You are here: Reviews > Ski Reviews > Killington - Pico 2000

My opinion of the Killington ski resort hasn't changed after a year, though I have come to know it better. Killington is still very much ``the Beast of the East." In a way, it has to be, to handle all those crowds. On the other hand, Pico is like a little mouse, trying to escape from the descending Killington claw.

 The American Skiing Company (ASC) bought Pico several years ago, but really hasn't done much with it yet. A loudly touted plan to connect the two mountains hasn't happened and likely won't until ASC can find a way out of its financial woes.  So, you have a situation in which a mountain's character is completely different even though its right next door and its employees all wear Killington name tags.

From the top
o f Pico

Pico's ``Mid Pike" offers an ungroomed black diamond at its top and blue intermediate terrain about half way down. The pitch is mild.

Double fall lines are almost entirely absent at Pico so you can really get up a nice rhythm.

To me, Pico is a place you go to when Killington's slopes have made you feel as if you are skiing badly. Usually, it is the ice and steepness of Superstar at Killington that does this to me.  Sometimes it is the crowds. Skiing at Killington on a weekend is often like going down the hill with a herd of cattle. By contrast, Pico's slopes don't have a whole lot of interconnects and the runs are more consistent.  Killington often mentions ``Cruise Control" as an intermediate's delight. Pico's ``Forty Niner" is similar but a lot longer.

Now to the nits I have with both mountains. At Killington's Skyeship base, I waited 45 minutes one Saturday morning to purchase a ticket. I discovered, as others have that Killington doesn't have 200 runs as it claims unless you add in Pico.

Both mountains seem to have a policy of not revealing the temperature when it is 10 or 15 degrees below zero. On the morning I was at Killington, the temperature was -20 F in nearby Woodstock, yet there was no mention of this either on the ASC's web sites or at the mountain. Experience tells me this is a continuing problem. To my mind when you start omitting vital information, it makes anyone with any intelligence wonder what else is being omitted.

Pico is a wonderful little mountain, (with its 48 runs that make up mighty Killington's 200) but its' base lodge is not large enough to handle weekend crowds. If you are there on a weekend, avoid the base lodge during the lunch hour. I waited almost 45 minutes to find a seat and be served in the Last Run Lounge.  My turkey sandwich and soda cost $10.45 incl. tax.

Along with a $45.oo ski ticket, I would have felt somewhat discontented had it not been for the wonderful conditions. In addition, I felt good about about my choice of Pico. Riding up on the lift, I had heard a horror story from a Killington ticket holder. It appeared that he'd waited in a blustery wind for almost 30 minutes to ride the Skyeship gondola and had escaped via the hourly shuttle bus to the sanity of Pico.

Timothy Palmer-Benson

A Killington employee tackles the elusive trail count. We counted 152 for Killington and 48 for Pico.

The Skyeship gondola is really nice but when things go wrong it can be devastating to people trying to get up the mountain.

 Copyright © 2000

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