Vermont’s first notable storm of December on the way

An image of the winter weather advisories put out by the National Weather Service in Burlington for the morning of December 7, 2011
The initial Winter Weather Advisories are up in Vermont for the upcoming snow event in the eastern and southern parts of the state

A storm that was initially looking to hit Southern New England with the heaviest snows is tracking a bit farther north, so most of Vermont will now be getting a shot of snow out of it.  It’s not a huge storm, but it should provide a nice start to a base for the ski areas, since it will likely be cold enough to keep it around for the foreseeable future.  The initial warning map put out by the National Weather Service Office in Burlington is posted to the left and the first map of snowfall estimates has been added below:

An image of the projected sowfall from National Weather Service in Burlington for the morning of 07DEC2011
A few to several inches of snow are expected to fall overnight tonight throughout the state of Vermont.

An image of the winter weather advisories put out by the National Weather Service in Burlington for the evening of December 7, 2011

An image of the projected sowfall from National Weather Service in Burlington for the evening of 07DEC2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011:  The snow totals for the storm in this area are shown in the map below, in general the storm produced 2 to 6 inches of snow throughout the state:A map of snowfall totals for the December 7 & 8 snowfall event for Northern Vermont and New York

For the full details on this storm, head to the detailed report at the winter weather section of our website.

Vermont’s first snows of December

We picked up our first December snow yesterday, just 0.4 inches here at the house, but Mt. Mansfield picked up a couple of inches and the slopes are looking much nicer with the fresh coat of white.  Powderfreak put up some great pictures of the new snow from both yesterday and today over in the New England Regional Forum at American Weather.  I’ve added some of my observations from yesterday below:

“I’m not sure of the temperature, but it was raining lightly when I left Burlington around 5:00 P.M.  At the Waterbury Park and Ride, the precipitation looked like a mixture of rain and snow, and the only accumulations I saw were a fairly thin coating of slush on the cars.  True to form though, once I hit the Cider House a couple miles west toward the spine, I started seeing accumulations of snow on the grass, and at the house I found 0.3” of slushy snow on the snowboard and a temperature of 33.3 F.  The snow picked up for a bit after the 6:00 P.M. board clearing, and we received another tenth of an inch of snow, but the snowfall has tapered off since then and it’s very light now.  It is nice to have the first accumulation of December in the books though, hopefully there will be plenty more to come.” Some details from the 6:00 P.M. observations are below:

New Snow: 0.3 inches
New Liquid: 0.06 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 5.0
Snow Density: 20.0% H2O
Temperature: 33.3 F
Sky: Light Snow (1-2 mm flakes)
Snow at the stake: Trace

For the full details on this storm, head to the detailed report at the winter weather section of our website.

Bolton Valley, VT 23NOV2011

An image of fresh snow on an evergreen at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Fresh snow from our pre-Thanksgiving storm coats an evergreen near the 2,800' elevation as I ascended Bolton Valley's Schuss trail today.

Our first big Northern Vermont storm of the season came in with a nice thump of snow during the overnight hours, and I awoke to find 7.1 inches of moderately dense snow on the snowboard for my 6:00 A.M. report to CoCoRaHS.  Later in the morning the National Weather Service Office in Burlington put out a map showing the overnight snow totals, but the snow was still coming down.  Snow continued to fall at the house all morning, and while it gradually tapered to very light snow, we picked up a few more inches to bring us into double digits for the storm total.

We played out in the snow for a while with the boys, and then in the mid afternoon I had to decide if I wanted to get out and make some turns in the new snow.  Ideally I was looking for a place where man-made snow had been put down as a base, but unfortunately most of the mountains that had been making snow were actually opening for lift-served skiing.  I thought about Sugarbush, since they aren’t opening until tomorrow, but they’ve been a bit testy with people earning turns in recent years and I didn’t want to drive over just to get turned away.

I eventually decided that I’d pop up to Bolton and see how the snow looked.  I wasn’t expecting much in terms of skiing without a prior base, but perhaps I’d be pleasantly surprised.  The temperature had gone a couple degrees above freezing at our house (elevation 495’), so the snow had been falling off the trees and the snow in the yard had also settled a bit.  As Powderfreak had mentioned, the snow accumulations really did fall off as I headed a couple of miles west past the Waterbury/Bolton line.  At the base of the Bolton Valley Access Road (340’) it was really amazing, there were just a couple inches of snow on the ground from the storm.  It had me really worried about what went on up at the mountain, but fortunately the snow depths began to increase as I climbed in elevation as usual.  Up at around 1,000’ near the Bolton Valley Resort sign, it looked like there were about 4 inches on the ground, and by the time I reached the Timberline base at 1,500’ it was notably deeper.  I stopped in near the lodge and did a quick measurement with my pole to reveal 8.5 inches of settled snow.  I saw one guy putting his skins on his skis for a tour, and noticed a couple of other cars that might have belonged to skiers, but I decided to head up to the main base area and see if things got a bit deeper.  While at the base of the access road the temperature had been a couple degrees above freezing just like at our house, it dropped to around the freezing mark by the Timberline base, and it was a couple degrees below freezing up at the village (2,100’).  As soon as I parked the car I checked the snow depth there, and found that it was about 10 inches.  To read the full report and check out the rest of the pictures, head to the Bolton Valley trip report from today.

First major winter storm of the season for Northern Vermont

An image of the Winter Weather Advisories and Warnings map from the National Weather Service in Burlington for November 22, 2011
Winter Weather Advisories are up throughout the state of Vermont for the upcoming storm

While the Northeast has already had a couple of big, snow-producing synoptic storms so far this season (one on October 27th, and another on October 29th), for Northern Vermont these events were fairly minor because the area was really on the fringe of the precipitation. A storm is developing now however, which is expected to bring more substantial accumulations to the northern part of the state. This storm is expected to head into the Ohio Valley later today, and then track east across Southern New England overnight. This storm may have some mixed precipitation with it, but the current forecasts do not indicated much mixing in the northern areas, and the chance is there for greater than 6 inches of snowfall. Damage from the storm could include water damage that homeowners may need to address with restoration services. Water damage can put stress on a home’s water pipe network and cause leaks. With this being the case, services that can clean up sewage leak incidents may well be in high demand following severe floods so it may be worth looking up such services local to you in advance. For a few more details, part of my morning report to the New England Regional Forum at American Weather is added below:

It was 17.6F and dropping when I left the house this morning around 6:00 AM, so this will certainly come in as the coldest morning of the season at our location thus far. I flipped on The Weather Channel before I left the house, and was surprised to see that the local forecast called for 6 to 10 inches at the Winter Weather Advisory level, but after reading the BTV forecast discussion, they spoke of the potential for mixing keeping totals down. The current point and click for our area down in the valley calls for 4 to 9 inches of snow, but doesn’t mention any mixing at this point.

