Tag Archives: January

Stowe, VT 29JAN2017

An image of Ty skiing powder with heavy snowfall at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Ty cranking out some powder turns during some of the heavy snowfall this afternoon at Stowe

Ty and I had an appointment in Burlington this morning, which mean that we’d be arriving a bit late to our BJAMS ski program at Stowe in the afternoon.  We were arriving just in time for the afternoon snows however.  The first encounter was when we driving to the resort during the noontime hour.  We could see snow moving in to our north as we headed through Waterbury, and it finally hit us as were rising up to the Waterbury/Stowe line near Chutesville Hill.  Some fairly intense graupel was a big feature of the precipitation at that point.

There were on and off periods of snow throughout the afternoon at the mountain, and Ty and I worked our way over from the Gondola to the Fourrunner Quad trails around Tyro with a dip into the Chapel Glades.  The snow surfaces were excellent in there, and there were plenty of spots with fresh tracks to be had.  We continued all the way down into the Toll House terrain because we were looking for something mellow, and I’d say there has certainly been plenty of visitation to the mountain over the past couple of days based on some of the areas I saw with tracks in them.  You typically don’t find too many people spending much time in the trees around the Toll House Lift, since the terrain is very low angle and the return to the rest of the resort exceedingly long on the slow double.  I’ve never seen as many tracks in there as I did today though, and we’re not talking a week after a storm, we’re talking a day or two after a storm.  It was unusual, but hopefully a lot of beginners got their chance to check out the awesome powder in the trees!

An image of macarrons at The Beanery at Stowe Mountain Resort in VermontWe made our way back to Spruce Peak for a final couple of runs of visiting some of our favorite powder stashes, and that last hour before closing definitely featured some of the heaviest snowfall of the day.  I’m sure rates were an inch per hour or more at that point, and the photography was difficult during the heavy stuff, but we still fired away.  Images captured successfully during intense snowfall are always fun anyway.  In general I’d say we found about a foot of powder around the mountain in untracked areas, and the skiing was great.  The quality of the powder was definitely very high, and it looks like it will stay that way with the upcoming forecast for the next week or so.

Bolton Valley, VT 28JAN2017

An image of Erica skiing some powder snow in the Wilderness Woods area of Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
E in the Wilderness Woods at Bolton Valley this morning enjoying some of the powder put down over the past couple of days

Snowfall has been somewhat lean in Vermont this January, so we haven’t been up to Bolton Valley since the early part of the month.  Things are definitely picking up now though.  The past couple of days have featured plenty of upslope snow in association with an upper level low to our north pushing various smaller impulses through the area.  Over the course of the past two days, the resorts in the norther half of the state have picked up 1 to 2 feet of new snow.

With Bolton Valley reporting nearly a foot of snow over the past two days, the family headed up this today to see just how it well it was settling into the terrain.  The snow report let us know that some of the upper lifts would be delayed a bit due to winds, but they were opening just as we were arriving around mid-morning.  The word was definitely out about all the new snow today – cars were already parking down to the lowest Village lot when we arrived, and more were coming in by the minute.

We started off with a quick run on Snowflake, and enjoyed some excellent powder on the side of Snowflake Bentley.  Since he’s been Telemark Skiing and snowboarding up to this point, it was Ty’s first time on alpine boards all season, and he was really enjoying the powder turns much like a new sensation.  There was no line for the Vista Quad by that point, so we hopped on and got to see the impressive rime up near the Vista Summit.  Catching some of the first turns on the groomed Alta Vista was nice treat that we don’t usually experience, and it really was soft and carveable from edge to edge.  We also got first tracks in the powder off to the ungroomed areas to skier’s left.  The only downside in the powder there was occasionally hitting some old grooming chunks under the snow, but the new accumulations were deep enough to make them only a minor hindrance.

An image of Ty skiing powder in the Wilderness Woods at Bolton Valley Resort in VermontWe made our way over to Wilderness and took a quick pass through part of the Wilderness Woods.  The powder was really nice in there, and there had been little traffic up to that point.  We finished off with some groomed and powder turns on Lower Turnpike, and found that the Wilderness Double Chair was running, but they weren’t quite loading it yet.

