|Vertical Drop:||3050 feet|
|Standing Lifts:||2 gondolas, 1 six pack, 5 high speed quads, 4 quads, 3 triples, 1 double, surface lifts|
|Past Lifts:||1 gondola, 3 quads, 2 triples, 9 doubles, surface lifts|
|Left: The K1 Gondola (2005)|
|Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
|10/16/2021: Sugarbush Sets New England Record with $170 Lift Ticket|
|10/11/2021: Base Facility Projects Continue as Season Approaches|
|5/20/2021: 2020-21 Season Comes to an End|
|1/7/2021: Killington Postpones Base Lodge Construction|
Last updated: March 10, 2021
At 4,235 feet in elevation, Killington Peak is second highest peak in Vermont, as well as one of the highest in all of New England. Killington Peak is best known as being home to Killington Resort, which is by many measurements the biggest ski area in the Northeast.|
Initially interested in purchasing Ascutney, aspiring ski entrepreneur Pres Smith was persuaded by Perry Merrill to look into developing a ski area on Killington Peak. After seeing that Killington had the potential to be "bigger than Stowe," Smith began seeking investors in 1955. According to Killington: A Story of Mountains and Men, at this point he met Joe Sargent, an investor in Mount Snow, who talked Smith down from initial plans of a cabin lift and three mountain peaks to a smaller upstart that could be more easily financed. The Sherburne Corporation was formed in April 1956.
Killington Peak circa 1960
Meanwhile, there was no reasonable road access into Killington Basin. After extensive lobbying, the Vermont legislature agreed in 1957 to fund the Killington access road. Smith and his crew subsequently constructed a work road, cut lift lines, and took delivery of two Poma lifts. However, the state postponed construction of the access road, dashing any hope for a 1957-58 opening. On the bright side, Sherburne Corporation was able to finalize a lease with the State of Vermont.
Construction of the Killington access road finally took place in 1958, while the state constructing a base shelter later in the year.
As the season approached, the future of the ski area looked bright, as a Thanksgiving storm dumped two to three feet of snow on the mountain. After years of work, Killington Basin ski area opened on December 13, 1958. Initially served by the two Snowdon Poma lifts, two more were constructed during the season, serving the novice slope and the upper mountain Glades complex.
The ski area continued its ascent into the "big leagues" in 1960, when it expanded to Killington Peak proper with the installation of the 6,300 foot Killington double chairlift and three new trails. In just its second season of operation, Killington turned a profit.
The Killington Chairlift (1960s)
Paul Bousquet, son of Bousquet founder Clarence Bousquet, was named operations manager in January 1961. Bousquet was soon promoted to assistant treasurer and eventually general manager.
Beginner options were improved in the following years, as the first Snowshed chairlift was installed for the 1961-62 season, while sights were set on "North Peak." After a name change, the new peak debuted for the 1962-63 season as Ram's Head, providing more novice terrain.
Looking for a hedge against lean years while also extending the ski season, Killington invested in a Larchmont snowmaking system for the 1963-64 season. The initial attempts at snowmaking were unsuccessful, as the aluminum pipe installed in the Snowshed area exploded under pressure. Nevertheless, Killington continued to improve the system.
The new Rams Head lodge circa the 1960s
In 1964, Killington nearly exercised an option to purchase nearby Pico Peak.
Over the next few years, additional chairlifts were added to existing pods as more and more skiers continued to flock to the resort. In addition, the Killington base lodge was doubled in size for the winter of 1965-66. Revenues reportedly reached $1.5 million that season, which spanned from mid November to mid May for a total of 183 operating days. During the final weeks of the season, skiers carried their skis on the lift to reach the upper mountain snow and had to walk between patches of snow. The season reportedly continued as long as a half dozen skiers would show up, with Paul Bousquet stating, "we'll run until the skiers stop coming."
Killington circa the 1960s
Killington continued focusing on season length in 1966, putting 400 tons of hay, 2.5 tons of hay seed, and 300 tons of fertilizer down to smooth the slopes. Early snowmaking allowed for October race training and the earliest opening to date (November 5).
