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Day-bus trip to Killington

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I decided to take a ski bus to Vermont for my first day back on snow since my ACL surgery.  There are several companies running day trips from the Boston area.  I picked one going to Killington, largely because their pickup is twelve minutes from my house.

My son dropped my off so he could use the car.


The bus and lift ticket was $83 -- I think that is less than the window lift price.  I napped on the way up.  They played a movie on the way back.  The bus drops off and picks up at Snowshed.  The only downside is you a little ski time, since this bus didn't arrive till 9:30.  But to be honest, I would have to drive up the night before to beat that on my own.


Since it had been a year since I skied, and I hadn't worn my brace "for real" previously, it took me awhile to get organized and on the hill.  By the way, Snowshed has a free bag check on the second floor.  There are rental lockers in the same room, and oddly enough some people were renting them.


I took one run on Snowshed (the bunny slope) to test the waters.  It was wonderful just to be on snow again.


Then it was off to find more interesting terrain.  Off to the Needles Eye area, since it is easy to get to from Snowshed.  Took a couple of runs on a steep-ish but flat run, and started to feel a bit more confident.  I had seen on the website that K had blown a lot of snow on the Bear area, so that was next.


I used to go to Killington a lot, twenty years or so ago.  So now when I go back I get bolluxed up, either because they've changed traffic patterns or I've misremembered something.  Anyway, it took a couple of tries to actually leave Needles Eye.


When I got to Bear, I came around a corner and hmmmm... bumps.  Smal bumps sure, but still.  Was my knee ready for this?  But I was committed, and it went fine.  So I decided to go bigger:  Outer Limits.


Outer Limits was glorious.  I think this was only the second day it had been open.  The snow-making whales had been carved into big, round, soft bumps.  The snow surface was edgeable or even fluffy, depending on which part of the bump you went over.



I did have a couple of dumb sit-down falls for no apparent reason, but they went away as the day went on.


I was pretty happy with my bump skiing -- not heroic, and certainly not zipper line, but nothing to be ashamed of.  I mostly skied fairly slow, over the top of the bumps.  None of the old, bad habits (such as double pumping) came back.


Here is a look from on the run:

 and a side view from the lift.  This is near the bottom, which is a little less steep.  I thought it was interesting the way the whales have been carved (or windlown?) into ridges.  And this guy's trail shows there is looses snow to be kicked up.



After four Outer Limits runs, I decided I shouldn't push it.  Besides, I wanted to see what the rest of the hill was like.


So back to Superstar.  It was flat and a bit icy.  (Not real icy, but compared to the great snow on Bear, it was not too appealing.)


Bounced over to Snowdon -- I'd forgotten how slow that chair is.  But popping up the "North Ridge" chair (formerly known as Glades) provided an opportunity to lap the Canyon chair to Reason to East Fall.  East Fall was flat but fairly steep, and had nice snow - a good opportunity to work on short turns.


Then I wanted to check out Downdaft.  In the old days, it was an important trail, but it got forgotten after they put in the Superstart chair.  Watching the website, I was intrigued that they seem to be doing more with it again.  Up the Gondola, and down Downdraft.  LIke OL, it had a lot of snow blown on it.  But Downdraft is narrow, and had been open longer, so the bumps were much shorter and a bit choppy.  Kind of a challenge on my long skis.  It had a chalky, extremely edgeable texture, different from any of the other snow I'd been on.  But once was enough.


So back up, check out the new Peak Lodge.  It is smaller than it looks in the ads.  The bathrooms are on the main floor, right by the front door.  (Hooray!) You don't even have to come into the dining room to get to them.  Outside and down Cascade.


Cascade at 3pm was an open invitation to ski too fast.  Good snow (different texture than Downdaft, but still easy to turn on), flat, steep-ish, and empty. Three minutes from clicking in to the start of the runout, and another two back to the base.


Time to head back to Snowshed  - don't want to miss the bus.  When I came off the connector, I looked at the traffic,waited for one person, and crossed the trail.  But I was seduced by the seven thousand SLOW signs and did not look far enough up hill.  A young man on a snowboard comes flying down and threads the needle between me and a snowgun.  As he went by I heard him say "Whoa!"  That was scary.


Pack up, change clothes, take the contact lenses out, and get back on the bus.


A great day.

post #2 of 7

Outer Limits looks great!  Glad to hear that the first day back went well!

post #3 of 7

Welcome back to snow after your knee surgery.  Glad to see you getting out there. 

post #4 of 7

Sounds like a great return to the slopes!

post #5 of 7
Liked your recap. I'm out with tibial plateau fracture and torn alc/mcl (two weeks ago now). Had surgery on Monday and now have a good 11 months to rehab. Nice to have the point of view of a good first day back. Back before I was married, I use to do two bus trips a weekend. Stowe one day, okemo the next. 5am to 8pm each day. Never regretted a single weekend. Sleep ski and eat. What else is there to do in the winter on the weekend?? Have a great season!
post #6 of 7

You sound like the comeback kid.  That was a lot of tough slopes you checked out.  Fresh manmade at the right temps can be a beautiful thing.  I'd say your new ACL passed the test!  I took two bus trips to Killington in '79 and '80 from Wash DC area.  During the first air temps were -37 in Rutland one morning.  During the second there was a foot+ new snow and they delayed the return to Wash by a day.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments everyone. I was thinking of the Stowe bus this coming Sunday, but the weather forecast is discouraging. Would like to get another day or two in before the Utah gathering.
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