On November 17, 2021

Chatting with Killington die-hard Rob Kovalesky

By Ethan Weinstein

Kovalesky has skied over 100 days at Killington for the last nine years, and this season he hopes to make it an even 10. The Mountain Times talked with him about his history at Killington, some of the stand-out memories at the Beast, and what skiing means to him.

Mountain Times (MT): When did you first start skiing Killington?

Rob Kovalesky (RK): I’ve been a Killington loyalist since I was a kid, and I’ve been skiing there since 1965.

I taught my girlfriend, who has become my loving wife, how to ski there, and our son and our daughter. So, you know, we’ve lived through a lot of different experiences.

MT: What are some of your all-time memories at Killington?

RK: Christmas Eve, 1969 — never forget. It started snowing. My family and I went to midnight mass — we were Catholic — and we came out of church at Christ the King down in Rutland, and it was snowing like crazy. Well, I gotta tell you, it snowed for four straight days, and we got 48 inches of snow.

I’ve lived through incredible things like the gas shortages. When back in the ‘70s you couldn’t get gasoline, Killington used to, believe it or not, fill your car so you could get back home.

Submitted
Rob Kovalesky has skiied over 100 days nine years in a row. He hopes to make 10 this year.

In 1995, Oct. 4 and 5, we were skiing from the old Double K chair, where you would go up to the top, come around Boomerang and they called it Goat Path, which today is Great Northern, and you would ski to the mid station and then have to reload the chair to go back up. It was like an out of body experience, because you’re coming down with all the beautiful colored leaves up there on the Cascade, and you got this white surface around you. It was breathtaking.

February ‘17, we had 14 inches of powder. And Mike [Solimano] opened the old Snowden lift —before the Six Pack — he opened it at 7:30 to let people go up and come down and float it. It was like an out-of-body experience. I actually had snow like coming up into my face and over my head.

MT: What does skiing mean to you? What role has it played in your life?

RK: I love skiing, because, first of all, it’s the closest thing that I’ve felt to flying like a bird, you know, just soaring down the hill. I’ve always felt it’s a way of life. It’s not just a weekend endeavor, but it’s a lifestyle. And I’ve always viewed it as good for your heart, your mind, your body and your soul.

For me, skiing was a big motivator. In life, two keys to success are attitude and effort. And it’s all about setting and exceeding goals. I knew I wanted to ski — I got bitten by the bug. It’s helped propel me to do well in business, and be able to buy a house, raise a family and be able to eventually buy a place up at Killington.

When I was a kid, I worked for a ski tour company out in Long Island in New York. We would get up at three o’clock in the morning, a guy would pick me up, bring me to the facility, we would load buses with rental equipment; we’d go out to the local junior high or high school on Long Island, and we’d do a day trip. It was great because my family wasn’t wealthy, we couldn’t really afford to ski a lot. I used to put in from, you know, let’s call it three o’clock in the morning, until sometimes 9:30-10 o’clock at night by the time you would get back and then unload the buses and all of that. And I got paid $10 a day. I got a free lift ticket.

MT: What’s in been like helping to start the 100 Day Club?

RK: As the founding charter member of the 100 Day Club at Killington, I’ve had the pleasure of skiing and riding and getting to know so many members, and it’s not about me, it’s about them. It’s their incredible passion and commitment to Killington. It’s served as an inspiration for so many guests that we’ve all met both on and off the slopes.

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