Vermont's Killington Resort gets a virgin rider back on his feet.
As someone who doesn’t normally ski or snowboard, I found myself having a great time when I visited Killington, Vermont in January. The Killington Resort has seven base lodges, all of them inter-connected. If you have more skills than I did, you can get to any of the base lodges from any other through Killington’s extensive system of 31 chairlifts and 190 ski trails.
When my friend Glen Luzong and I arrived at Killington, it was blanketed by 85″ of snow and it was very cold. We were both given an opportunity to try a new sport so I thought, which is easier to learn? Killington is known for its superpipe and three terrain parks, The Beach at Snowshed, an intermediate level mini-park on Timberline and a mini park on Triple Slope over at Pico, where I could spend my time.
Glen decided to try snowblades, those little mini-skis. As a beginner watching him and other skiers, I’d have to say skiing is easier to pick up. However, according to skiers and snowboarders I spoke to at Killington, once you get snowboarding it’s easier to learn the more difficult techniques.
Beginners register at the Snowshed Lodge for maximum five-person sessions which start around 9:45am and 12:45pm. They only offer those two time slots, so make sure you don’t arrive late. Also, make sure you’re physically prepared for this undertaking. If you don’t normally exercise you will be severely fatigued after your lesson. Trust me.
Try running, aerobics and sports to help get ready. These activities will accustom your body to the physical rigor required for snowboarding. You might be spending a lot of time sitting on your rear as you wait for the instructor, and even more time when you’re binding your other foot to your snowboard. By the way, beginners can rent equipment away from the base lodges at Fred’s Freeride & Tuning and the many other local specialty stops along the road to the Base Lodge.
During the evenings, Killington is really fun. After you recover from your time on your mountain, you can visit the Santa Fe Steakhouse for aprÃ¨s-ski. Some great places to eat for dinner are the Cascades Lodge restaurant located near the Snowshed Lodge and Casey’s Caboose, where you can dine in a coal train compartment.
Killington is about five hours away from New York City. If you think you’re going to be too sore to drive home or you’d just rather relax than sit behind the wheel, you can take AMTRAK from Penn Station to Rutland, a nearby city. Once you’re in the Rutland area you can take “The Bus,” which will bring you right to Killington. The Bus will also bring you around Killington for about $2 to any destination, plus there are some places where you can board The Bus for free.
After my weekend, I decided Vermont is a lovely state to visit. The air is fresh and commercial billboards are almost nowhere to be seen. And of course while you’re there, if you don’t want to snowboard, you can ski.
Update: Debbie Gioquindo, travel counselor and FTF travel specialist, says, “At Killington, we stayed at a place called Cascades Lodge. Great location! Breakfast was very good with daily specials. My 8-year-old loved the chocolate chip pancakes. Nice pool and hot tub. The rooms were pretty basic but spacious. They also provide a room for you to change in after skiing on the day you check out…”
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