Killington, VT

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28 thoughts on “Killington, VT

  1. Philip Keeve April 19, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    Is there a reason why Needles Eye and Ramshead, though installed in the same year, have differing designs in the tower heads and terminals?

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    • Collin April 19, 2018 / 11:39 pm

      This is going to be my long answer to this. I’ll start with a timeline of the Challenger detachable system.

      The prototype Challengers made their debut in 1990 (While the Competition Terminal was still in production) on Zephyr at Winter Park, and Mystic at Mount Norquay. They looked kind of wonky, were very short, and only go 800 feet per minute. They had Competition chairs.

      In 1991, the first production model 1st-gen Challenger installed on High Lonesome at Winter Park when the fixed grip was converted to detachable. It was the shorter version that could only go 800 feet per minute. This one had Falcon chairs that were reused from the fixed grip. They also built a one-of-a-kind gondola at Stowe based on the 1st-gen Challenger product.

      In 1992, more 1st-gen Challengers were installed. They were Silver Queen at Crested Butte, Magic Mile at Timberline, Northstar at Okemo, and South Ridge Express at Sunday River. These were all the full length version that could go 1100 feet per minute (South Ridge can only go 800 feet per minute due to close chair spacing). These all had Competition chairs.

      In 1993, three 2nd-gen prototypes were installed with two at Snowmass and Gemini at Winter Park. Snowmass had the full length terminals and Winter Park had the shorter terminals that this time allowed for a speed of 900 feet per minute. The last 1st-gen Challengers were also built this year, which were Summit Express at Buttermilk, Cascade Express at Mount Hood Meadows, and TGV and Expo at Tremblant. They switched back to the Falcon chair this year and the Competition chair was discontinued.

      In 1994, the 1st-gen was discontinued and the 2nd-gen took over. There were two lengths. The full length version allowed for speeds of up to 1100 feet per minute, and the shorter version 900 feet per minute. The shorter version kept the 1st-gen skin, but uses 2nd gen technology. They also changed the tower heads and line gear this year, and those stuck around for 18 years, until the new LPA design took over in 2012. The gondola version of the 2nd-Gen made it’s debut on the Skyeship at Killington, ironically called the Competition Gondola Terminal with a speed of 1200 feet per minute.

      In 1996, the Omega chair made it’s debut on fixed grip lifts, and the last Falcon chairs were used on detachables.

      In 1997, the Omega chair made it’s way onto the 2nd-gen Challengers and the Falcon chair was discontinued. Three gondolas were also installed this year with a new shortened version of the Competition Gondola Terminal with a speed of 1000 feet per minute going in at Killington and The Canyons, and the same terminals as Skyeship went on the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole.

      In 1998, the first Omega terminals made their debut and the final Challengers were installed.

      Notice how I mentioned the thing about the line gear and tower heads changing in 1994. Well, Needle’s Eye is the only exception to that. Needle’s Eye and Ramshead are both 2nd-gen Challengers. Ramshead has the full length terminals and Needle’s Eye has the shorter ones. Ramshead also has the proper 2nd-gen line gear, while Needle’s for whatever reason has first gen line gear. My guess is that Poma had some extra inventory of first-gen line gear and they offered it to Les Otten for a good price. He often cut costs where he could.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Teddy Hubbell April 20, 2018 / 4:40 am

        Zephyr at Winter Park is a completely unique design. Why did they go for it if it is less reliable (being a prototype) and if it can only run at 800 fpm?

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      • Collin April 20, 2018 / 1:32 pm

        There were two prototype Challengers built, and Peter happens to have pictures of both. Zephyr Express at Winter Park and Mystic at Mount Norquay, Alberta. I don’t really know why these two decided to get them over the Competition, but they did. Maybe Poma offered them a good price to test out their new detachable product. The two Competitions installed that year were to my knowledge the last new detachables ever built with chain-driven contours.