We stopped into the lodge for an early lunch, and by the time we came out they were loading the Wilderness LiftPeggy Dow’s was in nice shape, but out favorite part was actually the Wilderness Lift Line, which had a lot of powder left on it.  Everyone had so much fun there that we would have easily done it again, but a bit of a queue was forming at the Wilderness Lift so we decided to call it a morning.

An image of Dylan drinking some chocolate milk with two straws in the base lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
What can even be said about the Dylan?

When we were leaving, a woman was more than willing to wait for our parking spot way down by the sports center, so obviously the lots were really filling up.  Even the Timberline lots looked full when we passed by.  Temperatures were in the upper 20s F today, so folks were definitely out in force to enjoy it with the new snow – we’d even heard comments on one the local weather reports about just how good a ski day it was going to be.  The current trends with the snow will probably go on for a couple more days, so conditions should stay quite good.

Stowe, VT 22JAN2017

An image of low clouds in the Spruce Peak Village at Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont
Thick, low clouds down to the base elevations and soft snow were the themes of the day today at Stowe.

The midweek period this past week saw some decent snows, with 6.5 inches at our house, and accumulations up to 10 inches at the Vermont ski resorts.  There was some great skiing at Stowe on both Wednesday and Thursday, but I was too busy to hit the slopes and check it out.  Today we were at Stowe for our weekly BJAMS ski program though, so I finally got to check out the latest conditions on Mt. Mansfield.

On our drive to the mountain we noticed that there’s not actually a ton of snow down in the center of Stowe Village, but the snowpack builds as one heads up the mountain road, and it’s quite hearty once you get up to The Matterhorn around the 1,000’ elevation.  The snow depths simply skyrocket after that, and Mansfield’s snowpack is quite impressive.  This shouldn’t be too surprising with 52” at the Mt. Mansfield Stake, but it’s still great to get out there and experience it firsthand.

An image of a snowman drawing on the wall at the Octagon atop Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in VermontToday in our group we had many of the usual crew, like Jack, Dylan, Jonah, and Norris.  Ken is still taking it easy due to his injury, so our new additions were Nolan and his kids Sophie and Evan.  They fit right in with the group, so I suspect we’ll have a lot of fun whenever we’re together.  After an initial run on Sunny Spruce, we quickly headed over to Mansfield to check out some steeper terrain.  We skied the Bypass Chutes, as well as Goat and Starr from the top.  While coverage isn’t yet perfect on those routes, it’s pretty darned good, and that says a lot if those steep pitches are reasonably covered.  I was concerned about what the snow surfaces were going to be like with the cloudy conditions today, but the snow was beautifully soft at all elevations with temperatures in the 30s F.  The Nosedive Glades were fantastic – and they’ve definitely done some additional clearing in there to enhance some of the lines.  Overall, today was actually like being out there on one of those awesome soft days in April with the hefty snowpack.  I’d say the main drawback on the hill today was the visibility, since we were in the clouds the whole time.  In some elevation bands it was pea soup, but it was more reasonable than at many elevations.

An image of some BJAMS students at the Octagon atop Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont
Hanging out in the Octagon today while the crew re-hydrates

We’ve actually got a storm coming into the area tomorrow evening that should bolster the snow pack even more.  The storm is expected to have some mixed precipitation with it, but plenty of liquid equivalent, so it should really be a good shot to add to the season’s base.

Ranch Valley & Stowe Cross Country Center, VT 07JAN2017

An image of a sign for the Burt Trail on the trail network at Stowe Cross Country Center in Vermont
Out on the Burt Trail today for some backcountry skiing

It’s been a relatively slow week for snowfall in the Northern Greens, but Stowe did manage to pick up roughly a foot of snow between Wednesday and Thursday.  Since the Mt. Mansfield area seemed to be a sweet spot with respect to snowfall, I decided to head out for a backcountry tour in the Ranch Valley, which sits just to the south of the resort’s alpine trail network and is the location for Stowe’s Cross Country Center.  I’ve been through the area numerous times when coming down the Bruce Trail, and I’ve sampled some of the natural glades that populate the middle elevations in that area.  I could see that there was much more skiable terrain to explore though, so I decided to check out what the areas around the Burt Trail had to offer.

