NORTH AMERICAN BIKE PARK REVIEW TOUR
KILLINGTON BIKE PARK
THE BEAST OF THE EAST
SEASON 2 | EPISODE 4
After years of hearing about riding in the northeastern part of the United States we were excited to see what the East Coast had to offer and how their bike parks compared to what we’ve ridden so far in our Bike Park Review Tour. Stops included: Mountain Creek in New Jersey, Highland Bike Park in New Hampshire and Killington Bike Park in Vermont. Killington is the biggest park of our tour and as the moniker suggests, the Beast of the East dwarfs many of the mountains in neighboring states with a peak elevation of 4,236 feet. Before all you westerners start rolling your eyes, be warned, the East Coast does things differently and the amount, and quality of trails they pack in over here blows away anything we’ve ridden out West. Trails are stacked deep, built well and the dirt is next level. So, let’s strap up and learn about our new favorite bike park, Killington Vermont.
Located in the Green Mountains of south-central Vermont, Killington Bike Park has three distinct zones serviced by two chairlifts and one gondola. Claimed to be New England’s fastest growing downhill mountain bike park, Killington currently has over 30 miles of trails with some of the best beginner-friendly terrain to double-black tech and top notch flow trails that will entertain even the best riders out there.
LODGING AND ON-SITE AMENITIES
Killington is a bit unique in that it doesn’t have a very robust village in the traditional sense. They have a ton of summer activities to keep families busy and a couple of options for food, but for the size of the mountain and park, it’s definitely not as big as we’d expect it to be. Instead, Killington staff told us they “Rely on and incorporate the local town of Killington and their businesses,” to feed, lodge and sustain tourists. It’s a really neat concept and while the convenience factor slightly decreases, we love the fact that we can support smaller, local business owners when we come to Killington rather than exclusively buying from mega-corporations and overpriced resort meals.
The Killington Grand Resort Hotel is a nice place to stay if you’re looking for a nicer lodging option that is still walking distance from the ticket sales area and village. Plenty more options are available outside the park. We opted to stay at an Airbnb condo that was a three-minute pedal from the lift for a pretty affordable price and loved having our own kitchen and porch so close to the mountain. The condo comfortably slept our crew, had a small kitchen so we could cook up some meals, head back for lunch and help save money for more days on the mountain. If you’d like to camp, there are some options nearby and offer beautiful views of the densely treed area of Vermont.
Summer activities are plentiful at Killington if you’ve got the family in-tow or want to have some options beyond the bike park, which will be highly unlikely after you see how good these trails are. Nevertheless, if you are looking for non-biking fun rest assured that Killington can still be a great getaway destination. On-site Killington has an Adventure Center offering: the Beast Mountain Coaster, a zip line racer, sky ropes course, the Soaring Eagle, trampoline, a maze, jump tower and more. Of course, you’ve also got plenty of hiking trails and natural scenery to enjoy, a small town nearby and the Killington Resort par 72 Championship golf course. If you’re looking for other summer fun outside the resort, be sure to check out the ATV tours and rock climbing adventures hosted by nearby companies.
The magic sauce and what makes Killington our new favorite bike park, the trails! We’ve said it over and over to friends and riding partners since returning home is that Killington reminds us of Whistler 10-15 years ago, but with modern day trail-building skills and techniques. The trails at Killington are top notch and have us counting down the days ‘til we can go back. The upper mountain served by the K1 gondola has an assortment of technical and raw singletrack that had our crew hooting and hollering all day. The offerings consist of super rocky tech like Scarecrow or rooty DH tracks with natural gaps and flow and even some steep rock slab rollers for the old-schoolers. Some of our favorites up top include: Scarecrow, Yo Vinny, Funny Bone and Gambler.
Unfortunately, since we arrived late in a COVID-19 year, the K1 gondola was only running for one of the days we were in town. This meant we spent the majority of our time on the Ramshead lift and also enjoying the incredibly fun beginner trails off the Snowshed lift. Terrain off the Ramshead quad is varied from World Class flow to the incredibly fast and fun Goat Skull, which is a trail we could spend a whole day progressing on. Krusty is a fun blue-tech trail that will challenge riders of all levels no matter the speed and will build confidence before tackling some of the black tech Killington has to offer.
Speaking of building confidence, Killington’s 3-mile jump trails Blue Magic and Black Magic will have riders cashing in air miles in spades. With over 40 jumps on each trail, riders can pick the amount of airtime they want and have fun doing it. Black Magic is one of the best jump trails we’ve ridden and love the way it meanders down the hill. Although we’d love a couple bigger jumps or side hits to stretch things out a bit, the 20-foot tables are just enough to keep you entertained lap after lap.
The Snowshed zone was pretty awesome in that it’s home to some of the best beginner terrain we’ve seen in a bike park and has one the manicured and well-maintained jump trails we’ve ever ridden. Jump Start is one of the best blue jump lines that will truly elevate riders to another level with huge, vertical buttery berms and large tabletops just big enough to practice jumps on, or getting comfortable with extended airtime. Easy Street, Wiggle and Step it Up are also great trails that we had tons of fun on chasing young kid party trains and beginner riders looking to increase their on-bike skills. It was awesome seeing and hearing how much fun these little shredders were having.
Beyond the park we heard there are some fun trail offerings around, but we had too much fun to leave and explore what else the area had for trails. Overall, the experience at Killington was pretty awesome and although it was pretty quiet around the village due to COVID-19 closures and restrictions, we were told that normal summers can experience large crowds and lots of festivals and events.
THE WOLF’S LAST WORD
Killington Bike Park shocked our whole crew and certainly has the best and most diverse trails of the season. While other parks may have a couple amazing trails with several other mediocre offerings, Killington is stacked and we hope they just keep their foot on the gas building more trails year after year. We’re bummed it took us this long to get there but look forward to coming back in the near future. The dirt is amazing, the trail crew are working hard on sculpting some of the best berms we’ve seen in a bike park and the way they integrate the trails into the mountain is unlike many bike parks that just bring in heavy equipment and build straight-away dirt highways with berms. We love how the trails here follow the terrain and seem to minimally impact the hillside while still offering large features or a raw and rugged experience depending on the trails you choose. For these reasons, we are naming Killington the best bike park of the year.
For more info visit, killington.com
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