Best time to ski MRG/Killington?
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Heather
October 3, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Hubby and I have been given to opportunity to stay in Killington for one week and we were wondering if anyone out there could guide us as to when would be best time!
Roger Z
October 3, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
There is no best time to ski Killington. You could try Pico though. The best time to ski Pico is when you're staying at Killington.

VT keeps it's roads phenomenally clear of snow, even during the worst weather, so planning to drive around to visit other resorts is always a possibility. Not sure what's within an hour of Killington but if you can get to Stowe, it's worth it.
Heather
October 3, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Hey Z, is killington a waste of time? Really it is an means to an end (MRG). We were told MRG is about a 1 hour drive. Is this true?
Roger Z
October 3, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Well, I don't care for Killington. MRG rocks. If it's an hour away, go there. Get ready for the funkiest experience of your life, and bring your cheap clothes because the single chair might drip grease on you. Sugarbush is probably cool, too, but I've never stopped there with MRG so close by.
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POWPOW
October 3, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
the drive is a little more than that with snowy roads your looking at more like 1 1/2 to 2 hrs to MRG. I would stay in the valley and ski there at sugarbush and you could day trip to stowe and if MRG has the goods then go there. the Mad River Valley has WAY more style and soul than Kmart could buy or build. but im biased as a previous resident of warren.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 3, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
I've visited Killington 6 or 7 times since the '70s. Like many very successful operations, e.g. Vail, Disney World, Las Vegas, when the success leads to over crowding the quality of the visitor experience goes down. I still think that if you catch Killington on a low crowd day it provides, for the East, a very high quality experience with great terrain variety, good lifts, good snowmaking, and tons of lodging and eating options. Conversely, if you go to MRG when natural snow levels are low and your expectations are for epic skiing anyway, you could be disappointed. A good week at Killington might be the week after Presidents Week. In 2006 that would be Feb 25 to Mar 4. Crowd level drops in a big way right after the Holiday week and snow coverage and trail openings should still be very high. You might also do well the week before Pres. Weekend, when your odds might be slightly higher for fresh powder, but also for extreme cold.
Roger's suggestion about Pico is a good one to employ if you are up there skiing on a Sat or Sun, then save weekdays for Killington. And I don't mean to discourage you from visiting MRG, when it comes to skiing...IT'S ALL GOOD. It might be a little more than an hour, plus if you use Rt 100 you'll drive right by Sugarbush South and North.

Did you see this interesting thread from epic on Killington Love/Hate? http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=23763&highlight=killington
BushwackerinPA
October 3, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
Cheap clothes are no longer needed the bearing are sealed now. Just dont make the mistake i made and wear Burton gloves there, i honest thought some old hippie was going to kick my ass.

MRG is hands down the best(well toughtest)skiingg on this coast, I <3 this place and cant wait to go back this year. I hoping for early snowfall cause i should be going right after New years typically it near or at 100 percent open by then. Killington dont go there, coming from laurel I dont think you will like it, drive to sugarbush or stowe instead. Much better mountains and i am not just basing this on third hand reports. I have been to every every major resort north of Okemo except for Burke.

My personal ranking based on skiing and the feel of the resort
1 MRG
2 Stowe
3 Smuggs
4 Sugarbush
5 Jay
6 Killington
7 Okemo

It should be not the huge gap in enjoyment from 5 to 6.

anyways good luck on the trip VT is always fun.
Snowmakers
October 3, 2005
Member since 11/23/2004 🔗
222 posts
I would say sometime in February. Based on AVERAGE weather which will never happen.


And while on the topig of Vermont, Im headed up there in 27 days. I have a few resorts that will be open, and almost all will be blowin snow. Definately gonna hit Mt Washington, Sugarloaf (open or not) and MRG (open or not).
Roger Z
October 4, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
You know, even if conditions aren't at their best, MRG is still the place to be. I skied it one year with thin snow after a classic freeze/thaw cycle. The moguls might as well have been cement. Very slippery cement. You haven't lived until you've skied under the single chair on an icy-mogul field and received complements from the lift riders. That makes you realize you've accomplished something in life.

