I’ve enjoyed beating up on Killington over the years, especially my anti-capitalist anti-consumerism post-college-angst years (if aren’t a socialist in your 20s you have no heart, if you’re still a socialist in your 30s you have no brain). But in recent memory, I’ve always had good early and late season days there. Killington came at this season with a completely different attitude. There has been a void in New England skiing for a long time and it is nice to have that void finally refilled.
As Sugarloaf and Sugarbush both close, Killington is not just still open but talking about June. Maybe they will get there, maybe they won’t. But the talk is hardly hypothetical marketing bluster, it is absolutely doable.
Unlike in past years when “The Beast” announced an earlier than planned April closing despite ample snow just before a massive storm that they would not reopen for, Killington is honestly playing for keeps this season. And it is about time. All hail Killington, undisputed King of Spring with the earliest opening, latest closing, and longest season. Thank you.
One of my best posts last year was uncharacteristically direct. Coincidentally, that was also a report from Jay in May. I’ll follow suit for this report. It felt incredible to be hiking and skiing today. “I love it” would be an understatement.
More than half of Jay Peak’s guests last week were from Quebec. Whereas this weekend, more than half of Jay Peak’s guests were Killington Refuges. While not crowded, an empty chair was hard to find despite the Jet Triple running nearly ski on all day. For the second time this season, I saw a family without valid passes trying to sneak onto the lift only to be caught by RFID. And I thought it would have been the college kids getting called out.
Based on what I observed, it seems likely that Jay was operating profitably this weekend. But that is a somewhat dubious argument against Killington. As more ski areas close, it makes it easier for the limited few to make a profit due to attrition from other areas. As opposed to more competition for fewer guests spread around to more areas. But Killington could just as easily have been taking Jay’s customers rather than vice versa. Superstar is a superior late season trail and I would have been at Killington instead of Jay had the so called “Beast” ran their lifts. All that said, I was glad to be skiing lift serviced in May and glad to be doing it at Jay Peak.
Opening weekend for the Mount Washington Auto Road is a special weekend when the East Snowfields are in play. After my first experience on the East Snowfields two years ago, I vowed to never miss an opportunity to ski the East Snowfields slacker style when the Auto Road opens.
Kingsley and I hooked up for a long planned trip to Mount Washington to lap the East Snowfields on Memorial Day Weekend. Sunday offered the best conditions with the added perk of being a TimeForTuckerman.com gathering date. I brought a cooler full of adult beverages and grilling meat though the gathering was already well stocked with both. Not many things better than lunch time burgers near the summit of New England’s highest peak on a blue bird day following four laps of the East Snowfields.
During the seven mile drive from Route 16 to the East Snowfields, Kingsley and I listened to a sensationally dramatic CD detailing the history of the Auto Road. We quickly geared up and headed over to the Snowfields where we met Austin just finishing up a climb back to the top. After some quick introductions and pleasantries, we got down to business carving huge turns down stellar baked untracked corn snow. The first run would be the best and it was very enjoyable. The snow on the snowfields was quickly cut up by over one hundred fellow slackers. The traffic combined with the high temperatures and baking snow made for mashed potato sloppy corn by the third run.
Kingsley and I ventured further afield to the southern end of the East Snowfields which offered less hammered snow and occasional untracked patches. We enjoyed turns in a barely covered rock garden before climbing back up to the gathering and grilling some meat. After beer and burgers, we took two more runs for a total of six laps and called it a day. Another sensational blue bird day on Mount Washington which marks the beginning of the end for the season.