In 2001 (and after a few years on Wall Street), Spartan CEO Joe De Sena and his wife, Courtney, bought Riverside Farm in Pittsfield, Vermont. Not only did the farm fulfill his dream of owning a red barn, and raising his kids in a rugged environment, but it was conveniently located just 15 minutes from what would later become the most difficult race venue on Spartan's U.S. schedule: Killington.
Your Ultimate Travel Guide to the Killington, Vermont Spartan Race Weekend
The Nitty Gritty of the Killington, Vermont Course: Race Types, Terrain, Elevation Gain, and Weather
Spartan Race Course Manager Steve Hammond described this epic venue at Killington Ski Resort by saying, "You won't know until you go," and it holds water, particularly when it comes to the weekend's never-before-seen obstacles. There's simply no American venue that compares. You'll be able to tackle a Sprint 5K (with 20 obstacles), a Beast 21K (with 30 obstacles), an Ultra 50K (with 60 obstacles), or a 4-hour Hurricane Heat. (And there are even races for the kids). And if obstacles aren't really your forte, there's often a 10K Trail race for the taking.
A just-under-4-mile Sprint will offer over 1,700 feet of elevation gain, and the Beast and Ultra come in at 6,733 feet of gain and 15,587 feet of gain, respectively. And as if the measurements of the monstrous climbs are not enough, the quality of them — unimaginably rocky — adds an additional element of difficulty.
Nestled in Vermont's breathtaking Green Mountains and often under cover of lush, green foliage, you can expect near-perfect race weather: 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll trudge your way through off-trail descents that are just as technical as their quad-burning counterparts, and face one of the most shockingly-cold (and challenging) swims in Spartan history. (Oh, and look out for moose.)
Before you head to Vermont for this uniquely challenging race weekend, here are some essential accommodations to keep your whole Spartan crew well rested, well fed, and entertained.
Places to Stay Near Killington, Vermont
- Gifford Woods State Park Campground ($): 21 tent/RV sites and four cabins are available for rent with easy access to hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as well as opportunities to connect with the outdoors. It's located just 4 miles from Killington Resort. Look out for bears, moose, and coyotes!
- Mountain Sports Inn ($): A no-frills, four-season inn that features a hot tub and sauna, located just 3 miles from Killington Resort and less than 2 miles from the Appalachian Trail.
- Killington Motel ($$): Located 5 miles from Killington Resort, this blends a large-hotel feel with authentic Vermont country living. It includes a complimentary breakfast and is affordably priced.
- Snowed Inn ($$): Enjoy individually designed, outdoor-inspired rooms plus private hot tub access and complimentary breakfast alongside a babbling brook. It's located less than 2 miles from the resort.
- Killington Mountain Lodge, Tapestry Collection by Hilton ($$): Stay in an expansive lodge with mountain views and roaring fireplaces. It's just steps away from incredible hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the race venue itself.
- Killington Grand Resort Hotel ($$$): Killington’s only full-service mountainside hotel includes walking access to the Bike Park, Snowshed Adventure Center, the Beast Mountain Coaster, and more. It's conveniently located right on the mountain.
- Mountain Inn - Killington ($$$): This revamped, rustic-modern hotel is situated at the base of the resort. The Mountain Inn is New England's first-ever distillery hotel, and lodging options range from standard to penthouse. It's conveniently located less than a mile from the venue.
- Summit Lodge ($$$): Stay in one of the classic mountain-view suites, where you can see all seven of Killington's peaks. Located less than 3 miles from the race venue, there are several on-site dining options to choose from.
- Mountain Meadows Lodge ($$$$): This newly-renovated, 180-year-old historic barn and farmhouse rests on 6 peaceful acres, and offers panoramic views of Kent Pond (which it borders). It features a full bar, a lounge, a terrace, and more. It's located 5 miles from Killington Resort.
Places to Eat Near Killington, Vermont
- The Original General Store ($): Owned by Joe and Courtney De Sena, this deli is a must-visit for diehard Spartans.
- Clubhouse Grill ($)
- Back Country Cafe ($-$$)
- Liquid Art Coffeehouse and Eatery ($$)
- Hops on the Hill ($$-$$$)
- Peak Lodge ($$$)
- The Foundry at Summit Pond ($$$)
- Ledgewood Yurt ($$$$): In case you come back during ski season...
Things to Do Near Killington, Vermont
- Snowshed Adventure Center: Includes the Woodward WreckTangle (an obstacle-laden Ninja challenge that's perfect for Spartans), Beast Mountain Coaster, Skye Ropes Course, Amaze'n Maze, Zip Line Racer, K-1 Gondola rides, hiking trails, mountain gym, wellness walking path, and more.
- Killington Bike Park: Three unique mountain areas — Snowshed, Ramshead, and Killington Peak — featuring over 30 miles of mountain biking trails for all abilities, with terrain ranging from classic single track to signature flows.
- Killington Golf Course: Spend a day on the links on this 6,186-yard, par-72 Championship Golf Course, which includes a 12,000-square-foot putting green and an on-course beverage cart.
- Gifford Woods State Park: Treat yourself to nature among 285 acres of forestry, wildflowers, old-growth hardwood trees, and some of the area's best-protected access to hiking on the Appalachian and Long Trails.
Visit Riverside Farm: The De Sena family farm in Pittsfield — just outside of Killington — is home to some of the most extreme endurance events in the world (including the Death Race). It's a true bucket-list destination for Spartan enthusiasts.
- Appalachian Trail Adventures: Award-winning guided day adventures including hiking, caving, kayaking (with rentals), rock scrambling, sightseeing, and more.
Killington Grand Spa: The perfect way to recover after crushing it on our hardest course, with massage options for adults and children.
Thundering Brook Falls Trail: Short, easy walk to picture-perfect waterfalls, with the option to connect to the Appalachian Trail.