2001 Number 3 Resort in the East: Killington, Vt.

Resort Survey Killington Pic 1000

"T-t-t-terrain!" stammers one reader. "Seven mountains' worth!" That is perhaps all that needs to be said about Killington. Like a Vail of the East, the Big K simply goes on and on-so big you could never ski it in a day, maybe not even in a week. Some readers find it overwhelming-and overcrowded. ("Weekends are crazy," a reader complains.) One can only imagine what some skiers will think when there's a small city at the resort's feet and another mountain's worth of terrain linking Killington to Pico (both projects are in planning). But most praise the diversity that such a vast resort offers, with a thousand-plus acres of trails and glades crisscrossed by the East's largest lift network. "Despite the size and glitz, it's still a skier's mountain," contends one reader, who undoubtedly is a fan of the classic expert terrain found in the Canyon or on fabled Outer Limits. Yes, intermediates can find mile after mile of cruisers. And families get a whole mountain to themselves at Ramshead. In fact, though Killington earned its reputation as the ultimate party hill, lately it has been attending to families. The Beast is looking like Barney these days, with fireworks, child-care, tubing, teen programs and family-friendly lodging. Does that mean you'll be in bed by 9 pm? No. The Access Road watering holes-The Wobbly Barn, The Pickle Barrel, The Outback, etc.-still rock just as hard as state laws allow, and Killington ranks No. 2 in North America for Après-Ski. ("Bars, bars, bars," gushes a reader.) Restaurants, too: from four-star Hemingway's to a week's worth of inexpensive, family-friendly offerings. Killington has it all, in Killington-size helpings.

WHAT'S NEW The long-awaited pipeline to Woodward Reservoir means a huge increase in snowmaking; renovations to venerable Killington Base Lodge; four miles of lighted sidewalk linking Access Road businesses.

A GOOD DEAL Christmas Holiday Package: Six days of skiing and six nights of lodging at the Whistletree condos for $671 per person.

MEDALS GOLD Terrain, Challenge, Dining, Après-Ski; SILVER Lifts, Lodging, Off-Hill Activities, Family Programs.

HIGH/LOW RANK Après-Ski (2), Dining (11), Off-Hill Activities (12); Snow (61), Weather (63), Value (79).

DON'T MISS A killer combo: the bumps of Outer Limits on a warm day, then microbrews on the Bear Mountain Deck.

READER REMARKS (+) "Challenge, snow, variety, nightlife: Killington has it all." (-)"There's no village. You have to drive everywhere."