In The Spotlight
A reimagined K-1 base lodge with an expanded footprint is in store for skiers and riders at Vermont’s Killington Resort for the 2020-21 season. The Beast of the East also has plans in the works for a new four-person, fixed grip chairlift for the 2019-20 season to replace the existing North Ridge Triple. And once again, Killington is pumping more resources into their snowmaking systems. All upgrades are pending permit approval.
Construction of the new K-1 base lodge will begin later this spring, with plans for it to open during winter 2020-21. Once complete, the new three-story lodge designed by Breadloaf will be over fifty percent larger than the existing lodge (going from 37,000 sq. ft. to 58,000 sq. ft.) and include a full-service bar, upscale fine china dining, additional space, and unobstructed 180-degree views of the Vermont mountain landscape.
The building will feature many of the characteristics that make the Peak Lodge such a desirable destination for Killington visitors, including an open floor plan featuring mixed seating arrangements, floor-to-ceiling windows, a grand fireplace, and an upscale food court set to offer fresh, farm-to-table cuisine.
Phase one of construction will start May 2019, in front of the existing K-1 Base Lodge, on grade with the K-1 Express Gondola. During summer 2020, the existing base lodge will be removed and phase two of the new building will be completed.
The new North Ridge chair, manufactured by Leitner-Poma, will improve access to highly sought-after intermediate terrain as well as for snow hounds looking for the early season turns. The North Ridge chair is often the first lift to turn in the Northeast.
These improvements set the stage for generations at the resort and come on the heels of the new experiences and other improvements unveiled during the 2018-19 season, including the Woodward Peace Park, the new Snowdon Six Express bubble lift, the return of South Ridge lift service, three tunnels to improve flow at busy trail intersections with a fourth slated for construction this spring, K-1 Express Gondola improvements and new RFID ticketing.
“We’re transforming the way guests will experience and enjoy Killington for years to come,” says Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “On its own, the K-1 base lodge rebuild is transformative for Killington. But building on last year’s investments, and combined with the other infrastructure enhancements and new experiences, these upgrades set the tone for future generations to enjoy Killington resort. Killington is undeniably the Northeast’s hub for year-round adventure.”
Snowmaking upgrades for the 2019-20 season include the replacement of snowmaking pipelines, the purchase and deployment of 120 low energy tower snowguns and new, semi-automatic water and air hydrants, which will significantly decrease the time it takes to start up snowguns on a ski trail.
Most resorts have a bunch of bars to choose from when it comes to apres-ski, but if you want to find the down-home, braggin' rights kind of bar, just follow a local.
They may not be fancy, and they probably don't have umbrella drinks. But the renowned “locals bar” at any resort will give visitors a taste of the local culture – and local beverage. Here are a few that SnoCountry found:
It's a very short walk from the bottom of Magic Mountain to the Black Line Tavern, renowned for its live music, vast deck with grills, and selection of craft beers. Locals like Cheese and Ale Fondue, made with Vermont-brewed ale.
Locals with a gourmet jones finish their day at Smuggler's Notch or Stowe with a short drive into Stowe proper and a stop at Sushi Yoshi Stowe. The sushi appetizers and Asian Beginnings get the evening going in this northern Vermont town.
If you hear music after a day on Lutsen Mountains, it's likely coming from Papa Charlies. A top music venue in Minnesota, Charlie's draws in a very local crowd. The menu features Midwest favs like cheese curds and pulled pork.
Taos Ski Valley has been a locals' hill for 60 years. Despite new high-end ownership, Tim's Stray Dog Cantina stays true to its roots: Blue-corn Green chiles fresh daily, killer margaritas and array of New Mexican brews. Sit at the bar and hear all the local gossip.
At the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon, there's nowhere better to end an Alta powder day than the Peruvian Bar in the Alta Peruvian Lodge. “P-Dog” is where the hot-skiing locals head to drink and carouse amongst each other – and the one-up each other with massive powder runs.
