Killington Resort in Vermont and Sunday River in Maine will be the first mountain resorts in the East to open for skiing and riding when first chairs go up at each area on Friday, Oct. 19. Snowmaking and cooler temperatures enable each resort to open without natural snowfall.
Killington will be open for passholders before opening to the general public on Saturday, and continue daily operations as conditions allow. Sunday River will be open to the general public starting Friday and plans to operate on weekends only until mid-November, weather and conditions permitting.
Killington president and GM Mike Solimano said Mother Nature helped with cool weather, but the resort’s recent investments in snowmaking upgrades as part of $25 million in capital improvements since last season “really gave us a leg up.”
Sunday River president and GM Dana Bullen also credited recent upgrades to his resort’s snowmaking system for the early opening. He said Sunday River is dedicated to getting trails open as fast as possible, and added, “This commitment is shown through the improvements we made to our system this summer.” Those included replacing the pipe that feeds from the water source to the snowmaking pump house, and installing a 600 hp pump. The resort just started making snow in earnest on Wednesday.
Opening Plans at Killington
The K-1 Gondola at will open at 10 a.m. Friday for season pass, Express Card, Beast365, and Ikon Pass holders. Express Card holders will be charged $25. Ikon Pass holders will need to get a lift ticket at the window for direct-to-lift access.
Skiers and riders will need to walk to the North Ridge area to access open terrain, which will be served by the North Ridge Triple, and walk back up the Peak Walkway to download on K-1. About 600 vertical feet of advanced terrain will be open. Last upload on K-1 will go up at 3 p.m. on Friday, and last chair up North Ridge will be at 3:45 p.m.
On Saturday, lifts will open to the general public at 9 a.m. Beginning Saturday, daily lift tickets will be $59 for adults (ages 19-64), $45 for youth (ages 7-18) and $50 for seniors (ages 65-79). Express Card holders will receive 50 percent off lift ticket window rate midweek, and 25 percent off weekend rates.
Killington season passholders are invited to enjoy free lunch on Friday at the K-1 Café, North Ridge Dog Sled or Peak Lodge, a gesture that’s become a tradition at the Vermont resort.
Opening Plans at Sunday River
The Locke Mountain Triple will open at 10 a.m., serving one advanced trail. The resort said, “All plans depend on weather and snow conditions,” so it’s unclear if downloading will be required.
Lift tickets will be $30 for all ages.