As a profitable and growing business, Killington invested in numerous initiatives, such as a news bureau, weekly accounting closes, and analysis of competitors via airplane. All the while, a huge development was in the works for the latter part of the decade.
Onward to Route 4
A multi-year project due to delays in constructing the longest gondola in the world, Killington East opened with lift service during the 1969-70 season. While cost overruns put Sherburne Corporation in financial jeopardy at the time, the project increased the vertical drop by 50% to over 3,000 feet, firmly cementing Killington as the largest ski area in New England.
The Killington Gondola circa 1970
While Killington's early snowmaking focus had been on the Snowshed area, Pres Smith rolled the dice and installed higher elevation snowmaking on Snowdon for the 1971-72 season. Meanwhile, the first iteration of the Superstar trail debuted. Snowmaking was extended to the summit for the 1972-73 season, paired with the installation of the Glades Triple, the second ever installed in Vermont. Coining a new slogan of "King of Spring," Killington announced plans to offer lift served skiing in June. Though this would not occur for another 10 years, it nevertheless cemented Killington's reputation for offering New England's longest ski season.
Killington continued to expand around the Killington East development later in the 1970s with the addition of the South Ridge and Bear Mountain complexes. Also during the 1970s, the ownership purchased Sunday River and Mt. Snow.
Lift served June skiing was finally achieved 1982, when Killington operated until June 15. For the next two decades, a June closing became the norm.
Meanwhile, sights were set on Parker's Gore in the early 1980s as Sunrise opened, connecting the Bear Mountain area with US 4 via a 9,243 foot long triple chairlift. Hitting its stride as the middle of the decade neared, Killington was in continuous operation from October 20, 1983 until June 21, 1984, marking 246 consecutive days of skiing.
Pres Smith in front of the new Northeast Passage Lodge (1980s)
That fall, S-K-I Ltd. was formed, initially composed of Mt. Snow and Killington. While at the time it seemed liked Killington was on the verge of more big things, that fall also marked the narrow election of Madeleine Kunin as Governor of Vermont. With Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders set to run against her in 2 years, Kunin quickly found her way onto the pages of the New York Times by going after big ski development, and specifically Killington. At one point, the Governor criticized Killington's water quality record, despite the fact the area had passed all of its state inspections.
As a result of the new road blocks, Killington made no capital investments for the 1985-86 season, ending a decades-long campaign of constant improvements. As Pres Smith told Ski magazine in 1985, "It's a disgrace for Vermont to have government officials say something that isn't even remotely true." Realizing that any significant expansion at Killington was now in jeopardy, S-K-I started to focus on expansion by acquisition. Carinthia was purchased in 1986, followed by what would become Bear Mountain, California in 1988. Three more areas were acquired in the first half of the 1990s.
Skiing off the summit (1983)
Meanwhile, S-K-I continued to stay on the cutting edge of ski technology with its snowmaking, information systems, and lift infrastructure. Killington installed its first two high speed detachable quad chairlifts for the 1987-88 season, followed by its first modern gondola, the Skyeship, in 1994-95.
The Killington Gondola circa the 1980s
During this time, S-K-I was involved in an arms race of sorts with former Killington employee Les Otten's LBO Resort Enterprises Corp.. While LBO was quickly acquiring areas, S-K-I purchased ownership stakes in Haystack, Sugarloaf, and Waterville.
The two companies eventually agreed to a merger/buyout in 1996, creating the American Skiing Company
The American Skiing Company wasted no time in making a splash, as it installed three new quad chairlifts during its first year of ownership. Nearby Pico Peak was purchased in 1997, though plans to connect the two have never been completed. Meanwhile, Killington ceded its Parkers Gore holdings in exchange for base area land, the Pico interconnect, and snowmaking water from the Woodward Reservoir.
American Skiing Company's Last Run
The American Skiing Company's last new lift investment came in 1997-98, when it replaced the Killington chairlift with the K1 Gondola and retrofitted the Superstar Quad with Poma components. While there was one last victory with the completion of the Woodward Reservoir snowmaking project in 2000, American Skiing Company was drowning in debt, leaving a sea of deferred maintenance behind.
