Destination Showcase: Killington, Vermont

Jul 11, 2018 at 10:37
by Brice Shirbach  

KILLINGTON, VERMONT
Exploring Vermont's Rowdiest Trails
Photos, Words & Video by Brice Shirbach
Presented by Killington

Nestled just south of the geographic center of the Green Mountain State lies Vermont's second highest point, Killington Peak. With three lifts that hoist riders up the rather prominent mountain, including a gondola that provides access to the 4,241-foot summit, Killington Bike Park has garnered a reputation as a preeminent destination for riders of all levels up and down the east coast. The resort has been pumping dollars into auxiliary activities that include a mountain coaster, some sort of ninja challenge course, zip lines, and more. They're also nearing the end of a 5-year build out with Gravity Logic, a partnership designed to help introduce more beginner friendly terrain to the mountain, while also cultivating a better understanding of how to run a successful world-class mountain bike destination.

Listen, obviously when you run a business, you want it to be successful and Killington has made some decidedly great decisions in that regard. Hell, a midweek trip 5 or 6 years ago brought riders to a bit of a desolate mountain, with limited signs of life outside of the employees, black bears, and white-tailed deer roaming around. A visit today is a much different picture, with a steady stream of visitors on bikes and foot alike, and more businesses staying open year-round to accommodate the massive uptick in summertime visitation. But we've told that big picture story before, and now we want to unleash the proverbial hounds on what really sets this mountain apart from so many others.

Science and engineering have helped trail builders around the world better understand how to build faster berms and bigger jumps, along with smoother step ups and step downs; as is the case here at Killington with gems like "Black Magic", a two mile-long jump line off the top of the Ramshead Lift. Killington's stellar trail crew have worked hard alongside Gravity Logic to deliver some machine built stunners to be sure. But Killington also has an abundance of Green Mountain magic, an ancient force that science nor engineering can truly replicate. It's a USDA certified organic offering of steeps, loam, roots, and rocks that, with some assistance from the brilliant Jay "Rosey" Rosenbaum and his trail crew, has been presented to riders who are looking to bite off something a little meatier and more flavorful than your run of the mill bike park.

You went and spent your hard earned money on that new long-travel enduro rig or downhill bike. You've worked your tail off to progress your riding skills over the years. You're getting hangry. You want to feast your bike and your body on something rad. Killington is just sitting there, a smorgasbord of rowdy, delicious terrain. The dinner bell is ringing. It's time to eat.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Master Chef, a.k.a. trail boss, Jay "Rosey" Rosenbaum is the face of Killington Bike Park and is happy to serve up all of the good times you can stomach here.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Speed is served up hot and fresh on the daily.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Yeti rider Tom Sampson credits a steady diet of roots for staying so svelte.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
If you're not already comfortable on them, Killington will certainly force you to be when it comes to off camber roots and rocks.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Phil Kmetz has a knack for making jumps look really good.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Ella Skalwold exits the first deep pocket on Black Magic at a ferocious pace.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Mr. Vermont himself, Alex McAndrew letting it drift to the left a bit.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Pancake flat. Pancakes. Who's hungry?

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
The entrance to Low Rider is steep, fast, and fun.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Ella making shapes in front of a vertical backdrop.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Conte with a blurred T-Bog.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Any rules against consecutive blur pans? Tom Sampson at the top of Cable Trail.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Looking to feast on the Beast of the East? You can happily cut your teeth on some Low Rider chunk.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
A lot of work has been put into the terrain off of Ramshead, and Phil Kmetz ain't complaining.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Bikes these days are built to handle it, so go ahead and toss them around on the rough stuff.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
It's the au naturale terrain here that really whets the appetite for many riders.

Photos from Let Em Eat story in Killington Vermont.
Much like a good meal, days getting loose on the bike are best spent in the company of friends.





