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October 3, 2018

U.S. Open of MTB to return

U.S. Open of MTB to return

Staff report

KILLINGTON—The U.S. Open of Mountain Biking is returning to Killington next year, Killington Human Resources Director Judy Geiger announced at the annual Killington Pico Area Association meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The mountain biking competition, held Aug. 1-5, drew about 5,500 visitors to the resort in its inaugural year at Killington, Geiger said.

Mountain biking has been rapidly expanding at the resort. This year, Killington’s growing trail network attracted about 30,000 people, up from 23,000 last year and 2,000 since 1991, Geiger reported.

Part of the expansion comes from the resort’s efforts to make mountain biking family-friendly, with easier terrain. The resort has invested another $150,000 in mountain biking this year. It also introduced a new feature—a pump track with dirt berms and rollers.

About 100 people attended the KPAA meeting on Wednesday.

Killington Marketing and Sales Director Rob Megnin shared a progress report since the announcement of a $25 million investment in improvements this season.

“I never worked for a resort that invested this kind of money…in one year,” said Megnin.

The upgrades include an improved K-1 Express Gondola, a six-person bubble chairlift at Snowdon and a new South Ridge quad.

“It will improve our ability to get the lift open on time and run them more reliably throughout the day,” he said.

As part of the upgrades, Killington will also introduce RFID (radio-frequency identification) cards this year to track visitors on the mountain.

The resort also has a new trail map. Megnin said Killington wants to attract more mid-level skiers and riders and more Millennials.

“There are more blue skiers and riders than there are any of the others combined,” said Megnin. “Our goal is to increase blue (intermediate) terrain and reduce congestion around the mountain.”

Changes in leadership within the KPAA were also announced at Wednesday’s meeting.

Former KPAA President Howard Smith, who stepped down after two years, received a standing ovation for his work.

Smith, the owner of Sushi Yoshi Hibachi Steakhouse, said the time felt right for someone new to step in.

Hannah Abrams, founder of Business Coach Vermont, LLC was voted to become the new board president of the KPAA for a one-year term.

“I want to keep the forward momentum,” said Abrams.

Photo by Paul Holmes
Killington Resort will once again host the U.S. Open of MTB next year. The competition brought more than 5,000 people to the area.

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