Bolton Valley, VT 03FEB2011

An image of skier in powder on Bolton Valley's Tattle Tale trail
The recent round of powder had really fired up the skiing at Bolton Valley on steep trails like Upper Tattle Tale.

While the ski conditions in Northern Vermont had been decent, and certainly consistent through January with some nice powder days, the snowpack depth still wasn’t all that great.  In fact, as February approached, the snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield Stake had been below average for a good portion of the season, and consistent with that trend, the snow depths and coverage on the trails seemed to be lagging behind as well.  The potential snowpack increases associated with large synoptic storms and cold air in the La Niña weather pattern weren’t quite being realized in the far north.  Snowfall numbers had been decent (as of January 31st we’d picked up 104.9 inches of snow at the house and were running at 113.7% of normal), but the liquid associated with a lot of that snow was paltry.  We were living off the upslope magic of the Greens, with mostly the fluffy Champlain Powder™ to survive on.  While it was loads of fun to ski, the fluff wasn’t preceded by dense snow, the snowpack depth was stagnating, and it just wasn’t possible to finish off the coverage on the steepest and most windswept areas at the local resorts.  A real hit of moisture from a big synoptic storm was needed, yet systems of that caliber had simply continued to focus on Southern New England, leaving Northern New England on the fringe.  Finally though, it looked the weather pattern was going to shift… a big synoptic storm was crossing the country and seemed poised to really kick the Northern Vermont ski season into high gear with an inch or two of liquid equivalent in the form of snow.

The colossal storm was setting up to hit us during the midweek period, and because it was affecting so many people across the country, it was getting plenty of national media coverage.  The storm was coming through as a one-two punch, with an initial surge on Tuesday, and then a larger batch of moisture for yesterday into today. 

By Tuesday evening we’d picked up 2.5 inches of 6.0% H2O snow at the house from the first round of the storm, and we awaited the heavy stuff associated with the main course that was scheduled to come into the area on Wednesday.  By 6:00 A.M. yesterday morning when I sent in my CoCoRaHS report, the second punch of snow was already coming down with some fervor.  I’d found a couple new inches on the snowboard, and it continued to snow at close to an inch an hour.  To see all the pictures and read the rest of the story, head to the full trip report from Bolton Valley today.

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