An Insider's Guide to the Best Inbound Skiing at Killington Mountain Resort

The Beast of the East
The Beast of the East Ian
Made Possible by
Curated by

Let's start with the numbers. Killington peak towers 4,241 feet above sea level and offers a vertical drop of 3,105 feet—the biggest of any ski resort in New England. Known as "The Beast of the East," the resort encompasses six distinct peaks interlaced with an extensive network of trails and includes Pico Mountain, which is unconnected to the other six, but right down the road.

Together, these seven mountains offer an astonishing 1,977 acres of skiable terrain with 212 individual runs, the greatest offering of any resort in eastern North America.

These offerings all add up to a heavenly expanse of steep chutes and rolling mountainsides as well as optimal snow surface conditions for skiers and riders of any skill level. With the advantage of elevation, Killington peak receives an average of 250 inches of natural snow every year. Combined with vast snow-making resources that cover 71 percent of the trails, the resort continually claims the longest ski season in the East, one that begins in October and often stretches into May.

The Green Mountains of Vermont are the birthplace of skiing in the United States. With its clean energy initiatives, award-winning ski school, and hundreds of acres of newly minted backcountry terrain, Killington continues to lead the way in the world of eastern snowsports.

Up, up, and away at Killington Mountain Resort
Up, up, and away at Killington Mountain Resort Richard Schatzberger

Despite being one of the largest ski resorts on the East coast of North America, Killington Mountain Resort is expertly designed to make every skier and rider, regardless of experience or skill level, feel at home on the mountain. The seven summits and six base lodges all posses their own distinct vibe and purpose. While certain regions cater primarily to experts, there will always be a friendly blue bailout, so you'll never feel stranded.

That said, Killington is not nicknamed “The Beast of the East” for no reason, and you are well advised to get oriented. New visitors can take advantage of a free 90 minute "Meet the Mountain" tour to help them get the lay of the land. There is also a daily orientation at the top of the K1 Express Gondola, where mountain regulars will help you consult the map and make the most of your day.

With so many base areas, first timers are often concerned about ending the day miles away from their car. Thankfully, the entire resort is divided by color, and your lift ticket has a colored-coded ticket tie that matches the lodge where you began. If you do wind up at the wrong spot, there are complementary resort shuttles that loop through all base lodges and parking areas.

The open slope at Snowshed, the designated beginner mountain, is ideal for wide turns and snowplows. New skiers and riders can gain confidence on the tame terrain, which is serviced by two chair lifts and one magic carpet. Snowshed is connected via a skiable underpass to Ramshead, another perfect playground for new and intermediate skiers. Ramshead features exclusively green and blue runs, including the Easy Street Progression Park and the Burton Lil Stash beginning terrain park.

Beginner slopes at Killington Mountain
Beginner slopes at Killington Mountain Philip Matarese

Snowdon Mountain, flanked on either side by Killington and Ramshead, is an excellent progression peak for intermediate skiers who are ready to take it up a notch. Mouse Run and the tail end of Great Northern are well-loved groomers, and there is plenty of opportunity for dare devils to peel off onto more challenging terrain. The summit of Snowdon is connected to Ramshead via Frolick, a beautiful trail with a barely perceptible grade, so first timers can always choose to bail back to the beginner slope.

At 4,241 feet, Killington Peak is the true summit of the Beast and claims the biggest vertical drop in Vermont. This mountain is accessed by the cushy, 8-person K1 Express Gondola. The summit is a winter wonderland, with dwarfed evergreens barely recognizable beneath a plush frosting of snow. On a bluebird day, you can gaze across the Green Mountains and count the ski resorts visible in the distance, the peaks of which are all hundreds of feet below you.

Sugar on the trees
Sugar on the trees Silvan Hagen

The main mountain is home to some of the resort’s most notorious expert runs and a wealth of double-diamond glades. The steeps inside the formidable Canyons Area will give any skier or rider a run for their money. The swooping blue Great Northern, which traverses Killington and Snowdon Mountain, is long, sweet, and satisfying. Juggernaut, the longest trail on the East coast, begins at the summit and gently descends for a stunning 6.6 miles down the shoulder of the mountain, paralleling the park's outer boundaries.

If you're gunning to ski like a local, Bear Mountain boasts a high concentration of double diamonds, terrain parks, and the resort’s best bumps. Countless world-class competitors and Olympians have cut their teeth on the wicked slopes of Outer Limits, the steepest mogul run in the resort, and the notoriously beastly and sustained Devil’s Fiddle.

Bear Mountain is a freestyler's dream. The 22 foot Superpipe plays host to the Dew Tour and other big-name ski and snowboard competitions. Expert skiers and riders can find endless enjoyment on the innovative features of the Under Armour Dream Maker Terrain Park and The Stash, an all-natural freestyle area designed by Jake Burton, the Grandfather of Snowboarding.

Inbounds boarding at Killington Mountain
Inbounds boarding at Killington Mountain ian

Skye Peak features some solid and enjoyable corduroy cruisers like Skye Burst, Bittersweet, and the Needle’s Eye straight shot. The Skyeship Base Lodge, located directly on Route 4 and removed from the bustling Killington Access Road, provides quick and easy access to all the action. At the end of the day, skiers can glide from ‘peak to creek’ by following the winding Great Eastern all the way back to the Skyeship.

Skye Peak’s Superstar, a wide black diamond bump run, is a Killington cult classic. It's home to the Killington Glacier, an enormous pile of snow amassed by snowmakers throughout the season. The 'Glacier' has the mass to survive the warm spring sun, and Superstar is often still skiable through June.

On the Eastern flank of the resort, Sunrise Peak is a small and quiet corner consisting of three interconnecting beginner trails and a single triple chairlift. This unassuming terrain is primarily utilized by visitors staying in the ski-in, ski-out villas at Sunrise Village. By linking Bear View to Bear Cub, skiers can access the Bear Mountain Quad, and from there, the entirety of the resort.

There are plans to connect Killington's seventh and final mountain, Pico, to the rest of the resort. For now, however, it remains Killington's separate, "friendly little sister." Pico is a mellow but versatile mountain, with 7 lifts servicing 57 trails and a 1,967-foot vertical drop. The resort is beloved by locals and families who the enjoy the simplicity of a single base lodge and parking lot.

Last Updated:

Next Up


9 Ways to Get Outside for Thanksgiving Weekend in Jackson


Forever Wild Succeeds in Preserving Alabama’s Outdoor Treasures