Graphical point forecast for our location in Waterbury from the National Weather Service in Burlington for November 22, 2011
Snow is expected from tonight through Wednesday night, even for our location down in the Winooski Valley.

Today: Sunny, with a high near 34. Calm wind.

Tonight: Snow, mainly after 1am. Low around 24. South wind at 6 mph becoming north. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Wednesday: Snow, mainly before 4pm. High near 35. North wind between 3 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: A chance of snow showers, mainly before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. North wind around 6 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

I didn’t really see much of a bump in the point forecasts for the local mountains, so we’ll have to see if that gets refined for the higher elevations. I’ve added the projected snow accumulations map from National Weather Service Office in Burlington below:

An image of the projected snowfall accumulations for the upcoming November snowstorm in Vermont
The National Weather Service projected snowfall accumulations map for the northern portions of Vermont and New York as of the early morning on November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 – Afternoon Update

The National Weather Service Office in Burlington has put out their afternoon update for snow accumulations, and our area has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warningto reflect the potential snowfall. The latest advisory and projected accumulations maps have been added below:

An image of the afternoon updagte for the Winter Weather Advisories and Warnings map from the National Weather Service in Burlington for November 22, 2011
Winter Weather Advisories have now been upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings in some parts of Vermont and Northern New York to reflect the anticipated snow accumulations.

 

An afternoon update the projected snowfall accumulations for the upcoming November snowstorm in Vermont
The afternoon update for expected snowfall from the National Weather Service in Burlington

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 – Evening Update

This evening, Matt Noyes posted his latest snowfall prediction map for this storm, and he’s pretty bullish on some of the totals in Northern New England, including parts of Northern Vermont. I’ve added his map below:

Matt Noyes' snowfall map for Northern New England snowstorm on November 22, 2011
Matt Noyes’ snowfall map for Northern New England with the upcoming storm

For more full details on this storm, head to the detailed report at the winter weather section of our website.

Potential for a little September snow in the Northern Greens?

It’s that time of year again when we start to think more about the colder weather, and for the past few days our NWS point forecast for Waterbury has shown sub-freezing low temperatures at the end of the week.  Talk about the first snowfall of the upcoming season, has already begun – over in the New England forum at Americanwx.com, Dryslot pointed out the potential snow showers and frost in the forecast from the National Weather Service office in Portland, Maine.  This morning I saw that there is a cold weather update at the Famous Internet Skiers website, and on SkiVT-L, there was a visit from Roger Hill, who threw out the potential for a little snow accumulation at Jay Peak.  Although it doesn’t seem to be the case this time, I’m certainly reminded of a couple of seasons ago when some September snowfall actually produced enough snow to get in some skiing.  The past couple of days have been pleasantly summery, even up here in Northern Vermont, but it sounds like the crisp feel of autumn is on our doorstep.

2010-2011 Ski Season Summary

Having now compiled all our ski trip and winter storm summary reports for the ’10-’11 ski season, I’ve put together this season summary as a view of how things transpired from a Northern Vermont local perspective.  It’s interesting to note that for Burlington, winter ’10-‘11 was well above average for snowfall (128.4”, 175%), while out in the mountains at our house the deviation was much less (197”, 114%), and indeed in the higher elevations of the Northern Greens like Bolton it was even closer to average (330”, 106%), so ski resort snowfall around here was essentially average.  I actually made a chart for a post at Americanwx.com concerning the ’07-’08 season, which used Bolton’s snowfall from the past several seasons as a general indicator of how the snowfall has been in Northern Vermont:

A table showing the snowfall at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont from the 2006-2007 through to the 2010-2011 season

One can see from the chart that ’10-‘11 was basically average for snowfall, and that the amount of snow (330”) was identical to ’07-’08.  I would add that the general impression was that consistency of winter temperatures was a bit better than average in ’10-‘11 due to fewer warm events, so the quality of snow surfaces was higher.  I’m not sure how much better than average it was though, since it seems that during midwinter, the norm in the higher elevations of the Northern Greens is to have about one warm episode per month.  Also, since we were essentially out of the main track of synoptic storms until February, there wasn’t much in the way of moderate-density snowfall to resurface the slopes.  I try to address the consistency of temperatures/quality of the snow surfaces in the text below though, at least in the context of weekends; I should note that it’s possible there could have been some midweek weather issues that simply flew under the radar for me.  For the quality assessment I simply focused on whether or not we were skiing powder, because unless there is some sort of notable rise in temperatures, there is always powder available.

A monthly breakdown of snowfall and my perspective on the season follows below – you can click on each month (except November) and it should bring up that month’s posts in the J&E Productions Web Log.  I only have the monthly snowfall for my house and not the ski areas, but the percentages relative to average often parallel the mountains reasonably well, especially for Bolton which is right up above us:

October:  Pretty typical in that we got at least some snow for skiing; we had 1.0” of snow at the house.  October snowfall in the lower valleys is often minimal enough that the percentages aren’t all that relevant, but that number is 111% vs. the five year average since we’ve been at our house, so indeed that’s rather “normal”.

November:  Very poor; we got just 2.4” of snow at the house (29% of average) and I don’t really remember it, nor do I have any entries for that month in my ski log, so that says plenty right there.  I do have a vague recollection of storm after storm tracking to our north and west giving us mostly rain though, so that would explain the low snowfall total.  The lack of snowfall wasn’t necessarily a huge concern at the time since it was “only November”, but without good November snowfall, getting to appropriate base depths and excellent skiing in December can be that much harder.

