Bolton Valley, VT 05FEB2014

An image of the Vista Beast at the base of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
The Vista Beast was out showing everyone what they should be doing today.

Our largest snowstorm of the year has been affecting Northern Vermont today, and while snow totals are generally under a foot, the event still represents a huge, sorely needed addition to the mountain snowpack.  The snow was just starting up early this morning, and there was only 1.1” on at the house when I made my 6:00 A.M. observations for CoCoRaHS.  What was very interesting was the density of the snow – it came in at a surprisingly dense 13.6% H20.  That’s great snow to start out a storm and provide a cushion above the subsurface.  The timing of the storm didn’t really lend itself to a powder morning, so I decided to try for some turns later in the afternoon on the way home from Burlington.  Indeed it snowed all day, with snowfall rates up to 1 to 2 inches an hour at times.  Winds had been pretty minimal with this storm, so as the snow fell, the ski conditions were just getting better and better.

“Indeed it snowed all
day, with snowfall
rates up to 1 to 2
inches an hour at
times.”

I arrived up at Bolton Valley in the mid afternoon timeframe, and quick estimates from the parking lot at ~2,100’ suggested roughly a half foot of new snow had fallen.  I’d brought both mid fats and full fats, but decided it was enough to go with the fat boards, so I stowed the appropriate skins in my fanny pack with my camera, and headed up the Vista Quad.  Since people had been skiing the snow all day, you had to head to the edges for powder, but it was a good combination of denser snow and some dry snow on top, and that let you float.  I skied Hard Luck up top, and on the bottom of the mountain I got to pay a visit to Glades for the first time this season.  Coverage was definitely sufficient, but you will still contact icy surfaces below if you went in heavy traffic areas.

An image of the depth of the powder over at the Wilderness area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont showing 16 inchesI decided to skin over to the top of Wilderness on my final run, and followed an ascent track that had just been made by another skier and a couple of snowboarders.  They were post-holing their way along, but even though it wasn’t a pristine skin track, it was still a huge help to have their track set for me – measurements I made along the way revealed 16” of powder resulting from these last few storms.  Breaking trail through that would have been significantly slower, even with the float of my fat skis.  The rewards of the trip over were good though, with tracks on Peggy Dow’s in the deep.  I was definitely glad that I had my fat skis for planing purposes, because the depth was getting to be too much for some of the lower angle slopes on the lower mountain.  It was a fairly short and sweet session this afternoon, but the quality of the turns was very high.  There’s been more snow falling this evening though, so there could be some great turns out there tomorrow.  I actually saw a snow cat working at the base of Timberline, so perhaps the resort is getting ready to open it for the first time this season.  This storm may not have been quite enough to get those lower slopes ready to support lift-served skiing, but it could be close.

An image of a ski track in powder on the Peggy Dow's trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Fun powder lines amidst today’s flakes

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