KILLINGTON — A big change is coming to the face of Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area, along with some other changes that will improve Pico Mountain Ski Resort.
Both ski areas are owned by POWDR, which has invested $60 million into the resorts in the past two years, according to Courtney DiFiore, communications and social media manager for Killington/Pico Ski Resort Partners, LLC. She said the planned upgrades slated for this season and next will total approximately another $30 million.
The main upgrade for Killington is to the base lodge, which will be completely rebuilt, said DiFiore. The K-1 Lodge was built in 1959.
Starting this construction season, the outer part of the K-1 lodge’s new footprint will be built. By 2022, the old lodge will be torn out and the new one completed. It will be three floors, the third being a bar area that looks down on the second floor. The building will have a more open feel to it, improving views, and will be level with the nearby gondola. This should help skiers, especially snowboarders, move around much more easily, DiFiore said.
A new four-person, fixed-grip chairlift will replace the existing North Ridge Triple chairlift, she said. Starting Tuesday, seats from the North Ridge Triple will be for sale in the mountain’s online store. DiFiore said when people learned it was being replaced, many wished to purchase seats from it. She said it’s an old lift and many people have nostalgic feelings toward it.
Another upgrade will be to the two mountains’ snowmaking systems. At Pico, the snowmaking system is fed by a pond, which can take some time to recharge after being spent, DiFiore said. While Killington can recover its snow cover fairly quickly following a bad weather event, it can take Pico much longer to do the same.
Michael Coppinger, executive director of the Killington Pico Area Association, the Killington area’s chamber of commerce, said Tuesday the new base lodge will be a huge change for the mountain.
“Not to be melodramatic, but that’s something that only happens once in a generation,” he said.
Coppinger said the mountain’s success has been felt in the community, with business owners, especially in the hospitality industry, investing money in their own operations to accommodate and compete for the expected visitors.
This past season, Killington hosted the World Cup for the third time and is expected to do so again. It also hosted the Special Olympics Winter Games.
Coppinger reported that POWDR has said in the past it plans to invest in Killington and Pico, and so far appears to be following through. He credited the mountain’s leadership team, which he said has a working knowledge of the ski industry and the local community. He said the resorts’ efforts to be all-season destinations have also been paying off with growth in the local cycling industry.