By Ethan Weinstein
Since Killington Resort announced its new Fast Tracks program — pay $49 on top of a regular pass or ticket to skip the lift lines — social media has been noisy with frustrated skiers and riders.
Threads in the Killington Locals+ racked up hundreds of comments, most of which expressed anger and disappointment with Fast Tracks.
“[I] totally dislike this elitist practice. I didn’t think it was possible to make skiing more elitist than it already is,” wrote Celia Clancy.
“The person or persons that dreamed this up should be out in the maze see how long it lasts,” wrote Randy McGuiness.
Some commenters reminded readers that Killignton has tried a similar system in the past. Andrew Groff wrote, “I seem to remember people in the fast lane getting pelted with snowballs.”
A minority chose to downplay the new program’s effect. “There are no wait times at Killington during the non-holiday weeks, not much waiting time on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. I get in a lot of skiing on groomers on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m to 10:30 a.m.,” Deb Burke wrote.
The scale of the digital irritation elicited a response from Killington management, and on Oct. 15, President and General Manager Mike Solimano posted a response directly to the Locals+ page, which was later also included in the Killington Pico Area Association newsletter:
“I know there has been a lot of discussion here about the release of the fast tracks program,” Solimano’s letter began. “I continue to be blown away by the passion you all share for Killington. I must remind you though, you aren’t alone. I along with the rest of the Killington team and Powdr share the same passion for making The Beast the best it can be, and I want to assure you that many of your fears about what Fast Tracks means for Killington aren’t reality. But I can understand the concerns without all of the details.
“This reminds me of when we announced parking reservations. There was a lot of concern from season pass holders about how they might not get access to use their pass. I asked you then to trust that we had a solid plan for managing access in a way that didn’t have a significant impact on your ability to use your pass and we delivered. Last year we were able to manage our volume and never ended up having to restrict anyone from skiing (not all resorts can say that), so I ask that you give us the benefit of the doubt and judge us by our past actions.
“I’m asking again today that you trust that we will manage and operate Fast Tracks in a manner that has very little impact on our guests who don’t choose the upgrade. We will achieve this by having very limited quantities of Fast Tracks available daily, generally less than 2% of total skiers. This also ensures those who do choose to add Fast Tracks get maximum value from their upgrade.
“I’m confident that throughout the season you will see little impact to lift wait times as we implement Fast Tracks. Nevertheless, if you would like a season pass refund before the season starts as a result of our Fast Tracks product, we will honor that request…
“Powdr co-presidents Wade and Justin have written a letter to the communities in which Fast Tracks is planned and I encourage you to read it,” Solimano’s letter concluded.
Killington Resort also recently announced that merchant passes will no longer be restricted to midweek, delighting local skiers and riders.
Editor’s note: Killington Resort held its annual meeting and resort update on Tuesday, Oct. 19 after the Mountain Times had gone to print on the Oct. 20 edition. This article will be updated on our website if more information becomes available.