Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Killington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Killington

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"This is the tenth day," said Deb Burke, a Killington resident.

Every winter season, Burke gets in a lot of days on the mountain. She started skiing at a young age.

"We used to drive my brothers to go skiing. I used to have to stay home with my mother and make cookies. And I said one day, I was three, 'I'm not making cookies anymore; I'm going skiing,'" she recalled.

Killington is Burke's mountain of choice. They've been open for more than 40 days this season and business has started off strong-- good news for the local economy.

"It's been great so far. We just finished up Thanksgiving weekend and we're up about 35 percent over last year," said Mike Solimano, the president of Killington.

This means more people are getting out early in the season to make some turns. With nearly 50 trails already open, skiers tell us there's plenty to choose from.

"You can travel from place to place. There's a bunch of different lifts open, so you're not going back and forth on the same one or two areas. It's really terrific," said Lee Quaglia of Killington.

In recent weeks the snow guns have been going at full blast and there's plenty of coverage out there. But the other thing is that with these milder temperatures this week, the snow is starting to soften up a bit. Skiers are loving the resulting snow surfaces.

"I would call them spring conditions because the surface is soft. It's very edgeable and groomed beautifully," Burke said.

"Perfect," said Doug Delpha of Northfield. "I mean there's not a lot of people, so there's still some powder from the manmade snow yesterday or this morning. There's a little ice underneath, but it's kind of perfect right now."

With more than 600 acres of skiable terrain, Killington is a big place. But in the future, skiers may gain easy access to even more terrain.

"We have plans for what we call the Pico Interconnect, which would connect Killington to Pico. It's still in the planning process," Solimano said.

Even though this ski season is still young, a lot of mountain enthusiasts, like Burke, are enjoying every minute of it.

"I love being outdoors in the fresh air and getting some exercise," she said.

A sentiment many Vermonters can appreciate.

Temperatures are expected to cool down again by this weekend; this will bode well for snowmaking and eventually allow more terrain to open up.

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