I attended the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge expecting to once again witness the biggest and best party at Killington but I was sadly disappointed. It seems that the Vermont Department of Liquor Control cracked down on Killington and forbad revilers from bringing in their own beer and liquor for this annual cook-out on the slopes during the mogul competition. As a result, instead of hundreds of revilers cooking hotdogs and burgers in the designated area, there were only a few people from ski houses in attendance. I only counted six tents versus the numerous tents of years past. Killington had set up a “beer corral” where fans could purchase beer and view the event . . . this corral was empty all day long. In protest, many of the ski houses held house parties that day and attendance was off by thousands and many of the local bumpers did not compete. Last year, the parking lot was full, all the parking spaces on the access road were filled and fans had to take a shuttle up from the Starship parking lot on Rt. 4. This year, the parking lot was not even filled.
What a shame that an event that has been going on for 20 years has been ruined by the Beer Nazis in Montpelier. There was a strong police presence at the event and every skier I talked to was very unhappy with the state of affairs with many long-time Killington skiers blaming the new owners, Powdr Corp.
The lack of party atmosphere was off-set by excellent ski conditions. On Saturday, the snow was really excellent on the Killington Peak side of the resort but the wind was blowing quite hard, so I went over to Bear Mountain to check out the preliminaries in the mogul competition and the party. I opted to make several runs run down the trails on Bear Mt. It wasn’t as windy on this side of the resort, so the skiing was quite good.
I spent most of the day skiing Bear and then went back to the Kokopelli Inn and Spa where I was staying. This is a really great LOW COST place to stay at Killington and they have a lively crowd at their small bar. On Friday nights, they host a Pot Luck dinner attended by their guests and some Killington “locals”. This is a fun event and anyone visiting Killington who would like to have a pleasant evening with the real Killington crowd should drop by with a little something to share with the other revelers. This Inn is a traditional no-frills ski lodge with comfortable rooms at a VERY affordable rates. There is cable TV in every room in addition to the big-screen TV in the main room. There is a pool table, hot tub and a cosy bar, The Rusty Cage Lounge serving your favorite adult beverage. The crew working here is the friendliest bunch of people you will ever find and they really make you feel at home. Room rates range from $40 (mid-week) for a room with a queen-sized bed to as much as $145 for a room with 2 double beds (regular season weekends) For reservations call: (877) 422-9888 and tell them the Ski Bum News sent you.
The results of the competition placed Sam Tarrant in1st, Shawn McGee was 2nd, John Smith came in 3rd, Alan Belski placed 4th for the men.
For the ladies, it was Catherine Toupense 1st, Laura Berzina 2nd, Amanda Blanchard 3rd, Hanna Soar 4th.
There were many young competitors in this event. This event had it’s share of spills and thrills but it was not as exciting as competitions in years past. Donna Weinbrecht was there cheering on her sister Joy Black who was one of the competitors. I had a chance to chat with her and her brother-in-law Phil Black, the owner of Lookouts, one of the best bars on the access road. I’ve known Phil for many years and I always enjoy seeing Donna at these kind of events. Winning the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge put Donna on the path to her Olympic Gold Medal. She was the first woman to win a Gold Medal in the moguls at the Olympics and is a really nice, friendly person.
Early April is still a good time to visit Killington for some excellent spring skiing. They have tons of trails open and you are guaranteed to have an excellent time.