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Killington Jeep Jamboree USA




Killington. It’s one word, but it means so much to so many. Killington is the largest ski resort in the entire Northeast (Killington Ski Area). And the Aprés ski scene is equally entertaining. I’ve been going to Killington to ski since grade school 35+ years ago. It’s far, but for one week nearly every year, my friends and family would go up and attempt the insane moguls on Outer Limits. If you’re not from the Northeast and you think you’re a good skier, go to Outer Limits and prepare for some schoolin’ on how to ski the East.

So given this long love affair I have with Killington and Vermont, when I saw that Jeep Jamboree USA arranged for a new event to be held there, I signed up as fast as I could! Unfortunately, my younger son had his tonsils out last year the week of the Jamboree, so we all missed the first one.

Which brings us to this, the Second Annual Killington Jeep Jamboree… In keeping with my one word theme in this review, my overall opinion of this event is: SUCCESS!

In my opinion, there are three things that make up a Successful Jeep Jamboree: The people, the location, and the trails! This one was a triple play.

The event planners of this Jamboree really did a fantastic job. They were very well prepared. They were thorough and entertaining. From their hand-made signs to help get Brian’s message across during the drivers meeting, to the home-made tee shirts on sale to benefit the local fire department, they know how to put on a Jam! It’s no coincidence that Killington and the Catskills Jeep Jamboree are both my favorite events. Many of the same people are responsible for both. I’m beginning to see a pattern here…

Anyway, the venue is excellent; obviously Killington’s lodge can handle crowds, as you can imagine, so there was plenty of room to lay out the buffet, the box lunches and of course the parking lot was also more than adequate. PJ and his staff were fantastic.

And then there’s the terrain. I mean, come on! We’re going to DRIVE UP the ski slopes to about 4,000 feet above sea level! You can see four states and Canada on a clear day from the top. I couldn’t wait to get up there! The only question that remained was which trails to take. (And which ones have the most frogs on them!)

Now, for those of you who know my rig, I drive a pretty hopped up little Liberty. My KJ has all the tricks one can have and still serve as a daily driver. And with 83k on the odometer, it still kept me and my kids comfy during the 5+ hours it took to get there. So we decided on “No Name” for Friday (rated 5-6) led by Miss Charlene, and Vertigo (rated 3-4) on Saturday. After all, I had 300 miles to drive to get home.

I was worried that Vertigo would be too tame for my beast, but that was NOT the case! (More on that in a minute).

On Friday, “No Name” was just perfect. It had trees, rocks, climbs, and a tiny bit of mud (a lack of rain recently eliminated any water crossings). I just love driving in the woods. The only thing I could have asked for was better tires! My BFG A/T’s have 55k miles on them and as a result have lost much of their grip on slippery rocks. Suffice it to say, it would have been cheaper to buy a new set before the event than to fix the dent in my door caused by slipping off two rocks into a tree! Oops. Ah, it’ll buff right out. Oh, and for the record, if you wheel with any newer Jeeps, especially a Liberty, invest in extra plastic rivets and carry the installation gun for them if you want to go home with all the plastic parts you came with. I’ve been doing it for years and, well, just look at my pictures to see what I’m talking about!

“No Name” is a trail that was to be named during the first event in 2007. The rowdy group of wheelers at that event decided (loudly) that they felt it should remain the trail with “No Name.” I loved it so much I considered doing it Saturday as well. Seriously!

Instead, I signed up for Vertigo. This trail started off with us driving right up the slopes, under chair lifts, to the top. It was a tad tedious after a while, but the scenery was nice and the ambience as I said was neat.  Then, we turned into the woods. Or should I say, we squeezed ourselves into the woods! Who cut these trails, anyway, guys in a CJ5? I’ve wheeled in tight places before, but add to that the many exposed tree roots and wet leaves, and what ends up happening is, you pick your line, AND THEN THE TRAIL CHANGES IT! You are literally moved sideways as you drive on the roots and ruts. Sideways in trees! Think about it. Looking back, it’s amazing to me that I didn’t hit any trees that day!

After lunch at Pico Peak we began our decent. Then, literally just as we turned downhill at the steep grassy area, the skies opened up with a huge downpour. Thunder, lightening, AND EVEN HAIL, all combined to quickly elevate the trail’s rating up a few pegs. The banter over the CB quickly got serious as everyone immediately gave orders and advice on how to safely get down. Things like increasing the distance between Jeeps, and waiting for the Jeep in front of you to clear a particularly steep and slippery spot before the next one enters it. It got so bad, that Steve, our trail guide, made the quick decision to cut a new trail through the grass to avoid a very muddy spot. We were all SLIDING DOWN THE SLOPES!

Hey wait a minute, I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done at Killington; I’m sliding down the mountain in a controlled manner, having fun, working hard, doing something outsiders might consider dangerous and crazy. I think I’ve just come full circle at Killington. And I’ll be back!

See you on the trail.
Adam Rosenfeld (aka AdamIsAdam)

adam@jeeptales.com


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