While we’ve still yet to get hit by a big synoptic snowstorm in Northern Vermont this season, another Alberta Clipper system came through the area today, and it began delivering a reasonable shot of fresh snow, just like the one last weekend. With the snow just starting up this morning, we waited until mid afternoon to head up to the mountain for skiing. By that point we’d picked up a couple of inches down at the house, and the snow was continuing at a good clip. Today also offered to bonus of being a somewhat warm reprieve from the arctic air, with temperatures around 20 F in the valley and up on the mountain at Bolton Valley.
I dropped E and the boys off at Snowflake, parked the car, and got my gear together fast enough to catch them on their second run. Ty was raving about the snow on Butterscotch in general, but E didn’t quite find the overall setup quite as nice as what we found on Monday. She said that the middle of the trail was good with the new snow, but the powder on the skier’s right didn’t cover and even out the subsurface in quite the same way that it had last time. Those subtleties aside, you could tell that there been another nice addition to the snowpack, and the snow from this storm was definitely denser than what we received on Monday. In fact, although it was still fairly dry at ~7% H2O according to my analyses from down our house, that’s still roughly twice as dense as the last storm. The snow certainly had some heft that helped cover up the old surfaces, but it wasn’t going to be flying in your face the way the snow from the last storm did.
“…the snow from this
storm was definitely
denser than what we
received on Monday.”
Heading next to the Vista Quad, we took Spillway, finding some good turns, but again a notch below what we’d found on Monday. Ty worked the terrain with fresh snow off to the skier’s right, but wasn’t interested in setting up any photos; clearly the snow couldn’t quite inspire him the way the last storm did. E wasn’t feeling comfortable enough on her Teles today to stick tight to the soft snow on the edge of Spillway, so spending more time toward the middle of the trail, she had to deal with some icy, high-traffic spots. As we descended toward Mid Mountain, the boys toured us through some nooks and crannies of access roads in order to ski under a big bent over tree. That was a bit of a slow route, but you could get a feel for just how much snow was starting to build on the natural terrain. We checked out Beech Seal on the lower mountain – I hit the usual soft snow on the skier’s right and found it performing right in line with the other terrain we’d skied. The skiing was great, just a notch below the last storm. I hadn’t seen where Ty had gone on Beech Seal, but it turns out he’d snuck over into the little lane of terrain on the right beyond the racing fence. He gets a kick out of being over there, and of course he’s probably one of the only people who can comfortably fit in there and loves the fact that the powder is untouched.
With Swing finally open, we next headed over toward Wilderness to sample some of the powder over there. Checking on the powder depth at 2,775’ on Lower Crossover like I’d done on Monday, I got a reading of 9 inches. That’s actually an inch lower than what I recorded on Monday, but that’s not surprising after several days of settling and now some denser snow on top. Most importantly, the net content of liquid in the snowpack has increased again with this storm. Every storm continues to bolster the snowpack over there, and we definitely had our best run of the year on Turnpike. It’s really been our go-to trail this season when snow has been lean, and it was just a heck of a lot of fun with all the new powder.
Although we still had daylight, the night skiing lights continued to come on as the resort shifted into night skiing mode. It was 4:15 PM, and I had to be in Burlington for dinner, but we decided to catch a final run off the Mid Mountain Chair – Ty really wanted another chance to ski his line behind the racing fence on Beech Seal. The snow continued to pour down, now with some larger flakes more reminiscent of upslope, and as we skied along I commented to E on how conditions were almost of the type we like for night skiing – fresh snow, no wind, and relatively warm. For those that went out last night to the slopes, I’d say they chose a good one. Ty got to ski his line, and Dylan followed along as well, continuing on to the second fence where the line ends in a bunch of brush. Dylan extricated himself easily though, and came out smiling.
We skied right back down to the access road through the trees near the Wentworth Condos, which is always a nice way to end the day. I’d say the mountain had picked up at least 2 to 4 inches by the time we’d left, and a half foot would be a reasonable way to expect the event to finish off. We’ve got a chance for another Alberta Clipper on Monday, and a steady diet of these is certainly a nice way to go until a bigger storm comes through to really give us a big jump in base depths.