AlpineZone Challenge 2004 – Alex Kaufman of Killington

The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Alex KaufmanCommunications Coordinator of Killington Resort in Killington, Vermont, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 10/12/2004:

Charlie Schuessler: What is the status of the long ago heralded Killington-Pico trail interconnection?

Alex Kaufman: It remains a part of the future of Killington-Pico but many factors have combined to keep it from becoming a reality to this point. Many folks who I talk to feel that Pico has its’ own unique charm and should remain separate. I urge people to give Pico a try when in the area. It’s big mountain skiing with true Vermont charm.

teach ski: Do you limit ticket sales?

Alex Kaufman: It has happened before during early season periods when there is limited terrain available, but it is uncommon. We do however have limited quantities of this season’s All For One Passes (as of 10/7/04 the Silver is sold out). I can wholeheartedly say that even on holiday weekends, people who know the seven mountains of Killington have no problem avoiding lift lines.

Tyrolean_skier: What improvements will be made to the Rams Head and Bear Mountain rest rooms this year? The improvements made to the KBL rest rooms last season were greatly appreciated.

Alex Kaufman: Glad to hear folks liked the KBL improvements. All of our base lodges are on the receiving end of improvements for the coming winter. Including but not limited to, new exterior paint, new signage for easier navigation, new cafeteria designs and yes some will get refurbished bathrooms.

Tyrolean_skier: Any chance of getting a traversing trail cut to go from Superstar to the bottom of Ovation in order to avoid the long and boring traverse in front of KBL?

Alex Kaufman: That is something which has been discussed. The more folks show it to be a desire the more likely it is to occur. Keep in mind that this season we’ve got a larger KBL deck so the traverse ought to be less “boring” with all the happenings on the deck. :) We also put much of our on-mountain focus this summer into signage, the Bear Terrain Park and snowmaking improvements – I would venture to say that the trail cut spoke of between Superstar and Ovation is a possibility in the future, but it will not be present this coming season.
The developable land at Killington has been sold off to the firm that held your defaulted real estate paper and Killington retains only a minority interest in that venture. At the joint public meeting where some of the details were presented, the long-held position of Killington management changed from, roughly, “we will do the interconnect in conjunction with the base village development” to “we will do the interconnect when skier visits increase to levels that justify the expansion”. Your customer base looks forward to the day when Killington and Pico are interconnected with a couple of interesting new trail pods between the resorts.

Geoff: My question: How do you propose to improve the quality of your product to attract those additional skier visits?

Alex Kaufman: Killington is big. This summer our focus has been to make Killington the best, in addition to the biggest. The new cafeteria at Snowshed is a real treat. Say goodbye to waiting for pizza behind people who want fries. Say hello to tastes from around the world prepared before your eyes. The Terrain Park improvements will be impossible to ignore with a Timberline Park that is 3 times longer and a Bear Mountain signature park that will make waves in the industry. We’re also building an “athlete lounge” at Bear complete with ski and ride videos, couches, and an AV hookup for people who want to watch their footage.

When we move to increase quantity, we’ll let you know. As of now, we’re out to increase the quality.

eatskisleep: Regarding the downhill mountain biking at Killington, I have heard that it is geared toward more of the beginner/intermediate downhill biker. Are you going to cut out more single-track trails in the woods that offer more extreme biking?

Alex Kaufman: Our trail crew is constantly expanding our mountain biking options. The level of “extreme” is truly up to the rider. Folks looking for single track should spend time in the South Ridge Area, Needles Eye and Snowshed. In the winter Snowshed is where folks go to learn, but in summer it’s home to some tough single track.

eatskisleep: Killington’s seasons seem shorter than they used to be years back. Why is this happening?

Alex Kaufman: In recent years, Killington has elected to open with more terrain and a higher quality product rather than with a strip of snow and truck access. Expect this to continue.

Joshua B: When opening new terrain early season, why does Killington choose to spread the terrain out over the most mountain faces possible, instead of concentrating on opening more trails on one or two mountains?

Alex Kaufman: Our understanding is that people like diverse terrain. If we open a lot of trails on one or two mountains it becomes more crowded and doesn’t offer the diversity that guests expect. We also can then employ our base lodges to accommodate different guests who may need daycare of any of our wide variety of lessons.

Greg: Why was there no snowmaking on Devil’s Fiddle last season?

Alex Kaufman: There will be snowmaking on Devil’s Fiddle this season. The Devil’s Fiddle Quad will run during peak periods as well.

Greg: Killington is one of the few remaining resorts with a message board on their Web site. What are some of the pros and cons to hosting an official message board on a ski area Web site? Do you read other message boards like If so, do you ever want to reply to posts about Killington or other ski areas?

Alex Kaufman: It allows people who are interested in Killington to talk to other like minded people. For the most part, our chat room is filled with mature chatters who are just having a good time and sharing their common bond – Killington.

To view forum comments on this Challenge and the Challenge Results, please visit the following page: width=