Bolton Valley, VT 12MAR2011
A little snow fell at the house this morning, and while it didnít accumulate at our location, some of the local valleys did receive some coatings of less than an inch. Temperatures at the house were in the mid to upper 30s F, and the snowpack was definitely spring-like, and there was a ton of it after the two storms we had this week. The snow was great for snowballs and forts, and the boys had a really good time playing around on it in the morning.
The local mountains were reporting an inch or two of new snow, so in the afternoon I headed up to Bolton to check out the new snow. Driving past the Winooski I could see that while the surface of the river was frozen and immobile, it was riddled with chunks of ice and was quite high Ė it appeared to be only a couple of feet below the local snowmobile bridge whereas that distance is usually about 6 to 10 feet.
I pulled into the Timberline base area where the temperature was a few degrees cooler than the valley. Riding up on the lift, I could hear by the sound of the skiers and boarders below that the snow was soft and quite. It looked like that snow had never really frozen up in the lower elevations. I worked my way over to the main base and then headed up to the Vista Summit; the temperature was around the freezing mark up there, but there was an inch of two of new snow. After more than 3Ĺ feet of snow in the past week, the snowpack in the higher elevations is really getting up there; the trail map sign at the Vista Summit, which is on long poles and sits well above the ground, was starting to get covered by the snowpack.
I did a full descent all the way from the Vista Summit down to the Timberline base and got to check out the snow conditions at all elevations. In the highest elevations the snow was winter-like. It had certainly firmed up somewhat since the warmth of the previous day, but it wasnít too cold out so it had a somewhat pliable consistency that held a good edge. Combined with the bit of fresh snow on top, it made for a pretty decent surface.
In the middle elevations the snow started to transition to a bit softer surface. I checked out the off piste snow in some of the Villager Trees, and there was actually some decent powder in there. There was a thicker layer on top that kept you on your toes, but if you could manage the layers it was quite nice, and the snow below seemed reasonably dry. In the lowest elevations the snow was still in spring mode and a bit mushy off piste, but certainly workable. I finished off with a run down Twice as Nice and since it didnít appear to have been groomed, it was a workout.
Thereís some snow expected tonight and through the day tomorrow into the evening, so it will be interesting to see how the skiing turns out. With the greatest accumulations being up high today, and with those elevations presumably picking up the most snow tomorrow, it might be a reversal of the elevations that have the softest snow. If the temperatures drop in the lower elevations, the snow that has been soft there is going to firm up.