To-date, it's the ONLY thing I've accomplished in life but what the heck...
BushwackerinPA
October 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
That run under the single chair, was one off the best times in my life. I got to ski it in early april with corn snow and it was a blast. Me and my buddy ripped the moguls, dropped nearly every ledge. Aired off every mound and even managed 360s off one of the mounds at the bottom. Chute/liftline is just plain fun and you have real sense of accomplishment after skiing it. Especially doing it like that with almost no pauses.

Plus after you ski here for a day or 2 every other resort in the east coast is a cake walk. Nothing is that scary or difficult anymore. MRG will change you entire notion of what a ski area should be.
JohnL
October 4, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

I would say sometime in February. Based on AVERAGE weather which will never happen.





Very well stated. If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a day and it will change. January seems to be a bit more prone to arctic freezes and thaws. Plus, the snowbase has been building up. President's Week can be crowded (the weekend certainly will be), and local elementary/high schools tend to have vacations in late February/very early March. (Confirm the last statement on a place like AlpineZone, SnowJournal or Epic.)

If you have a free or below-market place to stay at Killington, skiing there for a couple of mid-week days would certainly be worthwhile. As Jim K. said, Pico is a good option on weekends. I wouldn't use a Killington place as a base of operations for skiing the areas in/near the Mad River Valley (Sugarbush, MRG, Stowe, Smuggs), it's too long a drive to do every day. There is some outstanding expert terrain and great tree skiing at all of the latter four areas, plus all but MRG have some great groomers. Jay Peak is almost in Canada, so it is a really long drive from Killington. On the drive up/drive down some areas in Southern Vermont (Magic, Bromley) and the Catskills (Belleyare, Plattekill - only weekend, Hunter - except on weekends) are worth checking out.
BushwackerinPA
October 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
Quote:

There is some outstanding expert terrain and great tree skiing at all of the latter four areas, plus all but MRG have some great groomers.




MRG had the best groomers of the visit over on the sunnyside double area. They are not know for this but trust me they bought groomers and about half the Blue terrain over there is groomed now, and groomed nice.
JohnL
October 4, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
I'll disagree with the statement that Mad River Glen has better groomed runs than Sugarbush, Stowe, or Smuggler's Notch. I've skied all of the above areas for well over a decade. If you are looking for a day where you want to ski a groomed run, then a non-groomed run, repeat, etc., ski one of the other areas instead of MRG.

MRG is always worth a visit if you have a sense of adventure. And don't waste much (if any) time of your visit there on groomers.
POWPOW
October 4, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Quote:

If you are looking for a day where you want to ski a groomed run, then a non-groomed run, repeat, etc., ski one of the other areas instead of MRG.

MRG is always worth a visit if you have a sense of adventure. And don't waste much (if any) time of your visit there on groomers.




AMEN!
You dont go to a microbrewry and order a bud-lite.
You dont go run the upper gauley and walk around the big rapids.
You dont tug on supermans cape
You dont spit into the wind
And you most certainly dont go to MRG to ski groomers!!!
Thats grounds for the super Gaper award.
You go there to ski the goods, some of the hardest, narrowest stuff in the east and not poser it up on hte groomed.(note i did say SOME because there are plenty of other little known hotspots/backcountry hits everywhere through that region)
If you want to try a transitional day go to the bush and ski castlerock, if its good then MRG is most likely good, if its not ski at the bush or stowe.
When i lived there i only went to MRG when it was fresh and deep, but i had the luxury living there.

Dont feel you have to struggle through it to earn ranks or something. Thats the thing about skiing i have never liked, you cant go get a kayak and run class 5 water, you cant go get a rope and climb 5.12, You cant buy a road bike and race with the cat1,2 field, but you can sure as shit buy a set of junk skis and get in everyones way on the expert trails. (thats why i LOVE backcountry skiing)
BushwackerinPA
October 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
LOL i wasnt there to ski the groomed but coming outta of some of the glades and tougher runs on sunnyside, the grooming at the end was great. Better IMO than any off the other resorts listed(which on my last trip i only missed stowe).

