Bolton Valley Nordic/Backcountry, VT 01JAN2011
Weíd found that temperatures had cooled down a bit yesterday afternoon at the end of our Bolton outing, and slopes that were not in the sun had begun to tighten up. In general though, temperatures stayed relatively warm, and there was no new snowfall through this morning. We hung out at the house in the A.M., and as skies brightened a bit in the afternoon, Dave and I headed up to Bolton. Since there werenít going to be any substantial changes in the spring-like snow conditions weíd experienced yesterday, and some of the natural snow trails were going to be closed due to the warmth, we decided to do a tour on the Nordic/backcountry trail network. Dave had never been on Boltonís backcountry network, so he needed to at least get a taste of the plentiful options for turns.
Up in the village, there was one other car in the corner of the tennis lot providing quickest access to the Broadway area, so Iím guessing they had the same idea as us. In general though, things were quiet aside from a few Nordic skiers moving around the trails. We skinned the skis and headed toward World Cup where we found a group of patrollers checking passes. I canít recall the last time I had my pass checked on the Nordic network, but Iíve heard the mountain is doing it more frequently this season so thatís nice to see. We chatted with the patrollers for a bit Ė they were initially wondering if we were planning to stay at the cabin, but we let them know we were just out for a quick tour.
We headed up the Bryant trail and it was a really pleasant ascent. Temperatures were in the 40s F so we stopped frequently for photography to capture the sights. At one photography stop, a couple of patrollers stopped by and we talked for a while. We chatted about skis, cameras, and some of the new glades, and then they headed on their way up to take care of a tree that had fallen onto one of the trails. Coverage on Bryant and in the surrounding backcountry was excellent, with generally a couple feet of settled snow. We did see a couple of small openings in streams along the side of the trail, but they were more an opportunity for photos than anything. Any stream crossings on Bryant were in fine shape and there was no open water across the trail.
Once weíd reached the Bryant Cabin we stopped for a bit and got some pictures of the plates of ice that had slid off the roof with the warm temperatures. We talked to a guy that was staying at the cabin with his friends that evening; he was hoping that the rest of his party would get there but he wasnít sure if they were going to find their way.
Even though the snow was somewhat wet and not easy for skiing, the snowpack was too deep and enticing so we decided to make a descent of JJís. As we traversed along Gardinerís Lane and I showed Dave the ski options both above and below, I pointed out that Iíd have to bring him back on a real powder day because it was quite an experience. We descended JJís with a few fun turns, but many survival turns just to make sure we didnít blow out a knee. Iíd actually debated going with alpine skis for the day due to the tricky snow, but Teles ended up working out fine. We ran into the lone guy from the cabin who decided to pop out for a lap while he waited for his friends, and it looked like he ran into one of them at the bottom of the run. Since it was groomed by skier traffic, the descent of Bryant actually offered up more fun turns than JJís, and with the late hour we didnít encounter anyone ascending so it was a quick cruise back to the car.