E and the boys are on winter break this week, so as he’s done in the past, Josh asked if we’d be interested in doing some photography up at Bolton Valley. The challenge this week has been choosing between the days that were forecast to be sunny but cold, or warmer but snowy. Unfortunately, the snowier days don’t make for the best photos, so with today’s forecast of relatively benign weather, it seemed like one of the better options. The main issue today was the temperatures; morning lows in the area were in the -20 to -30 F range, without even any wind, so Josh decided that an afternoon session would be the way to go. The forecast called for temperatures getting up into the teens F in the afternoon, at least in the valley elevations, and although it would be a bit colder in the mountains, winds were minimal so it seemed like it wasn’t going to be outrageously cold.
The others were able to head up around noon and start working with Josh on some shots around the Village, and I was able to get up to the resort around 1:00 P.M. for some on-slope work. The sky did have a covering of high, thin clouds, so it wasn’t especially blue in the afternoon, but there was indeed plenty of light. We started off with some classic Cobrass shots, and then moved on down to Timberline and did some shooting on Brandywine. There was also another family along for the session with their kids Fox, Summer, and Trevor, and I didn’t get to meet Fox because he was the youngest and didn’t head up the mountain, but the others were there with their dad they were all helpful as ski models. Josh and I did the photography, generally focusing on groomed shots without a lot of sky since it wasn’t especially blue. The groomed snow is in excellent condition as has been typical for many weeks now, and there’s powder everywhere off piste if you just jump off the sides of the trails. It was a fun time as usual, with the noticeable quiet of a midweek day at the resort. Temperatures were certainly in the single digits F up high, so that made things a little uncomfortable and Summer headed in a bit early with her dad.
It wasn’t an especially long session anyway, since Josh had to head off to do the afternoon snow report by 3:00 P.M., and the rest of us were happy to head into the lodge for snacks by that point. It looks like there’s another photo session in the works later in the week that might take advantage of some skies with a bit more blue, so hopefully they’ll be able to get some scenic shots that weren’t available today.
When I was up at Bolton Valley on Saturday, I glanced over at the trail maps and brochures near the front desk as I often do, and saw that the new editions were out. Upon closer inspection, I realized that Dylan was on the front cover of the maps – in a picture taken during our December 28th outing from last season. That was actually one of my favorite shots from the 2012-2013 season, as I was pleased with the snow, lighting, composition, and Dylan’s positioning, so it’s great to see that Josh and other members of the team chose it for the trail map cover. Ty kicked things off in the 2011-2012 seasonwhen he was featured in many ads and made the cover and interior of the Bolton Valley brochure, then last season the boys both made the covers of the map and brochure, and it’s great to see that one of their images was used again for the newest map. Congratulations to you Dylan on another cover shot! It pays to listen when Mom and Dad when they’re always telling you to keep those poles up and weight centered, and we appreciate all the patience that you and Ty have during the countless photo sessions each season. We’ll certainly be thinking of you each time we use the map this season!
We’re pleased to announce the completion of our Bolton Valley Photo Gallery for the 2012-2013 ski season. This year’s gallery is our largest to date, with over 270 images documenting this season’s ski adventures indoors and out, in the front, side, and backcountry, under blue skies and flake-dumping maelstroms at Vermont’sBolton Valley Ski Resort. Continue on to the thumbnail images below and browse away! Detailed reports are associated with every photograph in the gallery, so if you find a scene that sparks your interest, simply hover over the thumbnail image to get the date, and head to the archives on the right side of the page to read the full report. We’ve also got similarly extensive galleries from the past several ski seasons, representing nearly 1,600 photographs from around Bolton Valley, and these can all be found at our J&E Productions Photo Galleries Page. We’ll also have our full 2012-2013 Ski Season Summary coming out later this summer, so stay tuned for that update as well.
Erica and the boys are on vacation from school this week, and it’s allowed us to do some planned media work with the folks at Bolton Valley Resort over the past couple of days. Since last week, the Monday afternoon/Tuesday morning period looked like the best window for sunny skies between storm cycles, so Josh arranged for photographers (Justin) and videographers (Dennis, Sam, and Daniel) to be on site and capture whatever Mother Nature would permit.
Yesterday was a classic case of Mother Nature doing exactly what she felt like doing though – the forecast called for clearing skies in the afternoon, but as we drove up the Bolton Valley Access Road for a 12:30 P.M. meeting with Josh, we headed right up into the clouds. Those clouds didn’t show any signs of pulling away as we gathered in the, and in fact to emphasize their command of the situation, they decided to send along some snow by mid afternoon. It was actually some beautiful snowfall comprised of large, gently falling flakes, but it was clear that we weren’t going to see the sun. With the clouds and snow, we laughed about how that was life in the Northern Greens, but that really is a good thing, even if it means a bit of waiting for prime ski marketing images.