The Pico side of the Interconnect (2016)
In 2007, Killington was purchased by SP Land Co., with Powdr Corp. taking over operations. The transition was not a smooth one, as controversy was stirred up due to the termination of lifetime passes, as well as the first April closing in over thirty years. Nonetheless, the area saw its first new chairlift in a decade when the Skye Peak Express was installed for the 2008-09 season.
Season length was later addressed when the new Peak Walkway was constructed for the 2010-11 season, providing fall skiers with a foot route between the top of the K1 Gondola and the top of the Canyon Quad and North Ridge Triple. Following the 2010-11 season, Killington announced the replacement of the Peak Lodge. The $7 million project started that off season, as the old lodge was demolished.
On August 28, 2011, Vermont suffered significant damage from Hurricane Irene. In addition to severe road washouts in the area, Killington lost a bar in the base area. Work on the summit lodge was slowed while repairs started elsewhere, including the construction of an umbrella bar to replace the lost building.
Return of the King of Spring
After a seven year break, Killington returned to its late season dominance in 2012-13, when it stayed open through May 26. The Robert Carl Williams Associates designed Peak Lodge for the following season.
The Superstar Glacier (February 2016)
An expansion of off season activities ramped up starting in 2014 with the debut of lift served mountain biking via the Snowshed Quad. Further attractions were constructed in 2015, including a ropes course, a Soaring Eagle ride, and a mountain coaster.
Killington faced a big challenge in 2016 as it worked to host the first World Cup racing in New England in a quarter of a century. While western ski areas were forced to cancel their World Cup races in November, Killington flexed its snowmaking might by covering the Superstar slope top to bottom in less than optimal temperatures. New England native Mikaela Shiffrin won the Slalom event in 2016 and repeated the feat in 2017 and 2018.
Citing advantages from tax reform, Killington embarked on a $25 million capital improvement campaign in 2018, including a new high speed six person bubble chairlift, two relocated lifts, K1 gondola improvements, snowbridges, RFID, and snowmaking improvements. Despite delays from abundant early season snowfall, the Snowdon Six Express debuted in early December. The South Ridge Quad debuted in February, restoring direct lift service to that trail complex for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Snowdon Six Express and lower snow tunnel (December 2018)
The big investments continued during the 2019 off season, as the aging early season workhorse North Ridge Triple was replaced with a new fixed grip quad. In addition, work began on a proposed two-year, $27 million replacement of the K1 base lodge. Though Killington was in the midst of a resurgence, COVID-19 brought things to a screeching halt. Not only did Killington have its earliest closing date on record on March 14, but lodge construction was delayed and the 2020 World Cup races cancelled. Ski operations resumed over eight months later, making 2020 the longest off-season of the snowmaking era.
The rejuvenated South Ridge complex (March 2019)
||Average Percent of Terrain Open
|October||1% (1 report)|
|November||12% (3 reports)|
|December||50% (6 reports)|
|January||79% (5 reports)|
|February||90% (4 reports)|
|March||79% (4 reports)|
|April||42% (9 reports)|
|May||3% (17 reports)|
|June||1% (3 reports)||
-- start conditions table -->
|Recent Conditions Reports|
|May. 7, 2021 by rhodeislandskier|
Corn, Loose Granular
|May. 2, 2021 by nhalex|
Corn, Frozen Granular
|May. 1, 2021 by rhodeislandskier|
Corn, Wet Powder
|Apr. 24, 2021 by nhalex|
Corn, Spring Snow
|Apr. 18, 2021 by nhalex|
Packed Powder, Variable Conditions
|Killington on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com|
|Sugarbush Sets New England Record with $170 Lift Ticket - Oct. 16, 2021|
