Stowe, VT 06MAY2011

Picture of the gondola slopes of Mt. Mansfield
The fresh snow on Mansfield's slopes in the morning

I headed up to Mt. Mansfield this morning to get in a workout and take advantage of the fresh snow that had fallen since Wednesday.  Once I got out of the fog that had settled around our house in the Winooski Valley, there were fantastic views of the fresh snow on the Green Mountains, and Mt. Mansfield’s alpine terrain was especially scenic.  I started my skin up the gondola side of Mansfield at around 7:00 A.M., and found the following new snow accumulations with respect to elevation:

1,600′:  ~1/4″
2,000′:  1-2″
2,500′:  ~4″
3,000′:  ~6″
3,600′: ~10″

A picture of ski tracks on Upper Gondolier at Stowe
Cutting some arcs into the new snow on Upper Gondolier

It was a little tough to get the depths on what had fallen because the new snow was so well integrated onto the old base, but those were my best estimates and I’d say they’re pretty decent.  In terms of the skiing, the new snow was certainly more akin to dense Sierra Cement than Northern Vermont’s famous Champlain Powder™ fluff, but the turns were really nice; the dense snow did a great job of keeping one up off the old base.  For the full details, links, and all the photographs from the day, click through to the full trip report from Stowe on May 6th, 2011.

Bolton Valley, VT 01MAY2011

Image of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from Bolton Valley's Vista Summit
Looking westward near sunset from the Vista Summit

It was a busy weekend culminating with Ty’s first communion and the ensuing party today, but once things had wound down by the afternoon, I had a chance to head up to the mountain and make some turns.  There was fresh snow on April 23rd, but the snowpack has certainly crept upward in elevation since April 17th, which was the last sunny day I was out on the mountain.  At that point the first signs of natural snow appeared at around 900’, but today the natural snow didn’t appear until roughly 1,750’.  Timberline had just a couple patches of snow remaining, but up at the main base the snowpack was quite substantial.  There is continuous snow coverage on Sherman’s Pass to Beech Seal, and possibly other routes as well, and I caught a sunset run through the corn to finish off the amazing sunny weekend that we were given.  For more details and pictures, click through to my Bolton Valley trip report from May 1st, 2011.

The snow in the yard has melted

The last of the snow in the yard melted today, so I can finish off that portion of my seasonal snowfall numbers.  The data for the last of the snow melting out in the yard (as of this season the mean date is April 15th ± 10 days) is actually something I’ve recorded all the way back since our first winter here (2006-2007) and April 24th is one day later than the previous record I had down (April 23rd, 2007).  This puts the continuous snowpack season in the yard at 141 days, which is exactly the same number recorded for ’06-’07.  Both of those seasons had slow starts with poor November snowfall, and snowpack that did not become established until early December, so they are well behind the highest value of 152 days recorded for the 2007-2008 season.  The next benchmark I’ll monitor will be when the last of the snow melts out in our neighborhood, which tends to be about a week beyond when the snow melts out at the house.

As I was skiing at Bolton yesterday I was reminded of some outings in April ’07, and realized that while the snowpack is in excellent shape this spring, the skiing this month has really paled in comparison to the equivalent period back in ’07.  Even down at this elevation we had almost two feet of snowfall in April ’07, and this season we’ve had just 4.4 inches.  I’m not sure what the mountains have had this April, but in ’07 it was measured in feet; I skied one day mid month on the mountain where I found up to 19 inches of new snow, and that was for just one of the storms.  The reading from the Mansfield stake on Friday was certainly respectable at 82 inches, but for the same date in ’07 it was actually at 84 inches.  It’s really been just an issue of the storm track this April; the moisture has been there, but the track has been too far to the north/west to get into the appropriate combination of precipitation and temperature.  With a good track over the past few weeks we probably would have had another April 2007 on our hands.  I think that the past couple of springs have been so poor in the snowfall department that some perspective has been lost on April’s potential, this one is good in terms of base/snowpack, but I’d say subpar for snowfall (we’re still below average by a few inches at the house).

Bolton Valley, VT 23APR2011

Picture of ski tracks in the powder on Lower Turnpike
Cutting some big arcs across the lower part of Turnpike

While the weather was full-blown spring with sunshine and corn snow yesterday at Sugarbush, today it was back to winter with a bit of fresh powder in the mountains.  I headed up to Bolton for some turns and found snow that was dense enough to keep me from touching down to the old subsurface much of the time.  The base snow provided wall to wall coverage, so with the powder on top it was a great ride.  For all the details and pictures, go to my April 23rd trip report from Bolton Valley.

