Killington brands itself as “The Beast”. Maybe that’s a bit misleading, but it does describe the size of the place quite well. With 73 miles of trails you can cruise around for a few days and not get bored. This review is based on day that featured warm-ish temps and a solid snowpack that was just starting to turn to the corner to spring conditions.
|Real Vertical ?||3,050′, Rank: 26|
|Size||1,509 Acres, Rank: 57|
|Annual Snowfall ?||250″ claimed / 229″ actual, Rank: 79|
|Lift Pods ?||11, Rank: 14|
|Distinct Trails ?||140, Rank: 16|
|Review Date||March 2023|
|Number of visits||1|
This was the last resort we skied on our 2023 northeastern US tour of 8 resorts. Even though it was our 9th day of skiing in the past 10, we got up early so we could be at the base of the gondola for the 8AM opening. To make it even harder, this was the Sunday when the time changed to Daylight Saving time, so it felt like 7AM!
The goal of the day was to ski everything. Well, maybe not all 140 runs, but at least one or two in each non-beginner ski pod. We started at the lowest point of the resort which was the base of the Skyeship Express gondola so we could ski top to bottom on our last run back to the car. By March 12th it was starting to get thin at the bottom in places that got a lot of sun but it was still fine skiing.
Not bad. Not bad at all…
Part of the process of choosing the best 100 ski resorts for our list involved talking to other people who regularly ski the northeast, and every single person we talked to recommended skipping it altogether. The reasons usually had to do with crowds, but culture played a part as well. We honestly didn’t understand why after skiing there. The Sunday crowds were totally manageable and we didn’t encounter any unusually grouchy people.
Just the highlights please
11 lift pods are too many to go into detail for, so this review will just cover some of the notable impressions we got.
The grooming is really good at Killington. They claim to groom 40 miles of trails a night, and we believe them. Our first run from the top of the Skyeship was down Skyelark and we loved it. This is what we would be looking for all day with a few bump runs thrown in.
We love steep groomers and Killington has them. Runs like Superstar, Cascade, and Vertigo were thrilling. Superstar is particularly interesting because you have to climb up the massive hill of man-made snow at the top before you can ski down. The depth had to be 20-30 feet, which is designed to keep that run going all the way to June. It’s icy and crowded but fun.
Some lift lines
The biggest lines we encountered were at the Snowdon Six Express. I don’t know what it is about 6 and 8 packs but people seem to gravitate to them. The Snowdon Six chair is further impacted because you must take it if going to or from the Ramshead chair. It moves along but we only did that a couple of times because most of the other chairs were pretty uncrowded.
Lots of easy stuff
Ramshead and the Skye Peak Express were also pretty busy because they serve mostly low intermediate terrain which is what a large percentage of Killington skiers are looking for. We didn’t find anything of interest at Ramshead, but Skye Peak had some interesting terrain.
Bumps, bumps and more bumps
Like Sunday River, what isn’t groomed is bumped out. If you like that sort of thing, there is lots to choose from. The Bear Mountain chair seems to specialize in that. A couple of bump runs over there got our legs tired pretty quickly.
Other strange things
Solitude from the top of the South Ridge chair is basically a road that they groom in the winter for skiing. It’s marked blue but it’s mostly a flat green run except for a couple of slightly steeper sections down near the bottom. That run took us a long time. It goes all the way down to the bottom of Bear Mountain and feels like forever. I would not want to take that in the spring when the snow is sticky, but it was an interesting experience.
The South Ridge chair faces southeast and because of that it was melting out already. We had to dodge some large bare areas on The Jug. Pipe Dream is the only run with snowmaking on that chair so that’s probably typical for mid March.
Lodges and lifts
The K-1 lodge was brand new the year we were there. That is the most spectacular lodge we have seen in the northeast. The food is great with lots of variety at the many different stations, but expensive. Too expensive. Pack a lunch if you don’t have a large lunch budget.
In general everything was sparkling and well cared for at Killington. For a resort that’s been around a long time, it doesn’t have that time worn look that many of the ski resorts we’ve been to over the years have. Most of the main lifts are high-speed affairs with the notable exception of the Snowdon Triple, which was built in 1973. It seems out-of-place surrounded by all that new steel everywhere else.
- Largest resort in the East
- Great modern lodges and lifts
- 40 miles of trails groomed nightly
- Lots of steep groomers
- Probably the most powerful snowmaking system in North America
- Has a reputation for being crowded
- Not enough natural snow. Strangely, they claim 250″ a year, but averaging the numbers published on their own website yields a modest 229″ and lands it 79th on our list.
The bottom line
Killington is a sure bet for an eastern ski vacation. Lots of terrain for every ability level, and reliable snowmaking make it the most popular resort in the northeast. Our impression was that it does everything well like a daily driver, but you don’t come away with a lot of special memories that stand out. We prefer the rugged nature of resorts like Whiteface and Sugarloaf, but you can’t go wrong at Killington.