Temperatures were in the low to mid 20s F in the local mountain valleys as I headed up to the Stowe Cross Country Center to start my tour.  It turns out that Mrs. Blanck was behind the counter when I was buying my trail pass, so we were able to catch up a bit and she gave me an overview of some nice glades that she’d heard of as we reviewed the backcountry portion of the trail map.

My ascent route consisted of starting on the Timberlane Trail and using Cross Cut 2 to get to the Burt Trail.  The recent snows were certainly elevation dependent, so there was only about an inch of fresh snow atop the snowpack down near the base of the Cross Country Center at ~1,000’.  It did increase as I ascended, reaching a couple of inches by the time I hit the Burt Trail, and nearly 4 inches at the top of my ascent at the junction with the Underhill Trail.  Here’s the general depths of surface powder I found on my tour with respect to elevation:

1,000’:  1”
1,500’: 2-3”
2,000’: 3”
2,500’: ~4”

An image of a hut along the Burt Trail at Stowe Cross Country Center at Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont
Passing a hut along the Burt Trail

The backcountry portion of the Burt Trail starts right around 1,500’ elevation, and getting to that point represents a pretty hefty approach of over two miles, so that’s about the minimum distance one will have to go on this route to get into terrain for potential descents.  The Burt Trail really starts to steepen above 2,000’, which one hits at close to three miles in.  At that point it’s comprised of switchbacks to accommodate the steeper terrain.  That area is still mostly hardwoods, with scattered evergreens, so tree density isn’t too bad and one can easily cut the switchbacks and ski through the forest.  That terrain is pretty steep though, so one would want a decent amount of powder for it to be optimal.  Based on darkness and trying to ensure that I made it back to the Cross Country Center by 5:00 P.M. since a sign that the parking lot gate would close at that point, I only ascended to the junction with the Underhill Trail, but I could see that there was plenty of similar terrain right up above me.

As for the skiing and conditions, one would definitely want more powder above the base than what I found today, but I was still able to get in some decent turns.  I had my midfat Tele skis, which were certainly not all that light in the overall spectrum of Nordic equipment, but I was thankful to have something that could handle the descent well.  I cut the Burt Trail switchbacks and skied the fairly open forest in some spots, but I could actually stay on the trail itself for the most part where it mattered.  Only one person had gone up ahead of me above 2,000’ on the trail and they must have descended another way, because there was no descent track.  So the Burt Trail itself was relatively untracked and I got some of my best turns of the afternoon simply by staying on it.  The terrain in the 1,500’ to 2,000’ range offers some options off the trail depending on the pitch of the terrain, but I just ran my descent out the trail itself based on the snow conditions and my time.  The whole runout back to the Cross Country Center is actually pretty fun, and you can really cruise along at times, but you will have to do some skating and deal with a couple of small uphill sections.  It’s quite similar to running out the Bruce Trail though, and indeed the route is identical in some spots, so if you’ve done that you’ll have a good sense for what this is like.

An image showing GPS data on Google Earth from a backcountry ski tour in the Ranch Valley of Vermont near Stowe Mountain Resort
Today’s backcountry ski route in the Ranch Valley

It looks like we’ll be in a fairly active weather pattern in the foreseeable future with some clipper-type events and larger synoptic systems with potential mixed precipitation, so we’ll see how these play out in terms of bolstering the snowpack.

Bolton Valley Nordic Center, VT 02JAN2017

An image of the cover to the newest version of Bolton Valley's Nordic & Backcountry Trail Map
The beautiful cover to the newest version of Bolton Valley’s Nordic & Backcountry Trail Map

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been out for a genuine cross country ski session, but that’s what I got to do today at the Bolton Valley Nordic Center.  E planned to take the boys up to the resort’s sports center for some swimming this afternoon, and with a fairly short window of time and not much new snow over the past few days, some cross country skiing seemed like the perfect fit.

