What is the Killington resort?
Killington is known for his wild parties. A much. The Beast always ranks towards the top of the pack for its party scene, and this year is no exception (No. 3 in Après and Nightlife), owing in large part to the proud and loud Killington community. K Town gets down from the Umbrella Bar to the Wobbly Barn. It turns out that the skiing isn’t too bad either, which is why you came in the first place (right?).
The Beast, ranked No. 5 for Terrain and No. 6 for Challenge, delivers the goods to the loyal who know how lucky they are and aren’t hesitant to brag about it. One reader praise, “The greatest terrain and nightlife in Vermont, and it gets better every year.” From steep and technical fall lines on Bear Mountain to the 3,000-foot vertical drop of the Peak to Creek route, an outstanding lift system (No. 4) serves over 1,500 acres of that sought terrain.
Killington has been forced to halt construction on the much-anticipated new K-1 base lodge due to COVID-19 regulations, but there is a silver lining: the current K-1 lodge will remain open for one more season, giving visitors one last chance to soak up all of the skiing nostalgia this lodge still exudes.
Skiing at Killington ski resort
Some skiers in northern Vermont may attempt to make you feel awful for liking Killington. Let them. Because any snob from Stowe, Mad River, or Jay Peak who has spent time exploring Killington has to concede that the snow and terrain are just as fantastic here. The issue, everyone believes, is that Killington is too popular on weekends and holidays, which is the price it pays for being the best and best closer to the city. Is it finally time to rearrange your schedule to accommodate midweek skiing?
The sheer expanse of Killington’s huge six-mountain spread definitely merits it the top spot in Terrain. From technique-testers like Devil’s Fiddle to view-rich cruisers like Solitude, there’s some genuine quality among the multitude. All of it is easily accessible because to the East’s No. 2 elevator system (finally back in order with the long-awaited replacement of the South Ridge lift). While the bustling Access Road lacks the charm of a Vermont community (No. 19 for Charm), no Vermont skier would argue that the Beast is the best place to party (No. 1, Nightlife; No. 3, Après). Looking for new acquaintances? Killington’s pubs are bustling with joyful skiers who have left their city shells and are eager to mingle.
Oh, and if Northern Vermonters seem especially arrogant lately, it may be because their home hill isn’t the one that wonderfully brought the World Cup (and 35,000 spectators) to the state. Worse, their slope was likely closed due to significant snowfall in mid-April, but Killington skiers had until June 2 to enjoy it. So, let them sulk and proudly declare, “Get lost at the Beast!” “I like the Beast’s history, geography, and spirit.”
Should you pay Killington a visit?
Killington will always remain the nearest and greatest destination for many hard-charging city people from the New York metro region. The Beast developed a poor reputation for being crowded back when it hosted more over a million skier visits every year. Worse, he was surrounded by joeys.
Despite its size, the resort now accommodates a more reasonable number of skiers and, honestly, a greater proportion of true skiers. For after-hours excitement, the Access Road is unrivaled in the East. That’s due in part to the city’s abundance of good drinking and eating businesses, but it’s also due to the passholders’ party-loving mindset. Some still complain about too many out-of-control skiers, while others find it impossible to manage from top to peak—the mountain’s sheer enormity. Even the most adamant Killington fans must agree that management has made some excellent selections in recent years. Among them: the great decision to host the Women’s World Cup, as well as a renewed commitment to open in October and close in late May or early June.
Stowe Ski Resort
Nothing compares to standing atop Stowe. Above you, jagged, cold rock formations transmit an East Coast toughness unlike any other, while downward, 116 tracks each provide a blank canvas on which to create a flawless skiing masterpiece again and over. And, although many resorts claim to provide everything for everyone, Stowe proves it. With renowned lines like Goat and Chin Clip, you can get your fill of challenging, high-elevation terrain, but you can also relax on clean, kid-friendly groomers, particularly around the Spruce base area.
The mountain’s Top 10 rankings in Terrain, Challenge, Après, Dining, Lodging, On-Mountain Dining, Nightlife, Down-Day Activities, Scenery, and Charm reflect this well-balanced diversity. One reader declares, “Stowe is the indisputable Queen of the East.” “Destination travel here is a delight because of the mix of history, class, topography, conveniences, and a postcard gorgeous town.” Other commenters complain about Stowe’s higher pricing compared to other East Coast destinations, but one reader says it’s worth every penny: “What you pay for is what you get.” It’s a lot in this scenario. There was a lot of terrain, snow, and service.”
What’s it like to go skiing in Stowe?
Stowe Mountain Resort is like a well-known movie star: just saying the word conjures up images of the actor. It’s the steep Front Four, the gleaming red gondola, and the white steeple of Stowe’s classic New England town in Stowe’s instance. Stowe skis well for all levels of skiers, from the steeps to the charming, meandering green Toll Road course, which has an outdoor stone church stop. One reader write, “Amazing view with a vast amount of terrain.”
However, loyalists have various desires, the most important of which is an upgrade to the basic lodge. “This needs severe attention!” Parking is difficult to get by, especially on busy weekend days. (Tip: For easy access, use the Mountain Road Shuttle.) However, the mix of high peaks (the highest in Vermont), expensive dining (No. 2 in Dining), and that old-school Vermont town ambiance persuades readers to overlook Stowe’s flaws. Most feel that, with the mountain’s natural attributes and one of skidom’s most lovely towns, Stowe will resume its proper position among the top of the Eastern resorts in no time.
Other things to remember
This season, the pessimists were ready for Vail Resorts to sweep in and transform the gorgeous, authentically New England Stowe Mountain Resort into something Stowe-lovers wouldn’t recognize.
What’s this? Stowe is still the same cherished alpine resort after more than a year under Vail control. Stowe, we’re delighted to say, retains its character and continues to entice guests with excellent eating and accommodation choices, providing an all-encompassing experience for those who ski and stay at the resort. Best insider tip: Go to Stowe Mountain Lodge and tell a bartender you want to be a part of the Speakeasy. You’ll have to believe us since there’s no signage.
While Stowe visitors like their resort, they will acknowledge that the Mansfield base might benefit from some Vail Resorts affection. The new owners have begun the process of upgrading the property. Please stay tuned.
Comparison – What is the best?
Killington is dubbed “The Beast of the East” for its six mountain summits (seven if you add Pico Mountain, which is accessible by shuttle bus) and five base regions. The great après-ski is a draw in itself, and there are several restaurants and bars along the resort’s access road. Woodward Mountain Park in Killington features a variety of terrain parks, as well as tubing and snowmobiling off the hill. You’ll find everything from gentle groomers to terrifying steeps, although getting between the ski locations may be tricky.
Stowe is noted for its luxurious accommodations and challenging skiing on two mountains. Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest summit, boasts several blue and black routes, while Spruce Peak is suitable for novices and families. The Village at Spruce Peak has beautiful hotels, shops, restaurants, and an ice skating rink, but downtown Stowe has more to offer. The town features a thriving local brewing sector as well as old-fashioned New England charm. Stowe, with everything it has to offer, can grow busy and pricey. Keep these facts in mind and pick the best ski resort.