It’s no secret that Killington likes to party. A lot. Year after year, the Beast ranks at or near the top of the pack for its party scene, and this year is no different (No. 3 in Après and Nightlife), thanks in no small part to the proud and rowdy community that calls Killington home. From the Umbrella Bar to the Wobbly Barn, K Town gets down. Turns out that the skiing doesn’t suck either, which is really why you came (right?). Coming in at No. 5 for Terrain and No. 6 for Challenge, the Beast serves up the goods to the faithful who know just how good they have it and aren’t afraid to sound off about it. “The best terrain and nightlife in VT, and it gets better every year,” raves one reader. An impressive lift system (No. 4) services over 1,500 acres of that coveted terrain, from steep and techy fall lines on Bear Mountain to the 3,000-foot vertical drop of the Peak to Creek route.
COVID-19 regulations forced Killington to pause construction on the much-anticipated new K-1 base lodge, but there’s a silver lining: The current K-1 lodge will remain in operation for a final season, allowing visitors one last chance to soak up every bit of the skiing nostalgia this lodge still exudes (seriously, it’s like a portal to the ’80s). Readers do wish that the Beast was easier to get around and oozed more of that famous New England quaintness (No. 19, Accessibility; No. 16, Charm). Despite these shortcomings, K Town earns the No. 4 overall rank, proving that no-B.S., first-chair-to-last-call skiing is the name of the game. “The terrain and challenge are the draws,” explains one reader. “Great facilities, snow, and grooming add to the experience. You can really feel the soul here. Big time mountain, small feel.” — Rick Sorensen
2021 Reader Resort Survey Result for Killington, Vt.: No. 4 in the East
- MANDATORY RUN: The trees between Outer Limits and Devil’s Fiddle on Bear Mountain are some of the best glades anywhere east of the Mississippi. With more creative lines than you could count, this pod was made for powder days.
- APRÈS SPOT: If it’s après-ski at Killington, it’s got to be the Wobbly Barn. This iconic steakhouse-cum-nightclub has been cheffing up and throwing down for 57 years.
- LOCAL TIP: Headed back down to the Tri-State Area? Take Route 100 to 103 for a scenic ride through the Vermont countryside. Stop by the humorously named Smokin’ Bowls shack for a killer bowl of soup before you hop on the highway.
Read about No. 5 in the East: Whiteface Mountain, N.Y.
See who beat Killington: No. 3 in the East – Mad River Glen
Killington’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 4th in the East
Northern Vermont skiers might try to make you feel bad for loving Killington. Let them. Because any Stowe, Mad River, or Jay Peak snob who’s actually taken the time to explore Killington really has to admit, the snow and terrain are just as good here. The problem, everyone agrees, is that Killington sometimes gets loved to near-death on weekends and holidays—the price it pays for being the biggest/best/close-to-the- city. (You’ve been warned. Finally time to reorganize your life around midweek skiing?)
Killington probably earns its No. 1 in Terrain on the sheer breadth of its massive six-mountain sprawl. But there’s some legit quality along with that quantity, from technique-testers like Devil’s Fiddle to view-rich cruisers like Solitude. All of it is well accessed by the East’s No. 2–ranked lift system (finally back in order with the long-awaited replacement of the South Ridge lift). And while the busy Access Road has absolutely zero Vermont-village quaintness (No. 19 for Charm), no Vermont skier would say that the Beast has any rival for partying (No. 1, Nightlife; No. 3, Après). Looking to make friends? Killington bars are packed with happy skiers who seem to shed their city shells and welcome social interaction. (Shots!)
Oh, and if Northern Vermonters seem extra haughty of late, maybe it’s because their home hill isn’t the one that so brilliantly brought the World Cup (and 35,000 fans) to Vermont. Worse, their hill probably closed with deep snowpack in mid-April, while Killington skiers got after it till June 2. So let them pout, and say it proud: “Get lost at the Beast!” “Love the history, terrain, and soul of the Beast.” “Best mountain and nightlife in the East, period the end.” — Joe Cutts
- LUNCH SPOT: The Bear Mountain Lodge gets reader raves for its flatbread pizza and French onion soup.
- APRÈS-SKI: Nearby Bridgewater Corners was an early hotbed of the Vermont beer scene, thanks to Long Trail Ale, which is still brewed there. The restaurant and brewery are about seven miles from the Skyship base lot.
- WHAT’S NEW: Reconstruction of the new K-1 base lodge is underway, due for completion by winter 2020-21. It’ll be 50 percent bigger and feel like one big window on the hill. For this year, the North Ridge triple, key to early-season turns, becomes a quad.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Killington, Vermont
Killington will always be what many hard-charging city-dwellers from the New York metro area consider to be the closest, best destination. Back in the day, when it was hosting more than a million skier visits a year, the Beast rightly earned a bad rap for being crowded. And worse: mobbed with joeys.
These days the resort handles a more manageable number, and frankly, a higher percentage of real skiers, giving it a more soulful feel despite its size. And nowhere in the East beats the Access Road for after-hours action. That’s partly a tribute to its wealth of fine drinking and dining establishments, but also to the party-hearty attitude of many of the passholders. Some still complain of too many out-of-control skiers, and others find it difficult to navigate from peak to peak—the flip side of the mountain’s sheer massiveness. But even the hardest-to-please of Killington regulars have to admit that management has made some great decisions in recent years. Among them: the brilliant stroke of hosting the Women’s World Cup, and a returned commitment to opening in October and closing in late May or even early June. – Joe Cutts
Come to Killlington for the…
- APRÈS Get off the rockin’ Access Road for one night and hang with the local crowd at McGrath’s Irish Pub. Live music on the weekends.
- LOCAL FLAVOR Stop into Killington Beer Company, a new small-batch craft brewery. It’s family friendly, with a game room to boot.
- CHALLENGE Satisfy your bump cravings on Bear Mountain or go for sustained vert on Devil’s Fiddle.
- LOCAL SECRET Hit Worthy Kitchen, in Woodstock, for fried-chicken sandwiches, poutine, and a rotating list of local craft brews.