- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 4
- All Mtn. Terrain 3
- Terrain Park 4
- Nightlife 5
Pros: great snowmaking, nightlife and lodging/eating
Cons: can be crowded, can be too crowded, not for quiet contemplation
Recommended For: Single/Newlyweds, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: 1 Feb 2008
I've been here maybe ten times in the last 5 years, so this is not a review from a sole visit. Whether you're a family or a fraternity member, you will find other's of your ilk to play or speak with. They have really notched up the excellent snowmaking in recent years, but they use this to fudge numbers on occasion and if you are looking for the true conditions, either email or look for local blogs for the truth.
That said, unless you are looking for private quiet moments, you will find anything else you would expect from a ski holiday right here. Hotels and restaurants of every stripe, (An evening, esp. for families, eating at "The Garlic" is a must! The best Garlic filled Italian food you will find outside of NYC!) They are really pushing the resort as a year round vacation spot these days and it shows in the quality of nicer lodging built in recent years. But they still cater to skiers. Most places include a hearty, early morning breakfast with your room price, and you can eat and catch the reliable shuttle to the slopes to get there by 8-9a.m. with no problem. You cannot expect Utah or Colorado conditions on the east coast. But for the climate they have, they do the best job they can and have been adding more runs each year to try and break up the crowds a bit. The lift lines, esp. on weekends and holidays, can be long unless you know which parts of the Mountain to go to, (which usually requires you to be an intermediate or preferably better skier to get there and stay there to enjoy your day.) The worst part is the out of control 14-24 year old snowboarders trying to keep up with friends who have more experience. They strip the snow off the slopes and more than once I have been cut off or actually hit by a kid, most do not even take the time to apologize or yell out "sorreeee!" as they blow past while cutting you off. So it is imperative to keep an eye out on the more crowded slopes.
Once you learn the MT, it makes things a bit easier to navigate and there are tricks and shortcuts to learn all over the place that will help you. Some locals are over protective, but most realize their economy relies on your vacation dollars and are willing to help you out with good advice. The snow can seem like you are skiing in slow-mo compared to the west, but you are in the east, aren't you? There can be icy conditions if there's been no recent snow, especailly where trails meet or there are sharp turns on the novice slopes, but if you can learn to ski on ice, it makes you a better skier on the snow overall. Just don't plan on diggin in to make any sharp turns, because you can't. I think they should look towards having a snowboarders only mountain within the next 5-10 years. This would make the ski experience a bit more pleasant.
Beginners should also look at the map before heading up to see which slopes may be closed so they don't get trapped on a tougher slope than they care to be on, especially if caught it the confusion of a snowmaking effort which is like skiing in a bad dream with little vision as to whats in front of you. Experts would be best off looking for other experts or preferably a local. They get to the Mt early as they can and ski until 1-2 p,m, when the snowboarders have ruined the slopes and are packing the busy areas like schools of guppies. Killington is also one of the few ski areas where I try to put my gear in a locker. I have had nothing stolen yet, but the feeling it can happen is there. A good idea is to trade a ski with your partner when you break so the pairs are mismatched while you eat or drink.
Although not as rural as Mt. Snow, nor as family oriented as, say, Okemo, there are still plenty of things to do for skiers and non skiers alike. you can find instruction for a number of winter sports or climbing or snowmobiling, tubing, shopping and much local and interesting history if you are not one who cares to ski. Food on the Mountain is expensive like at any ski area, but is decent. Not great, but decent. there are plenty of Apres ski and happy hour opportunities everywhere you look, and can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays, esp. when there is live music, which there usually is. The choices or places to eat are virtually endless, and most are pretty good too. But ask locals for the best of whatever cuisine you are looking to for to eat the best.
I must say, although I can see they are trying to improve, they may be going heavy on the on-resort building unless they can build enough new runs to cut down on some of the overcrowding, or stop selling tickets once they sell a certain # as they do at places like Deer Valley. But with the shorter season here, this will never happen. so as a result, you can feel more like a number than a guest at times. But as the sport grows and more areas or runs are built, hopefully this will change.
Everything is certainly here, in place right now, for an entire family or "crew of friends" to have a great time. You just need to learn the ropes in order to take advantage of the best they have to offer so you can maximize your enjoyment. If you are strictly looking for a quiet family trip, however, go to Okemo.
One terrible difference between the east and west is the following. Someone backed up into my brand new Tundra in the parking lot at "The Garlic" my fave. Killington eatery. A guy from the bar took the plates down of the person who hit and ran, but I truly believe that out west, there is a much greater chance the person who hit me would have stopped or left a note themselves.
Killington is still one of the largest areas in the east. And if you cannot go out west, it is definitely worth a look see. Just keep the above caveats in mind and you'll be fine. We stayed at "The Inn of the Six(?) Mountains" (7 Mts.)? right near the mountain and it was full of people wanting to get in a full day of skiing and was clean and convenient, if a little noisy. For entire families or groups of friends, there are plenty of stores around, and condos to rent for the week or weekend do abound and may be your best bet to keep the costs down. And if things are slow, it is definitely worth a call to the mountain itself to try and talk yourself into the best deal you can get for yourself. And if you are flying or driving, (but especially flying) it may be more cost effective to rent skis than to bring your own. And if you're renting for a group, you can usually get yourself a great deal. For college kids, there is pizza delivery and its not half bad. You can buy beer at the local markets all over the place if thats your game too. nothing like a beer in the hottub and the end of a long day of ruining the slopes for us skiers with your poor snowboarding techniques! :-) Just teasing