Bubbly champagne and blowing bubbles for the kids were all part of the fun as Killington cut the ribbon on the new Snowdon Six Express bubble chair Dec. 8. The new ride is part of a $25 million investment improving flow and experience across the largest resort in the East.
The 10-12 minute ride on the former Snowdon Quad will now take around four minutes, and a bubble shield will protect riders from wind and weather on the 1,100 vertical-foot lift, making the Snowdon Six an appealing alternative to the K-1 Gondola. The combination of a slower loading detachable but faster ride will keep uphill capacity about the same. A new barn will keep the chairs ice-free at night.
The replacement of the long, cold “Slowdon” Quad is just part of the work done this year to make Snowdon more than just a pass-through to get to other areas of the mountain. “In looking for more blue terrain, a better enhanced ski experience, we’re taking the lower level skiers that are coming down from the peak, and putting them through a series of tunnels and segregating them from the upper level skiers,” Killington mountain operations director Jeff Temple told SnoCountry.com.
The Poma surface lift used frequently by race teams on Bunny Buster has been moved to Swirl on Ramshead, giving racers a dedicated training venue and leaving Bunny Buster as a wide cruiser on Snowdon.
The popular K-1 Express Gondola also saw major upgrades with all new 8-person cabins, replaced haul rope and a new gondola barn to improve de-icing time.
New RFID gates at lifts makes getting back up the hill more efficient, too
The Snowdon Quad has been recycled and moved to the South Ridge area, where the aging South Ridge chair had been removed in 2011. The South Ridge area boasts quieter trails and sun on colder days. “This allows you to ski out of Bear Mountain, ski down to bottom of South Ridge, get on this lift, and right down this trail is the whole north side,” Temple told us. Although the summer habitat of the Bicknell's Thrush kept the work on South Ridge from starting until Aug. 1, the lift should be turning by the holidays.
The new Skyeburst tunnel will also serve to let advanced skiers and riders keep on moving uninterrupted down the fall line, while going through the tunnel on Snowshed Crossover fulfills the original Killington design of allowing even beginners to enjoy skiing from the top of the mountain.
Previously a natural snow-only trail, Lower Pipe Dream now has snowmaking, and the snowmaking on Upper Pipe Dream has being replaced to improve reliably and efficiency - part of the 44,000 feet of new and replacement snowmaking pipe at the resort.