We popped back up to the mountain for another sunny ski session at Timberline on Sunday, and the boys were both off work so they were able to join us. Temperatures were about 10 F warmer than Saturday, but I didn’t notice too much change in the variety of ski surfaces that we’d seen – the direct, west-facing trails were decent corn snow, but there were still some sticky spots on other aspects, and some firmer snow on terrain well out of the sun.
We sampled most of the available terrain off Timberline, and folks had some different favorite runs. E liked Twice as Nice the most, while I liked Spell Binder the best because it seemed to have seen less traffic and offered some of the smoothest corn snow surfaces below the headwall. All in all it was yet another great day of spring skiing though, topped off with a little takeout from Mad Taco Bolton for dinner.
Today was even a bit warmer than yesterday, with temperatures in the valley this afternoon topping out around 60 F. So, I decided to get in another round of exercise with a Bolton Valley ski tour.
The strip of snow just to the climber’s right of the Timberline Quad base station had broken up even a bit more than yesterday, but I still traversed the gap with skins to start my tour. To mix things up today, I headed up Timberline Run and over toward Brandywine for my ascent. That area is more shaded from the sun, but with the warmer temperatures I figured it might be softened up enough for some smooth turns.
“The slightly warmer temperatures today made the snow quality even better, so the trend has just been one of increasing snow quality of these last few sessions.”
The snow there was fine, but once I got back into the snow below the Timberline Quad near the top, I could see that the exposure to the sun had made the snow just so much better there. I couldn’t resist that snow, so I ultimately ended up descending via Showtime as we’ve done on the past couple of outings. The slightly warmer temperatures today made the snow quality even better, so the trend has just been one of increasing snow quality of these last few sessions.
It’s beginning to look more and more likely that we’re going to get a winter storm toward the end of the week with the possibility of substantial snow for the mountains, so hopefully we’ll be able to get back into some powder skiing. The spring skiing has been very nice, but a change of pace with powder skiing would of course be welcomed as well.
We had another nice day of weather today with some sun and temperatures in the 50s F, so I headed up to Bolton Valley for another ski tour at Timberline. The strip of snow just to the climber’s right of the Timberline Quad base station that we used for skinning during our ski tour on Saturday, was slightly broken up now with a small gap. It was just a few feet of dry grass in the break though, so I easily continued right across it, and coverage was great from there on up.
On Saturday, we stopped our tour at the Timberline Mid Station because it was our first outing in a little while and I figured it was good to take it easy, but today I headed right up to the Timberline Summit. The views were nice with some late day clouds to the west over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. The snow on Showtime was even a notch better than Saturday, I think thanks to a bit more sun to soften it up and create a smoother, more even surface today.
It looks like we’ll have more spring weather in the first part of this week before it becomes wintrier in the latter part of the week.
Our most recent winter storm cycle was Winter Storm Quincy, which took place over a week ago. It brought a couple days of good powder, and D and I were able to get out for some fun turns, but since then we’ve sort of been back in the spring weather doldrums. We haven’t had another significant storm, and it hasn’t really been warm enough to soften up the slopes.
Some warmer, sunnier weather moved into the area today though, with temperatures in the 50s F, so the family headed up to Bolton Valley for a quick tour and some soft spring turns. Timberline still has plenty of continuous lines, so we toured from the Timberline Base, and up to the Timberline Mid Station. Just to the right of the base of the Timberline Quad there’s a thin line of snow that supports skinning right from the base, but that will probably melt out in a couple more days of warm weather. There’s solid coverage on the climber’s left of the quad base though, so that will probably be fine for ascents and descents for a while.
Ty cruised right up the hill on the ascent, with Dylan not too far behind, so the two of them had the chance to hang out at the top for a bit before I arrived. One of the chairs of the quad is nicely positioned at the mid station to make a convenient bench, so the boys really enjoyed hanging out there and enjoying the mountain views.
