#ECRT 2017: Killington
22 Sep 2017
There are so many reasons to love Vermont: ice cream, maple syrup, the people, and of course the amount of bike parks in close proximity to one another. After we left Mount Snow, we drove only 67 miles north to Killington Bike Park. Killington had been on our minds ever since our last visit back in 2014. There had been a lot of hype leading up to that first visit, just 3 years ago. We recalled reading about “The Whistler Of The East”, and we were stoked to check out a bike park that was eager to please park riders with their tech gnar trails. Needless to say, our expectations on that first visit were set pretty high. Unfortunately, the POC-Eastern States Cup race series was happening that same weekend we were there, and a lot of the most popular trails were closed or taped-off as part of the racecourse. As such, we left the bike park feeling a little let down and unsatisfied. This year, and once again, the buzz surrounding the bike park was immense. We had met tons of park riders earlier in the summer who had so many good things to say about how Killington had expanded and updated their trail offerings. They’ve spent over $500,000 to add new trails and bike uplift trays to their lift system. We really couldn’t help but become exceedingly charged about another visit to Killington, and we found our expectations growing the closer we got to the bike park. There’s so much more to be excited about at Killington this year—3 separate lifts ferrying mountain bikers to new and updated trails spread all over the mountain, a new bi-weekly women’s ride called the Diva’s Of Dirt, and the PRO GRT DH Race going off—.
(Trey looking always dapper in his ZOIC clothing)
When we arrived at the base of Killington the first thing we noticed was that the bike shop and ticket booth had moved to a different location. It was once located at the K-1 Lodge. Now it’s a little lower down the road, closer to town, at the Snowshed. The Snowshed Express chairlift use to only run on the weekends; now it runs 7 days a week. In addition to the Snowshed Express chairlift, Killington is now also running Ramshead Express chairlift, making a total of three lifts running, granting access to riders all over the mountain!! Least we mention, Killington revamped and added new trails; a huge leap in progress. We also noted new activities at the base including a mountain coaster, a rock wall, and zip lining.
(rider: Bryan Sell)
After setting up camp, we made a beeline to the bike shop and picked up our lift tickets. On our first lift ride up the mountain there was a guy talking about a women’s ride that was happening that evening. With no hesitation, Natty wasted no time finding out the details, quickly dumping the boys, and met up with some of the local gal shredders! The Divas Of Dirt is a bi-weekly, summer long, mountain bike series dedicated to inspiring women in the sport of park riding. Professional downhill and enduro racer Amy Alton leads it. [Our most recent Chairlift Confessions Podcast interviewee listen here] The “no-drop” gal group is open to all women at every ability level. After an awesome ride with the Diva’s Of Dirt Crew, the lady gang made their way over to the Umbrella Bar at the base of the mountain for some post rides beverages.
(left photo-Diva's Of Dirt right photo-Diva's Of Dirt left to right: Pilar Netzel, Emily Feinberg, Amy Alton, ?, Lindsey Harris, Natty G)
(ECRT 2014 video - best we could do with full sun all day every day)
The next day, we made our way up the K-1 Gondola with a heap of new friends. It was a triple date with Lindsey and Josh Harris and Bryan Sell and Emily Feinberg. We spent the day sharing stories, laughing, riding, and photographing as many cool features that we could find. (Stay tuned for a future feature article “From The Mouth Of Maurice” to read about local trails in the surrounding area of Killington with this gang of awesome riders) The trails were in great condition...even with recent rains, the trails were not too slick or muddy. It was a gnar sort of day; Killington does not let down the tech rider. There were plenty of trails with roots and large boulders. “Yo Vinny”, a double black diamond tech trail definitely stood out as one of our favorite trails on the mountain. That steep section of non-stop rocks will chatter your pearly whites right out of your mouth. However, when compared to a split off of “Scarecrow” trail or the amazing chunk of “Low Rider”, “Yo Vinny” is not the most technical trail on the mountain. So, Killington keeps offering more progression for all styles of riding and skill levels. We can’t only write about gnar trails though; Killington has also stepped up their work with the flow trails on the mountain as well. They have successfully put in place a succession of different flow trails all leading up to a double-black rated flow-line called “Black Magic”, it is loaded with huge berms and massive jumps. We got a sneak peek at a trail that was recently re-opened called “Stinky”, where they have revamped this trail with side by side jump lines. The left line is a little more challenging than the right line. There are drops and even a small canon log jump to practice on.
(rider: Josh Harris - he is a writer for MTBVT.com)
We were overwhelmingly happy, almost euphoric, with what Killington had done with the bike park! The scene and vibe was interesting and friendly. A contrast of kitted out bike park riders and Hasidic Jews enjoying the adventure park could be seen everywhere. We should note that there is still a fair bit of double track gravel road to get down to the bike park trails from off the K-1 Gondola at the peak. The reason for this is that there’s nothing but rock up top, no dirt, and it is steep. They would have to truck in loads of dirt to bring in a trail that starts at the top of the mountain. But really, that’s it, our only complaint! Other than that, Killington topped the cake as the best bike park we have visited this summer. The size of the bike park, the amount of trails, and the fact that there’s a bike park scene at the base makes Killington leaps ahead of all the other bike parks in the Northeast. And to top it off, we made instant friends. We can’t think of any other sport where making new friends is so easy. Yes, we say this a lot, but we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Killington. They are well on their way and deserve the “Beast Of The East” nickname.
(Trail crew: Jay ‘Rosey’ Rosenbaum)
(rider: Bryan Sell)
(rock train: Bryan, Josh, Natty, Emily, Lindsey)