The 6th Annual Dead Presidents Rail Jam, presented by Bud Light took place at Killington’s Bear Mountain. There were many competitors taking big hits and doing sick tricks in the Outer Limits Rail Park in front of the Bear Mountain Lodge deck. There were three rails that were featured for 30 minutes in this open jam format and things were gnarly. The top three skiers and top three riders from the open jam competed in a one trick showdown. They were judged by fellow competitors, with those athletes performing the best tricks walking away with cash prizes.
For male skiers 16 and over, it was Andy Parry was 1st with Colby Vavolatis 2nd and Graham Twichell 3rd. For male skiers under 15, it was Cooper Babbitt 1st, Chris Pomerville 2nd and Nick Starinskas 3rd. For the women skiers over 16, it was Jess Hobbs 1st and Jillian Atwood 2nd. Colby Vavolotis pocketed $150 for his performance on Rail 1. Corey Toyama took home $200 for his sick tricks on Rail 2 and a stellar Rail 3 performance put $150 in Andy Parry’s pockets.
For the men over 16, it was Shaun Murphy 1st , Colin Boylan 2nd and Jeff Sponzo 3rd. For the 15 and under riders, it was Cooper Babbitt 1st, Chris Pomerville 2nd and Nick Starinskas 3rd. For the women over 16 it was Laura Rogoski 1st and Monique Hyman 2nd.
On Rail 1 Shaun Murphy took home $150. For his performance on Rail 2 Bryan Tempini won $200 and Shaun Murphy took home $150 for his tricks on Rail 3.
Killington has received so much snow that almost every trail (190) was open, even those that face the sun and do not hold the snow too well. Everything was in excellent shape with groomed conditions, moguls or powder depending on your choice of trails. I was there early and rode up the K1 Gondola. I noticed that Flume was open and so was Royal Flush. I took a warm-up run down Cascade which was groomed and in excellent condition. As Bear Mountain was in the sun, I headed over in that direction and made a bump run down Wildfire and took a couple of runs down Bearclaw. Outer Limits looked FORMIDABLE, so I opted to ski back to the other side of the mountain and have a cup of coffee and warm up.
When I went into the lodge, I met a couple of old friends that I had skied with often when I was a full-time resident at Killington. Gordon and Dee were now retired and skied Killington almost every day. After enjoying the coffee and conversation, we headed to the Superstar chair to do a little more skiing. We decided to head over to Needles Eye and took a couple of runs down trails like Needled Eye and Cruise Control. We decided to head back toward the K1 Lodge and did Skylark to Bittersweet and were back at the lodge.
It was noon, so I had lunch and then headed back out for a little more skiing. I enjoyed skiing many of the trails that I had skied often when I lived at Killington. At one point, there was a big line at the K1 Gondola but no one at the Conclusion Triple Chair which was only a few yards from the gondola. It was a no-brainer to ride up on the triple and when I got to the top, I decided to cruise down Mouse Run. I spent the rest of the afternoon skiing trails like upper Double Dipper, East Fall and Rime, and then over to Highline Trail which had been closed for race training for a final run at the end of the day.
I was staying at the Northstar Lodge which overlooks the Killington access road and one of my favorite nightspots and restaurant, the Grist Mill. I had a very nice room on the first floor. The Northstar offers a complementary continental breakfast that includes waffles, donuts, muffins, fruit, cereal, juice, milk and coffee that’s served in the Constellation Café where they also offer free chicken wings and reasonably priced drinks for Happy Hour and where you can even order dinner. I forgot my swim suit, so I was not able to enjoy the pool and sauna after skiing but I did soak in the tub in my room before going out.
For the added convenience of their guests, they offer a storage room where departing guests can secure their luggage when they go for a few more runs. They have changing rooms, showers and even laundry facilities available for their guest’s convenience. With such a great location, I can highly recommend the Northstar Lodge. Their peak season (Jan. 1 – March 22) rates start at $104.00 (midweek) for King and Standard rooms and range as high as $219.00 for a room for 4 people (Friday & Saturday). Suites are available starting at $164.00. To make a reservation, call: (800) 422-2296 and tell them that the Ski Bum News sent you.
When I was going to my room, I noticed a sign to the “Grist Mill Path”. Obviously, this was a sign from the gods (thank you Thor), so after I changed and rested a bit, I walked over to the Grist Mill for a little Happy Hour libation and friendly conversation. I ate some of the free chicken wings and ran into a few of my friends at Happy Hour. I enjoyed seeing them again, talking about old times and updating them on my current ski adventures. The Space Monkey’s band was playing and they were pretty good and had the crowd dancing to every number. I found the Rib Eye sandwich was a bargain and very tasty. With a full stomach, I headed back to the Northstar to rest for the next day of skiing.
On Sunday, It was beautiful. I spent most of the day at Bear Mountain watching the Rail Jam but I did manage to get in a few runs down Bearclaw, Wildfire and lower Outer Limits. In the after noon, I skied over to the other side of the mountain and once again skied some of my old friends like Skylark, Cascade, Chute, Bunny Buster, and more.
The nightlife at Killington is the best in the East, not just on Saturday night but every night of the week! There is live music at the Grist Mill, Pickle Barrel (Snoop Dogg was playing this Saturday), The Nightspot and the Wobbly Barn and numerous other places where you can get a quiet drink and hang-out with fellow skiers and snowboarders. Lookouts which is run by Donna Weinbrecht’s brother-in-law Phil Black, is a favorite gathering place for free chicken wings at Happy Hour and fine food and conversation every evening.
There are many places to get a good meal at Killington. The Wobbly Barn and Charity’s are good choices for steak and American cuisine. My favorite Italian restaurant is the Pasta Pot, just off the Killington access road between the access road and Killington Sky Ship Gondola on Rt. 4. I make it a point to eat there every time I visit Killington, the food is so good. Remember, I’m half Italian and love good Italian cuisine. If you want a really good Italian meal at a very reasonable price, try the Pasta Pot. Once you eat there, you’ll be back.