The resort was again quite busy today with many people off from school and work, and indeed the lift queues looked fairly substantial as we passed by the base lodge.  We were able to park right down by the sports center and E and the boys headed roff to the pool while I got my gear together.  I took a nice round trip out on Broadway and Maple Loop, and enjoyed the ability to actually ski in the tracked lanes.  Where possible I used the tracks and skied classic, but also skated in some spots.  My skis aren’t really skate skis, but I was able to fumble through some strides.  I jumped into the powder off the sides of the trails a few times and even managed a few Telemark turns, but I was thoroughly reminded of just how unstable real cross country skis are.

An image from outside the Bolton Valley Nordic Center at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont

The boys had a lot of fun catching balls as they jumped into the pool and did everything else they’ve missed since the last time they were in the water.  We walked up to get some sandwiches from the deli before we left, and could see the mass exodus of visitors heading back to their cars as the ski day ended.  Based on what we’ve seen over this holiday period, I think the resort has seen a lot of visitors thanks to fairly decent ski conditions, so hopefully that’s been a big positive during what is typically the biggest week of the ski season.

Stowe, VT 31JAN2016

An image of Jay, Jack, Emma, and Dylan on the Meadows Quad Chair at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Today was Jack and Emma’s first time riding the Meadows Chair and exploring some of the Meadows terrain during the BJAMS ski program at Stowe.

E was short on instructors for our BJAMS ski program at Stowe today, so I took on a different group than my usual cadre of experts. I was with Jack, Emma, and Nolan, who are beginner skiers making generally wedge turns. Dylan came along to help me, and Nolan’s brother Lucas was also able to assist. Although our three beginning students have ridden the Inspiration Chair already, I started them off by ascending the small slope up to the magic carpet to let the kids work on edging. We proceeded with a couple of magic carpet runs to check speed control and wedge turns. That went swimmingly, so we moved to Inspiration and worked on wedge turns until everyone had successfully complete the short course of gates that was set up there. Then, it was on to the Meadows Chair.

Today’s visit to the Meadows Chair was the first for Jack and Emma, so naturally that was very exciting for them. Nolan was able to stick with his brother Lucas, which meant that Dylan and I were able to work with the others and give them specific attention. We took the easiest route down from the top of the Meadows Chair, which included some of the gentle terrain features (banked slalom, humps, spines) that the resort has set up for beginners. Both of the kids did a great job (Jack loves the banked slalom), and this was aided by the superb snow conditions that were available today – temperatures in the 30s F created snow that was beautifully soft but not mushy. Jack and Emma are both pretty much at the Stem Christi stage now, and I was able to start working with Emma on that during our last run after Jack had to leave. She’s in fact already done those types of turns before and is certainly ready to improve upon them, so I think she’ll only be incorporating more and more parallel components into her skiing as the next few weeks progress.

It looks like the coming week will be generally mild with some mixed precipitation, so I suspect the slopes will generally be soft until temperatures drop to more February-like levels. At that point surfaces will likely tighten up, so hopefully plenty of new snow will be on the way.

Bolton Valley, VT 30JAN2016

An image of the Wilderness Chairlift at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Catching some powder beneath Bolton Valley’s Wilderness Chair today

The local ski resorts along the Green Mountain Spine from Stowe to Middlebury were reporting 3-5” inches of new this morning thanks to an Alberta Clipper that moved through the area. The snow was reasonably dense based on my analyses here at the house, and early reports from the slopes indicated that the skiing was quite good with the infusion of the new snowfall. I was busy much of the day, but by midafternoon I decided that I could head up to Bolton Valley for a few turns.