Stowe, VT 19APR2011

Image of Stowe's Gondolier trail from the Spruce Peak base
Looking up at Gondolier from the Spruce Peak base area

Ali and Wini were heading to The Shed for dinner today, and since I had the time and E and the boys were out of town, it was the perfect chance to get in an evening of skiing and dinner in Stowe.  I stopped off first at Spruce Peak where the coverage is still excellent; that’s a really good gauge of just how much snow is out there because the bottom of Spruce Peak is both low elevation AND south facing – it’s hard to find a tougher challenge to the snow than that.  The skiing was great, with a couple of inches of beautifully smooth corn that had softened during the day and had partially recrystallized into airy goodness.  Dinner with Wini and Ali was great; definitely one of those classic Vermont spring evenings, and with the current snowpack it looks like there can be many more!  For all the details and images, go to my trip report from today.

Bolton Valley, VT 17APR2011

Image of Whiteface from Bolton
Looking between the chairs of the Timberline Lift to take in the view of Whiteface across Lake Champlain

Unlike yesterday, where temperatures stayed rather wintry and didn’t give the snow a chance to warm up, today the temperatures were warmer and the sun was starting to break out in the afternoon, so I headed up to Bolton for some turns.  The snow coverage is still great all the way down to the Timberline elevations, so I made turns there and found some excellent spring corn.  The full details and all the pictures can be found in my Bolton Valley trip report from today.  There is a lot of skiing to be done in the coming weeks, so get out and enjoy that great snowpack!

Bolton Valley, VT 07APR2011

Image of track on the Glades trail at Bolton Valley
Adding another set of tracks to the Glades trail

I headed up to Bolton Valley today and got in on some of the powder from the recent snowfall.  The depth of the new snow was topping out in the 9-inch range, but the nice density gradient had it skiing deep just as Denis commented in his report from Stowe, and Powderfreak indicated in his initial update as well.  It was another great April powder day in the Northern Greens, read my full report to see more pictures and details.

Bolton Valley, VT 23MAR2011

Ski tracks on Spell Binder
Some of my tracks left in the delicate powder present on Spell Binder this morning

I headed up to the mountain for some turns this morning and got in my first powder of the week, with more powder likely to come as the upslope snow continues to fall.  I skinned up at Timberline and found 3 to 5 inches of powder at 1,500′, and about 6 inches at 2,500′.  The full details and pictures are in my Bolton Valley report from this morning.

Bolton Valley, VT 06MAR2011

An image of snowy evergreen branches
Snow was quickly turning the area into a wintry scene both up on the mountain and down in the valley.

E and her co-director decided to cancel ski program at Stowe today due to so many parents being concerned about the large incoming storm, so I popped up to Bolton Valley for a bit this afternoon to see how some of the new snow was taking hold.  The conditions were actually quite nice, as the new snow is dense and it seems to be bonding to the old snow as it cools down.  I skied Hard Luck, which is fairly steep, and although I was certainly touching down on the old snow at times, even that was reasonably pliable and the new dense stuff was providing quite a ride even on pitches in the 30-degree range.  I followed up with Beech Seal, smiling the whole way as I ripped fresh snow down the deserted slopes.  I didn’t get any images of the new snow from up on the mountain, but I grabbed a shot out back at the house when I was making my weather observations at 4:30 P.M., and the snowy branches were representative of how the trees were starting to look up on the mountain.  For all the details, check out the full report from up at Bolton today.

Bolton Valley, VT (Timberline) 26FEB2011

Image of Stephen skiing on Spell Binder
Stephen getting some earned turns on Spell Binder

I headed up for an early, pre lift-service session at Bolton this morning with Stephen and Johannes.  We ascended Twice as Nice and hit Spell Binder for first tracks.  On the headwall the snow was a little tricky due to some mid-storm skier traffic yesterday, as well as the wind that had picked up in the evening.

The skiing was still decent, even if not entirely bottomless on the headwall.  Once we were lower down and out of the wind, the snow quality took a big jump up and anything untracked was just what one would expect.  It wasn’t the lightest of the light in terms of Northern Vermont Champlain Powder™, but my analyses from yesterday indicated 5-6% H2O at our place down in the valley, and I’d say it easily skied like that as long as the wind hadn’t gotten to it.  Click through to read the full report from today.