Switching Gears

Upper mountain operations

By Ariel Kent

It’s about a month early but the special day has arrived. It’s the day when the K-1 opens for summer lift service and mountain operations shift from just weekends to seven days a week. It happened on June 18 this year. It’s pretty amazing to see the mountain putting in such an effort to expand summer activities at a resort better known for its winters. It give us “brown powder” junkies a little extra time to shred.

Many of us are chomping at the bit to see Ramshead open but for now we can enjoy what the upper mountain has to offer. Me being me, I had to get another first chair of the season and lined up this past Saturday, June 18, at K-1 10 minutes before opening. This time I wasn’t greeted with the long line of people like I had met at Snowshed–this time it was just me.

I enjoy the K-1 for many reasons, the first and foremost being that it’s not quite as busy as the main hub at Snowshed. Those of us that ski or ride Killington in the winter are no strangers to being crammed into the cabins, sometimes gear in tow. In the summer it’s common to have the gondola all to yourself and with the lift running slightly slower than in the winter, I will typically take a power nap and enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain.

The upper mountain is great fun and a great place to tune up your biking skills. For years now Killington has hosted the Eastern States Cup race series, a race that offers downhill and enduro racers a chance to compete on some classic New England terrain. There’s a reason this race sells out every year. It’s because racers want to go head to head and prove what they’re made of on some of the toughest terrain in the East. I myself will be competing in this year’s enduro race and am excited to see if I have what it takes to be a racer.

The race will be held July 2-3, so if you’re in the area, come up and see the competitor’s race–it’s bound to get interesting. For those thinking to head up to the upper mountain for the first time, remember to take your time and go easy–the upper mountain isn’t always the best place for every rider. Most importantly, enjoy yourselves and hopefully you’ll enjoy mountain biking as much as I do.

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