Bolton Valley, VT 20FEB2010

Today we headed up to Bolton to get in on some of the 10 inches of snow that they’d picked up in the past couple of days, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  The snow was derived from the typical northwest upslope flow that has been supplying just about all the precipitation we’ve received in the past several weeks, but for once it wasn’t ultra fluffy Champlain Powder™.  This snow actually had some substance to it.  Unfortunately I don’t have any information on the amount of liquid contained in Bolton’s recent snowfall, but I do know that the past few days have dropped 0.42 inches of liquid equivalent at our house (495’), and 1.23 inches of liquid equivalent up at the stake on Mt. Mansfield (~3,700’).  Since the Bolton Valley area has actually picked up more snow than Mt. Mansfield so far in this event, I’d estimate their liquid to be somewhere up around the number from the stake.  So, even though we still haven’t been in on any big synoptic snowstorms in quite a while, I’d say that Bolton finally managed to sneak in a moderate resurfacing with 1”+ liquid equivalent.

I noticed the effect of the new snow immediately in the morning when we hit Twice as Nice, which had been suffering with coverage a bit since it’s been allowed to bump up.  You could just fly right through the bump lines without having to worry about whether or not there was a rock or patch of ice on the back side of a mogul.  We were able to meet up with Stephen, Johannes, and Helena right after our first run, and everyone that hit Twice as Nice found it to be a blast.  There are a few black pitches on the trail, but for the most part it’s a blue square trail so the moguls are great for learning.  People seemed to know how nice it was because it was well skied, and a few of the icy spots started to reappear later in the day.

Yesterday was presumably the bigger fresh powder morning on the trails, but traffic may have been light with some of the wind holds, because there were fresh lines left on the sides of the trails and we found hardly any tracks in the trees.  We probably split the day about 50/50 in terms of time on and off piste, and had fun in the Showtime Glades, Enchanted Forest area, KP Glades, Villager Trees etc.  Our last run of the day in the Villager Trees required some uphill traversing though the deep powder left from the past several weeks, and that was tough on Helena and Dylan since it was the end of the day.  We got them though it though and they made some great turns once things were under way.  The fact that Stephen promised hot chocolate down at the lodge was a good motivator as well.

The depth of powder around on the mountain ranges somewhat depending on aspect, winds affects, traffic, etc. but the kids were constantly requesting that I check the depth of the snow as we made our travels through the trees, so I got a lot of sampling.  The values ranged anywhere from about nine inches up to almost four feet, so there is plenty of deep snow out there.  With this denser accumulation from this event though, it doesn’t actually take much to make it bottomless, so even higher traffic areas with depths on the lower end of that range were skiing beautifully.  I found a few random spots of crust around, but they were extremely scattered so I’m not sure exactly what caused them.  There had been talk of a bit of freezing drizzle on the mountain, but the way these crusty spots were so isolated makes me think it was the sun or something like that.  Weather wise today, it was simply excellent down at Timberline; the temperature was right around freezing, there was no wind, and the day featured a bit of sun and then a bunch of light snow.  Up at the Vista Summit though, things were socked in with clouds, the wind was pretty strong, and it was a much different scene.  That was really just the top few hundred feet of the main mountain as far as we could tell, but we only went up there once.  Some pictures from the day have been added below:

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