There’s a frontal boundary spread across New England right now, and up here in Northern Vermont we’re on the cold side. That’s given us a decent amount of fresh snow today, especially in the mountains where more than a half foot has fallen in some cases. Bolton Valley was already reporting 4 to 6 inches of new snow as of mid-afternoon, so Ty and I decided to head up to check it out and grab some dinner for the family.
“…the snow surface was dense, buttery powder with a really good shot of resurfacing liquid equivalent in it.”
It was surprisingly quiet for such a spectacular night skiing evening, but I suspect concerns about the roads kept a lot of people home. There’s definitely been some mixed precipitation around, but the precipitation was mostly snow while we were up at the mountain. Flakes varied from granular types all the way up to massive 1” aggregates, and the snow surface was dense, buttery powder with a really good shot of resurfacing liquid equivalent in it. Tonight looked like it was one of those evenings where weather conditions were coming together to make for some great turns under the lights, and indeed that was the case – the temperature was right around 32, there was no wind, and there was lots of fresh snow.
Ty and I focused on Spillway, and it was great letting those steep turns fall away in the dense powder. I brought my Tele midfats, but I definitely could have gone with the full fats and had a blast. It’s no wonder the skiing felt like there had been such a solid resurfacing; we’re already past ¾” of liquid equivalent with today’s snow down in the valley at our house, and up high they’ve certainly had more.
I was home this afternoon with enough time to head up to the mountain for a couple of runs before dark, with the incentive being a bit of snow that we picked up today from a small Alberta Clipper-type system. Although the snowfall had generally been quite light in intensity today, it had been snowing continuously, and reports of 3 to 5 inches were coming in from the mountains. I didn’t know if anyone else would be interested, so I figured it would just be a solo outing for me to scope out how the new snow was setting things up for coming days. But, before I knew it, the whole family was interested in getting some turns, and once we confirmed that night skiing was on, up to the hill we went!
“…combined with the weather, the overall ski conditions were so good that we ended up staying a lot longer than I’d thought we would.”
The temperature at Village elevation (~2,100’) was right around freezing, and while we were at the mountain the cloud deck fluctuated between there and Mid Mountain (~2,500’). There was light snow falling the entire evening, and although we never went higher than Mid Mountain, there was no wind to speak of. So overall, it was an incredibly nice time to be out skiing under the lights. I measured 3” of snow in the Village parking lot, and generally found 3-4” on the hill, which jives perfectly with the 3-4” that I see this evening in the Bolton Valley snow report. My liquid analyses down here at the house (500’) revealed a very mid-weight 10% H2O snow, and while we may have had a touch of compaction due to being slightly above the freezing mark at our elevation, I’d say that 10% density is fairly consistent with what the mountain received. So the new snow has got a bit of girth to it and can float you pretty well on low- to moderate-angle terrain as long as there’s a smooth subsurface.
One thing that got Ty excited to head to the mountain this evening was the chance to do some snowboarding. He’s big enough to use my snowboard now, so E said that she’d give him some instruction to get him started. We all started off at the Mighty Mite to ensure that Ty was set on the board, and then spent the rest of our time on the Mid Mountain Chair so that Ty could work on his snowboard turns with E, while I worked with Dylan on his Telemark skiing.
There was plenty of powder available this evening off to the sides of the main runs and on the easily accessible side trails, and combined with the weather, the overall ski conditions were so good that we ended up staying a lot longer than I’d thought we would. There obviously hasn’t been enough liquid added atop the snowpack to keep folks from touching down to the old surface on steep terrain yet, but lower-angle to moderate terrain is skiing beautifully. I suspect the groomed terrain could have been pretty loud before this new snow, but turns were very silent and peaceful tonight. And, there’s the aesthetic quality of all the new snow. Folks coming up for the holiday weekend should be pretty psyched, especially if Mother Nature tops this current snow off with a bit more from the system potentially affecting the area on Saturday.
We capped off the evening with a trip to Fireside Flatbread for the first time this season. It was a quiet midweek evening, and service was really quick – we sent the boys downstairs to the cafeteria to get a couple of appetizers and the pizza arrived before they even got back! Anyway, tonight’s experience with the soft conditions has got everyone in the family interested in getting more turns this weekend, so hopefully we’ll have another chance to get out and enjoy the new snow.
