Catching up with January’s vertical leaderboard champion Kevin Brega
By Brooke Geery
As the 2021/22 season progresses, so do the stats on the Killington Resort app. While Larry Levack still holds a commanding lead with well over 2 million feet, more than 20 other users have crossed the million vertical foot marker.
Near the top of that list is Kevin Brega, a 21-year-old business management student at UMass Amherst. He also holds the distinction of skiing the most vertical feet over the month of January 2022, a whopping 805,000.
Originally from Stony Point, New York, but fortunate to have a family residence in Killington, Brega was able to take advantage of his college’s winter break to really climb the leaderboard during the first month of the year. But, he said, the free gear from Killington Resort he scored was not his main motivation.
“I do not come out with the intention of making it to the top of the leaderboard, I just find myself there because skiing is something I truly love to do, and I love skiing enough to be able to do it that much,” he said.
Brega first clicked in at age 7 at a small mountain called Campgaw in Mahwah, New Jersey.
“As I progressed in learning the sport, I became naturally hooked, and skied every chance I could,” he said. “Many of my friends and family are also hooked on skiing, and just tagging along allowed my love for the sport to grow to where it is today!”
When he’s not making turns, Brega also helps out at the Forerunner Ski Shop, another perk of being in the Killington community.
“They have taken me in and shown me the ins and outs of working at and running a ski shop, while also helping me to develop real world experience in business. I feel that I have learned many valuable lessons and have met many of the people I ski with at the shop and am grateful for the opportunity to work for such a great ski shop and group of people!” Brega said.
Brega’s Killington app leaderboard status is not new. He was at the top of the pack last season also. “I found myself at or very near the top of the leaderboard on a weekly and monthly basis, and ultimately finished second overall in terms of vertical last season,” Brega recalled.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say there were times when I skied my butt off to hit the next spot, but overall, I just found myself there. Most of the days I ski are bell-to-bell days, but I thoroughly enjoy those days and am out just to have fun, rather than aiming to dominate the leaderboard. The same is true, and sometimes, even more so for this season. At the outset, I knew I would not likely be at the top for the season since I am back to in-person classes, so I went out with the thought of skiing until I had enough each day, but I never seemed to get tired of it so far this season, and especially in January.”
One of the things that keeps Brega skiing is the company of others who share his passion.
“I have had the chance to ski with and get to know many of the people who are killing it on the leaderboard,” Brega said. “Last season, I got to meet Tucker [Lange] who had the most vert at the end of the season and had the pleasure to ski with him and get to know him. While he may not be participating on the app this season, I still see him around frequently and enjoy catching up with him. I regularly ski with ‘big names’ on the app such as Mark G., Andy R., Paul D., John R., and Kevin C. and have gotten to know many of them over the course of this season, if I hadn’t known them already.”
His domination has not gone unnoticed by the current vertical leader.
“On the last day of January, I was ill with Covid and could not make it to the mountain. Kevin could have simply stayed home that day and won the monthly competition by default. In other words, he did not have to beat me because I was ineligible for the January prize,” Levack said. “Instead, Kevin cranked out 47,000 plus vertical on that last day! I kept checking in with the Killington leaderboard app every hour or so while resting in bed and actually started rooting him on. It was so close that at 3:55 in the afternoon, I was only 200 vertical feet ahead of him, but he managed to get the gold by surpassing me by 2,000 feet at day’s end.”
The two vertical beasts were stuck together in a gondola cabin earlier this season, and Brega said he’s hoping to see Levack take the overall title for 2021/22.
“If I were to root for anyone this season, I would root for Larry, since he is skiing in memory of Scott Howard,” he said. “Skiing the amount I do makes me realize how much Mr. Howard must have loved the sport and how impressive his accomplishments were. To put it into perspective, if you combined my vertical total and Tucker [Lange]’s vertical total from last season, we would barely have gotten more than he did by himself!”
When the lifts closed on the last day of February, Larry L. once again sat atop the monthly totals, with 621k vertical feet, topping second place Warren D. by over 50,000. Brega rounded out the top 3, racking up an additional 497,000 feet.