Bolton Valley, VT 10MAY2010

With the way it continued to snow into Sunday evening, along with the expected cold temperatures, it was likely that Monday was going to feature more powder skiing.  I headed up to Bolton Valley in the morning, and while there was no snow at the house (495’), I was surprised at how quickly I saw the first traces of snow as I headed up the access road.  The first coatings of snow appeared in the woods around the Bolton Valley welcome sign, even below 1,000’.  The snow depth increased fairly quickly at first, and there was an even coating of perhaps a few inches up at the Timberline Base (1,500’).  The increase in snow beyond that elevation was unimpressive though, and I was very surprised by the appearance of the slopes up above the village (2,100’).  On initial inspection, it seemed like the mountain had picked up just a few inches of new snow, and what they had received had been scoured out in many places by the wind.  The snow was certainly skiable, but it really looked more like junkboard territory, nothing like what we’d seen the previous day at Jay Peak.

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The weather was inspiring in a ski sense though; it felt like November with a temperature of 28 F, very dry air carried on a light breeze, and a few remnant clouds between me and the skies to the west.  I decided to take a quick walk around the base area and see if I could spot any inspiring areas of more respectable powder.  I couldn’t convince myself that there was anything I wanted to hit over by the Mid Mountain Lift, but I finally saw some protected areas over by the Snowflake Lift that looked nice.  I grabbed my gear and started skinning up Lower Foxy.  Although certainly less than the 6”+ we’d seen at the Stateside base of Jay Peak, once on the snow I could see that Bolton had received some decent accumulations where the winds hadn’t completely had their way.  With grass sticking out of the snow in most places, the view was less inspiring than what we’d seen on Sunday, but my checks revealed 3” – 6” of accumulation, which was generally dense and more than enough to keep me off the ground.  In fact, there was an upper layer of lighter powder on top that seemed to be derived from some drying of the snow and/or the tail end of the snowfall.  I skinned up to the top of the Snowflake area (2,400’), then connected over to Cobrass Run and continued up to the 2,600’ – 2,700’ range on Cobrass, where I found 6” – 8” of snow.  Since the clouds had almost completely pulled away to the west, I enjoyed some excellent views of the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks, and Whiteface stood out clearly.

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I had to think a little in choosing my descent lines, but managed some great powder turns on parts of Cobrass Run.  There were some really smooth and dry areas of snow up there, enough that I would have stayed and gone for another run higher up on the mountain if I’d had the time.  Down in the elevations of the Snowflake area it was harder to find that nice powder; the snow was generally on the denser side of the spectrum without the extra topping.  Overall on Monday at Bolton there was some good powder, and lighter powder than some of the April/May shots of snow we’ve had this spring, but for the overall experience I’d put it near the bottom of the collection of days in the period simply due to the lower coverage.

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