Bolton Valley, VT 28JAN2021

An image of the base station of the Timberline Quad Chairlift through heavy snowfall on the back side of Winter Storm Nathaniel in January at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A view of the base station of the Timberline Quad as heavy snowfall greets me upon my arrival at the mountain today

We had snow here at the house most of the morning, and it was generally light, but at times it would pick up with a burst of intensity with larger flakes.  Toward the afternoon, the snowfall became a bit more persistent, and we were having longer periods with the large flakes, so it started getting to the point where I was wondering how much the mountains were getting.  As it was snowing more heavily here, I checked out the Bolton Valley Base Area Webcam and saw what looked like really heavy snowfall, so I decided to hit the mountain for a couple of runs.  Indeed, the local radar showed that another push of moisture was right on the doorstep as well, so that held the potential for additional snow.

A weather radar image of snow pushing eastward from the Champlain Valley into the spine of the Northern Green Mountains on the back side of Winter Storm Nathaniel
Another pulse of moisture is set to push into the spine of the Green Mountains today as I head up to Bolton Valley for a few runs.

The radar didn’t look that outrageous in terms of snowfall intensity, but I got up to Timberline and the snowfall was very heavy, probably 1-2”/hr with visibility of a few hundred feet.  It was hard to tell how much had fallen recently, but I was finding 4-6” in many areas on the trails since the previous grooming.  In any event, it was definitely a mini powder day up there, with that 4-6” easy to find essentially anywhere that hadn’t been skied recently.

“It was hard to tell how much had fallen recently, but I was finding 4-6” in many areas on the trails since the previous grooming.”

Very steep or windblown areas on piste definitely need another synoptic storm or two before they’re in prime shape, but the snow has continued to build up this week in the off piste areas.  In areas that haven’t been skied in the past week or two, you’re essentially looking at 30” of unconsolidated snow down to elevations as low as 2,500’ now.  I made a trip through Maria’s and I was finding that depth consistently.  There is some dense snow in there form the front end of Winter Storm Malcolm, but since we haven’t had any major thaws in more than a month, there’s no layer in the snowpack that is fully solidified.  My depth checks just went right down through the 30” to what I suspect is the ground, or perhaps a base of a few inches of old base snow depending on the location.  You really need at least moderate pitch to ski these areas because you’re sinking too deep for shallow slopes.  I was on midfats today, so fat skis would help, but pitch is still going to be necessary.

I hadn’t been out on the mountain since my tour on Saturday, and certainly wanted to get some exercise, but the continued snow we had today, and the chance to beat the arctic hounds that are coming in for the next couple of day, definitely made the timing right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.