After skiing Killington, and before heading back to the “real world,” we skied a half day at Pico Mountain on Friday. This ski area is just seven miles from its big-sister resort and offers a nice change of pace. On this Friday, it was rather quiet with no lift lines.
We took two high-speed quads to get to the summit, which is at an elevation of 3,967 feet. Just as you get off chair you get a view of nearby Killington. We enjoyed runs on Forty Niner and Sunset 71—intermediate runs with one exception of a black-diamond pitch atop Sunset 71. The Sunset trail reminded me of a quintessential New England trail—rather narrow with some turns and twists.
These summit trails converge on the straight and wide cruising trail called Pike, which runs the length of Pico—head to toe. On the lower half of the ski area, we took runs on Fools Gold, Gold Rush, Swinger and Lower Pike.
Unlike Big K, at Pico all the trails eventually funnel down to one base area. That means kids are able to explore the mountain without getting very lost.
We had a choice of 24 trails open out of 57 in all. Four lifts, including two high-speed quads were available out of their total of seven lifts. By looking up the hill, it was apparent that snowmaking has been key to having half the mountain open during this low-snow start to the ski season. Non-snowmaking trails showed grass and dirt.
Pico isn’t as flashy as its neighbor. In fact, it still offers a rope tow in its beginner area. It wasn’t open on Friday when we were there, however.
There’s an old-school base lodge and on the third floor you'll find the “Vermont Skiing Museum at Pico.” This room has old ski wooden equipment and early Burton snowboards. You'll see classic black-and-white photos of former ski patrols and old ski goggles that look like today's safety goggles. Hanging from the ceiling are old racing bibs and a wooden two-person chair that has a post in the middle.
At the other side of the third floor is a big lounge. The second floor features food service and a large fireplace. The first floor, which also has windows facing the slopes, is where people with bagged lunches dine.
We'll have to return to Pico when there's more natural snow so we can explore its glades and other expert terrain. The runs off of the Outpost Double look interesting, for example. In fact, snow is in the forecast!
Pico Mountain At a Glance
Trails - 57
Easier - 18%
More Difficult - 46%
Most Difficult - 36%
1 Terrain park
Miles of Trails - 19
Longest trail - Pike at more than 1 mile
Summit Elevation - 3,967'
Base Elevation - 2,000'
Vertical Drop - 1,967'
Skiable Acres - 468
2 Express Quads
1 Rope tow
Snowmaking coverage - 75%