Killington is known as ‘the Beast of the East’. It’s the largest ski resort in Vermont. It features seven completely distinct mountain peaks, each of which has its own personality.
With 140 trails that are served by 22 lifts covering 70 miles of terrain, the Beast has a reputation for being tough for newcomers to navigate, but that reputation is ill deserved. Just one lift ticket grants access to the ski areas of both Killington and its Pico Mountain sister resort. There is a short and complimentary shuttle ride from whichever of the base areas you may start at. Killington also maintains an impressive terrain park for free styling or snowboarding, including different 50 features as well as a couple of half pipes.
One of Killington’s attributes is Juggernaut. This is the East Coast’s longest ski run at a full six miles. The resort also offers camps for skiers and snowboarders in addition to lessons for adults and children of all ages, regardless of their abilities. There is also all year round child care for kids up to 12 years old.
Where is Killington?
Killington is in Central Vermont. It is about a 3 hour drive from Boston and about a 4 hour drive from the edges of the New York metro area. The Killington ski area’s address is 4763 Killington Rd, Killington, VT 05751.
If flying, visitors have a choice of several gateway airports: Albany International Airport (ALB); Bradley International Airport (BDL); Burlington International Airport (BTV); Logan International Airport (BOS); Manchester Regional Airport (MHT); and Rutland Regional Airport (RUT). There is also daily rail service between New York City and Rutland, Vermont, via Albany. Round trip bus services operate from both the New York City and Boston areas.
Seven peaks , seven zones, each with its own personality. Let’s take them one by one:
- Ramshead Mountain (elevation 3,610 feet) is Killington’s family zone. It’s the heart of the resort’s children’s learning area. Inside the learning area are two magic carpets and a few longer greens for beginners. Ramshead also offers three terrain parks. One of these, Progression Park, offers easier features, so it’s perfect for new boarders.
- Snowshed Base Area is another learning area, this one for adults. With a variety of easy greens and wide swathes of groomed powder this area is ideal for honing skills. The lifts here are not able to deliver skiers to the peaks. There is a sizeable rental area here – as there are in most Killington areas – where staff are on hand to answer any questions.
- At Snowdon Mountain (elevation 3,592 feet) the trails are served by two lifts – the Triple and the Quad. Half way up, Snowdon has an old-school Poma lift to bring skiers back up to the top. There are black trails such as Conclusion and Mousetrap on the way down. Frolic is another pretty trail but it requires speeds to be kept going to cover a short, flat stretch along the way.
- Killington Peak (elevation 4,241 feet), or K-1 as it’s known, is the resort’s highest mountain. It boasts Vermont’s greatest vertical drop and provides the largest variety of trails on the way down.
- Bear Mountain (elevation 3,295 feet) and Skye Peak (elevation 3,800 feet) share the former’s base lodge. Skiers can be delivered via The Skye Peak Express Quad to a group of blue and black diamond trails and the two terrain parks, the Stash and Dream Maker.
For those seeking Killington’s 18ft Super Pipe, it’s at the bottom of Dream Maker. Skye Peak is the place to ski, one of Vermont’s outstanding mountains. Bear Mountain is where experts will find the resort’s black and double black diamond trails. These include Centerpiece, Spacewalk and Growler.
Sunrise Mountain (elevation 2,456 feet) is a section of Killington’s trail system. It is a ski-in, ski-out village and has one lift, the Sunrise Village Triple. There is also a beginner terrain here.
As for snow conditions, expect East Coast ski conditions, so perhaps a little more hardpack and carving than powder. With that said, you are also going to get a powder day or two if you time it right. The snow is just a bit more dense than in the West.
The ski season at Killington is usually from mid-November through late April, but that is always weather and climate dependent.
Our Impressions of Killington
We think Killington is the best ski resort in the East, with the only real rival being Sugarloaf in Maine. It is not only a solid winter ski resort, but the mountain biking in the summer is legitimate. Overall, a great 4-season resort especially if you find yourself in Boston, New York, or some of the surrounding metros.
In particular, we like that wide terrain that you get by having 5 different peaks to explore. Many Rockies resorts don’t even have 5 different peaks, so this is notable. Killington also has some really solid spring skiing, usually pretty good into early April.
As runs go, Superstar is a great run that has good skiing the entire season. Some of our favorite skiing is off the Canyon quad chair, from which you can do some canyon laps or work your way down the mountain with a series of fun runs.
When not skiing or snowboarding there are still plenty of options to keep you occupied when staying at Killington. For example, snowmobiling tours are available. These visit some of the best trails the US has to offer. Also popular are cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Among the plethora of winter activities on offer are sleigh rides, shopping, theaters and the arts. There is also ice skating and indoor rock climbing to enjoy.
In the summer Killington doesn’t shut down either. Mountain biking is a magnetic draw for some and to serve this market maps, guided tours and bicycle rentals are available. Rock climbers come from far and wide to explore the snowless summer slopes. Again, guided tours are also available.
There are also plenty of Green Mountain hiking trails to explore as well. Particularly popular is the Appalachian Trail. Gondola rides operate between 8am and 5pm to provide access to the hiking areas.
Killington is also home to one of the US’s nicest golf courses, which affords golfers stunning views from the course at the surrounding mountains. At nearby Pico Mountain there is a climbing wall and visitors can take part in the Pico power jump, miniature golf, and alpine slides.
Staying there in Killington
There is a large variety of accommodation at Killington. The range includes country inns, condos and the Killington Grand Resort Hotel with its outdoor pool, restaurants and cocktail bars.
Most of the options are just a shuttle bus ride or drive from the slopes on Route 4 or down the Killington Access Road.
There are many condos near Snowshed, which are short shuttle from the lifts with ski-back trails. Many of the 19th century inns unfortunately do not accept children and they vary greatly in price. A number of vacation rentals are also available around Killington and many of them offer better access than the resort’s own condos. In total there are about 18,000 beds available within 30 miles (50km) of the resort. One mid-range hotel that is worth considering is the Fairfield Inn & Suites White River Junction.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.