Since we were out of town for much of the Christmas Alberta Clipper and upslope snow, I decided to pop up to the mountain today to get a little exercise and check out what the new snow had done for the slopes. Bolton Valley did get close to a foot out of that event, so I was hoping it would soften up the hard, manmade conditions we’d encountered on the upper mountain on Saturday.
When I headed up to the mountain in the mid afternoon, temperatures at the house were running a bit above freezing, and up at Bolton’s main base elevation (2,100’) I found temperatures right around the freezing mark. I boarded the Vista Quad and rode with a couple of snowboarders – one was a skateboarder that was just learning to snowboard, and it was fun listening to the older snowboarder, who was also a skater, talk about the transition and differences between the sports. We started to get hit with a few sleet pellets from the incoming storm, and that got the conversation going about the weather. There’s a storm coming in that’s expected to have some front end snow, then some mixing, and then hopefully plenty of back end upslope snow. Up at the mountain today though, the weather was been pretty benign, and although it’s the holiday week, it’s still a Tuesday and the scene was quite mellow. At the Vista Summit elevation (3,150’) the temperature was a bit below freezing, and on the upper mountain I could see the way the evergreens are now caked with snow thanks to the recent storm.
I was happy to find that with all the new snow, and presumably more days of churning things up with grooming, the conditions on the upper mountain were much improved over Saturday. I was able to sink my edges into the groomed terrain nicely, especially on the lower mountain where we’d already found it to be better anyway. The new snow has definitely pushed the skiing to another level in terms of natural snowpack, at least insofar as people are really starting to venture onto some of the natural snow terrain. I looked at a few tracks on Cobrass Lane and saw that the skiing looked halfway decent. I ran into patroller Quinn and his wife while I was taking pictures and watching some of the guys playing around in the hike park on Sprig O’ Pine, and we talked about the conditions and the incoming storm. I stuck around just long enough for a couple of runs, certainly enough to get the legs burning from Telemark turns. I could tell by the length of time that I could make continuous Tele turns that there’s a lot more work to be done on getting my legs strong for the season. All in all though it was a really nice, mellow time out on the mountain, which was just what I was looking for.
I arrived back at the house to find light snow falling and a temperature of 34.3 F. We had picked up a couple of tenths of an inch of snow, and as it looked like it was going to change over to something else like sleet around 5:15 P.M., I collected that off our back yard snowboard as the front end snow portion for the event. However, it really started dumping out there for a while in the form of inch an hour type snow, and we picked up a quick inch of snow by 7:30 P.M. before sleet started to mix in again. It’s going to be fun to see how much snow we get as this storm passes through, it’s a much bigger storm than just an Alberta Clipper. And although it’s cutting to our west, there is a lot of potential moisture.