Killington First to Open in East

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can wait. Andreas John and Carl Johnson have their priorities in order. Luckily for them, their parents do, too. The two high schoolers skipped school and drove two hours form Swanzey, New Hampshire, Tuesday morning to make their first turns of the season as Killington became the first Eastern resort to open for the 2001-2002 season. It marked the 41st straight year that Killington has been the first resort in the East to open.

Pickup trucks transported skiers and riders to the bottom of the Canyons quad chair, which then carried them to the top of the Glades area off Killington Peak. Nearly 200 people showed up to make some turns on the Rime and Upper East Glade trails. The mountain will continue to open at 9 a.m. and tickets are currently $25.

Temperatures were in the mid 20's Tuesday morning and two to four inches of new snow fell Monday, aiding a snowmaking effort that began Monday night and continued into Tuesday morning. Killington put snowmakers on call over the weekend when temperatures began to drop. Where the temps will go from here is anybody's guess, but the slopes are open and Killington plans on being open Wednesday and beyond, as long as the weather continues to cooperate.

"While we opened today, we always encourage skiers and riders to call ahead during the early season for conditions, as temperatures and weather can vary," said Steve Wright, Killington director of communications. "The best place to find out what trails are open on a daily basis is at" Last year, Killington had 75 trails and 35 miles of terrain open for Thanksgiving.

"Once we get open, we continue to expand terrain and ramp up for Thanksgiving," said Kim Jackson, Killington's news bureau director. "The next goal is to get top-to-bottom skiing, and that's when the K1 Express gondola will open."

John and Johnson played hooky from Monadnock Regional High School to catch their first opening day at Killington. John was planning on a few hours of skiing before heading home for a dentist appointment.

"My mom let us go skiing," Johnson said, "but there's a little bribery involved. We have to go shopping for her next week, and last year there was a cord of wood that needed chopping after we went to opening day at Okemo."

The two last skied on May 25, also at Killington, but as they both said, "It's been a long summer."

Summer's over, boys.