Today was forecast to have favorable weather for outdoor activity, with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s F, so I decided to head up to Bolton Valley for a ski tour. Dylan is under the weather, Ty tweaked his hip at track practice, and E was planning to do some work in the yard and exercise at home, so I headed up to the mountain solo.
Heading up the Bolton Valley Access Road, first signs of snow were around 1,200’. I was all set to head up the main base area, but a quick look at Timberline revealed that plenty of snow remained, so I decided it was a good time to catch some turns there before it melted out for the season. Snow is essentially continuous right down to the base at 1,500’, which is pretty impressive for this time of year on relatively low elevation, western-facing terrain.
I contemplated actually skinning up Spell Binder, but the snow there wasn’t quite continuous, so I took the Showtime route. The snow there is continuous right up to the Timberline Summit, aside from a small break at the Showtime Headwall where the rocks melted out the snow. I saw a couple of other skiers, including a pair of snowboarders who were running snowmobile-accessed laps to the summit.
“In terms of the skiing, the consistency of the snow was very nice, with just a few sticky spots.”
In terms of the skiing, the consistency of the snow was very nice, with just a few sticky spots. During the tour, I could see showers over the in Adirondacks, and thicker clouds were just moving in as I finished my descent. The sun had finally faded, and showers just began to appear as I was heading home. As this system pulls farther east, the forecast suggests that there’s a chance for some snow associated with the incoming colder air, so we’ll see what the mountains pick up for accumulations.
“Like other local resorts, Bolton has been putting up some impressive snowfall numbers in the past several days, with 42 inches in the past 48 hours, and 62 inches in the past week.”
Although it was calm down at the house with huge fluffy flakes falling from the sky, I was definitely concerned about lift operations on the mountain with the anticipated winds. Dave had checked the snow report as we were heading out, and there was no note of any lift issues, but once we got up to the resort we found that the Vista Quad was on wind hold. The Timberline opening looked delayed about a half hour due to the time required to remove all the new snow from the lift terminals, but we were able to keep ourselves busy with some runs off the Snowflake and Mid Mountain chairs while we waited. The mountain had indeed picked up another good shot of snow overnight, but it was notably denser than what we were skiing yesterday at Stowe. You were still getting down in the powder to some degree, but you were definitely skiing much more “on” it at times as well.
When it was time to head over to Timberline, we caught first tracks on Tattle Tale. Indeed the new snow was dense, but it was a lot of fun planing our way down through the untracked expanse of white. Dave was definitely excited to get some of that feel today at Bolton, vs. the much busier slopes of Stowe from yesterday. We spent the rest of the morning there, hitting lots of other favorites like Spell Binder, Brandywine, Adam’s Solitude, Lost Boyz, Lost Girlz, etc. We headed back to the main mountain a bit after noon, and I headed out, but Dave was planning on a few more runs before heading on his trip back to Boston.
I got home to a driveway which needed to be cleared with the snow thrower again, after just having cleared it late yesterday evening. We’ve passed two feet of accumulation now with Winter Storm Skylar here at the house, and it just keeps snowing. We’re looking at some potentially great conditions continuing right into the weekend with snow showers around in the mountains.
Although Bolton Valley was only reporting an inch of new snow in this morning’s report, they’ve picked up more than a foot of snow in the past couple of days from Winter Storm Quinn. Combined with modest midweek skier traffic, that was already a recipe for some great skiing today, but even more snow was expected to arrive as the day wore on to further freshen up the slopes.
E and Dylan had some obligations in the morning, but Ty and I were free to ski and had plans to meet up with Stephen at the resort. We parked at Timberline, alerted Stephen with a text, and headed up the Timberline Quad for a run. Although I couldn’t find any slopes that hadn’t been thoroughly resurfaced at the resort during yesterday’s outing, I can finally say that I found at least one today. I figured we could try a run on Lost Girlz, which would be a really tough test of the resurfacing. Unfortunately, the combination of dense evergreen canopy above, and very steep pitch were too much; the coverage just wasn’t enough. So, we high tailed it over to Tattle Tale for a run. The snow was certainly good there, but in general it had seen much more traffic than usual because the Tattle Tale headwall was open.
We met up with Stephen and did a full run of Tattle Tale so that we could really take in the headwall experience. It was a bit windblown at the very top, but coverage was quite good overall and it was definitely worth the trip.
The rest of the morning was dedicated to getting Stephen some deep untracked powder, and that we delivered in spades with trips to The Crack, Villager Trees, and White Rabbit. Stephen seemed quite happy floating around on his fat alpine touring skis. The powder was easily a foot or more in untracked areas, and it was definitely delivering great turns with that right-side-up density gradient that Winter Storm Quinn had set up. In addition, new snowfall was ramping right up as we approached midday due to an incoming mountain upslope snow event that’s developing in the area.
