I was too busy yesterday to hit the slopes and check out the new snow from Winter Storm Kassandra, but Dylan was out at Bolton for some runs and said the skiing was excellent. He told me that he and Colin got third tracks down Preacher, which must have been pretty amazing. The snowfall continued right through the day yesterday though, and there was a decent signal for upslope snow on the back side of the storm cycle, so it seemed like today would hold some promise for great turns as well. My drive home from Burlington yesterday evening went from partly cloudy conditions in the Champlain Valley, to gradually increasing snowfall as I pushed farther into the mountains, to a pounding of huge flakes by the time I got home. The roads were snowy, but the visibility was the tougher part of the drive. When I measured the snowfall rate at our house yesterday evening, it was up in the 2 to 3-inch per hour range for a while, so the flakes were building depth quickly. And not surprisingly, those huge flakes were stacking up with impressive loft. When I ran a snow analysis at midnight, the stack density came in at 2.3% H2O. We haven’t really had a lot of upslope snow on the back side of storm cycles this season, but we got some this time, and it suggested good things by morning with respect to the skiing.
This morning I was on my way up to earn some early turns at Wilderness, when I passed by Timberline and realized the timing was right for the Timberline Uphill Route to be open. The snowpack has thus far been thin down at those lower elevations, but Kassandra definitely seemed to push it over the top and I had my first Timberline outing of the season. We had some outstanding powder skiing around here in mid-December, but I think today’s turns might have just edged out that period to set the new bar for the season. The snowpack was surprisingly robust during that December stretch, but the fact that we’ve now had multiple winter storm cycles, multiple inches of liquid equivalent going into the snowpack, and a skiable snowpack that reaches down even to the Timberline elevations, means a lot. The turns today were so very bottomless and effortless with all the new champagne on top, so it was certainly one of the premier days of the season thus far. Bolton is planning to run the Timberline Quad tomorrow for the first time this season, so that’s a sign that we’re really moving into prime time. They’re also planning on some nice additions to celebrate the day like free coffee, and a visit from the El Gato Food Truck, so it should be a fun way to get Timberline rolling for the season.