Showtime is doing the best with respect to coverage thanks to additional manmade snow, so we made our descent there. The snow was nice spring corn that had softened on Bolton’s usual afternoon sun, so the turns were quite good.
We only saw a couple of other cars in the parking lot, although it was fairly late in the afternoon, so most people had probably gotten their turns in earlier.
It looks like the weather is going to cool back down as we head into the latter part of this coming week, so we may be looking at more fresh snow coming to the mountains. We’ll see what happens, but I know everyone would be psyched to get out for some more powder.
Today felt like a blast from the past… well at least the somewhat recent past of the 2012-2013 ski season. With a silent Timberline Quad, luxurious untracked powder on the slopes, and fat skis on the feet, it was just like being back in December. That second half of December was one of the best stretches for ski conditions this season, and it was the early date combined with some mechanical issues on the Timberline Quad that left the Timberline area the realm of those earning their powder turns. Now we’re on the other end of season, and as it begins to wind down we find that the Timberline Quad isn’t running every day. So it’s back to earning Timberline turns, but with a more established base of snow, and a lot more sunshine.
At some point earlier this week I realized that the Timberline Quad wasn’t running, so with some extra time this morning, I made my way up to Timberline in search of powder. Our storm earlier in the week produced a nice resurfacing dump with about a foot of synoptic density snow, and it’s been followed up over the past couple of days by some dry fluff to really top that off for some primo powder skiing conditions. Skies were clear this morning, with temperatures in the mid teens as I pulled into the Timberline lot, and the sun was just trying to break the ridge that marks the top of the resort to the east. There were a couple cars in the parking lot and I could see tracks on the trails indicating that people had certainly been out taking advantage of the snow. Depth checks at the Timberline Base elevations revealed anywhere from 12 to 15 inches of powder above the subsurface, although I tended to get reading in the 10 to 12-inch range higher up where the wind may have pushed the snow around at some point. The main skin track today was up Showtime, and it took a somewhat unconventional route right up the gut of the trail because it was made in someone’s descent track. It was quite a good track though, well packed and devoid of any footprints. I saw about a dozen tracks from other skiers that had descended in the Showtime area, but untracked lines were still quite plentiful.
All was quiet when I arrived at the Timberline Mid Station, although I eventually saw a couple of snowboarders and skier getting on with their descents. One of the lift operators showed up and began to prep the mid station area for use, and when I asked him about the upcoming schedule for Timberline, he said that it was opening back up tomorrow. That is of course a bittersweet occurrence – it means that we can get lots of Timberline runs, but gone are the runs of endless powder day after day. I figured that at least I’d made it in time to catch “Club Timberline” mode.
I poked around over at Spell Binder, and it looked good, but I ultimately chose Showtime for the descent because that seems to be a bit harder to come by. Another aspect of the day that reminded me of December was the fact that all the west-facing headwalls appeared to be filled in nicely, without the usual scouring that can accompany a westerly wind – there must have been some easterly component to the wind during our most recent nor’easter. The Showtime Headwall looked like it had been treated nicely by the storm, so I dropped in with the confidence that I wasn’t going to hit anything below the snow. I pushed hard into those steep turns on the headwall, and the powder pushed right back, cushioning each movement of my skis with a snowpack of ever increasing density. The turns were so silky smooth and buoyant that I have to give the conditions at least a 9 out of 10. It really was utter perfection in terms of snow quality; with the only thing one could ask being perhaps some deeper champagne and a bunch of face shots. After one quick stop I rattled off turns down the rest of the run, with a cadence that lingered in my head long after I was done.
I really wished that E and the boys could have been there, because the scene reminded me exactly of an outing we had back on December 28th. The sun was out and the snow was great, and I know that they would have loved it. I drove away thinking about how I was going to describe the skiing to E. It turned out that it wasn’t going to be that difficult; because little did I know at time, I was actually going to be right back on those slopes again at the end of the day…