Photo by Paul Holmes: Hannah, Hanne and Margie cycled up Killington Road, skinned up Ramshead, then skied.
By Katy Savage
Editor’s note: at press time Tuesday afternoon, Killington Resort updated its uphill travel policy on its website, stating simply “Uphill is closed for the season. Thank you for understanding.” The following story was writen prior to the closing.
Resorts are closed and the lifts aren’t running, but many people are enjoying the mountains anyway.
Hannah of Mount Holly has gone skinning just about everyday since she was laid off of work. She and her friends, Hanne and Margie (who all asked to be identified only by first name) spent last Thursday, March 19, riding their mountain bikes up Killington Road to then skin up Ramshead.
They carried their skis on their backs and wore their ski boots as they peddled uphill.
“It was definitely a good warmup,” Hannah said. “A mix of open, like-minded people are trying to stay active and find a little bit of joy and entertainment — everything is so slow.”
The friends who are in their 20s and 30s started near Killington Elementary School. The entire trip took them about 5 hours.
They said people on the mountain are in good spirits, despite gloom of coronavirus pandemic, which has caused schools and numerous businesses to close.
“Its just a different way to enjoy the resort,” Hanne said. “We’re really lucky here between Killington and Pico— they’re really accommodating to people who want to use the resort for uphill travel.”
Hannah grew up in Mount Holly while Hanne and Margie grew up in upstate New York.
Vail Resorts, which includes Okemo, announced it was closing for the season while Killington Resort announced last Thursday that it was closing until further notice, but Pico would be done for the season.
“It is an odd feeling,”Hannah said. “A beautiful Saturday that would have drawn hundreds but there was just nobody there. You’re hiking up this gorgeous trail on a bluebird day. It was cool but it was sad.”
About 8 inches of snow fell on Monday, March 23, but before that conditions were a bit firm.
“Not having groomers there to prep it overnight makes it little rough on the surface,” Hannah said. “By mid-day it’s soft and manageable. It’s a good distraction.”
Killington and Pico have generous uphill travel policies. The resorts are open for recreational access 24/7 when designated routes are open. Okemo also allows uphill travel, but only when the mountain is open.