On October 25, 2023

Killington sees growth, more tech, new village design plans, $700K check

 

 

 

By Polly Mikula

Hundreds of locals and area leaders attended the annual Killington Update in the K-1 Lodge at Killington Resort, Thursday, Oct. 19, to hear updates from the Killington Pico Area Association (KPAA), Killington Resort, town of Killington, and Great Gulf, the planned Killington Village developer. 

The KPAA kicked off the meeting toting accomplishments including: more welcome center hours, hiring a director and doubling the revenue brought in by the annual Wine Festival (events make up 29.8% of the organization’s annual revenue. Only memberships brings in more at 47.6%). 

Looking ahead, the protocol for merchant ski passes has changed, the KPAA announced. Employees must go to the Killington Welcome Center to verify eligibility with an electric paystub and ID. Passes can then be purchased online or at a ticket window. (Also new: businesses are no longer required to pay for their employees local passes.) Electronic confirmation will then serve as a voucher to validate and pick up or reload the local or regional merchant pass. Local merchant passes cost $519+tax plus 8 hours of volunteer service. Business member staff in Killington, Bridgewater, Mendon, Pittsfield and Plymouth are eligible. Regional merchant passes cost $749+tax. Business member staff in other regional towns are eligible.

Also new this year, you must go online and upload a photo of yourself on your profile in order to get on the lift. 

Killington Resort update

Mike Solimano, president and CEO of Killington Resort then gave an update on resort operations, visitor numbers and what to expect this winer season. He noted that there’s been a record amount of rain and the subsequent flooding has taken a toll on resort infrastructure and mountain bike visitations (this summer logged 51,000, just 1,000 less than last year’s record of 52,000 despite the rain). On the plus side, the flooded Skyeship base lodge is being redesigned in the style of the newly remodeled K-1 Lodge.

Sales of the resort’s year-round Beast 365 pass, continue to increase, with 3,600 sold this year, up 300 over last year, Solimano reported. And winter skier visits last year hit a new record nationwide with 64.7 million skiers and riders, an increase of 6.6% over the prior year. Vermont had 4.1 million with an increase of 9.9%. Killington logged 8% more visits. 

The resort has added even more technology to its operations this year with 95% cashless sales for food and beverage, a new integration with Strava on the Killington App, and a tool that track snow depths precisely, which helped the resort offer top-to-bottom skiing June 1 this year on Superstar.

This year there will be 135 wifi access points (40 more than last season) and they’re installing a season-long Verizon cell tower at Bear Mountain.

Bear Mountain will also be the best place to park this season with Saturday morning lifts opening early — 7:30 a.m. from MLK day to mid-March. And the resort’s world class snowmaking continues to improve with more guns and new snowgun technology. There have also been major investments in snowmaking and on an electric/hybrid snowmobile and groomer at Pico. 

Town of Killington update

Next up was Town Manager Michael Ramsey who explained the plans for Killington Forward and the new municipal water and road infrastructure planned in Phase 1. (See map and Q&A story, left). 

Great Gulf update

Michael Sneyd, president of the Resort Residential Division of Great Gulf closed out the Annual Killington Update explaining redesigned plans for the upcoming Killington Village (see related story on page 1). 

The final surprise was a $700,000 check that Killington Resort and Great Gulf collectively presented the town compensating it for it’s investment in a 70-acre workforce housing site just up from the intersection of Route 4 and Killington Road. 

“Killington Resort and Great Gulf are pledging the money to reimburse the town for the land at he bottom of the road to create workforce housing that we’re all looking for,” said Mike Solimano. 

Community members were generally very supportive of the update and upcoming changes. “The biggest takeaway was Michael Sneyd presentation of the reimagined village,” said Kyle Kershner, owner/broker of Killington Pico Realty. “Particularly the walkability of the village.”

Killington resident Ken Porter, agreed: “The wow factor for me was the way Great Gulf has adjusted the previously approved plans and how they have tried very hard to turn it into a walking community as opposed to a driving community.”

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