The Village was looking pretty wintry when I arrived, with some fresh snow and rime covering all the trees. The temperature was around 30 F at the base as I hopped on the Vista Quad and headed to the summit. There was a slight breeze up there, but it was another one those generally comfortable days of which we’ve been having a lot this season. I started my run down Alta Vista and found the snow pretty tired as one might expect at the end of a weekend day. The center 80% of the trail was pretty scratchy, and the skier’s left that usually holds the best snow was reasonably soft, but certainly not up to the level that I often find it. I made my way over to Wilderness to see how the powder was faring, and on the traverse over found 16”-17” in protected areas in the 2,600’-2,700’ range. Aside from the areas that had been hit by the wind, I found some sweet bottomless turns on the Wilderness Liftline. I wanted to explore around the mountain a bit more, but that was definitely worth coming back to depending on what else was available. The available powder lessened a bit as I descended to areas where traffic increased and less snow had fallen, but I still found some good untracked snow in spots along the skier;s left of Lower Turnpike.

An image of the snow depth at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont

Snow depths seemed decent for some exploration in some of modest-angle off piste areas, so I set my sights on the Village Trees area for the next run. Unfortunately patrol had already closed off the Cobrass area as they were switching over to night skiing mode, so I couldn’t head that way. I checked out some options as I continued on Sherman’s Pass, but any thoughts of Hard Luck had pretty much passed by the time I’d made my first lift ride – I could hear the sound of skis scraping across the icy surface there all the way from the lift, and that’s never a good sign. Not spotting any other obvious routes that seemed to be able to top what I’d already skied, I found my way over to Wilderness again and scored another great run with powder. This time I stayed on the Wilderness Liftline and worked the snow along the edges; the powder tapered down as on the previous run on Lower Turnpike, but it was available up to the point where I merged back toward the Vista trails.

I grabbed a couple of Fireside Flatbread pies for E and the boys, and slowed a bit to check out the snow down at Timberline on my way home. Coverage looked decent, and it would probably be worth a look to see what the powder was like. They did have the shuttle bus running and I saw a few skiers descending, but I’ll have to wait until my next visit if I want to get over there. Hopefully we’ll get some decent storms as we head into February to finally get the base depths at Timberline up to where they need to be.

Stowe, VT 24JAN2016

An image of ski tracks in powder at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
The powder from our early week storm was still holding up well at Stowe today, although we did have to travel around a bit to get to it.

We had another beautiful midwinter day on tap today, so I planned to make good use of it with my BJAMS ski group at Stowe. It’s been a few days since our most recent snowstorm, but from my tour yesterday on the Bolton Valley backcountry network, I knew that the powder was holding up well. The only trick on a Sunday afternoon of course was to pay a visit to those lesser-used spots at the resort to get the kids some fresh tracks.

My group today was Ty, Dylan, Luc, Jonah, and Elizabeth, and after they took a quick warm-up run on Sunny Spruce, we met up and headed right over to the Gondola. We worked our way down into the Nosedive Glades, knowing that the main lines would be pretty tracked up at this point, but the snow would be of much higher quality than what would generally be available on piste. The snow was good, and there were still lots of untracked areas to be found if you wanted to venture around a bit of the beaten path, but I knew we’d find plenty of untracked snow on the southern end of the resort so we didn’t belabor the searching at that point. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Nosedive had been hit with a massive amount of manmade snow. There were huge 10-15-foot snow wales all down the slope, and the kids love playing on those, but they were also very impressed with the surface conditions. Instead of worn down scratchy surfaces, everything was chalky manmade, and although not quite as good as natural packed powder, it was really quite pleasant. You could hold an edge anywhere you wanted.

After a trip up the Fourrunner Quad we made our way to the lower angle glades on the southern end of the resort. There will still plenty of areas with untracked snow in the in the Chapel Glades/Birch Glades area, but we continued below that down to the Toll House for long run through the trees with almost limitless powder. The Toll House is a great place to when much of the resort is tracked out, but it’s especially good right now with the snowpack a bit on the low side and Stowe’s steepest glades still a bit too bony for safe skiing.

An image of an ice sculpture at Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont
The winner of the ice sculpture contest with some impressively spindly legs!