|Base Facility Projects Continue as Season Approaches - Oct. 11, 2021|
|2020-21 Season Comes to an End - May. 20, 2021|
|Killington Postpones Base Lodge Construction - Jan. 7, 2021|
|Killington Pushes Back Opening Day - Sep. 10, 2020|
|Killington World Cup Races Cancelled - Aug. 20, 2020|
|Signs of Uncertainty for the 2020-21 Ski Season - Aug. 2, 2020|
|Killington Officially Ends Ski Season - May. 19, 2020|
|2019-20 Season Starts November 3rd - Nov. 2, 2019|
|Lodge Construction in Progress Across New England - Oct. 16, 2019|
|Killington NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page|
Click on lift name for information and photos
Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
||Season Pass Price
|2020-21||$170.00||$1582.53||9.3 days||November 20||May 16|
|2019-20||$130.00||$1336.43||10.3 days||November 3||March 14|
||Season Pass Price
|2018-19||$129.00||$1292.14||10.0 days||October 19||June 2|
|2017-18||$115.00||$1261.53||11.0 days||November 8||May 26|
|2016-17||$105.00||$1486.23||14.2 days||October 25||June 1|
|2015-16||$96.00||$1464.83||15.3 days||October 18||May 29|
|2014-15||$92.00||$1443.43||15.7 days||November 3||May 25|
|2013-14||$89.00||$1389.93||15.6 days||October 23||May 18|
|2012-13||$88.00||$1443.43||16.4 days||October 13||May 26|
|2011-12||$86.00||$1443.43||16.8 days||October 29||April 22|
|2010-11||$84.00||$1389.93||16.5 days||November 2||May 1|
|2009-10||$82.00||$1336.43||16.3 days||November 7||April 25|
||Season Pass Price
|2008-09||$82.00||$1443.43||17.6 days||November 2||May 2|
|2007-08||$79.00||$1376.94||17.4 days||November 16||April 20|
|2006-07||$72.00||$1400.00||19.4 days||November 23||May 6||700,000|
|2005-06||$69.00||$1300.00||18.8 days||October 29||May 1||795,000|
|2004-05||$1100.00||November 9||May 15||986,000|
|2003-04||$67.00||November 10||May 12||955,000|
|2002-03||$64.00||October 25||May 26||1,045,000|
|2001-02||$62.00||$1099.00||17.7 days||November 6||June 1||953,000|
|2000-01||$58.00||$1249.00||21.5 days||October 29||May 27||1,085,000|
|1999-00||$56.00||$1249.00||22.3 days||October 25||May 29||939,000|
||Season Pass Price
|1998-99||$52.00||$1299.00||25.0 days||October 22||May 25||978,000|
|1997-98||$49.00||$1249.00||25.5 days||October 1||May 25||1,077,000|
|1996-97||$1500.00||October 4||June 22|
|1995-96||October 17||June 10|
|1994-95||$46.00||October 3||June 4|
|1993-94||$45.00||October 1||June 9|
|1992-93||October 1||June 1||972,000|
|1991-92||$39.00||October 21||June 14|
|1990-91||$39.00||October 27||May 28|
|1989-90||$37.00||October 10||May 28|
||Season Pass Price
|1988-89||$34.00||October 13||May 21|
|1987-88||$35.00||October 12||June 1|
|1986-87||$30.00||October 10||June 3|
|1985-86||October 28||June 1|
|1984-85||$26.00||November 3||June 2|
|1983-84||$25.00||October 20||June 21|
|1982-83||$24.00||October 17||June 16|
|1981-82||$22.00||October 20||June 15|
|1980-81||$20.00||October 14||May 27|
|1979-80||$17.00||$397.00||23.4 days||October 10||May 23|
||Season Pass Price
|1978-79||$15.00||October 16||May 22||676,056|
|1977-78||$14.00||October 24||May 23||698,950|
|1976-77||October 27||May 15|
|1975-76||$12.00||October 30||May 5|
|1974-75||$11.00||October 19||May 12||440,345|
|1973-74||$10.00||November 5||April 30||341,319|
|1972-73||$9.50||October 20||April 28||382,355|
|1971-72||$9.50||November 9||May 18||448,809|
|1970-71||$9.50||November 18||May 21|
|1969-70||$9.00||October 24||May 4|
||Season Pass Price
|1968-69||$8.50||November 9||May 10|
|1967-68||$7.00||November 5||April 7|
|1966-67||$7.00||November 4||May 2||319,756|
|1965-66||November 18||May 18||321,000|
|1964-65||$6.25||$120.00||19.2 days||November 21||May 4||250,000|
|1963-64||$6.00||December 3||April 23||240,000|
|1962-63||$5.75||December 8||May 5||193,000|
|1961-62||$5.50||December 2||April 30||118,000|
|1960-61||$5.25||December 14||May 8||64,850|
||Season Pass Price
|1958-59||December 13||April 16||13,000|
1997-2006 skier visit figures include Pico
|"First skied here in 64. Tickets were $6.00.
