Bolton Valley, VT 04APR2015

A view of the Deer Path trail with a ski track in some fresh powder at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of ski tracks in a few inches of fresh powder from an April snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
After fresh powder overnight an into the morning, the sun came out this afternoon to provide some great skiing up at Bolton Valley

The local ski resorts here in the Northern Greens picked up about a half foot of snow from a storm that started overnight, and by early this morning the snow levels even dropped down to the bottoms of the valleys. Since everyone in the family has been a bit under the weather this week with a cold that seemed to focus on stuffy noses, we were generally taking it easy this morning and resting up. By that afternoon I was feeling decent though, so I decided to head up to the mountain to check out the new powder and catch a couple of runs.

An image of a snowy evergreen after an early April storm on the Nordic and Backcountry trail network at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontThe sun was just starting to come out in spots as I left the house in mid afternoon, and as I headed up the Bolton Valley Access Road I could see the last flakes from the storm blowing lightly through the air. I’d opted to head all the way up the main mountain based on the strong elevation dependence of this recent storm, and I grabbed a spot in the top parking lot from someone who had already left. The winds up high were sufficient to keep the Vista Quad from running, so I walked right over to Wilderness for a run. The sun was really starting to come out and produces some wonderful views of the fresh snow, but it was still cold like mid winter, with temperatures around 20 F. I decided to take a run through White Rabbit as I’d done last Saturday, and found that the storm had totally erased any signs of previous tracks. Indeed the snow was right in line with the report, as there was roughly a half foot of powder out there. Although the powder turns on White Rabbit were fine, I’d already encountered some potentially challenging conditions in some places where the subsurface snow hadn’t fully refrozen, so you could sink down through the new powder and get into some mush. In a way it was a really good excuse to call on the extra floatation of fat skis, although I’d just brought my midfat Teles today. They worked fine, although once I got down toward the end of Snow Hole I found that the lower elevation meant less freezing of the underlying snow and more potential to punch through the soft subsurface. The main traveled areas of Snow Hole were skiing fine though, so I just stuck with the spots that had previously been packed and skied. Lower Turnpike was skiing beautifully, as was the Wilderness Lift Line based on the quiet sounds of people making their turns while I was on the lift.

An image looking down one of the entries into the Outlaw Woods at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Sampling the Outlaw Woods today

For my next run I headed up Wilderness again, and this time visited the Outlaw Woods. The subsurface there in untouched areas was less secure than what I’d found on White Rabbit, and perhaps that was due to more exposure to the sun. With the Vista Quad down on wind hold, I cut left at the Wilderness Mid Station and headed over to some of the Vista trails to see how they were skiing with no traffic. The trails were awesome with the packed surface underneath, and a few fresh inches on top. I caught some turns at the bottom of Hard Luck and they were fantastic – it probably would have been worth a skin up to higher on Vista, but I hadn’t brought my skins since I’d planned to take it pretty easy as I recuperated from being under the weather this week. I made my way over to the Snowflake Summit and found Snowflake Bentley totally untracked, so I put a nice signature down that and then headed onto Lower Bentley to do virtually the same thing. From there I just skied down past the townhouses and back to the parking lot. It should be interesting to see how the skiing shapes up for tomorrow with the way it’s cooling down tonight – it might actually improve the powder skiing in the lower elevations if that subsurface tightens up.

Bolton Valley, VT 15MAR2014

An image of Ty skiing in the Preacher Woods at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
The snow was quite settled today, but boy is coverage good now in Northern Vermont as we hit mid March.

It was already obvious from my outing on Thursday at Bolton Valley that the snow from Winter Storm Vulcan had fallen in a fairly dense state in this area. It hadn’t been warm during the storm, but snow growth just hadn’t been all that great around here, and the small flakes packed together to produce snow in the 10-11% H2O range. When combined with some wind, the snow had definitely been settled, and that was already evident even though I was skiing while the storm was still finishing up. And of course, snow generally just gets denser over time, so with temperatures predicted to be in the 30s F today, we weren’t expecting light and dry powder everywhere.

“…Vulcan dropped what was
likely close to two inches
of liquid equivalent in the
mountains in the form of
snow, so we knew that the
mountain had received a
full resurfacing.”

