It was heart wrenching.
So many memories of my childhood are of this one area and the unique chairlift experience that went with it. The South Ridge area was so unique unto itself. Trails like Echo Woods, Breakaway and the Jug Handle were unique and the sun would bask on you in the springtime after treating you to some phenomenal winter powder. I felt like Killington had stolen those memories when they removed the chair; That this was the beginning of the end.
For years, we watched the trees grow taller and tighter in Echo Woods, so tight that only the very silly will risk an adventure through them for old times sake. Small trees grew up on Escape, making the journey feel like a secret piece of heaven that only a few lucky ones knew about. South Ridge became the local secret, the hidden gem and a place to hide on those crazy Saturdays. And to ski what was left of Pipe Dream and down Falls Brook was a like the Chairlift Graveyard Tour, first the SRT and then Devil’s Fiddle (and, some would argue, the Bear Mountain Quad).
But I noticed something wonderful this week:
Killington Made Snow on her!!
Killington Groomed her!!
Killington Loved Her!!
After all these years, Pipe Dream had finally been shown the love she so truly deserves. Skiing down and seeing excavators and packs of snowmobiles has given me hope and brought my memories back to the foreground. I have made a point to cruise down Pipe Dream every day this week because she has just been beautiful. I can feel the South Ridge waking up, coming out of her stupor and shaking off the cobwebs. What once was a beautiful skiing experience will be able to stand proud once more.
I never thought I would say this years ago and even last week I was still very reluctant to think anything positive could come of this sacriglous chairlift implant. But even with a couple weeks left before the grand opening of the South Ridge Quad, I am excited for the South Ridge to stand proud and reclaim her space of honor amongst the skiable terrain at Killington. It feels exactly as it did when I was little, I could hear my dad and sister laughing and singing as we skied our way down through the sunshine.
There might not be a turn, but I can damn well guarantee there is going to be a giggle coming from me on that first Quad ride.
Welcome back, South Ridge.
We have missed you.