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Beast Unveils Softer Side With $16 Million in Upgrades
The South Ridge Quad chair will return access to more blue and green terrain. (Karen Lorentz/Killington)
Killington has announced $16 million in resort upgrades that will vastly improve the ski experience while providing creature comforts that make riding and skiing easier for families. It’s the largest investment in upgrades at the resort in 20 years.
While known as the Beast of the East for its advanced terrain, events like the annual Mogul Challenge on Outer Limits (a truly steep bump trail), and long ski season, Killington also boasts some significant and fun intermediate terrain that has not been easily accessible.
That is changing with new lifts and terrain improvements that focus on blue, family-friendly terrain.
Uphill capacity will increase to 48,000 rides per hour and the downhill enhancements will create a better experience, notes Killington President and GM Mike Solimano.
Lift Changes for Creature Comfort, More Terrain
The biggest news is the replacement of the Snowdon fixed-grip quad with Leitner-Poma 6-person, high-speed, bubble chairlift with 3,000 rides per hour capacity. The new a $7.8 million lift will ascend 1,100 vertical feet on Snowdon, which features intermediate cruising terrain. The bubbles will provide wind and precipitation protection, keeping riders warmer and drier for a short 4.5 minute ride while a heated storage facility for the chairs will eliminate the chore of de-icing them in inclement weather, Solimano told SnoCountry.
The refurbished, Snowdon Quad will be installed on Killington’s South Ridge area which has more great high-elevation cruisers for both novices and intermediates along with woods skiing. The 3,900-foot South Ridge Quad will load and unload in the same locations as the former South Ridge Triple, serving a 875-foot vertical with a 1900 rides per hour capacity.
However, it won’t have the jerky turn of the prior lift. In addition to great sunny slopes and spring skiing, the lift will provide an additional way to connect back to the north side of the resort from Bear Mountain.
The Snowdon Pomalift, which has served skiing/riding on Upper Bunny Buster, is being relocated to the Swirl trail on Ramshead where it will provide a dedicated race training venue for Killington Mountain School and the Killington Ski Club. This will eliminate closings for race training on the wide and glorious upper intermediate terrain of Bunny, and, with new tunnels for two trail crossings, eliminate those intersections for top-to-bottom runs.
Both Killington Resort and its nearby sister Pico Mountain will have Axess smart gates with RFID (radio-frequency-identification) at lift access points. The replacement of scanning will make lift access more efficient and the hands-free technology will make it easier on guests since the RFID card can be kept inside a pocket and read automatically as one passes the gates.
Other improvements include:
- new Leitner-Poma Sigma 8-person cabins and haul rope for the K-1 Express Gondola
- new K-I gondola cabin storage facility to improve reliability and de-icing time and improvements to the loading area
- trail widenings and adding tunnels and bridges at the four intersections of various intermediate runs (Great Northern/Bunny Buster/Mouse Trap; Great Northern/Upper Chute; Great Northern/Lower Chute; Snowshed Crossover at the Stash and Skyeburst.)
- Tunnels, bridges, regrading and a slight re-route of Great Northern to limit trail intersections in high traffic locations and remove pinch points for less interrupted top-to-bottom trail runs.
- improvements to beginner terrain for the Killington Mountain Bike Park for 2018
- bike park debut of the new Krusty Trail on Ramshead and extended riding hours.
- extended riding hours for the bike park
- the addition of a Woodward WreckTangle for the Adventure Center. The WreckTangle is an outdoor ninja obstacle challenge featuring nine different sections of unique and fun-filled obstacles to conquer, including cargo nets, balance beams and rope swings.