Bolton Valley, VT 22MAR2014 (PM)

An image of a ski track in powder snow in the trees at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Back out for an afternoon powder session up at Bolton Valley

Seeing that the Timberline Quad had recently started running as we were heading down the access road after our morning ski session, really got me thinking about heading back up to take advantage of the opportunity.  So, after a quick bit to eat, I decided to head back out for a few more runs.  It was actually pretty convenient, since I was still wearing my ski clothes, and hadn’t even unloaded the gear from the car.

I pulled into the Timberline lot to find just a handful of cars there – with the lift opening so late, it was only people who arrived in the afternoon that would even have the opportunity to park there.  I hopped on the lift and found that the snowfall was picking up again after a bit of a lull around midday.  The winds weren’t too bad at that point, but they seemed as though they were picking back up in concert with the increasing snowfall.  Unlike this morning, the winds were more from the west, vs. the south or southeast, and this meant that they were at your back while riding the lift.

I started off with a run through Wood’s Hole and the Corner Pocket Glades, and I actually had first tracks through the main entry line into the Wood’s Hole Glades.  There were just a couple of people ahead of me on the logging road, and it was skiing really well.  I eventually diverted off into the Corner Pocket Glades, and as I descended I could tell that while decent, the snow down below the 2,000’ level really wasn’t up to the quality of what was higher up on the mountain.  The powder was still good, but combination of less new snow and denser layers of powder below it was obvious.  Although I had planned to focus on Timberline since I’d skied the main mountain in the morning, the call of the premium snow quality just a bit higher up had me thinking about heading back to the main mountain for a little more fun.

I made my way to the main base, and headed up to the Vista Summit via the Vista Quad.  After about halfway up, the snow and wind really started to pick up, and they hit a level that was higher than anything we’d seen in the morning.  When I got off the lift, I headed down past the patrol hut, and before heading to Cobrass I had to just stop and watch the spectacle.  At one point, visibility was down to around 100 feet, and even though I was only 100-200 feet away from the hut, it was entirely invisible at times.  Unfortunately there’s not much point in getting an image of the building when it’s totally invisible, because all you see is white, so I grabbed a shot of one of the periods when it was on the verge of disappearing and that at least gives a sense of just how intense that snowfall was.

Down in the Villager Trees, I decided to make the hike up the crack, since E and the boys hadn’t wanted to do it this morning.  While down in the protection of the trees, the heavy snow and wind from up near the summit became just fluffy flakes filling the quiet air.  It was such a difference from the windswept summit.  The powder off the knob was fantastic, and I was happy to see that the wind hadn’t affected it at all.  Once I got back to the trail network and my way toward Timberline, I didn’t see another soul.  It was as if everyone had left, and I quickly surmised that the most recent bout of heavy wind had shut down the lifts.  I didn’t check on the others, but indeed Timberline was on wind hold.  I was heading to the car at that point, but it didn’t seem like I would have had much choice anyway – Mother Nature has really been hitting Bolton Valley with the winds over the past couple of days, but I’m glad I was able to get in those afternoon turns during the window of Timberline’s opening.

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