        The distinguishing feature of the prototype Challengers is that they don’t have a “porch” on the inside end of the terminal (where the chairs come in and out). All other Challengers have them. The support on the inside end of the terminal is also straight up and down like on the Falcon and Competition terminals, while the outside support is slanted just like on all Challengers (except the gondolas). Note that the top of Zephyr reused the support column from the Yan triple and that’s why it really looks off for a Poma. There will only be one prototype Challenger after this season as Zephyr is being replaced by an LPA gondola and will be scrapped, not relocated.

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  2. Collin Parsons October 28, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    Some corrections/additions for the removed lifts: The Snowdon Quad replaced the Snowdon Double in 1992, not 1987. The 1991 trail map shows the Snowdon Double, and the Snowdon Quad never appears on the map without the Canyon Quad also being there, which first happens with the 1992 map. However, the Double Dipper trail which the Canyon Quad follows was cut in 1987. It took them 5 years to actually build the lift. The Lower Snowdon Poma is missing from this list, but operated from 1958 to 1978. The 1978 map shows it operating concurrently with the Snowdon Triple, and then it’s gone in the 1979 map. Snowshed 2 was removed in 2016 and not 2017.

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    • skitheeast October 19, 2020 / 3:45 pm

      Also, the Needle’s Eye Double was removed in 1996 when the detachable quad was installed, not in 1997. The Killington Peak double was removed in 1997 when K-1 was installed, not 1998. The Glades Poma operated from 1958-72, not 1959-73. The original Killington Gondola also opened in 1969, not 1968, as construction was delayed and took an extra summer.

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  3. Somebody May 10, 2020 / 3:10 pm

    Why did they build the Peak walkway across such steep terrain when they could just run one of the Snowdon lifts instead?

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    • skitheeast May 10, 2020 / 4:21 pm

      They would have had to use the Snowdon Triple, which may not even be able to handle downloading. Plus, it is much more comfortable and convenient to use a gondola for pure transportation without skis. Additionally, it is roughly twice as far of a walk from the bottom of North Ridge to the top of Snowdon as it is from the top of K-1 to the top of North Ridge.

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  4. Collin Parsons June 5, 2020 / 9:13 pm

    The Snowdon Double was actually a Poma modified by Yan, not a Hall. That explains why the Snowdon Quad had 60’s Poma towers, with two Yan towers added later, a Yan return, and Yan hanger arms. I assume the drive was never upgraded until the lift was changed to a quad.

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  5. skitheeast January 10, 2021 / 2:14 pm

    Two spreadsheet corrections: Superstar’s line speed is 800 and Bear Mountain’s is 450. Additionally, Canyon’s is 450. Killington states each lift’s line speed at its respective bottom terminal.

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  6. Myles Svec April 5, 2021 / 7:43 am

    There was a Poma-Telecar double installed here for the 1959/60 season with a capacity of 700, length of 6000, and vertical of 1590. Could it have been the original Killington Peak double.

    Telecar installations spreadsheet on skilifts.org forum.

    http://www.skilifts.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=11169

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    • ne_skier April 5, 2021 / 8:14 am

      It was Killington Peak. For early high capacity Poma doubles, C&S towers and drives were used. Hunter’s A Double was another example. I’m pretty sure this brand-mixing ended around the mid-60s

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      • Myles Svec April 5, 2021 / 8:25 am

        Wouldn’t the double be classified as Telecar because telecar sold early Poma and C&S stuff in one lift?

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        • Utah Powder Skier April 5, 2021 / 9:06 am

          1960 was the year Poma and Telecar split off. I agree, it should be listed as Telecar.

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        • ne_skier April 5, 2021 / 1:15 pm

          (Replying to Utah) I thought they worked with Pomalift Inc (Owned by same guy as Telecar, Larry Jump) until the merge with Heron. Hunter’s A Double was a Poma-C&S combo and that was built in 1962 if I’m not mistaken

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  7. Somebody April 29, 2021 / 4:40 pm

    Why is there almost no trails between K1 and Superstar? That whole face is north facing and fairly high elevation and is huge, it’s odd that there’s only glades between Ovation and Flume/Escapade. It could maybe even justify its own pod/lifts if it got some new trails cut on it.

