Bolton Valley, VT 19DEC2010
We had a busy day of holiday-related activities planned today, so I headed out early to earn some powder turns before things got going. Although I’d been hearing great things about the snow at Timberline, and I’d driven by and seen the tracks there a number of times, I decided it was finally time to check out just what all the fuss was about. Indeed, as I found out, the quality of the powder there is in fact worthy of a fuss.
Conditions this morning up on the hill were really perfect for a ski outing, the temperature was in the teens F, there was no wind, and the morning sun was shining. I arrived at the Timberline base to find that the only activity was a couple of snow guns building some huge mounds at the bottom of the slopes, presumably the mounds will be spread around to supply a lot of the low-elevation base snow. A couple of the snowmaking guys did stop by briefly, and they appeared to adjust the guns and move on.
I checked the snowpack at the 1,500’ level and found 7 inches of powder over the base. Consistent with what we experienced yesterday on the main mountain, there was typically a nice layer of dense snow that transitions between the lighter powder and the firmer base. I hopped on the WELL established skin track (thanks to all those involved for making it) that shot across the area above the base lodge and up the climber’s left of Twice as Nice. Twice as Nice had seen plenty of ski activity, so I was thinking I’d head to the north and check out the other trails for turns.
Up at the Timberline mid station (~2,250’) I found the depth of the powder to be in the 8 to 10 inch range. I took a look down Showtime and saw that it appeared notably better than Twice as Nice in terms of coverage and the number of tracks, but I decided to keep going and check out Spell Binder. Spell Binder was definitely the call, with the fewest tracks and what looked like nice coverage. Dropping down the skier’s right of the headwall, I checked the depth and immediately found 16 inches of powder. It was definitely deep enough for the steep pitch, although I took it a bit conservatively just to be safe and I did touch down on something hard once. The powder was absolutely first rate though; in general there were 11 to 16 inches of Champlain Powder™ 5-6% H2O fluff with a gradient of dense snow on the bottom so that you just floated right over everything. It was about as good as it gets anywhere, so I sent out a quick conditions update hoping that people could get out and ski if they had the chance. It really was far too good not to get the word out:
It’s snowing right now, and our NWS point forecast has us down for 3 to 7 inches through Tuesday night, with additional snow on Wednesday and Thursday. This snow is part of a couple of impulses expected to come through in association with the retrograding low pressure system off to our east, so hopefully we’ll just keep adding to the snowpack.