Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pico Mountain, VT: 12/16/2017

Pico Mountain, VT, Saturday 12/16/2017.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

The timing of last week's storm couldn't have been better for Pico. Storm on Tuesday, open for the season on Friday. The 18 inches that fell allowed Pico to open with 35 trails, including quite a bit of natural snow terrain. We would have loved to be there on Friday, but settling for Saturday wasn't half bad.

Pico's one of our favorite Vermont mountains. The combination of snowfall, terrain and laid-back vibe just feels right. And with thousands of cars streaming up the Killington access road just a couple miles away (don't get me wrong, we like Killington too), Pico was the place to be.

Not a bad look for Saturday morning 10am

Thankfully the grooming crews had taken a very light touch. Just a few runs had been groomed at all, mostly with just a few passes down the middle. Runs like Birch Glade, Lower Giant Killer and Mid KA seemed like they had hardly been skied at all and stayed in great shape all day. The steeper natural snow trails off the summit - Upper KA and Summit Glades - got skied down to thin cover in a few spots, but in between were stretches of soft powder bumps that you just don't get with manmade snow. Fun stuff, especially after the uninspiring snow conditions we found the weekend before at Gore.

Thin cover: it must be good!

Sylvie blasting through the salt & pepper on Upper KA


We had hopes for at least a partly sunny day as we drove over in the morning, but the clouds never really lifted from the summit. Visibility was a bit flat at times, and temps barely got into the lower teens. Not the best conditions for photos but great for keeping the snow light and dry.

Daniel skiing Forty Niner


A little afternoon exploration and flexible interpretation of "open" (no ropes were ducked) took us to the Outpost trail pod where several of us skied a few laps through the cut up powder on Bronco and Pipeline. We certainly weren't the only skiers to find this stash, but it seemed like we had the entire trail pod to ourselves.

Daniel and Collin hiking over to Outpost

Daniel skiing Bronco

I love seeing my family skiing steeps, trees and powder, but sometimes a really great moment just sneaks up on you. I was skiing hard trying to keep up with my buddy Ray, who's a really strong skier, when Sylvie passed me, fell in behind Ray and followed him turn for turn all the way to the bottom. Little everyday moments like that make it great to be a ski dad.

Late afternoon light hitting the mountains

We took advantage of Pico's $29 lift ticket promo on Saturday rather than using our MaxPasses. Odds are good we'll be needing all 5 this season.


  1. That does sound amazing. I mean the Sylvie thing. It all sounds like a blast, but that is extra cool.

    1. Thanks Harv, it was just one of those rewarding yet at the same time totally undramatic moments.

  2. passing of the torch. father time has struck. best of luck trying to keep up with you kids.

    1. Truth is they've both been outskiing me for years.