A short jaunt from the gondola base at Mammoth Mountain, the Clocktower Cellar beckons. With more than 160 whiskeys and 26 beer taps, the shot-and-a-beer crowd loves the place. Not on a diet? Try a Tot-Cho: Tater Tots, cheese Sauce, bacon, sour cream, pico de gallo, green onion and jalapenos.
Not far from Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood Meadows, the Rathskeller dominates the apres-ski scene in tiny Government Camp. Lots of pizza and rows of Oregon- and Northwest-brewed tap beers await. Don't bother trying to avoid a local: They get there early and stay late.
Spring is officially here on the calendar, and right on cue, we'll find both areas of fresh snowfall combined with pleasant, sunny days to hit the trails.
Eastern U.S. & Canada
In the East, we’ve got a spring-like coastal storm on our hands for Friday-Saturday. Unlike mid-winter storms where enough cold air is locked in for all snow, this one will feature a mixed bag, but potential for decent snow amounts if enough cold air can hold on. The greatest potential for snow comes in New York’s Adirondacks as cold air wraps in from the west through Saturday. Vermont’s northern mountains may also benefit from the cold wrapping in Saturday. Totals are tough to pinpoint with these “mixed” systems, but 3-6” generally looks like a good bet, with locally more in New York’s peaks.
Conditions will turn milder and pleasant, even sunny for most areas in the Northeast Sunday-Monday to go enjoy conditions.
Western U.S. & Canada
It's been a really amazing winter for the West. With snow pack well above average for most mountain ranges, we'll likely be hanging on to snow well into the spring.
Up next, a weak storm system pushes into the western Four Corners region, with a few inches of snow for many areas, with 2-5", locally 6”+ over Utah and Arizona peaks. The highest tallies will likely come in Southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains Thursday where Winter Storm Warnings are in effect through Friday where 8-16” of snow will fall at the peaks! Winds may be slightly gusty, but still a very fine day shaping up Thursday through first chair Friday. Look to Wolf Creek, Purgatory, Telluride.
Expect another weak system to head through the Northwest Saturday-Sunday. Most of the snow will come for Idaho’s Bitterroots Saturday night-Sunday with around 3-6”. Look to Sun Valley or Bogus Basin for great weekend conditions in Idaho.
Otherwise, the West will experience seasonal temps and pleasant days to round into the last week of March.
Until next week! Thanks to Northern Vermont University – Lyndon meteorology students James Mundy and Francis Tarasiewicz for contributions to this article.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Yellowstone East Gate Entrance in Wyoming, Sleeping Giant Ski Area provides an intimate yet enthralling experience for skiers of almost any level.
Though the mountain only boasts about 900 vertical feet, it has terrain that rivals almost any other ski area in the West, granted, in smaller quantities. When snow is good, which is most often since the non-profit ski area is only open on weekends, one can find powder pillows, epic tree skiing, steep groomers and many natural airs within the countless rolling valleys that dot the mountain.
Sleeping Giant reopened in 2007 after a three-year hiatus and is now run by the Yellowstone Recreations Foundation. A few years back a zipline was installed for summer operations. Adding summer business helps the mountain take advantage of the millions of people passing by its entrance on their way to Yellowstone.
“What goes into making a small, non-profit ski area like Sleeping Giant that dates back to 1936 successful isn’t ritzy slope side condos, high speed chairlifts or upscale dining. It’s the people who come to its slopes every day of the season, opening doors and turning gears," in what Rob Overfield, president of the Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, describes as “a labor of love.”
“That’s what helps people carry forward ... at the end of the day,” Overfield said. “At the end of the day they think about that and say, ‘It’s all worth it because we’re making it available for kids to learn how to ski.’”
Make no bones about it, Sleeping Giant is not an upscale skiing and snowboarding experience. There is no ski-in ski-out lodging nor mid-mountain bar or high speed quad lifts. What it does have is a rustic base lodge offering a wood-burning fireplace, affordable lessons and low-frill lift tickets going for $42 and less.
The mountain offers affordable ski busses every Saturday from Cody one hour away, assuring every winter enthusiast has an opportunity to the slopes.