December:  Quite normal, 46.0” of snow at the house (right about average at 102%).  Fortunately, even with minimal November snow we were skiing natural snow terrain by December 10th up at Bolton; the holiday period featured some decent skiing, with 7 outings for me during that stretch, indicating that the snow was obviously OK.  Bolton had picked up 4 feet of snow from the storm at the beginning of the month, however, a lot of that snow, as well as what fell later in the month, was upslope fluff.  So, even if one assumes a fairly average amount of snowfall for the mountains like we saw in the valley, the very dry nature of the snow meant that there was less liquid than usual, resulting in base depths that really didn’t build quickly.  The Boxing Day Storm was unfortunately the start of a pattern that would last the next five to six weeks, with the big synoptic storms staying well south of the region and pounding Southern New England, while northern areas remained on the fringe and essentially survived on fluff.  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  Skiing was done on all 4 weekends of the month, and out of the 12 outings in my records, the only outing without powder skiing was Friday, Dec 31st, so that suggests pretty consistent temperatures.

January:  We got 55.5” of snow at the house, which is above average (137%) in what can sometimes be a dry, midwinter month.  However, January was essentially a month-long continuation of the trend that started on Boxing Day, and we were living on mostly Northern Vermont Champlain Powder™ fluff.  We had a couple of good upslope storms in the early to mid part of the month (January 7th and January 12th) that made for some fine skiing, but obviously since so much of it was pixie dust, the base depths just could not build the way that they would with some synoptic storms.  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  Skiing was done on all 5 weekends of the month, and out of 11 outings in my records, the only outing without powder skiing was Saturday, Jan 1st due to the warmth at the end of December.  So I think one could argue that weekend ski surface consistency through Dec/Jan was better than average with only one (instead of two) weekend-affecting warm up(s) for the two months.

February:  This is when the storm track finally shifted north and we got some notable synoptic storms; the first one was right on the 1st, and then we had a second storm on the 5th.  That first storm brought just over a foot of snow for us down in the valley, and was by far the largest for the month.  Thus there weren’t really any mega dumps based on my records from the house, but there was plenty of the usual good skiing at Bolton and even good skiing at Stowe.  Snowfall was 48.1”, which is roughly average at 108%.  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  Out of the 10 outings in my records, all 10 of them had powder skiing, so February was perfect in that regard.  However, while skiing was done on all 4 weekends of the month, we had to wait until Monday of the long weekend to ski because there had been some sort of warm-up.  So I’d say the month was pretty typical with at least that one warm-up.

March:  We continued to stay in the storm track for most of March, with our biggest valley snowfall of the season (25.0”) coming from the March 5th storm.  We did wind up with notably above average snowfall in the valley for the month (39.6”; 155%), essentially due to that one big storm and aided by the fact that what I’ve got for a March average could be a bit low due to very poor Marches in ’09 (12.6”) and ’10 (2.1”).  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  Skiing was done on all 4 weekends of the month, and powder skiing was done on all those weekends, however, there was also notable infiltration of non-powder skiing days into the weekends.  Relative to the previous three months, only 9 of our 12 outings for March featured powder skiing, so while still a pretty good ratio, it was certainly a decrease.  Indeed there were multiple warm ups in the month because those three non-powder days were actually on three different weekends (the 1st, 3rd, and 4th weekends).  Fortunately, those weekends were somewhat redeemed by powder on the other day.  By March, especially toward the end, things may start to fall off a bit from the typical rate of one warm episode per month, but I would expect that with at least 3 individual warm ups in March, it was nothing great or even above average in terms of consistency.

April:  This was again quite a poor month in terms of snowfall and powder skiing; although snowfall correlation between our location down at the house and the mountains can really start to wane as one moves through April and snowfall becomes more and more elevation dependent.  Snowfall at the house was well below average for the month (4.4”; 61%).  We did at least start out the month with a snowstorm on the 1st and another one on the 4th; these events produced some good weekend powder skiing at Bolton and helped the mountain snowpack to surpass 100 inches at the Mt. Mansfield Stake.  However, the snowfall really fell off after that.  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  Skiing was done on all 5 weekends of the month, but only 3 out of 9 days had powder and only 2 of the weekends had powder skiing.  People were excited because we had a relatively deep snowpack during the month and coverage stayed longer than normal, but after that first week the storm track had shifted to the north/west and it was just storm after storm that featured warmth and little to no snow, even for the mountains.  I commented on that trend in a post at Americanwx.com, since there can easily be feet of snow in the higher elevations in April, and instead of just some corn days or spring crud, we could have been skiing some great powder.

May:  The May skiing was good due to the healthy snowpack, and I did get out in the powder on the 6th for top to bottom skiing on Mansfield.  We didn’t get any snowfall at the house during the month, but May’s average snowfall numbers down at our elevation are pretty minimal like October, and with the high sun angle and warming as we approach the solstice I suspect even more removed from correlation with what the mountains see.  Temperature consistency/snow surface quality:  I wouldn’t say May powder is consistent enough to worry about.  I only got out for two days during the month, but at least one was a powder day; the other day was a corn snow day at Bolton so that was also good even if there wasn’t fresh snow.

June:  Our only day in June was outside VT on the East Snowfields on Mt. Washington, and the snowfield was probably smaller than usual for that time of year due to the below average Mt. Washington snowfall for the season.  There actually had been some frozen precipitation in the northern mountains leading up to that day, but we were skiing corn snow.