“With the clouds and snow, we laughed about how that was life in the Northern Greens…”
Fortunately, Josh knew how to make excellent use of the weather, and he took care of getting all the interior work done. We had several families with lots of children, and Justin set up a variety of images in a couple of the hotel rooms. Later we went over to the James Moore Tavern and got some dining and après ski shots there in front of the fire with pizza etc. I had a good time, although it was definitely a lot of sitting around for Ty – he was getting pretty cranky by the end. He was in sore need of some outside time on skis, so we were definitely hoping that the following morning would bring some sunshine with it.
I had some work to do in the morning, but E and the boys were up at the mountain by 7:45 A.M. to kick off the day. The media crew got to hit the lifts before they opened to the general public, and Dylan definitely enjoyed getting to ride one of those early chairs. The crew did some shooting on Alta Vista and Cobrass, including what sounded like a fun time up at the Cobrass Café with the kids playing around in some of the deep snow. It wasn’t 100% sunny, but there was great sun at times among puffy white clouds, and that made for some decent lighting. I also heard everyone went for some off piste fun in the Cobrass Woods. Ty dropped a pretty big rock in there, although it wasn’t caught on film.
I arrived at the mountain around midday, and as I was putting on my skis at the base of the Vista Quad, I ran into Daniel shooting video with his Canon EOS 60D. He took advantage of my appearance and captured a tight video shot of me clicking into my alpine skis. I made a run on Cobrass to catch up with the group, but didn’t quite overtake them until they’d already headed in for lunch. I did need to eat as well, so that worked out for me, and E and the boys got to tell me all about their morning. There was of course a lot of stopping during that morning session with all the photography and videography, but they’re somewhat used to that from hanging around with me all the time. All the children (who ranged from roughly age two to teens) seemed to be handle the waiting, although fortunately that’s a lot easier to do when you’re out in the fresh air. It was good that temperatures were very comfortable being right around the freezing mark, so nobody got too cold hanging around.
The crew reassembled for a couple more runs in the afternoon. We headed over to Timberline and Justin took a number of shots of pairs of skiers skiing together and buzzing the camera. Families were often mixed up for variety, but our family did get to ski together for some shots where the four of us were in a row and Justin skied right behind us. The boys did a great job of holding their position, and Justin was appreciative. Ty got into some powder on one of his runs along the edge of the trail, making some impressive turns tight to the trees. Justin had to get along to Burlington by mid afternoon, but as we got toward that point we were starting to lose the sunshine anyway as clouds became more numerous.
Even though it wasn’t perfectly sunny at all times today, it was definitely a great one with a bit of spring in the air. The freezing level rose up pretty high – the Bolton Valley Weather Station at 2,100’ got just above it to 33.4 F, and judging by the look and feel I bet that freezing line got up to ~2,500’. There was a bit of a previous melt crust off piste below the 2,000’ mark in exposed areas, but powder was nice (albeit dense) above that level, and the groomed slopes were just beautiful everywhere. There was even a bit of a spring corn feel to the snow down near 1,500’ on west-facing terrain at Timberline. In any event, it was great getting some sun after being socked in yesterday: That sunny window is closed now though – those afternoon clouds were harbingers of the next storm coming into the area. It looks like it’s going to show some strong elevation dependence, but totals could be good up in the higher elevations were temperatures remain cool.
Josh didn’t waste any time employing his new media on the Bolton Valley website, because within a couple days of the photo shoot we saw a picture of E and the boys appearing in the slide show on the main page:
We’re hoping Josh gets plenty of great images and video from the session!
Don’t forget, it’s the official Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, so try to support your local sugarhouse at one of the open house events. We’re planning to head to my cousin Steve’s operation in Barton for their open house. When he called me earlier in the week he said to make sure everyone brought snowshoes because the snowpack is pretty hefty as usual. I think we’re also going to bring Tele gear and do a tour as long as the snow softens up appropriately for turns. With last year’s low snowfall, touring around had a bit of a different feel because there was only a bit of snow left and it was like a spring hike. His snowpack is often much more substantial than ours though, so if things are typical up there the skiing could be nice. Checking my records, it looks like our 2008 visit was at the tail end of March and yielded some very nice turns.