Stowe, VT 27FEB2011
We were up at Stowe today for our usual Sunday session, and we knew it was going to be sparse in terms of attendance since it was the tail end of vacation week. Although many of the children weren’t there, many of the coaches weren’t there either, so E almost needed me to coach one of the beginner groups. She ended up being OK with coverage, so I was able to stick with the usual advanced students like Ty and Dylan. One new addition to the Spruce Peak base area was a slide made entirely of ice. It actually seemed to be quite functional, and let’s just say there was no problem with excessive sticking to the sliding surface like there can be with some slides!
We had a bit of time ahead of program, so I started out with just Ty and Dylan for a quick run off Sunny Spruce. We jumped into some steep trees off Freddie’s Chute, and just like we found at Bolton yesterday during our outing, the recent storm had left 12 to 18 inches of powder everywhere. I didn’t have a lot of time for pictures, but I did manage to grab a good one of Dylan as he got swallowed up in powder on a steep shot.
When we finally got our group together, it was just Ty, Dylan, and Jack, and we were joined by Mike Cannon as our second coach. We suspected we’d be in for quite a journey with Mike as our guide, and we were right. With his immense knowledge of Stowe, we found ourselves in steep, powder-filled, challenging glades all over the map. We first started out on Spruce Peak, where Mike took the boys into the steep Ridge View trees and we cut hard left to get the freshest powder en route to the Sensation Quad. Up off the peak, Mike and Jack worked together to find the access to Spruce Line from the Whirlaway side – it turned out that Jack was even more familiar with the route than Mike! Mike did get us into some great glades with the help of #2 Cutacross. We worked our way back to the base on Smuggler’s, with some really steep glade options that actually need more coverage.
In need of some food, the boys took a mid afternoon break at the Great Room Grill for some fries and hot chocolate, and then we finished off the day with some more skiing on the Mansfield side. Mike took us up the Gondola and we did first did some woods around Cliff Trail, the caught some great steep shots in the Goatdive Woods, and finally we hit S-53 off the quad.
We were lucky to have beautiful temperatures in the 20s F for the whole day, so temperatures certainly weren’t a problem. In terms of the overall skiing, the steepest and highest traffic areas are certainly down to the firm base leftover from those couple of warm days a bit over a week ago. However, outside of those spots it was easy to find areas with either untracked or soft chowder. On the way home after our active afternoon, we stopped in at the Alpine Mart and I got a cool photo of their flag with some icicles that had formed. Seeing the icicles combined with the moderate evening temperatures, it felt like a little taste of the approaching spring.
The next synoptic storm is now on our doorstep, and winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings are up in the North Country. This storm is still the warmest of this recent series, but it doesn’t seem like it will be too much of an issue for the snowpack; the current NWS forecasts for the mountains around here call for snow with some sleet. Presumably it’s all going to be dense, so it should be another good shot of liquid equivalent for the snowpack. Looking ahead there’s a smaller event midweek and then potentially another large storm next weekend.