So in terms of overall snowfall, the two above average months of January and March were basically counteracted by the two below average months of November and April, and with the rest of the months being about average, the snowfall for the season ends up… about average.  Some plusses were better than average snowpack in April and May, but that’s somewhat counteracted by the lower than average snowpack in November, December, and January.  It looks like there was an uptick in consistency in the December-January period due to just that one notable warm-up, but with February and March coming in probably about average in that category, and while November is not especially consistent in terms of temperatures, even in the higher elevations, it must have been below average to get so little snow for the month.  So taking the trends of consistency as an aggregate from November through April, I wouldn’t say that there was a massive improvement in temperature consistency/snow quality for this area.  Something that I have noticed around here is that having a few more storms with mixed precipitation is not necessarily a huge detractor in terms of snow quality.  The ’07-’08 season was a good example of this.  We were right in the storm track, so if we did receive some mixed precipitation, there was often another storm on its heels so quickly, that old snow surfaces were covered up.  It felt like we were right in the storm track for most of that winter, except that we had a relatively poor April with little snowfall (we picked up just 1.6” of snow at the house, even less than this past April).  It is interesting to note that winter ’07-’08 (consistently stormy from November through March) and winter ’10-’11 (biggest synoptic storms focused on just February and March) provide quite disparate examples of how to get to very similar seasonal snowfall totals (203.2” and 197.0” respectively at the house, and 330” and 330” respectively up on the mountain).

Tree skiing:  While working on some web page material, I came across the post I made about the average date for the start of Northern Vermont tree skiing, so I decided to add in the ’10-’11 data and see how the season compared.  In my initial analysis through the ’09-’10 season, the average start date for tree skiing was December 9th ± 13 days with an average of 28.2 ± 6.8 inches of snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield Stake.  In terms of my personal log of outings from last season, I’ve got a start date of December 18th, 2010 for tree skiing, and the addition of these data alters the averages very slightly, bringing the date one day later to December 10th ± 13 days, and the average snowpack down a tenth of an inch to 28.1 ± 6.5 inches.  So in terms of the ’10-’11 season, the start to tree skiing was slightly late in that it started about a week later than the mean date I’ve calculated.  With the horrible November in terms of snowfall, and much of the December snowfall being dry fluff, the late start is not too surprising.  However, the date is well within one standard deviation, so in that sense the start to tree skiing was another parameter of the season that was basically “average”.

On that temperature consistency/snow quality note, I was curious about the powder skiing we did throughout the season, so I checked my reports.  For the list of outings below, I placed a P whenever we were skiing powder, and put a red X if we weren’t, so it shows the pattern of when we did have powder, and when we did not.  Links to the text and pictures for all the individual reports are available below if people want more details about the depth/consistency of the snow, or one can also step through the J&E Productions web log, which has an entry for each outing.  It’s interesting to note that starting at the beginning of the season in October and continuing through to March 26th, there were only four days (December 31st at Bolton Valley, January 1st on the Bolton Valley Nordic/Backcountry Network, March 5th at Cochran’s, and March 20th at Stowe) where we weren’t skiing powder.  Strangely enough, I’ve never looked at a season in that way before, but it did give me an even greater appreciation for just how much powder there is to ski around here.  After March 26th, the powder skiing really trickled off this season, although there were still at least a few days in there.  I’m not sure how this season compares to others since I’ve never looked at one like this before, but I suspect most other “average” seasons would look similar for the way we ski, and with our pattern of skiing there might be similar patterns even in seasons that deviate more from average snowfall.

Stowe, VT, Saturday 16OCT10
Stowe, VT, Sunday 05DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Friday 10DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 11DEC10
Stowe, VT, Sunday 12DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 18DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Sunday 19DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Thursday 23DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Friday 24DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Monday 27DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Tuesday 28DEC10
Bolton Valley, VT, Thursday 30DEC10
X  Bolton Valley, VT, Friday 31DEC10
X  Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT, Saturday 01JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 08JAN11
Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT, Saturday 08JAN11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 09JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Thursday 13JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 15JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Sunday 16JAN11
Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT, Monday 17JAN11
Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT, Saturday 22JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 29JAN11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 30JAN11
Bolton Valley, VT, Thursday 03FEB11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 05FEB11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 06FEB11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 12FEB11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 13FEB11
Bolton Valley Nordic & Backcountry, VT, Monday 21FEB11
Bolton Valley, VT, Friday 25FEB11
Bolton Valley (Timberline), VT, Saturday 26FEB11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 26FEB11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 27FEB11
X  Cochran’s, VT, Saturday 05MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Sunday 06MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Monday 07MAR11
Stowe, VT, Tuesday 08MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 12MAR11
Stowe, VT, Sunday 13MAR11
Monroe’s Sugarin’, Barton, VT, Saturday 19MAR11
X  Stowe, VT, Sunday 20MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Wednesday 23MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Friday 25MAR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 26MAR11
X  Stowe, VT, Sunday 27MAR11
P  Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 02APR11
X  Stowe, VT, Sunday 03APR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Thursday 07APR11
X  Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 09APR11
X  Stowe, VT, Sunday 10APR11
X  Bolton Valley, VT, Sunday 17APR11
X  Stowe, VT, Tuesday 19APR11
X  Sugarbush, VT, Friday 22APR11
Bolton Valley, VT, Saturday 23APR11
X  Bolton Valley, VT, Sunday 01MAY11
Stowe, VT, Friday 06MAY11
X  Mount Washington, NH, Saturday 04JUN11

So yeah, long story short, pretty average season in my book.  On that note, since we’ve been back from Montana, the only season we’ve had with substantial snowfall deviation from average for Northern Vermont was a negative one in ’09-’10 as I show in that table of Bolton Valley snowfall near the top of the post.  There definitely hasn’t been anything like what many parts of the Western U.S. saw last season, but as I look at the list of outings above there’s still been plenty of great skiing.

Bolton Valley, VT 24FEB2009

An image of Jay jumping into deep powder on the Duva Horn trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Today you just aired it out wherever you wanted… it didn’t matter.

E and the boys are off from school this week, so I joined them for a day up on the mountain yesterday.  Heading up to ski was pretty much a no brainer – it looked to be almost a carbon copy of Saturday, with another foot or so of upslope Champlain Powder™ overnight to finish off another three-foot storm cycle, and the clouds pulling away to leave blue skies and perfect temperatures.  Bolton Valley had just finished off a run featuring six feet of snow in six days, which doesn’t happen all that often… anywhere.

