Getting Your Money's Worth: How to Ski Killington Ski Resort for $2 Per Run

A beautiful day on the mountain. (D. Herscovitch)
Resort skiing is expensive. As of today, if you want to ski at Steamboat or Jackson Hole for a single weekend day over the next six weeks, expect to pay $99-105 for your lift ticket. On the east coast, skiing Mad River Glen, or Whiteface will cost you $67-88. Scoring discounted tickets through lodging packages, multi-day packages and websites like Liftopia helps, but regardless, resort skiing isn't cheap.

Of course, there's a lot that goes into operating a ski resort. There are employees to pay, lifts to maintain, and depending on the location, there's snow to make. Regardless, if I'm ponying up a wad of cash, I want to make sure I get my money's worth. I spoke to a friend about how he attempted to ski enough runs at a resort in Pennsylvania such that each run cost him $1. Could the same be achieved at a resort like Killington?

The Challenge: Four of us purchased discount two day lift tickets from Liftopia for $132 each, bringing a single day ticket to $66. We decided skiing 66 one-dollar runs between the hours of 8am and 4pm was completely unreasonable and decided we were satisfied with 33 two-dollar runs. After parking near the K1 gondola just before 9am on Saturday, we set out with the following guidelines:
  • Count each individually named run, no matter the length, as one run. For example, if a skier links three named trails to get from the top to the bottom of the mountain, that overall trip counts as three runs. (If you want an added challenge, only count top-to-bottom trips.)
  • A run can be skied and counted multiple times, but make the best possible effort to ski different runs each time.

Hanging out at the top of the K1 gondola. (D. Herscovitch)
The Results: We did it, but barely. Our last trip down the mountain around 3pm included six separately named runs, which brought our total to exactly 33. A fall and resultant shoulder injury necessitated in a visit to the ski patrol office and subsequent trip to the local medical clinic for one member of our party, and that brought an earlier end to our day. (Thankfully, he's healing quickly!)

The resort was significantly more crowded on Sunday and I was glad we'd only chosen to take on the challenge on Saturday. It would be great to try it again mid-week. I found it difficult to keep track of the runs we'd skied each trip down and started taking notes on my phone to make sure I didn't miss anything. Killington had over 100 runs open counting the ski-in-ski-out condo trails and learn-to-ski areas, but we found ourselves limited by the blue square and black diamond runs that were actually open.

Some of the green runs, particularly Bear Trax and Caper, were a lot of fun, but took longer than the steeper runs. It would have been easier to complete the 33 if we didn't have to stop at half of the trail intersections and adjust our plans based on which trails were open. As a party of four, we generally spent a good bit of time planning our runs from top to bottom to make sure we all ended up in the same place.

What Really Makes a Great Day on the Mountain: Despite how much fun it was to have a specific challenge for the day, my true measure of value of a day of skiing isn't exclusively how much skiing I'm able to do. There's the attitude of employees, quality of the food, the speed of the lifts, the ease of parking and picking up lift tickets, and much more all contribute to whether I think I've gotten my money's worth. But for those who simply want to ski as much as humanly possible, this is a fun way to make sure you get the best bang for your buck.

Does this challenge sound like a good idea to you? Have you tried it? If you have, or do in the future, I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment.