Thu, Jan 16, 2014 05:02 PM
After three years of design, demolition, construction, and
infrastructure projects totaling a $7 million investment, the
highest lift-served skiing in Vermont now boasts a lodge befitting
Killington's mountain majesty.
The 15,000-square-foot, energy-efficient Lodge at Killington Peak,
which is also the highest in the Northeast, was officially opened
with a gala celebration and ribbon cutting on Jan. 9.
Some 200-plus invited guests, resort personnel, and dignitaries
attended the late afternoon cocktail party, which featured an open
bar, elegant hors d'oeuvres, a champagne toast and impressive
fireworks display. The clear skies showcased the beautiful views,
with a colorful sunset, too!
"The original lodge lasted 45 years; may this building outlast all
of us," Killington President and GM Mike Solimano said as guests
raised their glasses in honor of the occasion.
Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Megan Smith praised the new
facility, noting that it will also serve the shoulder seasons with
the ability to host weddings and special events and boost the
state's year-round tourism and travel industry in the
Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael C. Snyder noted
that Killington is "mostly on lease land," and pointed out that the
state's ski leases were the model "for ski leases in the West."
Citing the leadership roles of Vermont and Killington in skiing, he
added that with the new lodge "Killington continues to lead
In reference to the man who convinced Killington's founder Preston
Smith to take a look at the mountain and consider developing a ski
area there, Snyder said, "I believe Perry Merrill would be very
Merrill's dream was to create ski areas on the state's highest
mountains, but he couldn't find anyone to develop Killington Peak,
Vermont's second highest peak, when it was given to the state in
Nevertheless, Merrill persevered and, as the Commissioner of
Vermont Forests and Parks, eventually leased land for seven ski
areas, including Killington, which opened in 1958.
Solimano noted that his predecessor Chris Nyberg (now Powdr Corp
COO) originally planned the new facility and architects Dan Partt,
Jay White, and Steve Fenn of Robert Carl Williams designed
the two-story building that can withstand category 3 hurricane
winds (130 mph).
He thanked Engelberth Construction, builders, and Killington's own
staff who were responsible for infrastructure and the logistics of
site management, including James Tomlinson, Greg Hilz, Dave
Lacombe, Alan Patch, Corey Tredtin, Jeff Boyce-Doran, Jim Shands,
and Jeff Temple.
He also acknowledged those who worked on the interior design -
Kelly O'Brien, Kim Williamson, and Chandler Burgess - and
Hospitality Director Scott Harrison and Peak Lodge Executive Chef
Rusch for their contributions and making the event possible.
An amazing feat
The inch-thick, double-paned window walls of the new lodge offer
amazing views of mountain ranges in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New
York along with spectacular sunsets.
Noting the challenge to take down the old lodge without blasting,
architects Steve Fenn and Jay White told The Mountain Times that it
was important not to disturb the adjacent well that supplies water
to the building. In addition to a large kitchen, the first level
hosts five water tanks that supply the sprinkler system and two
tanks for drinking water - all supplied by the well. Each tank
holds 3,300 gallons of water, they said.
Additionally, there are two huge gas tanks buried in the ground
that supply the gas stoves, grills, and fireplace. They have to be
filled before winter, Fenn said, noting the complex logistics
involved with the building.
Engineer Don Marsh of Montpelier, who was also a guest, said it
took two years to build the sewer line that serves the new lodge,
noting it was demanding work both in design and construction since
they were dealing with rocky terrain.
But the result of all the various projects is a modern, six-sided
building - chosen for to resemble the shape of snowflakes, which
also have six sides, Solimano noted - that is stunning from its
entry lobby to the vast open room that creates a top-of-the-world
experience due to the magnificent sea of mountain ranges seen in
Of progress and plans
The Peak Lodge is not only part of an overall plan to accommodate
guests skiing over from Pico in the future - an Interconnect
between the two resorts is still on the drawing boards - but to
serve the many skiers who currently prefer advanced skiing in the
K-1 lodge and lift area, Solimano explained. He noted that the many
improvements and upgrades to this section of the mountain,
including the Umbrella Bars and new heated lift maze at the K-1
Gondola are meeting with approval from the resort's guests (as
reflected in recent surveys).
Now the new Peak Lodge will complement the lunchtime offerings of
the K-1 Lodge and Umbrella Bars with its elevated dining experience
in a more refined and relaxing atmosphere that sports leather
couches as well as a full service bar, gas fireplace, and food
court with chef-manned stations.
The three chefs prepare daily specials along with food court items
featuring homemade soups and chili, sandwiches, deserts, and other
fare. One normally doesn't find a catch-of-the-day special in a
base lodge, but red snapper can be found at the peak, Solimano
Plans include offering Saturday night dinners at the Peak as soon
as various finishing touches are completed - exterior lighting
Already several weddings are booked and special functions such as
a dinner and fashion show to be held for media from around the
country in March are scheduled.
Capping off the opening celebration, Atlas Pyro Vision
Productions, Inc. provided a spectacular fireworks display. Set off
at the South Ridge area just below Killington Peak, the colorful
starbursts wowed the crowd with a grand finale worthy of the
The night ended with a peaceful ride back down the mountain in the
cow-powered K-1 Gondola under a starry sky. With hand warmers and a
wool blanket provided, it was truly a night to remember as well as
an occasion that bodes well for the region's travel and tourism