Tag Archives: Skinning

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.

Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT 21FEB2011

Image of Ty skinning on the Bryant Trail
Ty skins up the Bryant Trail and checks out the powder

Temperatures warmed up above freezing at all elevations in Northern Vermont at the end of last week, so we waited for the powder to build up over the long weekend before finally heading out this afternoon for turns.  We had three small systems that dropped snow over the holiday weekend; down at the house we picked up 3.7 inches of snow in the form of 0.21 inches of liquid, and Bolton was reporting 5 inches of snow in the higher elevations.  The new powder at the house had settled down to about 2 to 3 inches over the old base, so we knew there would be at least that much up on the mountain.  Temperatures wound up being colder than we thought, but the powder was nice – we found 3 to 4 inches of settled powder in the lower village portion of the network at around 2,000’, and up at the Bryant Cabin elevation (~2,700’) the depths of new snow were 4 to 5 inches.  It turned out to be plenty of fluff for the low and moderate angle pitches, so many nice powder turns were had, and it was also the first time that the boys had skinned all the way up to the cabin.  Dylan had some binding issues near the bottom of the run, so I had to help him through and he got quite a ride.  Read about the entire adventure in the full backcountry trip report from today.

Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry Network, Vermont 22JAN2011

An image of a track from powder skiing in the Bolton Valley backcountry
There was some fantastic powder out there in the Bolton Valley backcounty today.

After a great powdery outing with Dave up on Bolton’s Nordic/backcountry network on MLK Monday, our next snow event began the following day.  It was one of those low pressure systems in the Great Lakes that redevelops as a coastal, and as has been the trend this season, Northern New England was outside of the areas of heaviest precipitation.  However, we did manage to get some snow out of the event.  While there was no snow falling in Waterbury at the house when I left in the morning on Tuesday, a couple of hours later it had started up in Burlington.  When I got home that evening I found 4.2 inches of new snow on the snowboard, and it turned out to be some reasonably dense, base-building material.

In the valley we wound up with 6.5 inches of snow comprised of 0.63 inches of liquid with that event, and then a similar system came in for yesterday.  We were even farther out of that one though, and would up with just 1.6 inches of total snow at the house.  As expected, the mountains did somewhat better, and Bolton had picked up over a foot of snow for the week.

The big weather event for this weekend isn’t snow however, it’s the cold.  Highs are expected to be around 10 F today, and then perhaps not even get above zero tomorrow.  E and the boys decided not to ski based on the cold forecast, but today’s temperatures seemed like they would be pretty nice for a backcountry tour.  I waited until about midday for the temperatures to warm, and warm they had!  Driving toward Bolton, the temperature was almost 20 F in the valley, and it seemed quite a bit warmer than initially thought.  Even up in the village above 2,000’, the temperature was already 10 F and rising.

Kicking off my tour, I headed up Bryant as usual, and was treated to blue skies and lots of white trees.  I could feel that the temperature was cooling down as I gained elevation, but I still had my hat off at times to keep cool.  Once I reached the Bryant Cabin I assessed some tour options.  Ty was having some friends over for a birthday party starting at 4:00 P.M., and I still had to do some grocery shopping on my trip home, but it looked like I had time for a longer tour that just a Bryant lap.  I decided to head out north for a bit along the Bolton-Trapp/Catamount Trail and catch some turns off there.

The trip through the flats to the North of the cabin was fairly quiet, with more white trees and lots of deep snow visible on the steep slopes to the east.  I saw one other skier in the flats on what looked like lighter touring gear, and then I saw another pair of skiers at the top of the drop in for the Cotton Brook trail.  I kept going and assessed some glade options on the high side of the trail.  There were a few tracks, but plenty of lines that hadn’t been visited, and the powder looked fantastic both above and below.  To read about the descent and see all the pictures from the day, head to the full report from the Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry Network today.

Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT 08JAN2011

Image of Jay removing climbing skins
Jay gets set for the descent.

I checked out Bolton’s snow situation and alpine trail offerings in the middle of the day today, and after heading home, I filled E and the boys in on what I’d found.  Since there was plenty of powder, but not a ton of lift-served trail options were available, we decided to head up to get in some backcountry skiing for the end of the day.  Dave and I had found that the amount of base snow was excellent when we’d headed up to the Bryant Cabin the previous Saturday, so we were expecting great things with all the fresh stuff on top of it.  Our 3:00 P.M. start resulted in twilight turns through the powder in the areas below Bryant Cabin, so it was quite an adventure for everyone.  To see all the pictures and read the whole story, click through to the full backountry trip report from this evening.

Bolton Valley, VT Nordic & Backcountry 01JAN2011

An image of a spruce bough with beads of water
We caught some great pictures of the surrounding forest as we ascended the Bryant trail on our backcountry outing up at Bolton Valley today.