We hit up many of our usual haunts in the Timberline area, but also got in a few runs in the Adam’s Solitude/Wild Woods out of bounds areas, which we’d yet to visit this season.  I don’t visit those areas all that often, but I was absolutely floored by how protected the accumulated snow was over there.  Amazingly delicate accumulations of Northern Vermont’s famed upslope snow had settled on everything, apparently defying gravity by even accumulating laterally and growing off the sides of trees.  All it seemed to take was the slightest imperfection on a surface to catch a few crystals, and then they would apparently grab hands and just go nuts.  I’m not sure if the area is always protected like that, but I’ll sure be on the lookout with future storms.  My final overnight accumulation of snow down at the house for that event had come in at 2.4% H2O, which is not all that uncommon for upslope snow in our sheltered valley location, but there really were areas up near the top of Adam’s Solitude where the snow was like air.  I’d be skiing along through the usual bottomless powder and I’d hit pockets where it would feel like the bottom had literally dropped out because the snow became so airy.  It almost felt like I was hitting small tree wells, but it was just the settling pattern of the powder.  Anyway, it was quite an experience.  I’ve skied a lot of cold smoke snow between Vermont and our years out in Montana, and yesterday snow now sets the standard.  I can remember a day at Smugg’s several years back that featured snow as airy as yesterday’s, but it was only about 6 to 12 inches deep and not bottomless, so the experience wasn’t quite the same.

An image of Ty skiing some of the incredibly light "Champlain Powder" in Vermont on the Adam's Solitude trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort
Ty out there on Adam’s Solitude getting a taste of that Champlain Powder today

I wanted to bring E and the boys over to explore some areas on the main mountain, but the day at Timberline was so packed full of runs that we just never had the chance to get over there.  We did manage to meet up with Stephen and his kids for a final run down Adam’s Solitude.  It was a first time out there for them, so it was quite an introduction to that terrain.  I worked a bit with Ty and E on getting their body positioning more compact when they are in the air.  They’ve still got some work to do, but it was one of those days where you didn’t mind having to try, try again on those kinds of tasks.  The rest of the images from yesterday can be found below in the gallery, and full size versions are also available in our report to SkiVT-L.

Bolton Valley, VT 21FEB2009

An image of Erica skiing in neck deep snow in the Villager Trees area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
As E demonstrates, today was one of those day when you could go neck deep… if you’re into that sort of thing.

The numbers are in, and they indicate that Bolton Valley picked up a solid three feet of snow from our latest storm cycle, with the final 12 inches of upslope fluff coming in overnight to set the table for a fantastic Saturday.  The day started off a little cloudy and breezy, but by midday we were left with warm sunshine to make for one of the best ski days of the season.  We arrived up at the Timberline Quad for the 8:30 A.M. opening, and in classic Bolton Valley style the powder day lineup was comprised of a whopping three chairs worth of people.  The first hour or two of the morning were pretty quiet in the Timberline area, at least in terms of numbers of visitors, although generally not in the voices of those of us that were there.  By 10:00 or 11:00 A.M. more visitors started to arrive.

“The deep powder
also let Ty engage
in his own personal
huck fest ’09.”

While the trails only contained about a foot of powder in areas that had seen skier traffic over the past couple of days, many off piste locations that hadn’t seen visitors on Thursday or Friday held the entirety of the storm in and undisturbed stack.  Before heading up to the mountain this morning we joked about losing Dylan in the deep snow, but fortunately that didn’t happen.  The good thing about the snow was that it was quite dry (my analysis on the overnight accumulation at the house was 3.7% H2O); even the boys could get down in it and really have a fun time experiencing the depth.  We met up with Dave and his friend Jo at 10:00 A.M., and my colleague Stephen and his son Johannes early in the afternoon, and all eight of us managed to do a couple of great runs on Twice as Nice together.

An image of Dave skiing in deep powder in the Villager Trees area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dave stopped in today for some of his usual Bolton Valley activities

For Ty it was a day of notable improvements in his skiing.  With the fantastic depths of powder in the off piste, he was able to start charging steep slopes more aggressively than I’ve seen up to this point.  E and I had indicated to both boys that they would want to ski steeper terrain than usual today because the deep powder would be slowing them down.  They weren’t very receptive to this idea at first.  However, by the end of the day Ty had really changed his tune and was actually seeking out some of the steepest lines so he could tackle them.  Dylan had quickly picked up on the idea as well.

An image of Ty peering over a cliff in the Wood's Hole Glades area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont as he prepares to jump off
Peering over the steep edge of a drop… decisions, decisions.

The deep powder also let Ty engage in his own personal huck fest ’09.  I’d been saving up a nice 5 to 10 foot drop with a sloped landing that Dave and I had discovered in the Villager Trees a couple weeks back, and with feet of new powder it was ready to be plundered again.  Ty likes to do jumps on his skis, but this type of a drop was in a league he’d never really tackled before, so I was curious to see his reaction.  When we arrived at the top of the drop, he was certainly intimidated by the height and confirmed that he didn’t want to hit it.  We didn’t want to force him, but we had Mom drop it and demonstrate how easy it was with such deep powder.  After seeing that, he didn’t immediately change his tune, but we could see that the wheels were turning.  Later in the day we were in the Wood’s Hole Glades and Ty somehow found himself atop a rather big rock.  He dropped a pretty rugged looking line, and with that his confidence was building.  I asked him if he’d be interested in joining Dave and I in dropping another small cliff on the next run and he said yes.  We gave him first shot at the drop in the freshest powder, while E shot pictures from below.  He wasn’t willing to carry a lot speed going into it, but he dropped right off and did an awesome job.  At the end of the day when we were in the lodge, he indicated that he wanted to go out for one more run.  He insisted that we hit the first drop that we’d shown him earlier in the day, the one that Mom had done.  He said he was now ready for it.  He had no trepidation this time around, and dropped it as soon as I was in position with the camera and gave him the go ahead.  When we got back to the lodge he even told E that he’d done a better job on it than she had.