Trust me I didnt get to the U turn in road get outta of my car, look up the steepest pitch i have seen and say"You know what I bet the groomers are great today" I just kinda of found them by accident.

You go to MRG, to explore every nook and cranies, to savor in the sights, to enjoy the peacefulness, and most importantly to ski the best expert terrain on the east coast. But to those of you that are reading this, and think MRG isnt for you cause you dont like bumps elect. There groomed run are good to, due to the same reason the " Mad River Glen - Ski it if you can side" is, low skier traffic, and almost all natural snow(doesnt ice easy).

Anyways this offically the first time someone has called me a gaper

BTW POWPOW i thought true members of the MRG cult skied there everyday, no matter the conditions? Maybe your the gaper sking it only on "good" days.;) Anyday is good in my book.
Ullr
October 4, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004 🔗
531 posts
The best way to do it (IMO) is stay in Waterbury, do Sugarbush, MRG, and Stowe. You could do a night trip to Bolton Valley, and for a long drive 1.5 hr go to Jay.
POWPOW
October 4, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Quote:


Anyways this offically the first time someone has called me a gaper

BTW POWPOW i thought true members of the MRG cult skied there everyday, no matter the conditions? Maybe your the gaper sking it only on "good" days.;) Anyday is good in my book.




Lol. how could i possibly EVER call another "brother" that quotes mancini a gaper? I wonder how many on this board ever heard of him?
BushwackerinPA
October 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
haha ok gotca ya, and yeah I lived buy those words for three years of my life after high school. Now i cant afford to ski or go to college, so I am back in college.

Josh who skis alpine but after watching Max ski cant wait to get some tele gear.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
October 5, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
I like March. The days are longer, the crowds smaller, and the snow is deeper and better. The 50 year average shows that northern New England's deepest snow occurs in the third week of march.
http://www.uvm.edu/skivt-l/?Page=depths.php

I love northern VT. IMHO it has the best trees and the best tree skiers in the world. I am a Mad River shareholder and (again IMHO) it has the best on the map trails in the east. Off the map, the best is Mt. Mansfield (the mountain, not the ski area) and Smuggler's Notch. The best powder is in the trees. Often it is extraordinary when the "groomed" terrain is a sheet of ice. NE gets a lot of freeze thaw cycles and they often bring rain turning to snow with a lot of wind on the tail end of the storm. One of my best ever days at MRG was after such a cycle. There were 9 cars in the parking lot at 10 AM. The ticket window tried hard to talk me out of buying a ticket and finally sold me a single ride. Riding up I could see bare ground and grass through the transparent layer of ice. Just above midstation a guy exploded out of the woods covered head to toe with powder with a huge grin. I skied that woods run, known as $***house glades because it begins behind the ski patrol privy, all day. It was one of the best ski days of my life. We reloaded at midstation, skiing only the top 700 vert of the mountain. You will often hear that MRG is only good if there has been recent snow but somehow 80% of my days there are great days.

Killington is nice and huge and offers something for everyone. But if you are going there for a week, take a day and check out Mad River. My recommendation to newbies is Antelope end to end. You will have to traverse or hike about 200 yards to get back to the lift at the bottom. Lower Antelope is narrow, twisting and mildly bumped but never steep. You will probably see nobody else on the full length of Lower A. Take a moment to stop and enjoy the intense quiet and solitude of winter.
Heather
October 5, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Would we be better off staying at Smuggler's Notch?
JohnL
October 5, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Is Route 108 between Stowe and Smugg's still closed in the winter?

If so, you can't conveniently get from the base of Smuggler's Notch to Stowe, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush. You have to take a round-about route to get to Route 100.