We’d found that temperatures had cooled down a bit yesterday afternoon at the end of our Bolton outing, and slopes that were not in the sun had begun to tighten up.  In general though, temperatures stayed relatively warm, and there was no new snowfall through this morning.  We hung out at the house in the A.M., and as skies brightened a bit in the afternoon, Dave and I headed up to Bolton.  Since there weren’t going to be any substantial changes in the spring-like snow conditions we’d experienced yesterday, and some of the natural snow trails were going to be closed due to the warmth, we decided to do a tour on the Nordic/backcountry trail network.  Dave had never been on Bolton’s backcountry network, so he needed to at least get a taste of the plentiful options for turns.

Up in the village, there was one other car in the corner of the tennis lot providing quickest access to the Broadway area, so I’m guessing they had the same idea as us.  In general though, things were quiet aside from a few Nordic skiers moving around the trails.  We skinned the skis and headed toward World Cup where we found a group of patrollers checking passes.  I can’t recall the last time I had my pass checked on the Nordic network, but I’ve heard the mountain is doing it more frequently this season so that’s nice to see.  We chatted with the patrollers for a bit – they were initially wondering if we were planning to stay at the cabin, but we let them know we were just out for a quick tour.

We headed up the Bryant trail and it was a really pleasant ascent.  Temperatures were in the 40s F so we stopped frequently for photography to capture the sights.  At one photography stop, a couple of patrollers stopped by and we talked for a while.  We chatted about skis, cameras, and some of the new glades, and then they headed on their way up to take care of a tree that had fallen onto one of the trails.  Coverage on Bryant and in the surrounding backcountry was excellent, with generally a couple feet of settled snow.  We did see a couple of small openings in streams along the side of the trail, but they were more an opportunity for photos than anything.  Any stream crossings on Bryant were in fine shape and there was no open water across the trail.  To check out the rest of the text, images, and GPS track, continue on to the full Bolton Valley Nordic/Backcountry report from today.

Bolton Valley, VT 27DEC2010

An image of ski tracks on Timberline Run at Bolton Valley
Laying down some tracks this afternoon in the fresh snow on Bolton Valley's Timberline Run

It turns out that Northern Vermont wasn’t really the jackpot for this Nor’easter, but we did get into some of the snowfall.  As of 6:00 A.M. this morning we’d picked up 1.1 inches of snow down at the house that came in at a fairly synoptic storm-style 9.1% H2O, and up above us at Bolton Valley they reported 3 inches of new snow in the higher elevations.  Even down in the valley it continued to snow however, and the flake size increased as we moved farther into the storm.  By noon we’d picked up another inch of snow, and the density was down to 5.0% H2O.

Temperatures in the low double digits F and plenty of wind outside didn’t have me jumping out the door to hit the hill, but with the way it continued to snow at the house, I figured it had to be doing even better in the higher elevations.  Bolton was reporting that everything but their surface lift was on wind hold, but I decided to head up to Timberline to make some turns.  I’d missed the chance to check it out on Sunday when it was planned to open, so this would be a good chance to see how it was skiing.

I arrived up the Timberline base (1,500’) to a temperature of 9 F, and decent winds in probably the 20 to 30 MPH range.  There were a couple of other cars in the upper lot that belonged to folks doing the same thing I was, but the whole scene was one of a desolate winter storm.  Another fellow had headed up just a few minutes before me, so I followed his skin track… or at least I think I did because even in that short time it was starting to disappear in places due to the wind and falling snow.  I ascended the usual Twice as Nice route, and was surprised at how nice the snow was.  I was wondering if everything was going to be scoured down to something hard, but that wasn’t the case – there’s a really good base of natural snow, and an even in spots where the new snow had been blown away, the underlying surface was either packed powder or some sort of Styrofoam material.  In actuality though, it was only isolated spots that were even down to that surface, most of the new powder was still there.  Since the wind was from the north instead of the west, that was probably a better setup for the generally west-facing Timberline terrain.  I checked the depth on my ascent and generally found between 3 and 7 inches of new snow, so the mountain had definitely picked up more snow since their morning report.

Bolton Valley, VT 19DEC2010

Ski tracks in powder
Glorious powder was found on Spell Binder up at Bolton Valley today.

We had a busy day of holiday-related activities planned today, so I headed out early to earn some powder turns up at Bolton Valley before things got going.  Although I’d been hearing great things about the snow at Timberline, and I’d driven by and seen the tracks there a number of times, I decided it was finally time to check out just what all the fuss was about.  Indeed, as I found out, the quality of the powder there is in fact worthy of a fuss.  To see all the powdery details and images, go to the full Bolton Valley trip report from today.