Bolton Valley, VT 05FEB2011
The midweek period of February 1st through 3rd had delivered Northern Vermont its first notable synoptic snowstorm of the season. Due to the timing, some were calling it the Groundhog Day Storm. It dropped a couple feet of snow at some of the local ski resorts, with 1 to 2 inches of liquid equivalent. I’d stopped in at Bolton for some turns on Thursday, but I was certainly looking forward to the weekend so that I could enjoy the newly-substantiated base and some added powder with E and the boys.
The shot of synoptic snow had been great, but the even better news was that yet another synoptic storm was following right on the heels of the Groundhog Day Storm. The second storm wasn’t expected to be quite as large, but as of Saturday morning, winter storm warnings and accumulations maps had already been posted by the National Weather Service office in Burlington. I made an update to AmericanWx.com and posted some of the graphics:
“It looks like a potentially moderate snow event is coming through the region for the overnight period, and winter storm warnings are up for part of the area:
This should be a good follow up to the midweek event, since that storm was really the first big synoptic event around here, and it’s the synoptic storms that are needed to get that snowpack growing. Based on the text in the storm warning it looks like good timing for turns tomorrow for those that are interested in coming to VT. I’ve added BTV’s projected accumulations map below.”
We didn’t rush up to the slopes, arriving up at Timberline around mid morning. Stephen and Johannes were already over on the main mountain, and the plan was to meet up with them and grab some runs on Wilderness to see how the area had fared with the recent dump of snow. One would never have been able to tell that another significant storm was on the way for the evening, because the sky was a brilliant blue. We took a few moments to enjoy the sun up at the Timberline summit, and I snapped a couple of shots.
We ran into Stephen and Johannes right at the base of Wilderness, and we all headed up to the Wilderness summit. Although Johannes had recently sworn off Bolton Outlaw for some reason, he knew that we were excited to check it out, so Stephen and Johannes acquiesced to our request and we were on our way. Bolton Outlaw was generally down to packed powder by that point, but plenty of untracked snow remained off to the sides, so as we’d done the previous Saturday, we hit some of that surrounding powder. Ty and Johannes worked some of the trees off to the skier’s right of the trail. Stephen shot a little video, and I shot some stills, just missing a great photo of Johannes out on some steep terrain near the upper part of the Wilderness Lift Line.
Stephen and Johannes led us on a couple of rounds in Snow Hole, and there was some delightful powder in there. We had plenty of fun Snow Hole adventures; at one point I had to pull Ty out of a low streambed into which he had wandered, and apparently E and Stephen enjoyed watching how Ty and I coordinated that maneuver. We also explored some shots off to the sides of the main route and found plenty of goodies.
Stephen and Johannes had to get going, but we were able to get in a run together off Vista, and aside from Johannes and myself, it turned out to be a chance for everyone to check out the skiing in Cobrass Woods for the first time. Stephen said that he enjoyed it, and I don’t think there was any question what the boys thought based on the way they blasted through the soft snow. We split up at the base of Cobrass Woods, where we headed back to Timberline for lunch. On our descent we looked across the lake and could see the dramatic change that had taken place in the sky. The blue had been replaced by clouds from the approaching system
After lunch, we finished off the day with some Twice as Nice and associated woods and hade more good turns. Johannes put together some pictures and video, and text from the day at his site, so check out his report for even more about the outing.
In the evening we headed into the Burlington area to attend a double birthday party for Ty and Lilly, and that meant two rounds of cake, or in actuality one round of cake and another round of Biggy Iggy-style sandwiches. We were quite full by the end of that. Our incoming winter storm had made its way into the area in a big way – I checked on the snowfall a couple of times during the evening and sent in updates to Americanwx.com. At times the snow was coming down in the range of 2 inches an hour:
“We’re here in South Burlington at my parent’s place now, and first flakes appeared in this location right at 4:20 P.M. The intensity of the snowfall picked up fairly quickly, and as of 6:00 P.M. there were already a couple of inches of accumulation. I checked again at around 6:30 P.M. and it was closing in on 3 inches, so it’s coming down at over an inch an hour.”
“I just did another check on the snowfall, and as of ~7:00 P.M. there are almost four inches of accumulation here in South Burlington, which is up about an inch since 6:30 P.M. So as others have mentioned, the snow is coming down in the range of 2 inches per hour around here.”
Although the weather had been quite active with all the snowfall, we got home safely, and the intense snowfall rates had actually tapered off somewhat during our drive. After the dry slot and some granular flakes/sleet came through, we got some thunder and lightning as the precipitation changed back to all snow. We were excited as it looked like the storm was setting us up for some Sunday powder at Stowe.