Sunday 31 October 1999


Warm and sunny


Mostly man-made, disappearing quickly


For the 39th year in succession, the press release said, Killington is the first ski resort in the East to open. Thanks to a foot of natural snow and temperatures low enough for snow making, Killington opened its doors on Monday 25th November, with two lifts and three trails. By the time I arrived to try out the conditions, warmer weather was beginning to take its toll.

When I arrived at about 8:30 am, the temperature was already in the mid 50s, but with a strong breeze it seemed a little colder.

The view from the Killington Base area revealed a great deal of grass with just a hint of snow near the top of the visible runs.

The gondola ride to Killington Peak confirmed the view. The lower runs such as Peace Pipe were completely devoid of any snow. Even a higher run like Royal Flush had just one isolated patch near the top.

Earlier in the week, the Canyon quad chair had been in use for skiing, but now it was resplendent in the bright sun.

Nearing Killington Peak there was a glimpse of the skiing area. Across the top of East Fall was a strip of white with skiers on it .. the run off from Rime to the bottom of the Glades chair.

The top of the gondola was as free of snow as the base. The skiing was reached on the ski-trucks, open four wheel drive pick-up trucks driving the half mile or so from the top of the K1 gondola down to a mid-way point on the Rime run. 

The top right picture shows loading up at the gondola. The middle picture shows unloading in the mud and skiers getting ready in the middle of the run.

Two trails were open. Looking up from the bottom of the lift, the trail on the left is Lower East Glade and that on the right is Rime.

Considering the temperature, Rime was in pretty good condition except for the final 100 feet to the lift which was badly cut up.

Looking up the trail, the left side was in shade and consequently in better condition; the right side in sun and thinning fast.

The final two shows from the top of the run was in the best condition with very few thin areas and even some small moguls.

Overall, Rime offered just under half of mile of continuous skiing from top to bottom of The Glades lift.

East Glade was in much worse condition. The upper part was already closed and the sign at the top of the lower section warned of "thin cover".

The cover was indeed so thin as to be non existent in places with grass and heavy mud showing through. It was impossible to ski all the way down without finding a bare patch.

One run down this run was more than enough for me. 

The shrinking edges of the snow were very clear to see. There was just enough to reach to the bottom of the lift, but none whatsoever just beyond there.

The edge of the trail in the sun was melting rapidly.

Meanwhile, the snow making canons were waiting for lower temperatures.

Views down to the base area shows the natural weather. This series of photos looks down towards Killington and Snowshed bases and Snowshed pond.

The centre photos were taken from the top of Upper and Lower East Glade respectively.

I skied for about two hours, fitting in about 8 runs. Gradually, both the amount of mud and the length of the queues increased to the point where it wasn't really worth the effort.

The view East from Killington Peak just before taking the gondola back down to the base ares shows just one single trail covered in snow in the distance.

K1 is one of the most modern gondolas in existence. The eight seater cars, installed for the 1998-99 ski season are individually decorated with individual designs and in cold weather are heated with under car paraffin heaters.


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Last updated: 31/10/99