Bolton Valley, VT 25MAR2011


Last night I could see that there was a little upslope snow pushing into the area, but it didn’t look too impressive.  However, once it encountered the wall of the Greens it magically fell under their spell, consolidated, and began to get much more interesting.  I discussing the evening snowfall the next morning in my report to the Northern New England thread at, here’s an excerpt along with the pertinent radar image:


“Friday 3/25/2011 6:00 A.M. update:  The snowfall coming in from the northwest was looking rather scattered last night on the radar, but just before heading off to bed I saw that a wall of precipitation was exploding along the western slopes.  I’m always surprised at what the Greens can do with a little moisture, as it almost seemed to come out of nowhere:”


With the snow conditions being good and the powder falling and getting deeper all the time, the boys and I headed up to Bolton Valley for some turns in the afternoon.  Even though the overnight snow accumulation had been just a couple of inches, the fluff continued to build up and once we explored and experimented a bit we found some excellent powder.


On our first trip up the Timberline Quad, we saw the nice looking cut up powder on the skier’s right of Showtime, so we did a mid station run and checked that out.  The fluffy appearance was deceiving though, since the combination of snow depth and snow dryness wasn’t enough to keep you off the subsurface, which was a crunchy uneven mess in spots where other people had skied.  After a bit we realized that it was a sun-related issue; now that we’re past the spring equinox it doesn’t take too much for the sun to affect the snow if it gets warm.  We switched to the other side of the trail and it was a totally different world.  The protected fluff was fantastic, both deeper and with a soft subsurface that set the powder skiing up just the way it should be.  After hanging in the powder on the left side of Showtime for a bit, the boys eventually merged their way into the Twice As Nice Woods, and I followed.  The snow was pretty nice in there since it had been protected from the sun, but there had still been enough traffic that some surfaces had become uneven, and the powder wasn’t yet deep enough everywhere to slow you down.  It was a combination of snow and trees that had me feeling off on my Telemark skis, and at one point I had to use my fist to stop myself from hitting a tree.  It was a hard enough stop that I was very glad for the protective padding integrated into the finger and hand areas of my Marmot gloves.  The boys were on their alpine skis and had no problems ripping up the whole area; it meant that I was lagging behind, but I eventually caught up to them… once we were back at the lift.


Fortunately, once we really started taking advantage of our discoveries about the quality snow on the skier’s left of trails and in other sun-protected areas, I gradually started to get grooving.  We visited Adam’s Solitude (or the “Roller Coaster” as the boys call it) and found good packed powder, although when we ventured into low-elevation, south-facing off piste terrain around there, we found that depth of the powder was thin like we’d encountered in sunny areas on our first run.  So even with protection from the trees, that type of terrain didn’t have the depths of new snow for great powder turns, and that discovery helped lock in our aspect and elevation plans for the afternoon powder session.


After a mid afternoon lunch in the deserted Timberline Lodge, we kicked off the more serious powder skiing session for the second half of the afternoon.  There was certainly more powder at higher elevations, and most terrain offered bottomless turns in the untracked snow up there.  We hit the Villager Woods and my depth checks revealed generally 9 inches of settled snow above the old base.  Although it had initially fallen dry, it had settled enough to provide good support on most pitches as long as it was untracked.  We had some good chowder turns on Lower Tattle Tale, and powder in the KP Glades and Sure Shot Woods.  Base depths were certainly decent at most elevations; one of the markers we checked in the trees a bit above the 2,500’ level suggested that the snowpack at the elevation was in the 4 feet or more.


With the Timberline area essentially deserted because it was midweek, the boys enjoyed bombing the length of Spur and racing each other at top speed.  They were moving at pretty impressive speeds on their little skis as they tucked without turns from the bottom of the Brandywine area to the base.  It was an all around awesome afternoon with the boys, and we were certainly ready to get back for more on Saturday as the upslope powder continued to be piled onto the slopes.