Stowe, VT 21APR2018

Erica, Ty, and Dylan standing around the fire pit outside the Solstice Restaurant at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty skiing some fresh snow in late April on the Nosedive trail at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Today we were able to get out into some of the powder from our recent upslope snowstorm on the slopes of Mt. Mansfield, topped off with a convenient stay right at the Stowe Mountain Lodge.

Since school was out of session due to vacation week, E’s been thinking about some sort of getaway for the family.  Quebec City and Maine came up as possible destinations, but with the Green Mountains having just reeled in some great powder due to our recent upslope event, doing something more local seemed like an obvious choice.  That decision was heavily reinforced after E and I skied some great powder at Bolton Valley yesterday, and after weighing a number of options we ultimately decided to head to Stowe for some earned turns and a stay at the Stowe Mountain Lodge.  They’ve got some fantastic amenities, and the rates this time of year are great because they’re in between the winter and summer seasons.

An image of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont with fresh snow on a sunny day in April
The fresh snow on Mt. Mansfield was astonishingly white today in the late April sunshine.

We kicked things off this morning with a start at the Midway Lot, which had dozens of vehicles in it from folks with similar ideas.  It was approaching mid-morning when we arrived, so I was surprised at how many people were heading right up Gondolier in the sun.  With that morning sun and warming temperatures, I was leery of how well the winter snow would hold on the Gondola side.  E and the boys and I opted to head toward Nosedive, which generally has much more protected snow when sun and warmth are a concern.  The Nosedive area had certainly seen some skier and rider traffic already, and there was a nice double skin track in place that made for easy conversation and passing options during the ascent.  Ty was feeling really good on the climb and cruised ahead of the rest of us, eventually waiting for us up around the 3,000’ mark.  We joined up and topped out at the 3,300’ plateau just below the Nosedive switchbacks.

An image of the Nosedive trail at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont after a late April snowfall
Nosedive today

We stopped below the switchbacks because the snow quality was good, and the narrow width of the trail above that elevation meant that the snow was pretty much tracked out.  The consistency of the snow had definitely changed substantially over the course of the ascent.  At base elevations it was already getting rather wet with the rising temperatures, and by the time we finished our ascent it was fairly dry, dense powder.  There wasn’t any sharp transition zone for the snow consistency, it had just changed ever so gradually with each step we’d ascended.

“The broad upper slopes of Nosedive definitely held the best snow we found today. The powder was dense, but dry, and there were plenty of areas of untracked snow to crank out some nice turns.”

The broad upper slopes of Nosedive definitely held the best snow we found today.  The powder was dense, but dry, and there were plenty of areas of untracked snow to crank out some nice turns.  The whole descent was definitely fun, although the last few hundred vertical feet, where we’d actually switched over to Lower National to get to some snow that had seen less traffic, held snow that had gotten pretty wet in the warming temperatures.  The best snow could be found on the shady side of the trails, and I even jumped into the trees in several spots on the lower half of the run and found some excellent turns.

An image of Erica skiing some fresh snow on the Nosedive trail at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont with Ty and Dylan looking on
E and the boys out in some of the fresh snow on Nosedive today

When the skiing was done, we checked in at the Stowe Mountain Lodge and had some appetizers at the Hourglass Lounge.  E and the boys did some swimming, and we had dinner at Solstice, which was a real treat.  They were taking part in Vermont Restaurant Week, and my first course was an amazing smoky tomato soup.  The boys and I headed out later in the evening for some night swimming, which was definitely a bit thrilling in the chill of a cold clear evening.  Naturally we spent a good amount of time in one of the hot tubs, although the pool was also a nice temperature for cooling back down a bit after that heat.

I think everyone would be up for doing a similar trip again in the future, especially if we can order up some of these late season April snowstorms atop such a deep snowpack!

Stowe, VT 05MAY2013

An image of skis and poles on the snow at the top of West Slope at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont looking down on the Spruce Peak Base area
High above the Spruce Peak Base and ready for some corn snow turns

Our stretch of incredible spring weather continues, and today was another clear one with temperatures in the 70s F.  We had to head to Morrisville for a midday first communion mass, but we took along the ski gear in case we had the time to do some skiing on the way back through Stowe.  After grabbing some subs in Morrisville, headed up to the resort and took a look around to assess the ski options.  The most continuous snow is over on Mt. Mansfield, where the North Slope area is still looking very good, with no breaks that I could see even down to the lowest elevations.  There’s still a good amount of snow over at Spruce Peak as well though, with a lot of continuous vertical over in the Main Street area, and even snow down by the Spruce Peak Base.

“I’d say it might
be the best corn
snow I’ve skied
all spring.”

E and the boys weren’t up for skiing, but I was still looking to get in a quick run, so we decided to set ourselves up with some easy slope access right below Slalom Hill and West Slope.  We had lunch at one of the tables on the back deck of the Spruce Camp Base Lodge, and while E and the boys were off on a bathroom break, I stuck around and enjoyed the view of the slopes.  It has really been quite the run of clear spring days for us out here in the mountains – we’ve now gone 10 days without measurable precipitation at the house, and that’s very impressive for the land of upslope where Mother Nature can find a way to make some sort of precipitation more often than not.  Even if the rate of snowmelt is a bit faster than usual, we’re enjoying it, and there’s more to come this week.  After finishing up our lunch, E and the boys headed off to play some chess on the outdoor chess set, while I headed up for a run.

an image looking down toward the steep pitch of the West Slope trail at Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont  on a day of spring skiing in May
On the descent of West Slope

Although I put my ski pants in my pack, it was warm enough that I just threw on my Tele boots and hiked in my shorts.  The effects of the continued warm and dry weather are very obvious on the slopes, as the areas without snow are essentially dry.  That made the hiking very easy on the grassy terrain, and it was a quick ascent up to the top of West Slope.  The views were excellent, and although I couldn’t quite make out E and the boys over by the Stowe Mountain Lodge, they said that they were able to see me.  I took a line down the skier’s left of West Slope, and the snow was beautiful – it was smooth, with a couple inches of peel away corn snow on top.  I’d say it might be the best corn snow I’ve skied all spring.  It was also nice to be back on the Telemark skis – I decided to just stick with skiing in my shorts since it was a fairly simple run, and was rewarded with some nice corn spray on the knees along with some really glorious Tele turns.  There was a final stretch of snow at the bottom of Slalom Hill, so I walked across the slope to connect to that, and it brought me right down to the car.

E and the boys timed their return to the car just right because they could see me on my descent, and when we met up I tried to tempt them into going for a run by letting them know just how great the snow was.  It didn’t work, as they were all just a little too tired from the busy weekend.  We’re watching the Mt. Washington Auto Road to see how things develop in the next couple of weeks.  There’s still quite a lot of snow up there, and the sooner they open the more options there will be on the snowfields.