KILLINGTON, Vt. – Just weeks after thousands flocked to Vermont for leaf peeping season, it’s already time to bring out the skis and snowboards.
Killington started spinning its lifts for season passholders on Friday, and the general public will be able to get their turns in beginning Saturday.
Amy Laramie, Director of Communications, Events and Special Projects, said all it took was a sustained burst of cold air to get things started in relatively short order.
“We had this great stretch of cold temps, the team charged the system on Monday, and was able to keep it running 24 hours a day, which allowed us to have opening day today.”
Killington traditionally aims to be the first resort in the Eastern U.S. to open, and the last to close. With some years allowing for an opening as early as October, this was an average start date.
We spoke with skiers and riders from Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania who flocked to the mountain on Friday.
“All of my friends are down at the beach right now because we’ve got school off this week, but I’m skiing,” said 16 year-old Justin Selan. “I love it, man.”
Justin and his father Michael drove up from New Jersey, but they were planning that trip regardless of whether the mountain was open yet.
Others had trips that were decidedly spur-of-the-moment.
Andrea Saldutti and her 11 year-old son Nekolaus of Woodland Park, New Jersey managed to make their visit a day trip.
“We woke up at 4:45 this morning to pack up and head here for our four hour drive,” Andrea said.
Nekolaus said he was excited to hit the slopes, but his first reaction?
“No sleep!” he said.
If you’re planning on a visit, you should know that open terrain is only suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders at this time. Visitors will board the K-1 Gondola, use the Peak Walkway to get to and from the North Ridge Quad, and encounter early season conditions on Rime and Reason trail.
Limited terrain on opening day is to be expected, and skiers and riders certainly weren’t complaining.
“One small trail open today, and over 1,000 people came!” said Gerald Perkins.
“I’m so happy to be here, it’s a great atmosphere, everyone is so excited to be here,” said Jillian Ladabouche of Rutland.
It’s a day you can find some of the most dedicated and die-hard snow lovers, many of whom have been boarding lifts for over 40 years. As we learned, that doesn’t come without some bumps along the trail.
“I’m just an addict, I’ve been doing it since I was little,” Michael Selan said. “I’ve had two ACL reconstructions and a shoulder reconstruction from skiing, I can’t get enough of it.”
Thanksgiving weekend, Killington will host the Homelight Killington Cup and the FIS Ski Women’s World Cup. For more information on those events, visit the Killington website.