Killington Bike Park mountain biking trails


68 Comments

  • 18 1
 Man. I lived in Vermont for a bit having spent most of my life in PNW and now Colorado. Such an underrated place, and those New England roots really are next level. Can't wait to go back... This might help motivate a trip!
  • 3 1
 No one has mentioned Sugar bush. When I lived in Burlington I had a summer pass there for 2 summers. Had a blast.
  • 3 0
 @spunkmtb: Sugarbush is nothing compared to Killington.
  • 2 0
 @laxguy: That I know, but Killington if I remember was a minimum of a 2hr drive from Burlington. Sugar bush was an even hour. I meant to respond below where people kept talking about Stowe making trails. Killington was incredible but there is no way I could go there 3 days a week like I did with a pass at the Bush.
  • 2 0
 @spunkmtb: ah yes, very true. I'd say Kton is like 1.5h but always depends. Sugarbush just isn't up to snuff anymore.. trails need maintenance and a new trail or section would be nice. Otherwise, love Sugarbush! Smile
  • 3 0
 @laxguy @spunkmtb: That's a bummer too as Sugarbush is a big mountain...loads of potential
  • 13 2
 Ella Skalwold, so *that's her name. We saw her a few days ago at Burke Mtn. There were lots of good riders there but she's the one who stood out. We didn't know who she was, just this badass in a maroon POC helmet making insane moves look smooth. Watching her ride was great -- my 8 year-old daughter getting to watch her ride was fantastic.
  • 11 1
 Now if only Stowe could get on board. Vail are you listening??? Killington is kicking your ass!!!
  • 7 0
 I remember reading somewhere that Stowe is the only mountain owned by Vail Mountain Co. that does not have lift serviced mountain biking ( this was before they purchased a few resorts this year.). Can you imagine a run from the peak of Mansfield all the way into town? Siiiick!
  • 6 1
 I've been to both Killington to ride the chairs, and Stowe to pedal up the local trails in the past month. I don't know how many tickets it takes to turn a profit, but Killington was practically empty. Didn't have to wait more than one gondola all day long on a Saturday. There just isn't much of a tourist scene in Killington over the summer. Stowe on the other hand, no lift assisted riding, but the tourist scene is crazy. Tons of mt. bikers, tons of hikers, tons of people just chilling and doing all sorts of touristy things. Seems like they could make a good run at lift assist if they wanted.
  • 11 0
 As a person from Park City I can tell you for certain that "Vail Resorts" does not give a shit about locals or making trails
  • 5 0
 @mtbmdc: No Park city mountain resort has been owned by Vail for 3 years now and they SHUT DOWN the bike park at what is formerly Canyons resort. VAIL RESORTS SUCK. Also they raised the price of a burger to $18 with no fries!
  • 1 1
 @smithcreek: They won't if owned by Vail
  • 2 5
 @ryanbpoquette: yo dog, they are a for profit business. Its 2018. Nobody’s got your back. Especially not Vail Resorts. Did you think it was the local pc rich kids they were most concerned about?
  • 3 0
 @pargolf8: forget the local pc rich kids. it's the locals. normal people trying to make ends meet. this sentiment is echoed in colorado and whistler, among other places.

@smithcreek: that's the difference between being near rutland and being near burlington.
  • 2 0
 @ryanbpoquette: Vail hasn't been affordable in my lifetime. Just driving past it on the highway tells me no f*cking way can I afford a vacation here.
  • 2 0
 Ripped all day at killington today. Hey chubby. When are we going?
  • 2 0
 @smithcreek: same feeling here. each time i'm going there it's always empty .. lucky for us!! very nice Bike Park !
  • 2 0
 @vtdhdoc: Dude. I should have stopped at one kid. Like romper room full of tyrants. Local laps only these days.
  • 1 0
 @pargolf8: I believe the "Canyons Resort" was a for profit business as well with a thriving bike park. 'Vail Resorts" purchases this resort and the bike park is gone, F**K them honestly! And by the way assuming jerk i am not by any means rich, nor are many of the bros around here who ride park so take your head out of you ass
  • 1 0
 @bulletbassman: Not talking about Vail, Co specifically, "vail resorts" corporation, but they do own vail as well, a little confusing...
  • 11 1
 US Open this weekend, which seems to be getting no press. Lots of big names seem to be stopping by on the way to Mt St Anne.
  • 1 0
 Have you seen a competitor list? Wondering what big name dh guys will be there
  • 2 1
 I haven’t. But I know Neko Mullaly had a lot of input in the course build, so I’m guessing he’ll be there. I saw that Bernard Kerr is going, not sure about the rest of the team. I’d say yes since he’s the team manager. Saw that Bas Van Cheesburger is going. I think it’ll be a good turnout. @pargolf8:
  • 1 0
 sitting here thinking the same thing...
  • 3 0
 Pivot Factory Racing is supposed to be there. I would imagine the YT Mob will be there.
  • 3 0
 @pargolf8: I know Bas Vansteenburg is going!
We will be there with a big crew sending it, and partying like there is no tomorrow!
  • 2 1
 I opened this article looking for info on the open...I'll be there with bells on, but surprised by lack of press
  • 2 0
 Just saw that Wyn Masters will be there as well.
  • 1 0
 @andyman123: yeah this wasn't really supposed to be about the USO...just a straight up trail showcase. I am a bit surprised by the lack of press on here as well, FWIW.
  • 2 0
 @schwaaa31: Connor Fearon as well
  • 1 0
 @laxguy: niceeee. I also saw gaetan vige will be racing. I wonder if AG will be around
  • 2 0
 Loris Vergier is confirmed too. Should be a good show. @laxguy:
  • 2 0
 @schwaaa31: dude, that confirmation just made my day.
  • 2 0
 @schwaaa31: shit yeah!! LORIS!
  • 1 0
 @schwaaa31: The French Prince is not on the start list.
  • 1 0
 Shit. He had put up on his Instagram that he was going a few days ago.@jbrewster:
  • 13 3
 4,241m should be feet instead?
  • 16 0
 Nope, it's an often forgotten about fact: K-Rock is right up there with Mont Blanc.
  • 1 0
 Lol. It's feet
  • 3 0
 Just got back from Killington last week. Im definitely a believer in what they have created!
But, two small gripes-Blue Magic was not constructed with the same care and attention to detail as the other trails in the park. The jumps were awkward and full of shale, and just basically looked like and rode like crap.
Killington also needs to invest time and energy into single track connectivity off the K1 Summit. The fireroad sections are totally a buzzkill when trying to navigate to the goods off the summit! I know the new US Open course will offer a trail off the summit, but that type of run is not going to cater to all ability levels and also does not connect to the other summit trails beyond scarecrow.
Just my 2 cents....hopefully somebody from Killy will be reading the feedback.?
  • 3 0
 @ccmba
Was told by a trail crew staffer last week that because Killington peak is part of the parks state owned land lease, they are limited by law to the number of trails they can simultaneously have. If they were to build additional trails off the K1 summit they would have to shut down other trails.