An image of Ty dropping into powder off a cliff in the Villager Trees at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Those landings from the drops started to get smoother and smoother today for Ty

Dylan also had quite a day, blasting lots of powder lines with the most consistency that I’ve seen from him all year.  He plowed through every mellow or steep nook and cranny that we dragged him into, and his powder skiing is now becoming reliable enough that we don’t have to worry much about bringing him into any of the typical areas that we’d ski as a family.  It appears as though a mounting topic with Dylan is the use of ski poles.  Ty didn’t start using poles until his 4/5-year old season (last year), but it looks like Dylan is about ready.  After I broke a wayward stick off of a tree today in the Wood’s Hole Glades, Dylan proceeded to bring it with him for the rest of the run and use as a pole.  Back on the trail, E told Dylan how he should be using the stick in terms of planting, and he easily coordinated the timing of planting and turning.  We may have to start phasing in poles for him the way we did with Ty.  Dylan also skied what was perhaps his biggest day to date, racking up over 8,000’ of vertical.  He was clearly on his last legs when we came down through the Twice as Nice Glades near the end of the day though; he just couldn’t handle the steepest pitches anymore and I had to help him down the final one.

An image of three-year old Dylan skiing the powder on the Sure Shot trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Little Dylan making his own advances in figuring out the powder today

When I finally downloaded the images from my camera this evening, I discovered that I’d taken 479 shots throughout the day, but I managed to whittle it down to 21 that made the final cut.  In some cases, the culling process involved skipping over some really nice waist-deep powder shots in favor of some even better chest and neck-deep ones, but sometimes that the way it goes!  Images from the day are in the gallery below, and full size versions are also available in our report to SkiVT-L.

Bolton Valley, VT 19FEB2009

An image looking down the Vermont 200 trail filled with powder at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Bolton is starting off this storm cycle with about a foot of powder to greet midweek visitors.

By the time I’d left the house (495’) at 7:30 A.M. this morning, we’d picked up 0.6 additional inches of snow since the 6:00 A.M. snowboard clearing, bringing the event total to 4.1 inches.  It had been snowing lightly at the house when I left, but when I arrived up at the Bolton Valley Village area (2,100’) it was snowing moderately and still accumulating.  The mountain had reported 7 inches of new snow as of their 6:45 A.M. update, but I suspected I’d find a bit more based on the way it was coming down.  The lifts weren’t going to start loading until 9:00 A.M., so I kicked off the morning off by skinning for some turns, taking the route straight up Beech Seal.  I first checked the consistency of the snow near the base area; I couldn’t quite make a snowball out of it in my hand, so I guess I’d describe it as medium weight powder.  Beech Seal had been groomed at some point earlier, but I found about 2 to 4 inches of additional new snow on top of the groomed base.

“…today Spillway
offered up some
gorgeous steep
powder.”

When I reached mid mountain (2,500’) I checked the depth of the powder in an undisturbed location and it came in right at 12 inches.  That should represent the combination of powder from last week’s midweek system (~6 inches) as well as whatever had come down up to that point with this new event, so that seemed reasonable.  Wind doesn’t appear to have been much a factor with this system, so getting measurements was easy.  I was thinking of skinning up in the Cobrass area, but there was enough powder to keep me following one of the snowmobile tracks for my ascent.  At about 9:00 A.M. I’d reached the top of Vermont 200 (~3,000’), and when I checked the depth of the new snow there I found that it was at 9 inches.

“It was really nice
to see all the visitors
getting rewarded with
such a splendid day
on the slopes.”

I enjoyed first tracks down Vermont 200, and this new round of snow had settled in nicely.  The medium-density powder was just what the doctor had ordered in terms of getting the windswept steeps back into shape.  I was on my Telemark skis, and found that the consistency of the snow made for really easy turns.  After my initial descent I stayed around for some rides on the lift, and unquestionably the trail pick of the day for me was Spillway.  Usually I avoid it like the plague between its man-made snow, exposure to the wind, and traffic, but today Spillway offered up some gorgeous steep powder.  The fact that it has seen grooming in the past made the subsurface the most consistent and provided lots of nice bottomless turns, and since there didn’t appear to be much wind with this event, there were no issues on that front.  I had to hit it twice because it was so good, and I’d say it was better than even Hard Luck or Vermont 200.  The Wilderness Lift opened right around 10:00 A.M., and I was fortunate to catch one of the first few chairs.  The way the steeper trails had been skiing so nicely, I opted for Bolton Outlaw from the Wilderness Summit, and it was in great shape.  After that descent I traversed back toward the main mountain.  I followed a random set of tracks off New Sherman’s Pass and found a nice region of glades that I’d never explored before.

An image looking down the Bolton Outlaw trail with fresh snow at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Things were looking great on Bolton Outlaw today

The mountain definitely had more than its usual midweek handful of people this morning.  A lot of the extra folks I saw were children, and I think some of the schools in the Northeast have vacation right now because I heard what sounded like a Boston-style accent on a couple of occasions.  It was really nice to see all the visitors getting rewarded with such a splendid day on the slopes.

The moderate snowfall had gradually tapered off through the morning, and when I left the mountain around 10:40 A.M. there was just light snow and the temperature at my car (~2,100’) was 34 F.   The temperature stayed fairly stable through most of the descent down the Bolton Valley Access Road, but at the bottom (340’) it was up to 35 F.  The precipitation was light snow as I drove westward through the Winooski Valley to the center of Richmond.  The temperature there was up to 36 F however, and I was surprised to see that Richmond appeared to have picked up little if any snow from this event.  When I’d reached the I-89 rest area in Williston, the temperature was up to 37 F and the precipitation was over to rain, which was coming down at moderate intensity for a while.  In the South Burlington area the temperature was up to 38 F, and when I finally arrived at the UVM campus it had hit 39 F.

Bolton Valley was officially reporting 8 inches from this event as of their 10:05 A.M. update, so I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting into Scott’s 10-20” inch prediction range with some upslopeIt sounds like this is one of the best upslope setups we’ve seen this season, so it should be fun to see how it plays out for the mountains and even the mountain valleys over the next couple of days.  It’s expected to start up tonight so I’ll certainly report on whatever makes it down to our elevation in Waterbury.  Images from today can be found in the gallery below, and full size versions are also available in the report to SkiVT-L from today.

Bolton Valley, VT 30DEC2006

An image of Dylan standing in fresh Powder on the Sprig O' Pine trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan in some of the fresh powder on the Sprig O' Pine trail at Bolton Valley Resort

This report starts off with an update on Saturday’s big snowfall, and then leads into the trip report below.

