During a trip to Mount Snow last year, our guide spoke very highly of Pico Mountain and how it’s the ultimate family mountain. Since then, Pico has been at the top of our list for slope time, so I was psyched to hear Momtrends was hosting a ski weekend there this year!
Last weekend, we sat outside school with the car packed, eagerly awaiting Friday dismissal to get on the road Pico Mountain in Vermont. With snowy conditions along the way, the usual five hour drive turnd into seven hours, with poor visibility and slick roads. That said, there is nothing better than fresh snow when you ski or snowboard, so we were confident that our extra time in the car would be rewarded by conditions on the hill.
Pico Mountain is located in central Vermont, nine miles east of Rutland and two miles west of Killington Road. The best way to describe Pico is big mountain skiing, with a small mountain charm. To say we loved Pico the minute we stepped onto the mountain, is a complete understatement. Long sprawling runs, without long lift lines. Sign me up any day!
At 14 degrees, our first day on the mountain was a cold one. We snuck in one run together, before dropping the kids off at ski school at 9:45am. After that, Jason and I road for hours, just the two of us. As you know, I’m a total scaredy cat on the mountain, but with all the snow time this winter, I’m starting to gain confidence on steeper slopes. In fact, with a little nudge from my hubby, I even took the lift to the top of the mountain. This, my friends, is huge progress for me. I pushed myself, and I have to confess that I attribute this to Pico. I found all of the trails to be wide, long, and not overloaded with riders and skiers as in other resorts. I hate trying to make turns with hot shots barreling past me!
Pico Mountain has recently undergone major snowmaking upgrades. Via a pipeline, snowmakers now have access to Killington’s water sources for all the water they need to keep Pico Mountain buried from the early season, and all the way through spring.
Since we take a least a half dozen trips to the mountains in a given year, we have seasonal rentals for the kids. Since they grow like weeds, it doesn’t make sense to spend lots of money on buying gear. That said, Pico does have a rental shop on-sight offering Rossignol Sport skis and a selection of all-mountain Rossignol performance skis. And if you are looking for a snowboard, they are fully stocked Burton ride center. Jason actually rented a demo while there, and he claims it changed his life. No more old oversized snowboard taking up space inside our truck!
Skiing and snowboarding are skills, and they take practice. Lots of practice. Ski school lessons for us have been an absolute gift to your children. The amount of skills children can acquire in just one day of skiing with a professional instructor is staggering. Whenever possible, we book at least one full day lessons for the kids on the first day at any mountain. At Pico, the Trekkers program is for children ages 4-6 offering skill building and outside exploration. The Mountaineers club, for ages 7-15, focuses on safety, fun, building confidence and gaining new skills, and is designed for those who have skied or snowboarded before. If you are first timer, check out their First Time Ski & Ride program for the most suitable program. All full day ski school includes lift ticket, lesson and homemade lunch, so we rode the mountain the entire day, knowing that our children were well fed and having some fun.
Bring A Friend, Ski Free!
The best way to share the love for winter sports is to introduce a friend or family member to skiing or riding. If you bring a friend or family member to Pico Mountain any day during the 2019-20 season and when your friend purchases a First Time Ski & Ride package, you’ll receive a FREE lift ticket valid the same day.
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Pico Resort Hotel and Condominiums, which were walking distance to Pico Mountain, and just 5 miles from sister mountain Killington. Our two bedroom, two bathroom condo came complete with full kitchen. In the complex, we received complimentary access to the Pico Sports Center featuring a 75-foot indoor pool, weight and cardiovascular equipment and a sauna.
Over the last few years, Killington has expanded their dining options throughout the resort. Whether you’re at Jerk Jamaican Mountain Grill feeling like you’re on an island in winter, or at the Peak Lodge enjoying the year-round views, there are plenty of choices. On Saturday night we dined at the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse. We loved the casual laid back vibe, offering kid friendly options, a massive salad bar and live music. Plus it was less than a ten minute drive from our condo!
Sunday morning came around way too quickly. We hit the slopes bright and early wth plans to ski until Noon before our long drive home. Naturally, we stayed on the mountain a little longer, because the conditions were just that good! You guys, we fell in love with Pico Mountain. It’s a hidden gem of east coast skiing and riding. I almost didn’t want to write this post, in fear that too many people will find out about it!! HA!