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Killington. "Megamountain" aptly describes Killington. Thanks to its extensive snowmaking system, the resort typically opens in early November, and the lifts often run into late April or early May. Après-ski activities are plentiful and have been rated the best in the region by national ski magazines. Killington ticket holders can also ski at Pico Mountain: a shuttle connects the two areas.
In terms of downhill skiing, it would probably take weeks to test all 212 trails on the seven mountains of the Killington complex. There are 29 lifts, including 2 gondolas, 11 quads (including 7 high-speed express quads), 5 triples, and a Magic Carpet. The K-1 Express Gondola goes to the area's highest elevation, 4,241-foot Killington Peak. The Skyeship Gondola starts on U.S. 4, far below Killington's main base lodge. Savvy skiers park at the base of the Skyeship Gondola to avoid the more crowded access road.
Although Killington has a vertical drop of 3,050 feet, only gentle trails like the Juggernaut go from top to bottom. The skiing includes everything from Outer Limits, the East's steepest and longest mogul trail, to 6½-mile Great Eastern. In the glades, underbrush and low branches have been cleared to provide tree skiing. Killington's 22-foot Superpipe is one of the best rated in the East. Instruction programs are available for youngsters ages 3 to 8; those 6 to12 can join an all-day program. The Killington–Pico complex also has a host of summer activities, including mountain biking, hiking, and golf. 4763 Killington Rd., Killington, VT, 05751. 802/422–6200; 802/422–6200 snow conditions. www.killington.com.
Pico. When weekend hordes hit Killington, the locals head to Pico. One of Killington's "seven peaks," Pico is physically separated from its parent resort. The 57 trails range from elevator-shaft steep to challenging intermediate trails near the summit, with easier terrain near the bottom of the mountain's 2,000-foot vertical. The learning slope is separated from the upper mountain, so hotshots won't bomb through it. The lower express quad can get crowded, but the upper one rarely has a line. 73 Alpine Dr., Mendon, VT, 05751. 802/422–6200 or 866/667–7426. www.picomountain.com.
Mountain Meadows Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Center. Right next to Mountain Meadows Lodge on Kent Lake, this center has 34½ miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 285 Thundering Brook Rd., Killington, VT, 05751. 802/775–7077. www.xcskiing.net.
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