Bolton Valley, VT 16JAN2011
Dave had heeded my late week alert about the good skiing, so yesterday evening we worked out a Sunday morning Timberline meeting. The clipper system that had started up midday yesterday dropped roughly 4 inches of new snow at the house by 6:00 A.M. this morning, with most of that coming in at 3.7 to 3.8% H2O according to my analyses. What it meant for the local mountains was more fluff on top of fluff, so the powder skiing just continued to get deeper. Dylan had a midday birthday party (shouldn’t there be a Vermont state law mandating only evening birthday parties during ski season?), and E was taking him to that, leaving just Ty and I to join up with Dave. On the upside it meant that Dave and I could really run Ty ragged as we marauded our way through Bolton’s powder stashes… and apparently run him ragged we did.
Bolton had only reported 3 inches of new snow in the morning, but based on what we got at the house, combined with what we found on the hill, I think it was a bit underreported. Conservative snow reports are generally appreciated though. While we waited for Dave to arrive at the mountain, we took a warm up run on Spell Binder, and I found 6 to 8 inches of snow on much of the trail. Ty really ripped it up on there and he was off to a great start.
By the next run we’d caught Dave, and we’d had so much fun on Spell Binder that we brought him there for another round, as well as a trip down Adam’s Solitude where we caught some of the untracked powder above the return traverse. Ty had requested that run just because he loves the traverse so much – it’s becoming known as the roller coaster. It can be quite a workout managing such a long traverse, but there are a lot of fun options on which to play around in the process.
Eventually Ty got hungry, and he had his sights set on eating in the Timberline Lodge, so it wasn’t until after lunch that we headed over to the main mountain. Once there, we just ventured where we wanted and found deep powder. There were so many places that we just never managed to visit, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. There were still some windswept areas closed, like the Cobrass and Tattle Tale headwalls, but the mountain was getting close to fully open. They had even made snow on Spillway and coverage seemed good there, even if it looked sort of hard and manmade from our perspective. My phone had alerted me of a missed call around lunch time, which turned out to be from Stephen, but I just didn’t have enough signal at that point to get back to him. He later told me that he had a great day exploring by himself while working on turns, and it sounds like he occasionally caught up with the kids. I noticed that Johannes has now posted his report from the day at VTSkiReport.com, entitled “Preacher” with plenty of fun pictures, including some shots of his Ridge Runners group.
Making our way through the Preacher woods at one point, we got hung up in a narrow area and Ty and I had to hold for a couple minutes while Dave got back underway. We sat down, or in actuality almost stood, in the deep snow, and while we waited I had time to pull out the camera and get some images of our surroundings. It was one of those days where the powder was just clinging to everything.
At one point when we were venturing through the powder in the Villager trees at around 2,500’, I took a depth measurement with my pole. I did actually push through one thicker layer after about 30 inches, but when I finally stopped it was at 38 inches in depth, which is the highest marking I have on my pole. I’m not sure if that probe was down to the ground yet or if I’d just hit a very firm layer of base snow, but either way it was a pretty good snowpack for just 2,500’ elevation.
Later in the afternoon we came out of one round in the Villager trees and Ty said that his legs were totally cooked. I don’t hear that from him very often, so I took it as a sign that we’d been going at it pretty hard. We decided that we’d just do one more easy lap on the main mountain and then return to Timberline. Fortunately, Ty’s legs became rejuvenated pretty quickly and he turned out to have some good skiing left in him.
After that lap it was back to Timberline, with a round of great untracked powder on Lower Tattle Tale. As if the day’s snow hadn’t been enough, Mother Nature decided that we needed more, so the light snow and breaks of sunshine we’d been seeing tuned into thick clouds and heavy snow. I grabbed an excerpt from one of my reports to Americanwx.com where I talked about the weather from that day:
“It snowed some in the morning on the mountain, then it seemed like the sun was going to win out during the middle of the day as it poked through the clouds at times. As we moved into the afternoon though, it started to dump close to an inch per hour with huge upslope-style flakes, even with the sun still shining through the clouds. After a while though, the sun disappeared, much heavier clouds moved in, and the huge flakes redoubled their efforts. It was pretty amazing, considering the snow as supposed to taper off today. The skiing was really spectacular with all the new snow; we found areas with up to 30 inches of powder thanks to all the fluff that has been falling with the recent systems.”
It was going to be hard to pull ourselves away from the powdery slopes and skies full of big fat flakes, but finally, Ty insisted that we cash it in. We headed home while Dave hung around and did a few more runs. Recounting his time later, Dave said that he ventured into Wood’s Hole and found some really nice powder, which was not surprising since there weren’t really any crowds and the sky just kept piling it on. Snow continued to fall, and we know it’s going to be so good that we’ll have to ski again somewhere tomorrow.