The three of us headed to Fireside Flatbread for some lunch, and E and Dylan joined us for a bite once they arrived at the resort. We all did a Cobrass/Five Corners run together before Stephen had to head back to pick up Johannes, and the rest of us finished off the day with some Timberline runs. E and Dylan had skied Spell Binder earlier and it got a great recommendation. It lived up to the expectations, especially that skier’s left that Dylan enjoyed ripping up so much.
“As mentioned earlier, the big weather news in the coming days is the mountain upslope snow event that’s poised to bring another hefty shot of snow to the area.”
“Another good problem to have is trying to find the off switch to the upslope snow machine…looks like a brief break develops Sunday afternoon into Monday…before more accumulating snowfall for Tuesday into Weds.”
“I took every steep and potentially rocky line I could find to get a sense for how aggressive I could make my turns in the powder before hitting the old subsurface or various trail obstacles. Try as I might to make contact with surface below, I just couldn’t do it.”
After getting to watch the Snowflake lift-op John, shred some endless tight turns on his snowboard, I made my way over to Timberline just in time to catch the opening of the chair. My first run was Intro to Brandywine, and I took every steep and potentially rocky line I could find to get a sense for how aggressive I could make my turns in the powder before hitting the old subsurface or various trail obstacles, and I just couldn’t do it. Even though Winter Storm Quinn only brought about a foot of snow and an inch or so of liquid equivalent, it had essentially resurfaced everything. There’s little doubt that the robust coverage was due to the start of the storm providing some nice dense snow that simply adhered to and covered whatever was underneath. My trip down Spell Binder revealed that the headwall was in prime form. I launched off the ledges on the skier’s left expecting to bust down into a hard contact with the subsurface, but that simply never happened. Although I didn’t ski it, I saw that even the Tattle Tale headwall was open, and that is really hard to cover well. Along with the high density of the snow from the initial part of the storm, I think that fact that the storm had so little wind overall allowed the snow to really cover things well without the usual scouring.
Back at the main mountain all I can say is that everything was simply great: the powder, the groomers, all of it. My measurements around the resort revealed generally 13” of settled surface snow at the elevations of the main mountain, and 11” at Timberline elevations, but the difference wasn’t noticeable in terms of the skiing – the new snow just covered everything. Temperatures were in the mid-20s F during my session this morning, and I don’t think they were expected to go above freezing at the resort level, so the snow should continue to stay in great shape.
With the combination of Winter Storm Liam and Winter Storm Mateo over the past few days, Bolton Valley is reporting 16 inches of new snow and the ski conditions are taking off. E and Dylan were off to Lake Elmore to do a polar plunge today, but Ty and I headed up to the mountain to make use of all the new powder.
“Off piste there has been a nice shot of snow (probably 16 to 18 settled inches above 2,000’) from that combination of Winter Storm Liam and Winter Storm Mateo, so there’s plenty of powder out there.”
We had snow falling at the house in the morning, and were surprised to see what looked like some brief sleet or rain as we passed through ~1,000’ elevation band on the Bolton Valley Access Road, but as we got to the switchbacks below 1,500’ near the Timberline Base we were hit with a wall of steady light snow. We arrived at Timberline in the 9:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. range when the Timberline Quad was just opening, and had light snow falling with a cloud ceiling around 2,200’.
We kicked things off with a quick run through Wood’s Hole and the Corner Pocket Glades. The powder was good, although you could feel that the freezing level had rise to just about the Timberline base elevations. We found that total snowpack and coverage is OK below 2,000’, but those elevations could use one more solid storm to cover up some obstacles that still remain.
We spent time over at the main mountain after that, with a couple of great runs connecting from Hard Luck to Show Off, which hadn’t seen much traffic and had excellent snow. The main mountain was well above the freezing level and base depths are plentiful up there. We had a quick break with some slices at Fireside Flatbread, and then we finished off at the main mountain with a trip through the Villager Trees before heading back to Timberline. Eventually we took a lunch break at the Timberline Lodge before we finished off the day skiing over there, and it was definitely disappointing to see that South of Solitude isn’t running in the lodge – we were really amped to have some burritos!
There was light snowfall when we first arrived, and it ramped up to moderate intensity at times, but the flakes were fairly small early on. We had a period of heavier snow with big flakes near midday, but snowfall was typically on and off through the day. The freezing line was climbing during the day, and at least based on the temperature’s effect on snow surface consistency, I’d say it was around 1,700’ around midday, and 2,000’ by the time we were leaving near 3:00 P.M.
Overall the skiing is excellent right now as one would expect, but I’d say the biggest improvements have been on piste. The groomed terrain is skiing very nicely. Off piste there has been a nice shot of snow (probably 16 to 18 settled inches above 2,000’) from that combination of Winter Storm Liam and Winter Storm Mateo, so there’s plenty of powder out there. There really wasn’t a lot of champagne to top it off with this last storm, so I can’t put it up there with those primo dumps where you get that amazing density gradient of powder, but the powder skiing was still great.