After a good powder session in the Toll House trees (and even trails) we headed back to the Spruce Peak Village in time to make the hot chocolate and s’mores session. They’ve got it right alongside the new ice rink, and it’s a great setting. I took a tour around the rink and surrounding structures and they’ve got some really nice spots for gatherings and events, including a barn-like building at the south end of the rink with a huge fireplace. After our break I took one more run with the kids on Sunny Spruce where we went to some of our favorite powder stashes off the west end of the mountain, and the snow was still holding up well. I’m still impressed at how eminently skiable most of the trees are despite the low snowpack. More snow will obviously continue to open more lines but with the moderate to even semi-steep terrain that we were able to ski today, it’s hard to complain.

Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT 23JAN2016

An image of ski tracks in powder on the Girl's trail on the backcountry skiing network at Bolton Valley ski resort in Vermont
The snowpack may be low for this time of year, but you’d never know it based on the great powder skiing I found today on the Bolton Valley Backcountry Network.

Thanks to a storm affecting the Northern Greens in the first half of the week, we picked up nearly a foot of snow at our house in Waterbury, and some of the local peaks picked up more than a foot and a half of the white stuff. The new snow I measure here at the house was super dry, with densities as low as 1-2% H2O, so it’s settled quite a bit over the past few days. I’m sure the same thing was going on in the mountains, but it’s been seasonably cold and I knew that the powder out there would be well preserved and ready to offer up some potentially fantastic turns.

I was busy with a bunch of work at the house today, but with the recent powder, a solid base below it, and afternoon blue skies with temperatures in the 20s F, it was just too nice of day not to get out. I decided to head to the mountain for a quick backcountry tour up to Bryant Cabin and down through some of numerous glades below it. The resort was really hoppin’ with visitors, and with the gorgeous afternoon and people probably making up for lost ski time during out slow December, it wasn’t surprising. Fortunately, I was quickly able to get a parking spot right along the Nordic trails in one of the tennis court lots.

I got on my way and checked the depth of the powder at Village level. Bolton Valley had reported 18 inches from the storm in their higher elevations, and I found that settled powder depths today at ~2,000’ were 10-12 inches. I could see that coverage was excellent as I skinned my way up the Bryant Trail; there really aren’t any concerns about bare spots on the main routes at this point. Up at the cabin at ~2,700 I found that the depth of the powder had bumped up a couple of inches to the 12-14” range. It was a gorgeous time to be out on the trails in that last hour before sunset, and I saw a few other Nordic and backcountry skiers out there enjoying the scene as well.

“I’ve got to say, you know the Northern Greens are a pretty sweet spot for snow when we’re currently running in the bottom 5% of ski seasons on terms of snowfall, and there’s still plentiful base and powder for midwinter-quality powder skiing.”

I took a descent route through several of my favorite glades in the North Slope/Gardiner’s Lane area including Grizzwald and Girl’s, others that I’m not sure of the names, and still others that I don’t think have names because they’re likely just areas of the forest that are naturally appropriate for skiing. The powder turns were fantastic; the base is plenty deep and the amount of powder for even blue and black pitches was plenty for bottomless floatation on my fat skis. I’ve got to say, you know the Northern Greens are a pretty sweet spot for snow when we’re currently running in the bottom 5% of ski seasons on terms of snowfall, and there’s still plentiful base and powder for midwinter-quality powder skiing. I suspect the very steepest terrain is probably not quite there yet in terms of coverage, but from what I skied, you’d almost never even guess that snowpack is only in the 2 to 3-foot range. The only hints I had that things weren’t quite at the typical Northern Greens midwinter depth were those instances where you might feel a slight pressure/bump where a log sits under the base, vs. never even knowing it exists. In any event, the Bolton Valley Backcountry Network is in great shape, so get out and enjoy it. There’s certainly something to be said for having the base elevation above 2,000’.

An image of a ski line with powder snow in the Girl's area of the backcountry network at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
I really didn’t find much underbrush on a lot of powder lines today; they were looking in midwinter form.