However, they have no limits to what they can do off the adjacent peaks with access from ramshead and showshed lifts. So looking forward to some more trails near there in the summers to come.
  • 3 0
 Another stunner, @briceshirbach !!! Deciding between Highland and Killington is like debating which of your 2 all time favorite restaurants, or desserts, or whatever. The bike park bar has been raised to a wail here in the Northeast!!! And that doesn't even take into account the countless local trail networks peppered through Maine, Vermont, and NH. Our mountains here might not be the highest, though the terrain is top notch, dirt is off the charts, and frequent summer rains keep things (most of the time) tacky and lush. Thanks for conveying a bit of that to the world Smile
  • 3 0
 I skiied in Killington about 25 years ago and loved it there, I've always wanted to go back there in the summer. Looks great!
  • 5 0
 The Mini Whistler of East Coast
  • 4 0
 Pancakes shot is outstanding- just needs maple syrup.
  • 2 0
 Was there for the first time last weekend and was super impressed. They've got everything you want except for water by the lifts. Can't wait to go back.
  • 3 0
 That place looks great. I wish i have something like that in my country...
  • 3 1
 aw man...need to keep that place a secret! they've really stepped up their game and made it one of the best spots to ride!
  • 1 0
 I was there a month or so ago, no need to worry. Zero lift lines all day long on a Saturday.
  • 3 0
 Hands down best variety of terrain in the east. Love me some Killy!
  • 2 0
 Now thats how you advertise for a bikepark!!! got me planning a trip to killington!!
  • 2 0
 Was at Killington for the first time this weekend, great trails and great park! No lines on a gorgeous Sunday.
  • 2 0
 Best ending to a video, ever.
  • 2 0
 Beast Coast !! VT ROCKS!! don't forget to visit Kingdom trails
  • 3 2
 Aren't some photos pixellated ?
  • 1 0
 speakeasy cafe in rutland--get the nitro brew.
  • 1 0
 @ 8 sec...looked like Giant Hogweed he was playing with?
  • 1 0
 Awesome...!
  • 12 15
 Still bitter that killington closed down the entire ramshead lift and most of the summit trails for pinkbike the day they got all these photos. Was one of my only days off and I could only ride the same 3 trails all day.
  • 5 5
 That’s actually really lame if they did that.
  • 4 1
 Damn that sucks man. Just tell your boss you got ligma so you can't go to work and hit the trails.
  • 3 2
 Same thing happened when I went there (not Pinkbike pics, but one of those "Spartan" races). An 8 hour drive for me to do the tiny trails on the bottom- and yet, the lift ticket was full price. It was pretty bullshit, honestly. What a disappointment.
  • 21 1
 That's 100% untrue. The Ramshead lift wasn't running that day because it doesn't run Tuesdays or Wednesdays in June. That info is on their website. We got the shots off of the summit over the course of a couple of days, and those trails were definitely open to everyone...not sure why you only rode 3 of them.
  • 3 0
 Take Snowshed up, The Beast over to the Gondola, Scarecrow down to anything you want over on Ramshead
  • 1 0
 We need to go @theminsta
  • 1 0
 YE BOI

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