It’s nice to have some more typical Northern Greens conditions back in the house. We’ve got some big flakes falling here at our place this evening, so hopefully we’ll get a nice addition for more fun on the slopes tomorrow!
Light snow fell yesterday during the daylight hours while we were at Stowe, but the snowfall intensified after dark and we picked up more substantial amounts of snow in the evening. Knowing that the same thing was going on at the local resorts, it seemed like this morning would be an excellent time to catch some turns in the fresh powder. So, I decided to head up for a quick ski tour at Bolton Valley.
When I’d left the house the temperature was still right around freezing, but by Bolton Flats I hit winds associated with the cold air moving in, and by the time I got up to Timberline the temperature was down around 20 F. I found several cars in the usual parking spots off to the right, and they belonged to various skiers and riders coming and going from trips in the new snow.
“Today yielded some of the best turns in at least a couple of weeks, and it looks like the skiing is only going to get better with another storm predicted for Wednesday.”
On my ascent I found a nice skin track in place on Twice as Nice, and I frequently checked the depths of the powder. Wind had pushed the snow around a bit, but I generally found depths of 5 to 8 inches with spot amounts up to 10 inches near the Timberline Mid Station. I opted for Spell Binder on the descent, and even though the headwall had seen a lot of its snow blow around, the usual spots that hold the snow yielded excellent turns. Throughout the trail, turns were bottomless aside from a few contacts with the subsurface here and there, and I found protected spots with depths of over a foot.
Today yielded some of the best turns in at least a couple of weeks, and it looks like the skiing is only going to get better with another storm predicted for Wednesday.
Ski conditions have been in sort of a holding pattern here in Northern Vermont. We just haven’t had any big snowstorms in the past couple of weeks, and that’s what we need to get the off piste terrain back in prime shape. With that said, there’s certainly some decent off piste skiing out there in various spots. Powderfreak highlighted how good some of the tree skiing was at Stowe today, despite the fact that Winter Storm Jaxon had a substantial amount of mixed precipitation. It was just one of those storms that finished off with some dense sleet to snow that really resurfaced whatever lay beneath.
I was sort of curious about the conditions up in the mountains today, and when temperatures rose up into the 30s F even at elevation, I decided that there would certainly be some soft snow out there. I headed up to Bolton Valley in the midafternoon timeframe and parked at the Timberline Base to start my outing. With the main base of the resort at 2,100’ up into the 30s F, I knew it would have warmed down there at 1,500’. The scene at Timberline was quite mellow, with generally calm winds under cloudy skies, and just a sprinkling of skiers visible.
“As soon as I got off, I headed into the trees a bit off to the right of Villager, and low and behold there was some powder in there and the skiing wasn’t bad at all.”
As I rode the Timberline Quad, the conditions below me on Showtime looked, and even more importantly, sounded very good. I couldn’t hear a thing from the turns of the skiers below me, so I hopped right off at the mid station and went for a run. Indeed the snow on Showtime was great, probably softened a bit by the moderate temperatures, but it was immediately obvious that a major portion of the snow quality came from the fact that the resort had just blown a ton of snow on it.
“…it was kind of fun to span the gamut from some almost spring-like softened snow to midwinter powder.”
That snow on Showtime was worthy of being lapped for quite a while, but I still wanted to find out what the snow was like in the higher elevations, so I headed all the way to the Timberline Summit. As soon as I got off, I headed into the trees a bit off to the right of Villager, and low and behold there was some powder in there and the skiing wasn’t bad at all. I hadn’t seen Powderfreak’s post and photos about the snow at Stowe at that point, and I really wasn’t expecting much, so it was indeed sort of a pleasant surprise. It did make me think back to something I’d read in the Bolton Valley snow report earlier in the day:
“Updated Saturday, January 27th at 7:57 AM – News and Notes: Come and get it folks. The sun will make an appearance today and the trails have a pleasant surprise feel to them making for a fun combination. If you take a little time to explore, you will find some powder in the glades and wooded areas off of our open trails such as the Wilderness Liftline and Preacher.”
If you take a little time to explore, you will find some powder in the glades and wooded areas off of our open trails such as the Wilderness Liftline and Preacher.”
The report literally had “pleasant surprise” in it, and I can absolutely see what they were getting at. With that commentary, and what I’d encountered off piste, I decided to head off to check out the powder over at Wilderness. What I found was that even areas that had seen some skier traffic over there were offering up some nice soft turns, but untracked areas with that coating of a couple inches of powder were very nice. It’s really the dense, yet soft, material underneath that is providing the good turns vs. the couple inches of powder on top, but hey, the combination really comes together.
