not withstanding. We should be exiting the month with very solid base conditions to carry us through the rest of the season.

At the inn it has been snow blowing, plowing, industrial augering, bucket loading and a bunch of sand and calcium chloride. it is all good. The one bill that we like to pay (don't let it go to your head Mark), is our snow plowing bill. More plowing means more snow, more skiing, more fun.... it is a pretty simple formula.

Mary and I have been up on the mountain at least 2-3 days every week this month. Conditions are varying greatly due to the capricious behavior of Mother Nature, but the resort is taking things in stride. During the very cold periods, they were stockpiling snow for the spring on Superstar. During the snowy periods, they were judiciously grooming. Both powder hounds and casual cruisers should have been satisfied with the work done by the resort on snow days. In addition, the resort also made significant strides in completing the build of the new South Ridge Quad. Everything looks ready for testing.... Keep your fingers crossed but we should be hearing about an opening date soon.

With February fast approaching, we are now entering the prime of the ski vacation season. it's a great time to plan your Killington getaway. With the snow pack in the area, we have a long season left.

Where ever you may be, Think Snow!

2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

The holiday season is coming to a close.

Around the inn, Christmas decorations are slowly being put away; being replaced with Mary's collection of snowmen. By weeks end, they will be scattered around the inn dancing their odes to Ullr to encourage copious snow around the inn. (Some night I think that they are all going to come alive like some cheesy Dr. Who episode.)

For the first time since the holidays we were able to venture out on the slopes today. It was definitely a cold day on the hill. Conditions were generally flat and fast with loose powder on most surfaces. Snow making operations are taking place at many strategic locations around the mountain, most notably on Outer Limits and at the half pipe at Bear mountain.

The new 6 pack "Bubble Chair" on Snowden is a thing to behold. The whole nature of skiing Killington has radically changed with this welcomed addition to the resorts quiver. it is now quick and seamless to traverse across the entire resort, instead of having a major choke point at Snowden. And the new chair is surprisingly warm even on a day like today where temps were struggling to get out of single digits.

Last Saturday, the winner of this years contest to guess the number of ornaments on the 2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas tree was announced. 223 ornaments adorned the tree this year. 289 people entered this years contest with guesses ranging from a minimum of 55 to a maximum of 3900. 160 guesses were over the 223 number and were disqualified under "Price is Right" rules.

M Fitzpatrick won the first prize with an exact guess of 223. They win a "Champagne dinner for two" to the Birch Ridge Inn for their efforts. Second place, and a $50 gift certificate, goes to Phill Fallo with a guess of 220 ornaments. Congratulations all!

Where ever you may be, Think Snow!

Killington Resort readies for Christmas

Killington Resort readies for Christmas 

Christmas week is here.

After an unprecedented stretch of fantastic early season ski conditions, right on schedule Mother Nature threw us a curve ball late last week. We have not even skipped a beat!

So much natural snow fell in November and December that over an inch of r@!n could not wash away all of the snow on the ground. Around the inn, we still are surrounded by white with a 6 inch depth at the snow stake in the inn's back yard. On the mountain, where snow making operations have been going around the clock for weeks, base depths are even higher with the resort for all intents and purposes fully open to receive holiday guests.

Holiday visitors will experience a lot of changes at Killington this year. New gondola cabins are operating on the K1 gondola. The Snowden 6-pack "Bubble Chair" is fabulous. We have ridden it countless times since it opened several weeks ago. It will truly change how people ski at Killington. And the tunnels.... 3 to be exact at strategic locations on Skye Peak and Snowdon to redirect green square skiers away from black diamond slopes and eliminate dangerous cross-over traffic. All your favorite trails are still there. Some have been redesigned. Others have been re-opened (Great Eastern - Snowshed Crossover) All are covered with snow and ready for the holidays.

The Killington Basin covered in snow.  Don't forget to check out Bear Mountain on your visit.
The Killington Basin covered in snow. Don't forget to check out Bear Mountain on your visit.

At the inn, we have been working full tilt for the holidays. Mary has all the decorations out for holiday cheer. Our chefs have been very busy preparing the holiday menu for sold out seatings on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (As usual we are also seating people first come - first served in the bar if you want to stop by and join us for dinner.)

Christmas wood!
Christmas wood stacked for the holiday season.

The wood has been stacked, the liquor cabinet is stocked, the wine cellar is filled... We are ready.... (Of course I just need to wrap my presents.... but that waits till everyone goes home on Christmas eve so I can greet Santa)

The staff has tonight (December 23rd off). Most don't really know why other than to spend time with their families. But some of us still remember. I still swear I see Frizz making rolls in the kitchen every day. We miss him and the many members of our family and friends who won't be here physically to celebrate the holidays with us. But, as they say, "The show must go on"!

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday preparations are nearing completion so you can have a Merry Christmas! and of course "Think Snow"!

Can you count the ornaments on the 2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree???

Can you count the ornaments on the 2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree??? 

Where has 2018 gone! Two weeks to Christmas.... 3 weeks to 2019... Even in the Green Mountains of Vermont it has been a race....

But now comes the "Fun" part or the year.

The 2018 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree is officially on display. This years tree is the "Family" tree decorated with multi-color lights and traditional glass ornaments. The tree measures in at just over 13 1/2 feet from floor to ceiling. And of course, as the 'Family" style tree demands, there is tinsel everywhere!

It has become a Christmas Tradition at the inn to have our guests and many locals come and have their pictures taken beneath the tree. For the second year in a row, we are having a fun contest around the tree. Last year we counted lights. This year, instead of lights, we are counting ornaments.

The rules of the contest are very simple. Just visit the inn and fill out a contest entry form with your best guess. Using "Price is Right" rules, the person who guesses the closest to the correct number of ornaments on the tree, without going over the number, wins. You can fill out your entry form any day during the holiday season, right up to 9:00 PM on Friday January 4th. The winning entry will be announced in the Great Room on Saturday January 5th at 6:30 PM. No purchase is necessary and you do not need to be in attendance to win.... but you must come to the inn to get your entry form to enter the contest.

The prizes are simple. The person guessing the correct number of ornaments wins a Champagne dinner for 2 at the inn. The runner up, wins a $50 gift certificate. Last years contest featured lights. There were 4137 total lights on the 2017 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree. Ignigo Salazar was the closest with a guess of 4100. Peggy Golonka came in as the runner up with a count of 4080 lights.

While we have been busy getting the inn ready for the holidays, we have taken a few hours out on the mountain enjoying mid-winter conditions. Killington has thus far been blessed with multiple feet of snow in late November and early December. Last weekend, virtually the entire resort was open for skiing and riding; certainly something we have not experienced in a while.

Mary taking a break from making her turns on the mountain.
Mary taking a break from making her turns on the mountain.

Finally one big shout out to a special lady. Mom turned 90 years old last week. As feisty as ever, I was down on Cape Cod for several days to mark the occasion with my brothers and sister.

Happy birthday Mom!
Happy birthday Mom!

With the cold temperatures yielding ideal conditions for the resort to continue to make snow; skiing and riding should continue to be great as we lead into Christmas week. If you are planning a trip to the Green Mountains during Christmas week, you will not be disapointed.

If you are inn Killington this coming weekend, stop in and say hello and enter the tree contast. But no matter where you may be ---> "Think Snow" <---

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