The day has finally come: east coast skiers and riders were welcomed to Killington Resort in Vermont to kick off the 2014-2015 season beginning Monday, November 3rd. Opening day was offered exclusively to season pass holders, but Killington opened to the general public on Tuesday, November 4th. Opening on October 25th for the 2013-14 season, Killington is known throughout the east as the first resort to open each year, offering skiers and riders their first sweet taste of powder.
I was lucky enough to begin my riding season at Killington on Saturday. College students flocked to the resort for the season’s first opening weekend in Vermont. The K-1 express gondola provided uploading and downloading to and from base, giving access to the North Ridge Triple.
With only three runs open and 600 vertical feet of terrain, most visitors were camped out at the 4-feature park temporarily set up on Reason. The lines at North Ridge made the ratio of riding to waiting less than favorable, but a snack shack offering hot dogs and beers alongside the line made it a little more bearable.
So how do they open so early every year? Killington’s mountain operations team has been hard at work since last season, with significant improvements to signage, lifts, trails, and snowmaking. Almost 400 low-energy snow guns have been put in place for this season, decreasing the resort’s compressed air usage by 10%.
According to trade association Ski Vermont, 15 Vermont resorts traded in old snow guns for new technology this year, accounting for $19million in expenses across the resorts.
Other east coast resorts are starting to open their doors too – Sunday River in Maine opened on the same day as Killington, offering a free pass to anyone who showed up in a Halloween costume.
Here are opening days for some of the larger east coast resorts:
- Stowe, VT – November 22nd
- Sugarbush, VT – November 22nd
- Okemo, VT – November 15th
- Sugarloaf, ME – OPEN! November 9th
- Attitash, NH – December 9th
Killington is currently offering a 2-for-1 Adult day pass, valid through December 14th, 2014. If you’re on the east coast, make the trip to Killington to kick off your season as early as possible. No beginner terrain is available at this time.