Although we weren’t expecting feathery, “Champagne Powder®” on the slopes today, Vulcan dropped what was likely close to two inches of liquid equivalent in the mountains in the form of snow, so we knew that the mountain had received a full resurfacing. That meant it was a perfect time to hit all the steep terrain that just hasn’t been well covered yet this season. Because we’re still waiting on Dylan’s physician to give him the go ahead for doing the most vigorous activities, such as skiing, Dylan and E planned to go swimming in the Bolton Valley Sports Center, while Ty and I planned to ski.

E dropped Ty and I off over at the base of Wilderness, and for me, it was quite a treat to get the chauffeur service that the rest of the family usually has. We found out that the Wilderness Double Chair was still on wind hold though, so we headed up to the Vista Quad for a run. Our first stop on the steep terrain tour was the Preacher Woods. The coverage there is definitely sufficient now, even up in the big open areas with multiple ledges. There are still some aspects of the ledges that one needs to dodge here and there, but when the terrain is small cliffs, that’s often the way it’s going to be. The snow was packed, and the untracked powder was sort of thick and dense, but the skiing up there was really pretty decent. There just wasn’t any fluff factor to speak of, so things felt very “settled”. It was really just fun to take virtually any line and not worry about coverage around the next corner; we’ve been waiting for a while to get to that stage this season. Our run brought us down through the Cobrass Woods, and then Deer Path, and finally the Bear Run Woods. The lower half of the mountain had warmer temperatures and snow that was somewhat wet, so that made it a bit more challenging. I’d brought my fat skis, and while I liked them a lot in the dense powder and chowder up high, I was less than thrilled with them on the more packed snow in the lower elevations.

An image of Ty skiing some dense spring powder in the Deer Run area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Throwing around some dense snow out in the Deer Run area today

When we arrived back at the base, we found a big lift queue at the Vista Quad, and a similar queue at the Snowflake Chair. The Wilderness Chair was still on wind hold, so we decided to go for a run off the Mid Mountain Lift to get ourselves over to Timberline. We used Deer Run to get there, and Ty had an excellent crash in some of the powder that appeared to be to the amusement of some of the little kids in one of the ski programs. As we headed lower and lower in elevation over toward Timberline, the snow got wetter and wetter, and we could tell that it was really getting warm down in those lowest elevations. We encountered a huge queue at Timberline, probably because of other people that had left the main mountain to find shorter lift queues, but after seeing the drop in snow quality down low, I bet many of them headed back to the relative cool of the main mountain. I took Ty down the steep terrain of Lost Girlz, followed by Thundergoat Pass. We generally skipped the untracked powder down at Timberline, as it was just getting too dense and challenging. The partially tracked up snow was much easier to ski.

An image of fat skis outside the Bolton Valley Village Deli and Grocery at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A deli lunch break for the boards

We made our way back to the main mountain after that, and finding that Wilderness still wasn’t open and there were substantial queues at the other lifts, we decided it was time for lunch. I called down to E and Dylan, and we met them for lunch at the Deli. I suspected that with all the patrons the resort had today, the lodge would be quite packed, and even the usually very quiet deli was hopping, so it was definitely a busy one out there. I actually think it’s interesting that so many people would come out after President’s Day, but Vulcan was a big storm and it caught a lot of people’s attention. After lunch, Ty headed down for some swimming with E and Dylan, and I contemplated another run or two. Finding the lift queues still fairly substantial, I decided to just call it a day. The skiing certainly wasn’t phenomenal enough that it warranted waiting in lift queues, especially since the snowfall was picking up and the possibilities for tomorrow were looking decent with cooler temperatures. I toured around the Village a bit and got some pictures, returned the pizza pans that Fireside Flatbread had lent us when we ordered pizza last Saturday, and finally worked my way down to the Sports Center. I worked on a jigsaw puzzle that was out in the recreation room while I waited for the others to finish swimming, and when they arrived, the battle was joined in a game of foosball. I forget how much fun stuff there is to do down at the Sports Center – we don’t visit to often because we’re usually headed home after skiing, but we’ll have to remember that there’s a lot more than just swimming.