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‘Boarder Reboot: Part 1

Day Tripper brings you the information and inspiration you need to get out locally. Families, culture-seekers, adventurers, and thrill junkies will all find something worth hitting the road for– mountains, museums, parks, casinos, breweries and vineyards– and always within a day’s travel of home. So open your door. It’s time to explore.

View of the Summit from the Lodge

Day Tripper:  Pico Mountain, Mendon, Vermont
Distance:          90 miles
Setting:              Green Mountains

I lived in the south for the last three and a half winters. Having adapted to the muggy, sweltering climes of North Central Florida, I expected a rude awakening upon returning north. To prepare for this shock to the system, I also wanted to take advantage of the winter activities that weren’t available in Gainesville, FL. With that, I conjured my adolescent X-Games roots and dug my snowboard from the basement.

There are plenty of ski areas around given how cold it’s been lately. Willard Mountain is just across the river in Easton and West Mountain 45 minutes up the Northway. However, I opted to go the Vermont route for the past two weekends, hitting Pico Mountain and neighboring Killington. Both are just a 2-hour trek northbound on Route 4 from Mechanicville. Part 1 of this two-part Day Tripper – or “Weekender”, if you will – covers Pico.

The view from atop Pico offers sweeping views of the Green Mountains.

Pico (pronounced “PIE-co”) is much smaller than Killington but offers less of a crowd and hassle compared to the latter.

Despite the image here, Pico is convenient for a novice like me.

Four of my cousins and I made a day trip out it. (I decided it was better to embarrass myself in front of my family first since I hadn’t been snowboarding in six years or so.)

While daunting to stare up at the slopes from Route 4, Pico was quite convenient even for a novice like myself. We were able to park close to the lodge and get lift tickets expeditiously. It actually took longer for me to clumsily fasten the ticket to my jacket.

Days and Hours:                   8:30am – 4:00pm, Thursday-Monday
Pico is open daily during school vacations in December and February.
1-day Lift Ticket (Adult): $65 ($67 on holiday weekends)

The first hurdle for me was handling the chairlift. I’d halted many chairlifts in the past at Willard Mountain and was not looking forward to doing the same in my return to the slopes. However, the four-seater and three-seater chairs slowed down very conveniently at Pico and I was able to board and depart safely.

Live music and a warm environment make the Last Run Lounge a great place to relax at the end of the day.

From the top of the lift, the terrain was pristine, which made getting back into the swing of things much easier. Additionally, there always seemed to be a green circle or blue square (less difficult) trail available as we made our way down the mountain. However, plenty of black diamond trails were around for the more adventurous to challenge.
At the base of the mountain, the lodge was warm and had an expansive, albeit pricey, food court. That said, many skiers brought their own food in small coolers.

The top floor of the lodge is the Last Run Lounge, a pub with views of the bowl below and an assortment of local craft brews. Try a Switchback when you’re there or whenever you’re in Vermont.

One of my few moments upright on the day.

Overall, Pico is a great mountain to get yourself back in the ski/snowboard game with its affordability, convenience and variety.

My tumbles down the trails did slow my cousins up throughout the day, as they are all good skiers. But I knew they wouldn’t leave me up there for fear of retribution from their Aunt Barbie.

Stay tuned for ‘Boarder Reboot: Part 2’ next week showcasing Killington: the “Beast of the East.”

My cousins Meagan, Andy, Dave, and Tim Brown (L-R) managed to fair better than I on the slopes of Pico that day.

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