E and I headed out to Stowe yesterday for the school program training session, wondering what we were going to experience in terms of weather. Happily, the first flakes appeared just after we arrived at around 8:00 A.M., the snowfall quickly ramped up in intensity, and then it dumped hard all morning and into the afternoon to make for great riding conditions.
This year we both decided to go with the snowboard training session, since out of necessity E seems to spend most of her time boarding instead of skiing, and it would supply me with some additional tools to serve as an alternate snowboarding coach when needed. We joined up with Stan Biasini’s group, since he would be advising everyone on how to work with the students that were early in their snowboard progression. We started out with techniques for the “never evers” at the Magic Carpet, then stepped it up to Inspiration, followed by the Alpine Double, and finally the Sunny Spruce Quad. We got a raft of good teaching techniques, and Stan made ample time to ensure that everyone got plenty of their own instruction as well. I learned that Stowe no longer requires leashes for snowboards, and that the slope of the Inspiration trail is an impressively consistent 8% grade for teaching.
With the dumping snow and comfortable temperatures, the riding was great, and everyone had a blast working on their skills. The snow was reasonably dense, so a few inches were all it took to really get the floating going. As time wore on, there was some elevation dependence in the density of the snow, and down near the base area the powder was getting slightly heavier.
We got our pass photos taken around 1:00 P.M. after the noontime rush was over, then we had a long lunch at the Great Room Grill where we took care of paperwork and Stan filled us in on how to deal with medical emergencies and other logistics. We also got to sample some of Stan’s cheese, since his family makes artisan cheese (Mount Mansfield Creamery). Apparently, all Stan’s cheese varieties are named after trails and lifts on Mt. Mansfield like the “Gondolier” that we got to sample. Stan was joking with some of the group about requests for “Goat” cheese, but I’m not sure if he’s gone there yet.
In the 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. range the snow started to change over to rain, so we decided to head out and relieve my mom from babysitting duty instead of catching the last part of the day. At that point it was 37 F at the base of the mountain, but 35 F when we got back to the house. We’d actually picked up a couple inches of new snow at the house as well.
We did get some rain overnight, but it didn’t seem to do much to the snowpack in the mountains. Fortunately it looks like we’ve got another week like last week in terms of snowfall around here. It’s currently snowing, and the BTV NWS guys are talking about another round of measuring feet of new snow.