Bolton Valley, VT 26FEB2011
We’ve had a storm dumping snow on the area over the past couple of days, and it delivered 10.5 inches down at the house and 16 inches up on the mountain at Bolton Valley. Clearly Mother Nature was calling on us to ski some powder over the weekend - the snow and the surrounding buzz must have been pretty evident because the boys really wanted to ski. Stephen was even excited to get out early and earn some pre lift service powder, but despite their enhanced excitement level, I still couldn’t get Ty and Dylan to come out early to earn some turns. How can the prospects of getting out of the house earlier and having to hike just to ski not be appealing?
Since Timberline is one of the later lifts to start up, I was able to meet Johannes and Stephen up at Timberline at around 8:00 A.M. to kick off our day. Since they don’t have AT or Tele gear yet, they used snowshoes for the ascent, which we made up Twice as Nice. Just as we were starting up, one of the groomers asked us to stay off the freshly-groomed strip that he had made on the trail, so we happily obeyed. We figured he was mostly worried about the crampons of the snowshoes, but even on my skins I kept to the very edge of the groomed area so that I wouldn’t ruin the corduroy. We noted some interesting snowballs that had actually skittered onto the groomed surface, and it looked like they may have been dislodged by the groomer. Stephen is quite the pack mule and carried all of Johannes’ gear, including his skis. I realize that I have done the same thing for Ty and Dylan before, but they’re much smaller than Johannes and have lighter gear. I’m happy that they have skins now and their loads are light enough that they can carry them themselves.
Johannes was definitely ready to stop climbing by the elevation of the mid station, so we started our descent from there. We opted for Spell Binder, and found that on the headwall the snow was a little tricky due to some mid-storm skier traffic yesterday, as well as the wind that had picked up in the evening. The skiing was still decent, even if not entirely bottomless on the headwall. Once we were lower down and out of the wind, the snow quality took a big jump up and anything untracked was just what one would expect. It wasn’t the lightest of the light in terms of Northern Vermont Champlain Powder™, but my analyses from yesterday indicated 5-6% H2O at our place down in the valley, and I’d say it easily skied like that as long as the wind hadn’t gotten to it. The snow improved as one got lower, away from effects of the wind, and it started to get really sweet for powder turns.
One of the best parts of the morning of course was that when we finished our run, it was just about time for the lifts to open so that we could do it again and again. While Stephen and Johannes stayed right there for lift-served skiing, I actually bid them a temporary adieu and headed back down to the house to get E and the boys. I picked them up, and we headed back up to the mountain.
We didn’t run into Stephen and Johannes right away, so we took a family run on Secret Solitude at the boys’ request. That apparently worked Dylan enough that he wanted to hit the lodge for a snack break, so we hit the lodge and ran into none other than Stephen and Johannes! They were eating lunch, so E and Dylan joined them, while Ty, who was raring for more skiing, headed back out with me.
What we had was some time and plenty of snow, so we did some exploring around in the steep shots of Doug’s Solitude. I got Ty into all sorts of exciting spots and we had a blast hitting the powder together and getting photos of Ty in action. We took so long exploring and skiing, that everyone else in the lodge was more than done with their food and wondering where the heck we were!
Eventually we met back up with everyone else and the whole big group headed off to plunder the powder. We started off with a run in the Corner Pocket Glades, and then made our way to the KP Glades via the split rock traverse. Next it was off to the Sure Shot Woods where the boys got into quite a powdery debacle in that perpendicular drainage in there. It was a comedy of errors as they tried to get themselves out of the powder, and although we sort of tried to help, they wasn’t much we could (or wanted to) do.
Stephen and Johannes left a bit earlier than us, but the family finished off the day with a couple more runs. All four of us had a nice exploratory run made up of roughly 1/3 Twice as Nice, 1/3 Doug’s Woods, and 1/3 Doug’s Solitude. We got a great shot of Dylan blasting a line in the Doug’s Solitude area that was one of my favorites of the day. E was toast after that, so the boys and I did a final run through Adam’s Solitude because they just can’t seem to get enough of that Roller Coaster a the bottom.
With that we ended our day, but it had been quite a powder-fest. We’d seen some light snow and sunshowers in the later morning and early afternoon from yet another small weather system that was pushing through, but accumulations weren’t significant and more sunshine was available as the afternoon wore on.
We’ve currently got some decent snow falling outside the house here in association with our next system in the queue. This storm is smaller in scale than the last one, but should freshen up the slopes for tomorrow. We’re planning to be at Stowe tomorrow, so barring any changes in plans I’ll pass along an update from there. Another big synoptic storm would be nice to further bury any of the firmer snow that had formed after the warm weather a week or so ago, but everything is in basically in prime midwinter shape so there’s not too much to complain about. The storm coming through Monday still looks to be the warmest of the series, so we’ll just have to see how it plays out.