Column, Living the Dream

Winter is here!

By Merisa Sherman

Never doubt The Beast, the biggest and best in the East “Wishing and waiting and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming …”

I know that’s the start of the song made famous by Dusty Springfield in 1964, but it’s also the mantra that I have been repeating to myself for the past few weeks. But it didn’t make the snow come any faster. I even changed the lyrics a bit, adding in hiding and biking and paddling and trimming, but it won’t let the snow fall … until yesterday!!

By Brooke Geery
Get your skis ready and waxed for opening day coming to Killington Thursday, Nov. 17. Last year’s opening day was glorious!

Oh my goodness, to drive up to my office and have the snow finally on the ground, to see the mountain finally covered in its beautiful coat of white, my heart was singing so loudly I thought that the person in the next car would hear it. I feel like the Whos yelling out to Horton’s friends — We are here! We are here! Winter is here!

And man is it ever. It’s like Mother Nature flipped the switch and decided it could be winter now. The air is crisp and clear, and everything seems sharper. The leaves make a crunching noise when I walk through the woods and the grass is getting faster and faster.
And the noise! Drive anywhere close to the mountain and all you can hear is the sound of the guns making snow as fast as the snowmakers can move to each hose. It’s a race against time and my anxiety now. It’s deafening, the firing of the guns and you can barely hear yourself think even from as far back as the Upper Snowshed parking lot. The resort is fighting a full fledged war to cover that mountain in snow as fast as possible — or at least before anyone else.

Some kids dream of a white Christmas, I dream of a mountain full of snow gun blaring. And not just one trail or a few guns. Let’s throw down Killington style — and light off every single gun we have all at the same time. Cause why the hell not? We are The Beast, right? The biggest, baddest ski resort on the East Coast with more snow guns on Superstar than most ski areas own.

It’s a powerful statement all in itself, having all those guns running at one time. We did the financials once and we have no interest in doing so again. Plus, you add in the price of the groomers and you won’t complain about any price you have to pay for a season pass to Killington. One night with full guns and full grooming can cost more than a ski bum makes in a year.

You walk up to K-base right now and there is a peaceful calm that has descended. The anxiety of waiting for the wet bulb temp to drop has completely dissipated. Cold, dry temps mean more water and less air, which means more snow and faster. It’s a glorious sight to behold. The mountain is just pummeling itself into winter.

And I couldn’t be more grateful, as Thanksgiving approaches, for the privilege to work and live in this phenomenal town with such a commitment to skiing and snowboarding and winter. I have never seen a resort do what ours does — maybe a trail here and there, but never the whole damn mountain.

You can feel the pride just oozing off the mountain. Like, Bam! You wanted snowmaking — well, let me show you how a real mountain does it. We lay down the blanket of white with a beastly ego. The first snow cannon might have been invented in the Catskills in 1950, but it was Killington who perfected it with the K-3000 by Slavko Stanchak in 1983. It might not be the most energy efficient, but that gun produces some of the sexiest snow in the warmest conditions possible: anything above the mid-20s. Perfect for that early season magic that Killington is so famous for.

We are watching that magic right now. The resort said it needed 100-150 snowmaking hours to prep the now world famous Superstar Trail for the Killington Cup races over Thanksgiving weekend. With the perfect temps, the K-3000s, as well as the new low-e tower guns that line the trail, it looks like everything will be ready in record time. Just how The Beast likes it. If there is something we are good at, it’s impressing the world with the Killington Cup.

Oh yeah, and we have a brand new base lodge to go with the grandstands and tents that are being hoisted as I write this. As well as snow being made all over the North Ridge so the public can get our turns in as well!

To all of those who questioned our ability to throw down a big blanket of white in time for the Thanksgiving races, you should know by now: Never doubt the Beast.

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