I managed to catch fresh tracks through various glades and tree areas all the way down to the bottom of World Cup, and then skied out and hiked to the Village to order up some sandwiches and pizza to bring back for E and the boys. They were busy and/or tired today so I didn’t pressure them much to head up to the mountain, especially since I was unsure of the conditions, but I definitely let them know how great it was when I got back.

Stowe, VT 18JAN2016

An image of Erica skiing some deep snow in the Nosedive Glades at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Mother Nature has been dropping a lot of snow on Mansfield as of late, and the powder continues to build up.

We’re in the midst of a fairly snowy stretch here in the Northern Greens, and thanks to the MLK holiday, E and the boys and I were able to head to Stowe for some skiing today. They’d reported up to 4 inches of new snow overnight, and it was still coming down when we arrived at the mountain in the morning. The continued snow was a welcomed sight, but unfortunately there was also an absolutely brutal wind out there today that came along with it. We parked in the Mansfield lot and made our way to the Over Easy as quickly as possible to get out of the wind and over to the Spruce Peak Base Area.

An image of breakfast cooking on a griddle at the Great Room Grill at Stowe Mountain Resort in VermontWe had some breakfast at the Great Room Grill while we waited for Jack and Norris, who were the reason that Ty and Dylan were so excited for the day. They were going to head off as a foursome on their own, similar to what they’d done last season. It’s hard to beat hanging with your buddies with total freedom on the slopes. That meant that E and I would get to spend some time skiing alone together, which we haven’t done in quite some time.

“Right on one of the cat tracks I checked with my pole and found a healthy 22 inches of snow above the base. It wasn’t all from the current storm, but boy where you found undisturbed snow it was very deep and bottomless.”

The boys headed on their way up Spruce Peak, and E and I were off to Mansfield to ride the Gondola. It seemed like the way to go with those ferocious winds, and everyone at the resort seemed to have the same idea so there was quite a queue. Winds were actually fairly minimal up at the Cliff House itself thanks to its position below the ridge, but I knew that in general the trees would be the place to go to seek protection. We headed toward the Nosedive Glades and found impressive amounts of powder out there. Right on one of the cat tracks I checked with my pole and found a healthy 22 inches of snow above the base. It wasn’t all from the current storm, but boy where you found undisturbed snow it was very deep and bottomless. We didn’t return to the Gondola due to the queue, but headed over to the Mountain Triple Chair and Fourrunner Quad, which were deserted. We found some excellent snow in the Chapel Glades/Birch Glades area; base depths are easily sufficient for those glades. The powder in undisturbed areas was typically in the range of a foot there, being lower on the mountain. We were warmed up enough after that run that we braved the winds on the Fourrunner Quad, and went back into the Nosedive Glades from the other side because the snow had been so good in there.

An image showing 22 inches of snow in the Nosedive Glades at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Deep snow in the Nosedive Glades

We warmed up at the Midway Lodge near the fireplace, and then made another Gondola run to hit some of the terrain in that area since the lift queue had disappeared. We checked out Waterfall and Switchback and found some pretty nice snow. I dipped into a few glades to check them out, and there are some lines that flow, but most need just another storm or two. The boys had called from the Octagon with plans to meet back at the Great Room Grill for lunch, and they made it back well ahead of us and snuck in a bit more skiing on Spruce Peak while they waited.

An image of snowy evergreens in the Nosedive Glades at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Tons of snow clinging to the evergreens in the Nosedive Glades

By the time we’d finished lunch it was after 3:00 P.M., but the boys were interested in checking out some of the lines that E and I had skied with the great snow in the Nosedive Glades. Traffic had been pretty light in the afternoon, and with continued snow falling the conditions were excellent. We even sampled a few more glades on the lower mountain on that run; it’s still hit or miss with the current base depths, but there are certainly some decent shots available. On piste conditions were generally a mix of great new snow with a reasonably soft base in areas of low traffic, but firm in areas that had seen typical levels of holiday weekend skiers. Things should only be getting better over the next couple of days with the continued snow; Winter Weather Advisories are already up for the upslope region of the Northern Greens for the snow coming into the area tomorrow.