It is possible to ski between Stowe and Smugg's, but the joint lift ticket/lift access policy seems to change every year.
Heather
October 5, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
How are conditions first week of april? Worth going to smuggs in april or killington at end of march? HELP PLEASE!!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 5, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Thought your lodging location was fixed (Killington), but your trip dates were open? Now looks like the opposite?

I went to Wildcat, NH 3/31&4/1, 2005 (plan to submit a trip report soon). Spring skiing was great and 95% of their terrain was open. I would suspect that Sugarbush and Stowe would offer comparatively good late season conditions. Killington is also known for keeping open a fair amount of late season terrain. Some luck is always required at that time of year. I was planning to ski at another New England area on 4/2/05, but got rained out. I wouldn't prepay far in advance for a visit at that time. Advice to stay in Waterbury is good for Stowe/Sugarbush/MRG combo trip, or maybe Waitsfield or Warren for Sugar/MRG only combo. The short but treacherous road from Stowe to Smuggs was not open in late Feb for a trip I took many years ago to Smuggs. Instead, I skied Smuggs and Jay Peak on that trip. Not sure how soon the State may reopen it in spring? I would guess that Killington in late March would have more trails open then Smuggs in early April.
JohnL
October 5, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

I like March. The days are longer, the crowds smaller, and the snow is deeper and better. The 50 year average shows that northern New England's deepest snow occurs in the third week of march.
http://www.uvm.edu/skivt-l/?Page=depths.php





Denis, very interesting graph. Since the measurements are taken at the summit of Mount Mansfield, do you think the higher snow retention capability at the summit compared to mid-mountain locations biases the graph to later in the year (compared to a mid- or lower-mountain graph)? Reading from the graph, Jan 18 has about the same snow depth as April 26. Do you think that holds true mid-mountain?
BushwackerinPA
October 5, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
108 is closed though out winter, figure on about 45 min drive to get to smuggs from stowe. Or vice a versa. Then i believe another 35 min south is MRG/Sugarbush.

If you picked any 2 resorts, you should have more than enough terrain to explore. There are so many different lines at MRG by it self, that if my body could take it I could ski there for weeks and still not get bored.
If it was me I would stay in the Mad River Valley. Ski the 2 local resorts primarly, with maybe a day at Stowe. Part of the incentive for me to go to MRG is that they are the nicest people on earth, and have 25 dollar lift tickets for Instructors. Unlike stowe and killington(which were real snoody about comp tickets), MRG seemed like they were excited to see us there. I am sorry I am just really biased towards this place. The workers, the locals, the tourist like myself are just a different breed, and are just real happy to be there. The Food in the lodge isnt over price and actually pretty good. The sking is always good, no matter the conditions. If you go hear you will leave with a smile on your face and feeling the need to return someday.
Heather
October 5, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
We have a time share week for use before july and the hubby wanted to go ski MRG so I checked around and Killington and Smuggs both have spring availability. Sorry if I confused anyone. We can sleep more people if we stay @ Smuggs, and we are probably leaning that way!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 5, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Quote:

We have a time share week for use before july and the hubby wanted to go ski MRG so I checked around and Killington and Smuggs both have spring availability. Sorry if I confused anyone. We can sleep more people if we stay @ Smuggs, and we are probably leaning that way!




That explains a lot.
You might try asking about typical late spring conditions at Smuggs at www.epicski.com or www.snowjournal.com More locals might respond. The Smuggs base area is not fancy, but very functional. It would probably be deserted in your timeframe. If there is snow it's a good mtn, 2600' vertical, lower 500' is a separate beginner area. I went there sort of spur of the moment for midweek in Feb many years ago. Thought I'd be bored after a couple days, but not so. I skied 4 out of 5 days, went to Jay on 5th day. I think you could get from Smuggs to MRG in about 75-90 minutes. Not bad for a day trip. Jay and Stowe are about 45 mins.
BushwackerinPA
October 5, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
If you go, sometime between dec 15th and Janurary 12th I would throw some cash your way if i could tag along;).
Denis - DCSki Supporter
October 5, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
Quote:

108 is closed though out winter, figure on about 45 min drive to get to Smuggs from Stowe. Or vice a versa.