Weather/snowfall update – Saturday 30DEC2006 – P.M. report

Well, our 7th valley snowfall of the season delivered nicely, at both the low and high elevations.  When I did my first snow measurement this morning at around 9:00 A.M., we already had 2.6 inches of new snow at our place in Waterbury (elevation 495 feet), and the snowfall showed no signs of letting up.  We headed up to Bolton Valley for some skiing and they already had 4 inches of fresh powder to start the day.  It continued to snow all day up at Bolton and they’re now reporting 7-10 inches of new snow.  It was a full on powder day, and the ski patrol was opening natural snow trails all over the place.  We only got a chance to ski one of the natural snow trails (the “Glades” trail off the Mid-Mountain Lift) since we were with the boys, but it was more than ready to be opened.  There was easily a foot of powder on top of denser base-layer snow below, so you didn’t really have to worry much about rocks.  I’m sure most trails could be opened at this point if the mountain wanted to do it.  The Northern Vermont resorts seem to be reporting new snowfall totals in the 6 to 12-inch range from this event so far, so I’m sure more natural snow trails will be opening soon.  We arrived home to 4 more inches of snow at the house and it was still snowing.  I’m estimating the water content of the snow in the 6-8% H2O range here at our place.  With this event (6.6 inches so far), we’re up to 21.6 inches of snowfall on the season here.  There were also 8 new inches of snow at the Mt. Mansfield Stake, and the snow depth there is now up to 22 inches.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, and with all this fresh powder the backcountry/sidecountry is certainly open for business.  I’m definitely planning to earn some turns and get some photos.

Trip report

It’s interesting that all the new snow didn’t really come from a very official “storm”, but the local meteorologists gave us a good heads up so we were able to plan our day accordingly.  We knew we were heading up to Bolton for some turns, but we wanted to pick the time of day to go with the boys and make the best use of the new snow.  Initially, we thought it might be best to let the snow accumulate and head up to the slopes in the afternoon, but when we woke up to almost three inches at the house in the morning, we decided to get skiing as soon as possible.

The drive was a little sketchy with the continued heavy snowfall, and we even had to stop a couple of times on the way up the Bolton Valley Access Road.  The first occasion was to let a rafter of wild turkeys cross the road.  E counted at least 18 of them, but said some had already disappeared into the trees before she had a chance to count them.  The second stop was for a car that was slipping its way up the last steep section of the road.  Perhaps they hadn’t put on their snow tires yet, but they eventually gained enough traction and let everyone make it up to the Village.  Once again, there was a huge crew of Bolton Valley associates ready to help us with our ski gear in the Village unloading area.  We were doing well in our unloading process and didn’t want to take them away from helping other guests, but we thanked them anyway.  I’m not sure if this is just something they do over the holidays, or if is standard customer service now, but it’s a nice touch.  It’s as if they’ve infused a touch of Deer Valley into Bolton Valley.  I had a chance to chat with the Bolton Valley associates and they commented on how great it was to have all this snowfall with virtually no wind.  I guess that’s what you can get from a “non storm” type of snowstorm.  They were also hyping the fact that Sunday was supposed to be a beautiful sunny day.  In the back of my mind, I appreciated the fact that such a day would make for fantastic skiing in all the new powder, and even better photography, but at the moment I was more concerned with the fact that it was dumping in the here and now.

With four new inches of snow in the Village already, we wasted no time suiting up and getting right on the Snowflake Lift.  The snow surface was cut up powder in the center of the trails with plenty of untracked along the edges.  We skied with Dylan between our legs again, and boy was it a lot tougher in chowder and powder than on a nicely manicured slope.  His skis would submarine in the powder and pull him down, so I basically had to hold him high and keep him floating on top of the snow in the more powdery areas.  It was even more work than usual, but he seemed to be pretty happy with the whole experience so it was worth it.  Dylan was even keeping his mittens on, which was nice to see on such a snowy day.  On one of our early runs, Ty and I showed Mom the terrain in the Sprig O’ Pine/Deer Run area where we like to scout for powder, but this terrain was just too mellow for the accumulating snow.  The slow progress in this area did give us a chance to get a picture of Dylan standing in the powder and all suited up in a combination of his new gear and some of Ty’s old stuff.

We did a couple of runs in our usual haunts off the Snowflake and Mid-Mountain lifts, and got to show Mom our little powder stash under the Vista Quad.  Then, circumstances arose that led us to try something new.  While riding the Mid-Mountain lift, I began noticing skiers filtering out of the trails to the skier’s right of the lift (terrain over in the “Glades” area).  I initially thought these folks might be poaching, but there were just a few too many of them for that to be the case.  The patrol must have actually opened some of these trails.  I’ve skied the terrain in that area before, and some of it rather steep and contoured.  So, I was really skeptical that it could be opened on the snow we had at this point.  In a somewhat half serious way, I pointed the area out to Ty and asked if he wanted to try something new.  I thought he would be a bit tentative about trying something new, since he liked his usual trails and jumps so much, but by the time we’d neared the top of the lift he had convinced me that we should head that way.  I was still somewhat unsure if we’d be limping our way down a rock filled minefield of early season conditions, but I was willing to give it a go since Ty was so enthusiastic.  The terrain was actually open, and the patrol had simply stuck an “Experts Only” sign at the entrance to keep people aware of what the terrain was potentially like.  E was a little worried by the sign, but I assured her that the hardest parts of the trail were basically in the range of a single black run with some scattered trees on it, and that Ty could certainly manage.  The tougher part would be skiing with Dylan, but I knew I could always carry him in my arms on the couple of steepest pitches.

So, with a level of uncertainty still remaining, the family shuffled past the “Experts Only” sign and ventured into the unknown of the “Glades” trail.  What we found was far better than I could have imagined.  There was no minefield rocks and roots, just a steep powdery playground full of terrain features.  After the first pitch, the extent of the coverage and new snow was obvious.  You really had to seek out rocks or other underlying debris if you were actually going to hit something with your skis.  You could actually ski the trail without concern, and you didn’t need “rock skis” at all.  I was flabbergasted that natural coverage could be this good down at this low an elevation.  Obviously the ski patrol knew how good the conditions were.  Any concern we had for Ty dissolved away as he charged down through the powder on the first steep pitch.  The conditions were just too fluffy to care about anything.

