The harder the mountain, the softer the landing" is the adage I go by when seeking lodging. To compensate for Killington's multiple bumped-up peaks, it helps to have creamy Anichini sheets to stretch out on and perhaps a thermal massage tub à deux with a skylight view of the stars. Throw in a fabulous dinner, and you have the Jackson House Inn, an 1890 showplace that has rapidly ascended to the top ranks in a competitively pampering town. With new owners and a new chef, it's now poised to rise even higher.
Carl and Linda Delnegro-a former corporate communications consultant and decorator/realtor, respectively-have the kind of passion it takes to hone an already superior "product." One of their first moves was to sign executive chef Andrew Turner, who in his brief career-he's only 28-has been mentored by such avatars as Joachim Splichal of Hollywood's Patina and world-class innovator Alain Ducasse. Inspired by Splichal's fondness for "humble ingredients" and Ducasse's penchant for "vibrant, clean flavors," Turner's cuisine is not of the scattershot-exotica school: Devotedly regional, it's subtle, subdued, even a little intellectual. His foie gras terrine, for example, gets its zip from shaved parsley root, and crisped duck breast is served in an autumnal composition of black mission figs, young spinach and rosti.
The dining room-with its free-standing granite fireplace and a pentagonal window-wall overlooking five acres of snowed-under gardens-is lovely, and cherry chairs by local furniture designer Charles Shackleton invite lingering. But so do the 15 rooms-from the busy ones, like Governor Julius Converse, a cheerful implosion of blue toile ($260 a night), to the low-key variants, like Clara's Corner ($380), a study in cream and cranberry, boasting one of those beckoning tubs. Call 802-457-2065, or log on to www.jacksonhouse.com.
Play By The Rules Flying with ski gear has never been much fun, and the heightened security at airports has only added challenges. But pack wisely, follow the FAA's rules and these tips, and you'll be ahead of the crowd. At airports everywhere, parking spots nearest to the terminals are blocked off, so take a shuttle to avoid the park-and-schlep scenario. If you can, fly direct into smaller airports where check-in and security lines are shorter and faster.
At larger airports, unless you're a Premier Member or are flying first-class, check-in lines take between 30 minutes and two hours to navigate and security up to another three.
If you're flying through Denver International Airport, check everything and leave the laptop at home, as there are two basic security lines: the express line for those with no carry-on items (small purses are OK, but backpacks aren't), and the carry-on line that eats up 45 minutes one day and three hours the next. More than one unhappy traveler has missed a flight while standing in this line. (At press time, adults traveling with young children strollers had access to a special line.) Finally, pack steel-toed shoes and belts with metal belt buckles. X-ray machines now beep at anything containing more metal than a watch-even underwire bras are setting off alarms-and the next thing you know you're being frisked and your purse searched.
Beware that electronic items such as laptops and cell phones are subject to additional screening. The FAA's website at www.faa.gov has good information on check-in procedures. Also be sure to call your airline for its requirements.
What should you pack in your carry-on? Food, for one. Budget cuts mean most major carriers have dropped meal service in economy on flights lasting four hours or less. And lots of patience. And a good book, or two.