When my mom said we were going skiing in late April, I thought she'd been dipping into the cough syrup. In Southern New England, skiing happened in winter, not during soccer season. My suspicions were confirmed after rounding the bend on Killington Road, as some poor sucker had taken to sliding down a bare run in his ski boots. But then we rounded the next corner, and my 9-year-old world turned upside down. Not only was there snow, but there were skiers--a whole lot of them.
That day I got my first taste of Superstar, Killington's iconic late season mogul run, and I've never been the same since. Winding my way through bumps well overhead, I had an epiphany: If you want it bad enough, skiing never has to end. The Superstar crowd? Well, they always want it bad enough.
Killington is well versed in the spring skiing scene, stock-piling snow on Superstar throughout the winter and hosting one of the East Coast's premier bump-offs, the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge. But the Southern Vermont resort isn't just corn skiing and goggle tans.
With 1,509 skiable acres (and an additional 468 acres from its surrogate, Pico Mountain), Killington lives up to its Beast of the East nickname. From crispy groomers to traditional East Coast tree skiing (read: steep and tight), Killington is an all-mountain playground within striking distance of New York City, Boston, and Montreal. Seven mountain peaks help disperse the crowds, while iconic nightlife and live music spots like the Wobbly Barn bring them back together after hours.
Though the ski area is built to handle a lot of people, the access road can be a different story. With one way in and out, picking your parking wisely can be the difference between first tracks and New England clam chunder.
Skip the warm-up run and head to Bear Mountain for quick tree shots on either side of the quad or get the burn going early on Devil's Fiddle and the iconic Outer Limits. Be advised, this is where the warriors come out to play, so make sure you're OK getting lapped in the mogul field. If you can get it early enough, longer runs off the K-1 Express Gondola are (almost) worth the $96 price of admission, especially off the gondi fall line.
Families can hang in Ramshead without having to worry about overzealous weekend warriors and teenage park rats. Groomers, wide trees, a mini-park, and enough hot chocolate to keep the kiddos happy is a solid recipe for getting the tikes into ski shape without losing personal sanity.
After the lifts close, Killington Road comes alive with more than enough options to keep any group, and any budget, satisfied. Sushi Yoshi offers free wings at happy hour and, a little closer to the mountain, the Lookout serves up free pizza for après skiers. Live music goes down at the Wobbly Barn and the Pickle Barrel, so save a little energy for rug-cutting after dinner.
And if you want to stay on the hill and not in your buddy's vegetable oil-powered solar charging PT Cruiser, the Killington Resort Hotel or Sunrise condominiums have the best location, or check the Killington Motel for keeping your wallet happy.