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    • ss20 April 29, 2021 / 7:12 pm

      There’s a bunch of glades in there and there’d be a revolt if they cut trails through them. Also the bottom of that ridge is steep and incredibly rocky. Whatever trail they’d cut would absolutely need snowmaking. Then that’d spit you out on Flume which is a natural trail, narrow, and can’t be widened due to the topography.

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    • Munier Salem April 30, 2021 / 8:31 am

      Oddly enough, Superstar was Killington’s last major expansion pod (the canyon quad came a bit later, but it’s arguably an infill lift). So they already sort of did exactly what you’re suggesting. That lift created present-day upper Superstar, Ovation, and SkyeHawk, and allowed people to lap Skyelark, Bittersweet, and the woods further west.

      Killington has no shortage of steep, punchy terrain with good northern/eastern exposures. What it could use a lot more of are long, flowing intermediate groomers. That’s where their efforts have been focused lately (with the bridge-building) and in the past (Parker’s Gore, the Pico interconnect).

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      • skitheeast February 23, 2022 / 3:47 pm

        Honestly, the ability to have 1500’+ vertical laps is the most underrated part of the Pico interconnect (the massive overall acreage gets the most attention). Killington has great snowfall, good elevation, and a ton of terrain, but it really lacks in lap-able terrain north of 1200′ vert. If the interconnect ever occurs, I really believe Pico would see a massive increase in traffic due to the availability of this terrain, likely freeing up space at the rest of Killington (Skye Peak comes to mine as a place that could be partially cannibalized).

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  8. Collin Parsons February 14, 2022 / 6:09 pm

    Killington is the only resort I know of that has all 4 lengths of Challenger terminals. Needle’s Eye has the 48-foot version, Ramshead has the 60-foot version, K1 has the 72-foot version, and Skyeship has the 100-foot version.

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  9. jesse April 14, 2022 / 9:31 am

    Is there a reason the Snowdon Six replaced the quad instead of the triple? I would think it would be better to have that extra capacity straight out of the K-1 lodge. But maybe the quad was a better candidate to keep and move.

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    • skitheeast April 14, 2022 / 10:22 am

      Two reasons.

      A) They wanted to move traffic away from K-1.
      B) They wanted to create a better intermediate pod on Snowdon, and the intermediate trails flow more naturally into the area where the quad was.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Muni October 19, 2022 / 9:59 pm

    Killington and Tremblant appear to be tied for the most detachable lifts east of the Mississippi (at 9). This is counting the Cabrilet and Casino gondola, and not counting Pico. I wonder which resort will be first to crack double digits …

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    • Utah Powder Skier October 19, 2022 / 10:04 pm

      If you count the Ramshead detachable platter, Killington would be in the double digits for detachable lifts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Muni October 19, 2022 / 10:40 pm

        Well that would put it in a rather rare club, by my count (and one dominated by just three ownership structures):

        Whistler BC 21 Vail Resorts
        Vail CO 20 Vail Resorts
        Park City UT 19 Vail Resorts
        Palisades Tahoe CA 16 KSL/Crown
        Beaver Creek CO 15 Vail Resorts
        Deer Valley UT 15 KSL/Crown
        Mammoth CA 15 KSL/Crown
        Breckenridge CO 13 Vail Resorts
        Heavenly CA 11 Vail Resorts
        Steamboat CO 11 KSL/Crown
        Telluride CO 11 Independent
        Winterpark CO 11 KSL/Crown
        Snowmass CO 10 KSL/Crown

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    • skitheeast October 20, 2022 / 7:54 am

      9 counts both stages of Skyeskip as separate lifts, which is true from a technical perspective but a little less so in actuality. Tremblant will get to 10 when Timber is (finally) constructed.

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  11. Somebody November 29, 2022 / 11:46 pm

    Lots of footage of the old K-double and original gondola:

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  12. Chairlift World January 16, 2023 / 2:03 pm

    The Snowshed double with it’s awesome drive terminal sound (2:18)

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