For most of the snow world, opening days are bittersweet. Limited terrain, limited snow, and limited access all combine to give us a taste of the winter we’re waiting for without giving everyone everything they want. Out west resorts cross their fingers and hope to get a good storm, and Wolf Creek snaked Loveland and A-Basin by a full week this season-opening when a foot of fresh fell on the resort. But back here on the east coast, it was a snowmakers race again, with resorts in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont trying to push water uphill as soon as temps got low enough.
And this year, as in so many years before, Killington got the goods first. Edging out Sunday River in Maine when the K1 Express Gondola started spinning for opening day at Killington earlier than announced, season pass holders could ride the gondola to the top of Killington Peak on Friday, October 19th and then follow the catwalk to riders left across to the top of the North Ridge Triple Lift. Rime, Reason, and Upper East Fall were open, along with a quick three features from the Killington Parks crew at the bottom of Reason.
All opening days are less than complete experiences. With finite snowmaking capacity, and everyone excited to get on the snow (even if their legs aren’t ready to be back yet) there’s a lot of energy packed into a chaotic environment. But Killington got more than a few things right. First off, the snowmaking team did the unthinkable and managed to open two (two and a half if you count East Fall) runs for their full length and width. This wasn’t the usual “white ribbon of death” you think of on opening days, a ten-foot wide trail of snow packed from edge to edge with people going full season send without being in full season shape. Instead, it was a complete skiing and snowboarding experience, on surprisingly quality snow with completely manageable lift lines.
Furthermore, this wasn’t just a push to grab the “opening day” title and then shut down for a few weeks to get ready for “real” season. Sources tell Mountain Weekly News that Killington aims to be open for regular winter business hours from Monday, October 22 onward, weather permitting. Obviously, upper Killington Peak will be the place to watch as more trails are added, but there was obvious evidence of snowmaking on runs serviced by the Superstar Express Quad, so top-to-bottom runs at Killington can’t be far.