Pico Mountain is Killington’s little brother, but it has its perks. It’s got a plethora of terrain variety and sees a fraction of the crowds on weekends and holidays compared to Killington.
With both mountains being owned by POWDR, it means that Killington tends to see the bigger investments. Killington just got a new, very snazzy base lodge, and their newest chairlift came during the 2019-20 season. Over at Pico, they haven’t seen a new chairlift in thirty-five years. This means that it’s definitely time to put some money into the place, especially with ski visitation at an all-time high.
While we won’t be seeing a new chairlift this summer, some major projects have been happening at Pico. Over the past several seasons, POWDR has made $5 million worth of investments at Pico.
The major off-season project is an overhauled snowmaking pumphouse. This updated pumphouse will allow Pico to maximize their water capacity, with it growing from 1600 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) GPM to 2400 GPM. In addition, they’re enlarging the snowmaking pond and replacing the pipeline between the pumphouse. Other snowmaking projects include 25 new high-efficiency HKD snow guns, 15 new tower guns on the Lower 49er trail, and some more snow guns on the Fool’s Gold run and other locations at Pico.
Last week, Pico gave an update on the pumphouse project. They’ve gotten the pumps and piping installed inside the building, with the next steps being the replacement of the feeder pipeline from the pumphouse to the pond.
Snowmaking isn’t the only major project going on this offseason. In terms of lift improvements, a new haul line is being added to the Summit Express Quad Chair, extending its lifespan, and the Little Pico Triple Chair is getting new seat pads. Over at the base lodge, they’re making repairs to the fireplace, allowing them to use it once again.
According to Pico’s website, here are the improvements that came during the past couple of offseasons:
Snowmaking was also recently added to lower A Slope, and skiers and riders enjoyed the coverage on this classic New England trail for the first time in over 35 years last season. This project was completed over summer 2022, with fundraising help from the Pico Ski Education Foundation. On Bonanza, the base area was regraded to avoid the dreaded pond effect, and snowmaking pipe replaced and upgraded. B Slope has already received snow making equipment upgrades and new pipe. There’s also more room to play in the snow thanks to some selective clearing on our most popular trails.
Prior to all this, several million dollars was invested to complete the dredging of current snowmaking ponds and pipe additional water from Killington over to Pico. Since summer 2019, more than 16,850 feet of new water supply pipeline was installed at Pico, in addition to over 9,000 feet of new and replacement snowmaking pipe. This pipeline transports water directly to Pico’s snowmaking ponds from Killington’s water source, eliminating the dilemma that has long plagued Pico snowmakers—running out of water when snowmaking needs are greatest. With access to this new water supply, that problem is now a thing of the past, allowing Pico snowmakers to keep making snow as long as temperatures allow.
These are some nice improvements, but I do wonder when we’ll see a significant lift investments at Pico, or if we’ll be waiting another decade or two before something like that happens. Some Pico locals like the lift network as it is, and I can understand why. Being Killington’s little brother has its perks.
Image Credits: Pico Mountain