By Karen D. Lorentz
KILLINGTON—Bubbles, bridges, boxes, blues, and bumps. All were a big hit with my grandkids who skied Killington for their first time on March 4. It was a day that they had been looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint.
Their dad, Jason Lorentz, had learned to ski at Killington in the Junior Program (mid-1980s) and had worked at the area one winter after college. Living in South Burlington, he taught his kids to ski at local areas and was eager to have them experience Killington.
For Jason and me our day was a rediscovery of Killington because so much has changed.
For 6-year-old Josh and 9-year-old Evie, it was “awesome” discoveries – of gondolas, six seat bubble chairlift, tunnels, long runs, and Stash and Peace Park.
We began their whirlwind tour at Ramshead with a warm-up run down Header topped off with doing the small elements in the Little Stash– Easy Street Progression Park.
On to Snowdon.
“This is comfort!” exclaimed Jason who was super impressed with the thick padded seats, protective bubbles, and quiet ride on the new Snowdon Six Express.
The kids said “awesome” and wanted to ride it again.
But it was on to the K-1 Gondola as we were headed for the Skyeship.
Taking Blue Heaven to Bear Trax to Snowshed Crossover (nice to see that open again) to their favorite Home Stretch was a long run – like four miles. The kids loved Home Stretch with Evie commenting on the trail’s bump sections toward the bottom being “like a mini park.”
The Skyeship was a big hit, with the kids noticing all the colorful designs on the various gondola cabins, and Josh noticing people boarding at Northbrook Station and wanting to go back to do that (go figure).
Our run down Bear Cub was easy and they enjoyed the sidehills as an easy way to do trees along the way.
After lunch at Bear, we rode the Skye Peak Express. Passing the panty trees, Jason was flabbergasted – he’d never seen them though I assured him they’ve been a thing at many areas for at least 10-15 years now. Evie spied the Mardi Gras beads and bras. Josh was oblivious.
They loved skiing through The Stash. The Dream Maker Peace Park was like nothing ever seen. Luckily, we had the humongous jumps to ourselves, and I was very happy about that because even the go-arounds had huge downhills and we weren’t in anyone’s way as we just skied – no jumping for us! (I would not bring them through it on a weekend as this is really for experienced park aficionados.)
Up again to Great Eastern and Cruise Control, a wide blue cruiser, and on to Northbrook Quad for a meander down Yodeler and Snowshed to the tunnel to Ramshead for a last run back to the car. It had been snowing since our lunch break and a tad windy so Jason exclaimed that the Skye Peak Express needs to be the next bubble. Until, that is, we had a last ride up Ramshead and he changed his request to Ramshead Quad next.
Studying the map while at Bear for lunch, Jason volunteered, “You don’t have to go to Bear Mountain to get challenge anymore. I feel like you can go anywhere on the mountain now,” he said, explaining it’s not just Outer Limits and Devil’s Fiddle for the experts with all the trees and trail choices now.
He also had noticed the re-characterizing of former green trails to blue, trail name changes, and the doing away with green on Killington Peak – all meeting with his approval. There’s even a sign as you depart the K-1 that notes for advanced only and a download option.
It was great to see the Snowshed Crossover trail back with the tunnel under SkyeBurst, but check the map to see its new route back to Snowshed via Northbrook Quad!
Several trails have been changed so Snowdon definitely skis differently – check the map if you don’t want to end up where you hadn’t planned on being. That happened to me after skiing Upper Bunny Buster as (former) Mouse Elbow is closed off so we ended up lower down on Great Northern to get to the K-1.
Bunny Buster is now one long trail and a sweet blue cruiser to K-1 with optional Chute route more direct to the bubble.
The tunnels are nice and wide (unlike the older ones on Home Stretch), and the bubble is a game changer that everyone agreed was a favorite.
Even if you have skied the big K forever, you may need a map for those first revisits.
In four and a half hours of ski time, we only sampled most of the major lift areas, further impressing me with just how diverse the mountain is, how much intermediate terrain is there, and how tough it is to keep up with younger blue legs.