Bolton Valley, VT 25FEB2011
It was back on Wednesday when our current winter storm started coming into focus, but at that point the snow totals were still somewhat in question. However, by this morning it was looking like the local mountains could see a foot of snow, so prospects for getting some powder on the slopes were promising. It actually hadn’t even started snowing when I left the house this morning around 6:45 A.M., but by the time I left Burlington sometime after 11:00 A.M. they’d picked up about 4 inches, and here at the house I found 6.3 inches at noontime. That meant that the snow was coming down at over an inch an hour in the valley, so up on the mountain they were likely getting blasted.
E and the boys didn’t have school, so around 1:00 P.M. once we were sure that the powder was building, we headed up to Bolton to get in some storm day skiing. When we first arrived at Timberline, the snowfall was moderate and the flakes were fairly small, but flake size and snowfall intensity were picking up. We started off with a run on Spell Binder, and the boys were clearly enjoying the powder with the enthusiastic quotes and comments coming out of them such as Ty’s “Beautiful Beauty”, and Dylan’s “That’s Talking Powder!”; they were certainly original if not entirely descriptive in their wording. I did my first depth check on the new snow about halfway down Spell Binder, where the tally was 11 inches.
We moved on with runs on Tattle Tale, followed by Twice as Nice/Doug’s Woods where my checks revealed roughly 10 inches of new snow, and Adam’s Solitude, a.k.a. “The Roller Coaster” where I found 13 inches of fresh powder at the top near the 2,500’ level. The snow continued to fall and the slopes were constantly freshened, but with a midweek constituent of visitors, the freshening was hardly needed. We decided to take our mid afternoon food break and then finish off the day with a trip to the main mountain.
Via Villager we made our way over to the base of the Snowflake Lift on the main mountain, and Ty had a bit of an adventure getting on the lift – he fell off near the beginning and had to get back on! Everything was fine, but it was still funny. We had timed our run so that we could have an end of the day trip back to the Timberline Base, and since the lift had been shut down, we had the whole place to ourselves. The snow continued to pile up, and the deepest measurement I found by the end of the day was outside the Corner Pocket Glades at 17 inches. It wasn’t drifted, but it probably represents an area that hasn’t been touched since both of last weekend’s systems and this one. Still, that was some nice deep powder. One other note was that Dylan lost his skis in a couple spots, possibly due to poor seating of his boot in the powder, and he ended up doing some really nice one-legged skiing in the Lower Tattle Tale and Spur areas; that’s great practice in general but also a nice sign of how his skiing is improving. By the time we got back down to the car, the storm was getting windier, and combined with the desolation of the Timberline area it was quite a way to end the day. The National Weather Service in Burlington has even upped their snowfall forecast a bit, with a nice sliver of pink 12-inch plus amounts along the Green Mountain spine in our area, and in Bolton’s evening snow update they reported 12 inches of accumulation, which was in good agreement with what we’d found on the hill.
So overall, while it wasn’t an outrageously deep storm by any means, the snow was pretty blower, coming in at around 5 to 6% H2O based on my analyses down in the valley. Unfortunately, the snow was dry enough that it meant the skiing wasn’t completely bottomless at first, but by the end of the day it was getting pretty close even on the steepest terrain if one had untracked snow. We were really happy to get out and catch a day during the boy’s vacation week.