Biggest thing in my young adult life.
|William Strait, Dec. 23, 2020|
|"Been skiing killington since early 70's. Best in the east. I've seen a lot of cahnges and most for the best. To many great days and memories with friends and family to list. ⛷⛷❄❄🌨🌨👍👍🍺🍺"|
|Leslie Heine, May. 11, 2020|
|"I was director of ski patrol in the late sixties !"|
|Ron Thompson, Feb. 2, 2017|
|"Killington has actually offered lift-serviced mountain biking since 1991 on the Killington Double chair and later K1 gondola, making next week's opening the start of the 25th season of mountain biking at Killington!"|
|Will Conroy, May. 20, 2016|
|"Monday, Feb 6. I was staying with friends at the Red Rob Inn (now the Killington Mountain School). We sat down for dinner at precisely 6:00 pm and we noticed it just started snowing...slow at first, but within minutes, it was snowing hard. Dinner was over by 7:00; we decided to walk to Charity's for drinks. There was well over six inches of snow on the ground as we walked there. When we left Charity's--around 10:00 pm, there was almost two feet of snow on the ground...and the access road was practically impassable. Cars were stuck everywhere. When we got back to the Red Rob, two ladies who left the hotel earlier that day (to drive home back to Boston)were inexplicably back at the Red Rob. 'Why did you guys return to Vermont?' we asked. 'They closed Massachusetts' was their answer. The turnpike was closed and the Massachusetts police said they would arrest any non-emergency motorists on the highways. When we woke up Tuesday morning, there was almost four feet of snow on the ground. Kenny Budzyna, the co-owner of the Red Rob calmed us down as we were dying to get to the mountain. Kenny advised us to sit tight: 'There's no rush to go the mountain,' he said. 'Too much snow and the lifts aren't open yet...they won't open until after 10 am.' He asked that we dig out our cars and empty the lot of cars so they can plow the lot. We got to the mountain around 10:30 am...and only a few lifts were running. The parking lot at Killington base was barely cleared of snow; just two bays, perhaps. We saw huge piles of snow that were foreign to us...we were amazed at all the snow there, being piled up as they plowed the lot. Killington 'regulars' were commenting that they never ever saw this much snow. They were still sweeping snow off the Killington Double chair. Most lifts sat still, or were moving very slowly so they could clear the mounds of snow off of each chair. The South Ridge triple didn't open until Wednesday...the mid-station two-bull wheel turn was buried in ten feet of drifts! We broke trails and snow all day Tuesday. The mountain was largely empty. Over 48 inches of snow fell. What a change from the icy conditions we experienced earlier that previous weekend. The snow remained excellent all week, through Friday. Boston Logan airport was closed for seven days. Killington remained empty even that following weekend because so many people couldn't get to the mountain. This was the winter of '78 where there were many storms..more than usual. I am told that this was the largest single dump in Killington history. I am glad that I was there...to experience nothing but powder and loose-pack powder day after day. The novice and many intermediate trails were almost impossible to ski until they were groomed...they weren't steep enough. A few trails (Conclusion, for example) had chest-deep snow. It was the most amazing ski day of my life at Killington...I've been skiing there for more than 40 years. Many other reminisce about that storm. I shall never forget the storm of my ski life...Feb 6-7, 1978. "|
|Robert Gedzelman, Jul. 8, 2014|
Killington Resort - official site
Killington Resort - a Skiernet Perspective
Killington Peak - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
Killington - Chairlift.org