Pico Mountain, Vermont
Pico is the sister resort to Killington, in central Vermont. Although close by and part of the same company, the 2 resorts are not connected. This is mostly a locals/family resort serving nearby Rutland. This review is based on one visit having above average conditions with 3″ of fresh overnight and a deep base.
|Real Vertical ?||2,000′, Rank: 74|
|Size||468 Acres, Rank: 94|
|Annual Snowfall ?||250″ claimed / 250″ actual, Rank: 74|
|Lift Pods ?||5, Rank: 59|
|Distinct Trails ?||40, Rank: 93|
|Review Date||March, 2023|
|Number of visits||1|
Pico Mountain Review
Pico’s stats put it in the bottom quarter of our list of 100, but we had heard good things about this small resort and decided to put it on the list.
We visited in March 2023 after a horrible start to the season which had turned around with heavy snowfall the 2 weeks before we arrived. Coverage was great and the 3″ of fresh snow really put a shine on things. Our luck was holding up well!
Pico is one of the oldest resorts in the US, having opened in 1938. For a time it was one of the premier resorts in the east according to newenglandskihistory.com. Times have changed and largely put Pico in the shadow of its huge neighbor Killington. There have been multiple attempts to join the 2 resorts via lifts and trails, but it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to happen. That’s probably for the best because joined it would be a small part of a huge resort, but separate it can be its own thing.
We spent most of our time lapping the Summit Express chair because honestly, there wasn’t much more to the resort that interested us. This lift is the main dish AND dessert! We skied every run off that chair except Upper Giant Killer which had some huge bumps that we were not that interested in after skiing 6 days out of the previous week. Upper KA and Sunset 71 were our favorites. The grooming was excellent and the runs have some interesting twists and turns.
Poma Line and Poma Woods
Someone we were talking to on the chair suggested skiing the Poma line which ended up in some nice glades at the bottom. Turns out the “glades” part was fantastic, but the poma line itself was insanely difficult for a western skier. Ice, stumps, rocks, cement blocks, and steel cables were all part of the experience. There wasn’t much actual snow in a couple of spots because it just got scraped off. The run is about the width of 2 skis end to end in the upper part, and it’s very steep. I tried to find some pics of the lift in operation because I cannot imagine what would have happened to a hapless poma rider who fell off and started sliding down the line back in the day.
The other chairs
The legendary James Niehues did a fantastic job painting the Pico trail map, but it exaggerates the vertical of all the chairs on the lower part of the mountain. When we planned the trip we thought we would find some nice variety on Little Pico, Golden Express, and Outpost, but they were all lacking. Golden Express is low angle and crowded with only 850′ of vertical. Little Pico was being used for race training but we stole a quick run in the morning before they set up the courses. This chair serves what was some of the best skiing in the east in 1941, but oh how times have changed and now it’s just a small hill comparatively. Outpost is interesting but at 500′ it just doesn’t have enough vertical to warrant more than a couple of laps.
We had lunch at the main Pico Lodge upstairs at the Last Run lounge. The only other option is the cafeteria downstairs or the Waffle Cabin which was closed. The Last Run is a sit-down restaurant serving decent food but the lodge really needs remodeling (or just tear it down and start over).
- A lot of nice wide groomers
- Decent challenge on runs served by the Summit Express
- Refreshingly easy parking
- Except for the Golden Express, no real lift lines even on a Saturday in early March
- For advanced skiers it’s really a one-lift mountain
- This is one of the smallest resorts on our list by acreage and it feels small unlike Cannon and Whiteface which are actually even smaller
- Aging lifts and lodges
- Does not operate on non-peak Tuesdays or Wednesdays
The bottom line
This is a decently fun resort for a variety day away from Killington, but it’s mostly for local families with kids who are learning to ski. As a home resort it would get old fast and it doesn’t really have enough to draw destination skiers on its own.