Yes, and winter ends, i.e. the road opens, well into April in most years. Rt. 100 through Morrissville is the route in winter. You can no longer ski Stowe to Smuggs, or vice versa and get a lift ride back. This is a shame, but try it and you will be hiking.

John L. Yes I do think that the location of the Mt. Mansfield stake means a late melting. In fact Mansfield holds snow better than anywhere else in VT in late season; Jay may get much more snow but it also melts sooner.

I agree with those who suggest staying in the Mad River Valley, or Waterbury, or Stowe. That gives you easy access to the most good terrain. Staying at Smuggs pretty much limits you to Smuggs for easy access. Another potential deal is the hotel Jay, within 100 yds. of the lifts. Their rates come way down in the spring and include lodging, breakfast, dinner, and a lift ticket. However you are limited to Jay and it a long way up there; 1:45 beyond Stowe.

Mad River Valley offers the biggest dose of classic VT skiing and atmosphere, IMHO.
Snowmakers
October 5, 2005
Member since 11/23/2004 🔗
222 posts
When does 108 usually close? Im up there the first week of November. It can be good meaning that the road will be snow covered and bad meaning Ill have to take a detour...
Denis - DCSki Supporter
October 5, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
In early Nov. Rt. 108 ought to be OK. Generally it gets snowed in for the season in late Nov./early Dec. I doubt anybody will be open but if you are lucky you will be able to hike and ski on a few inches of snow. The gondola side of Stowe and the double chair side of MRG can both be skied with an inch or two of snow. Go light on the edges so as to avoid digging through to the ground. I even have a friend who skied Goat on a heavy frost. As you might guess he is a super skier.
BushwackerinPA
October 5, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
MRG where the rocks are smooth, and the moss is fast;).

I really want to see someone ski goat on heavy frost, thats stuff could be in Warren Miller.
Heather
October 6, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Well, I think we have decided to stay @ Smuggs. From the looks of their website (www.smuggs.com) the place looks huge! Could this be confirmed? We will be travelling April 2,2006, now we just need the weather to stay cold long enough for at least a few days of skiing!
Snowmakers
October 6, 2005
Member since 11/23/2004 🔗
222 posts
Quote:

In early Nov. Rt. 108 ought to be OK. Generally it gets snowed in for the season in late Nov./early Dec. I doubt anybody will be open but if you are lucky you will be able to hike and ski on a few inches of snow. The gondola side of Stowe and the double chair side of MRG can both be skied with an inch or two of snow. Go light on the edges so as to avoid digging through to the ground. I even have a friend who skied Goat on a heavy frost. As you might guess he is a super skier.




Well with killington opening on the 11th, bellayre planning on being open, and woodbury in Ct opening in late october, as well as the famed mount washington, I think I will be doin good for early November.


Besides, ND got 2' of snow, you just never know.
BushwackerinPA
October 6, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
You should be fine that time of year. Smuggs is a big mountain, with tons of varity, and challenge. It would take me couple days(actually well weeks) to get truly bored there.

If you lucky enough like i was in april of 04 i skied 15 inches of fresh snow there, but even if no late season storms come through the cover should still be pretty good.
Roger Z
October 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Smuggs is a cool place. It's one of the places I learned to ski when I was three, but what most impressed me about the place was a ski trip I took to Jay Peak:

I rode the triple chair on the advanced side up one time with this mohawk-haired 17 year old young lady from Canada. Everything about her screamed rebel. We got to talking about skiing and riding (naturally), and I asked where her favorite place to ride was (she was a snowboarder). I was expecting to hear Tremblant or Jay or whatnot, but she answered "Smugglers Notch." I was a bit surprised and asked her why, and she said "because that's where my family and I go to ski together and we always have a good time." I almost fell off the chairlift.

But there ya go. It's a GREAT place for families, and has a wealth of terrain to ski on. I think you'll enjoy it... hope winter holds out for you!
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