We’re getting another reprieve from the arctic air this weekend, but last night was still quite cold with temperatures well down into the negative Fahrenheit numbers. We gave the day some time to warm up, and then headed up to Bolton Valley’sTimberline area in the afternoon. The snow from our next system, Winter Storm Pandora, was slated to start up at some point in the afternoon today, and indeed the flakes began to fly right around 2:00 P.M. There’s nothing like riding the lift into the higher elevations just as a storm is ramping up, because it can really make the snowfall intensity jump up quite rapidly.
“You could still tell that the powder wasn’t absolutely pristine fresh stuff, since it had that settled look and didn’t explode like fresh champagne, but it was quite excellent in general. The boys checked the surface snow depth in the KP Glades and were getting back numbers in the 30″ range.”
Temperatures were in the middle teens F in the lower elevations of Timberline, but it definitely got colder as we headed up in elevation. For a warm up we hit Tattle Tale from the Timberline Summit, and the center of the headwall is still quite wind scoured as usual, but the sides held some great snow. You know the weather pattern has been good when even a steep, windswept slope like the top of Tattle Tale has that good snow that you can sink and edge into. It was actually nice to see Bolton Valley top all the Vermont ski areas and pull off a rogue foot of snow on Thursday, but there had definitely been a bit of wind since then that packed it down in exposed areas. Noticing that, we headed for the trees, and the settling and wind effects were notably less. You could still tell that the powder wasn’t absolutely pristine fresh stuff, since it had that settled look and didn’t explode like fresh champagne, but it was quite excellent in general. The boys checked the surface snow depth in the KP Glades and were getting back numbers in the 30″ range.
The four of us made our way over to the main mountain and headed up Vista. It got colder and colder as we headed up, and it had to be down in the single digits F up there with wind from the incoming storm to boot. Looking for something that would get the blood pumping and keep us out of the wind, we linked Buena Vista to Dynamite. The snow was excellent, but by the time we’d finished Dynamite, E was thinking of heading back to Timberline. She’s got a big toe that she tweaked a couple of weeks back when Tina’s family came up for skiing, and then she stressed it more when she was snowboarding on Sunday at BJAMS ski program. Between that and the cold, she said she just wasn’t grooving enough to ski the steep trees, and was thinking of warming up at the Timberline Base Lodge and then maybe doing some groomed skiing. Using the Deer Run route, we delivered her over to the top of Snowflake, where she headed down toward Timberline and the boys and I headed to the main base lodge to warm up for a bit before another Vista run. On the way we caught some nice powder in the Bonus Woods, fortunately finding that any issues from wind had been minimal.
The boys and I stopped up at Fireside Flatbread for some slices, and Dylan really had fun watching the cooks as they worked with dozens of balls of dough to turn them into those thin crusts. As we watched their slick routine, we made some mental notes for our next homemade pizza night. They let us know that $2 slices were starting at 4:00 P.M., which definitely got us thinking about grabbing some takeout on the way home.
The boys and I headed back out into the storm, and Pandora’s snowfall was definitely intensifying. Visibility had certainly been down to ¼ mile at times earlier on in the afternoon, but now it was pretty consistently in that range and we were dealing with some heavy snow. We headed up Vista and worked our way into the Villager Trees for some powder. The boys took a break during the run and bombed off one of the cliffs into the deep fluff below. It was a pretty good height of probably ten feet or so, and I was surprised that they both wanted to go jumping. But when the powder’s deep like it is now, it doesn’t really matter; any hard snow is way down there out of reach. They’d typically land and end up with just their head sticking out of the snow.
“We’ve had inch per hour snows much of the night since then, and if the mountains are getting hit even harder than we are down here, then it should be a good day of skiing tomorrow.”
We skied some nice powder lines back toward Timberline, and by the time we caught back up with E it was after 4:00 P.M. The staff was cleaning up the Timberline Base Lodge, so she’d headed to the car and was all set to meet us. It turns out that she just relaxed in the lodge and stayed warm instead of putting any additional stress on her toe. We’ll see how she’s doing tomorrow for skiing at Stowe.
While we were loading up the car it was really dumping. We ordered a couple of pizzas from Fireside Flatbread, and it was good that the plows were out because the road needed the attention. The intensity of the snowfall certainly lightened up as we headed back down into the valley, but there was two inches on the snowboards at the house when I did an analysis at 5:00 P.M. We’ve had inch per hour snows much of the night since then, and if the mountains are getting hit even harder than we are down here, then it should be a good day of skiing tomorrow.