I grew up in Massachusetts as an occasional weekend skier.
My family would venture out to different ski areas of Vermont and New Hampshire until my dad bought a rundown house just north of Montpelier. We never skied Killington for some reason but I had heard of it and just the name sounded intimidating and scary.
Killington is now my go-to mountain, one that offers everything within easy access to several metro markets. (My own drive is under four hours to the four-season resort.) First of all, Killington is big. It comprises seven peaks with a vertical drop of 3,050 vertical feet. Many New England/New York ski areas are one or two peaks with a much smaller vertical. Killington has 28 lifts. Many ski areas in this market have a quarter that amount, or less. Killington has 92 miles of trails with 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, not including its tree skiing — groomed slopes studded with conifers — for the more skilled and adventurous among us.
What makes Killington jump ahead of the pack is beginner, intermediate and expert trails that are accessible and available from most of its lifts. It’s easy to bring a disparate group of skiing friends to Killington and see each other, be with each other throughout the day. Most ski areas have sections for different abilities where you might not see your friends until aprés ski. Not Killington. And the number of trails is pretty evenly divided by degree of difficulty. Whatever your ability, there are many cruising or challenging options throughout the resort. The well-marked trail system makes it almost impossible to end up on a trail beyond your ability. And there are several base, mid-mountain and summit areas for a rest, a coffee, a bowl of soup, a drink or a restaurant-quality meal.
Killington also boasts a Snowcat grooming fleet and snow-making abilities second to none in the East. The Women’s World Cup ski competition that came to Killington this past Thanksgiving weekend was made possible by Killington’s snow-making team and skills. Shortly before the ski races, there was no snow at Killington but a blast of cold air allowed the team to go to work and build the base on the World Cup race trail. Killington pumped more than 1.5 million gallons of water up the slope for a depth of snow ranging from 60 inches to 15 feet. The ski season at Killington is the undisputed longest in the East. I have skied Killington, top to bottom, before Halloween, and the season always extends into May and sometimes touches June. Killington also has a progressive ski and snowboard school to aid in upping your game. For decades, the Killington Ski School has led the East, often leading the industry, in new teaching techniques, innovative equipment and many career and PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America)-certified coaches.
After the snow melts there is no shortage of activities. Killington has its own golf course carved into the lower hills. The mountain biking trail system incorporates lift access, trail riding and single-track technical riding. There is glorious hiking with Vermont’s Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail both intersecting in Killington, offering splendid vantage point viewing a short distance from your chosen parking location. And there are easy access lakes and rivers for swimming, kayaking, canoeing or fishing. You will also find young breweries, Otter Creek, Long Trail and Fiddlehead and many others, offering tours and tastings. And there are a couple of dozen wineries that are worthy of a visit.
Killington and central Vermont have something for everyone.