Although E and the boys weren’t out at the mountain with me yesterday, this afternoon the whole family had a bit of time to head up to Bolton Valley together to hopefully catch some of the weekend’s remaining powder. Temperatures were much warmer today, nearing the freezing mark in the valleys, and up into the 20s F in the higher elevations.
We got up to the mountain in the midafternoon as the ski resort’s day was winding down, so skier traffic was very light. The Snowflake Chair wasn’t running, but there was still decent access to a lot of the Snowflake terrain, and plenty of powder was available. We did a couple of runs on Cobrass, working our way down through the Five Corners/Cobrass Run area followed by connections to the Snowflake area. There were a couple of additional inches of fluffy snow overnight, but indeed the powder was very much like we found yesterday.
Temperatures are expected to stay cool all through the upcoming week, so the snow that’s out there should stay quite nice.
The biggest concern on the slopes today certainly wasn’t the snow quality, but the temperatures. We had below zero readings overnight, and single digits F were the rule this morning at opening time. Even with plenty of powder available, I didn’t tempt anyone from the family to head up to the mountain, but I knew Stephen and Johannes would be out there right from opening bell. I planned to catch up with them as soon as I could, so I sent out a text when I arrived to hopefully synch up.
Fora first run I rode the Vista Quad and headed over to Wilderness to check out some powder. I stuck mostly to Wilderness Woods,which had seen some traffic in the main lines, but it was pretty much untracked beyond that. I measured settled snow depths of roughly a foot just about everywhere I went, so even though the resort was only reporting 14 inches, they must have had a bit more than that to still have a foot after the settling of what was very much dry Champlain Powder™. For any terrain with a black pitch or greater, you would still be touching down on the subsurface at times, but moderate angle terrain and below was typically bottomless and smooth.
I measured settled snow depths of roughly a foot just about everywhere I went…
I got the word from Stephen that they were taking a warm-up break in the lodge,so I caught up with them there and we spent the rest of the morning together. We toured around over in the Wilderness area, hooking up from the Vista Quad at first, and then riding the Wilderness Chair once it opened. Powder turns were very easy to come by, and we hit some great spots like Wilderness Woods, Wilderness Lift Line,and Snow Hole. We had to break trail through the powder to get to Snow Hole,and the exit needs a bit of negotiating because one stream bed crossing isn’t fully filled in, but the effort was definitely worth it for some fantastically fluffy turns.
Temperatures were up into the teens F by the time we left at midday, and they’re expected to be much warmer tomorrow for those that are thinking of heading out to enjoy all the new snow.
Yesterday, the last vestiges of Winter Storm Bruce wound down in our area, so today was a great day to take advantage of all the new snow on the slopes with relatively benign weather. Due to the prodigious November snowfall we’re had around here, Bolton Valley is running the lifts again this weekend for another pre-season session. Ty and I had some time in the morning, so we headed up to the mountain for a bit of lift-served skiing.
“We caught a ton of untracked lines today, but the powder has settled even more than what I found on my Thursday morning tour, so it was very much a PNW/Sierra-style snow experience.”
We got to the Village in the mid- to late-morning period and were amazed to find that all the parking lots, even the Nordic Center lots, were packed. It was a struggle to find a spot, but we finally got one in the very lowest Nordic lot. We assumed the lifts would be packed, but there were no lines at Vista, Mid Mountain, or Snowflake. We were stunned, and couldn’t figure out where everyone was, but we happily hopped on for our first Vista ride of the season.
Although the Wilderness Lift isn’t running yet, the usual Vista Quad-served access to Wilderness is available, so after a great run down Alta Vista, Ty and I headed that way and made a run through Snow Hole. There was an old track or two around, but we essentially had first tracks through there. Another spot on today’s hit list was Maria’s, where we traversed far left and were well clear of any tracks from other skiers.
We caught a ton of untracked lines today, but the powder has settled even more than what I found on my Thursday morning tour, so it was very much a PNW/Sierra-style snow experience. In most spots now, you really only sink a few inches into the powder, so you’re very much staying on top of the snowpack. It’s been interesting to watch the powder slowly transform to this dense state from our ski session on Tuesday, to my Thursday outing, to today. It’s really hard to complain about such fantastic early season conditions, but in terms of powder we could use a freshening at some point. The groomed terrain is skiing superbly right now though – with such a huge resurfacing it’s just packed powder and more packed powder. One very cool weather-related feature out there today was the hoarfrost covering everything – we found areas where the delicate, feathery needles were as much as three inches long.
Our next winter storm is moving into the area tonight with snow, then some mixed precipitation, and potentially more snow on the back side.