I spied an especially deep untouched line on the skier’s right of the trail, that required ducking under some thin branches, and decided to go for it with Dylan.  However, I overestimated the height of the branches and how low I would have to bend.  Dylan ended up having to go through the branches with me.  I felt really bad about what I’d gotten us into, but once it was too late and I realized where we were heading, I kept him as low as possible without causing us to crash (which would have probably been a worse result because Dylan would have gotten all snowy and mad).  In the end, we did wind up tumbling over into the powder, but we were well clear of the branches and Dylan was none the worse for wear.  E, who agreed to take a picture of us skiing the line, said that she never thought I would take the line I did.  To her, it looked like I used Dylan as a battering ram for the tree branches.  That was totally not the case of course.  In any event, Dylan is almost two years old now and should probably get used to toppling into the powder like his brother.

Knowing that I was planning to head out for a backcountry day on Sunday, I offered to take Dylan inside for a break so Mom and Ty could hang out together and enjoy the powder.  For some reason however, Ty wanted to ski with me instead of Mom, so E conceded and headed in with Dylan for lunch, while I “reluctantly” hung for another run with Ty.  Well, Ty must have had fun on our first powdery romp through the Glades trail because all he could talk about was going back to ski the “new one” again.  I actually got to have even more fun on our second run through the Glades, because I wasn’t skiing with Dylan and could really shred some powder.  I also had free hands to take pictures of Ty as well.  Come to think of it, I now realize that E and I did all our powder skiing that day without poles (we typically don’t use our ski poles on days with the boys due to loading them on the lift, carrying them, and whatever else has to be done).  I must be getting used to it because I didn’t even think of it until I wrote this.  I do like the way that having no poles leaves my hands free for taking pictures; that’s a definite added bonus.  Without Dylan, I was also free to explore the terrain a bit more, and I realized that there were no ropes up anywhere in the area.  I spied a connection into a more thickly gladed/wooded trail to the skier’s right (this may have been part of the “Upper Glades” trail), and it seemed devoid of any recent tracks.  It was very tempting to dive in there and catch a fresh line, but Ty had already started down the run we were on and I didn’t want to lose him.  I’m hopeful others got the chance to expand the skiing into that area and ski all the fresh lines.  I was still blown away that all that terrain was open with such great coverage.

Ty and I skied more great untracked snow down the skier’s right of Glades, and Ty even took the same line under the branches that I had skied with Dylan.  I think Ty wanted to try it because he saw us do it, and he ended up as a heap in the powder, just like us.  Actually, Ty followed me through some pretty steep and deep lines.  Even though we were only in about a foot of powder, that’s fairly deep for a guy his size and he handled it well.  He really ripped it up in some sections and he seems to be getting the powder bug.  I guess there are worse diseases or addictions to have.  We were both pretty giddy after that run and couldn’t wait to tell Mom about our turns.  Ty was getting a little goofy as we glided through the flats back to the lodge, and he wound up laying down on the trail watching the snowflakes fall on his goggles.  He asked me to join him and I did just that.  It had been a while since I’d simply lain down and watched the snow fall on top of me, and it was as fun as ever.  As much as Ty can really be annoying when he dilly dallies and we need to get something done, sometimes he has exactly the right idea.  We headed in for lunch and told E all about our run.

After lunch we all headed back out and took a run off the Snowflake Lift.  Dylan dropped a glove near the start of the lift, and I hiked up to get it on the next run.  I carried my skis up with me so I could ski down, but they had been making snow in the Village/Terrain Park area so my ride was a little crunchy.  By the next run, Dylan had fallen asleep just like on Wednesday, so Mom took him into the lodge for a nap. I tried to convince Ty that we should take a run on the Vista Quad to find more powder.  I could see that people were skiing down trails like Spillway etc., and figured the patrol had opened a bunch of terrain up there.  But, Ty was not enthusiastic about riding the quad, since he remembered there were snow guns up there on his last trip, so we stuck to the Snowflake Lift.  Ty continued hitting his favorite jumps on Sprig O’ Pine (although not with as much air as usual because the powder was slowing him down), while I worked the untracked snow on the skier’s left of the trail.  After a few more runs, we called it a day and headed into the lodge.

It had continued to snow all day, although the snowfall began to slow down a bit in the afternoon.  When I went to get the car, there were probably 2-3 new inches on it.  For a “storm” day, it had been pretty nice with temperatures in the 20s F, and little if any wind.  Despite the holiday/weekend crowds, there weren’t really any lift lines to wait in and all the extra terrain they had opened meant that you could find plenty of solitude if you wanted it.  The Avocet recorded 9 runs for 2,865 feet of vertical, and the Suunto recorded 9 runs for 2,730 feet of vertical, a difference of 4.8%

I thought Ty would pass out in the car on the way home, or certainly need a nap at the house, but once we actually got out of the car, the sight of all the new snow got him way to excited to sleep.  I asked him if he wanted to go snowshoeing, and of course he did, so we took a tour around the property and made the afternoon’s measurement on the snowboard.  Ty just wouldn’t quit, so after snowshoeing, he helped me shovel some snow from the driveway to make a launching pad and jump for sledding.  After sledding for a while, he actually put his alpine skis back on and started doing laps in the yard!  The snow was a little deeper than he was used to skiing in the yard, so he would actually use his previous tracks to pick up speed, and then venture off into the fresh snow to make some powder turns.  It was sort of nice to see him figure out a technique that I know many of us have used before on low angle terrain with deeper snow.  Ty kept going even after he was done skiing, and played around in the snow with Dylan while E and I finished up shoveling the driveway.  He’d really had quite a multisport day and I can’t believe how long he kept going.  Ahh, the power of fresh snow is pretty awesome.  E headed off in the evening to get some work done at school, and I had it real easy since both boys were pooped.  I put Dylan to bed around 7:00 P.M., and Ty had already passed out on the floor while trying to watch T.V.  It was an easy end to a great family powder day.