I gradually worked my way back to the Timberline Base to complete my tour of the resort’s terrain, and it was kind of fun to span the gamut from some almost spring-like softened snow to midwinter powder. Despite the good conditions I found in many spots, high-traffic and windblown areas are definitely in need of a resurfacing. The worst spots will need a couple inches of liquid equivalent, but good base is in place in most areas, so all we really need is a decent storm with about an inch of liquid equivalent and we’ll really be back to more typical on and off piste conditions. We’re expected to get into a more active wintry pattern in February, so we’ll see if any storms swing through to bring what we need.
The middle of Winter Storm Dylan at the end of last week had some mixed precipitation that put a thick layer into the snowpack, but since then we’ve had the backside snow from that storm, the snow from Winter Storm Ethan, and some additional snow from a localized streamer that was affecting the area yesterday. It was certainly enough new powder to entice me out to the mountain for a quick tour today, especially with some very cold air coming into the area later this week.
I arrived at Timberline in the mid-afternoon period, just as a some snow was moving into the valley. The snow was steady during my whole tour, although visibility was generally in the 1 to 2-mile range, so it wasn’t especially heavy. In terms of the powder, I found roughly 4 to 6 inches at the 1,500’ level, and probably 5 to 7 inches at the 2,500’ level.
Although I did ascend all the way to the Timberline Summit, my main goal was a trip down Brandywine, which had some great snow and just a couple of previous ski tracks. The powder was deep enough for plenty of good turns on Brandywine, although I think it would have been better with some wider skis vs. just my midfats. I also think some slightly lower angle would be good to really stay away from that crust.
At the end of my tour I spoke with one of the crew that was working on grooming Timberline Run, and it sounds like they’re planning to open the Timberline area tomorrow for lift-served skiing.
We’re currently under the influence of Winter Storm Dylan, which started dropping snow on the area early this morning. The snow started out slowly for the first couple of hours, but by 10:00 A.M. or so it had ramped up to very heavy intensity – at one point it was coming down at a rate of roughly 4 inches per hour. It continued at a steady pace, and by midafternoon we’d already picked up 6 to 8 inches of snow at the house. By that point it was obvious that there was going to be enough fresh snow for a ski tour, so I headed up to Bolton Valley while I still had light.
I pulled into the Timberline lot amidst heavy snow, and chatted with another gentleman who was just skinning up his skis for an ascent. Within a couple of minutes, Quinn appeared out of his truck, and we sort of laughed amongst ourselves how everyone sort of had the same idea. Well, great minds think alike, and know to get to the powder while the getting’s good.
As I began my tour, my checks near the Timberline Base Lodge revealed that roughly 8 inches of new snow had fallen. That number was growing by the minute though, and the snowfall during my ascent was quite heavy. At times, visibility was down to a tenth of a mile, which equates to very heavy snowfall. Up at the Timberline Mid Station I was finding anywhere from 8 to 12 inches of new snow.
“Up at the Timberline Mid Station I was finding anywhere from 8 to 12 inches of new snow.”
There were few if any tracks on Twice as Nice, so I decided to make use of its fairly consistent pitch and make my descent there. I was on my 115 mm Black Diamond AMPerages, even with accumulations only topping out around a foot, the snow was mostly bottomless. My legs got cooked pretty quickly from making Tele turns, but it gave me time to stop and soak in the scene with the storm, the snowfall, and the solitude. It was a great outing, and there’s nothing like getting some of these productive winter storms during the holiday period when one’s schedule is a bit more relaxed.
Winter Storm Dylan is supposed to continue through tomorrow, but we’re going to have to watch out for some mixed precipitation and see how that plays out before everything changes back to snow.
“The general depths of powder we found today were in the 10-12” range, and it’s light and dry and simply delightful to ski.”
Light snow continued on and off today at the house to the tune of an inch or two of accumulation, but Powderfreak said that Stowe had seen a few inches, and the skiing looked really good. One can only watch the flakes fall out there for so long before you want to take advantage and get in some powder skiing, so taking a trip up to the mountain was inevitable. Dylan had a friend visiting today, but Ty and I headed up to Bolton Valley in the midafternoon to catch a few runs. Temperatures had started in the 20s F, but they were definitely falling as the back side of this latest event came through.
As we were gearing up, Ty decided that he needed to hit the restroom in the main lodge, and when he came back he could not stop raving about the pizza smell inside. With that, we knew where we were heading as soon as we were done skiing. Ty had brought his Tele skis today, and we ended up just doing runs off Snowflake to let him work on his turns. Actually, Snowflake was an excellent choice in general today because thanks to its generally lower amounts of skier traffic, it held some fabulous snow. Ty had his pick of working on his turns in powder, chowder, or packed snow. The general depths of powder we found today were in the 10-12” range, and it’s light and dry and simply delightful to ski.
“There’s easily a foot or more of powder in many places over there – it’s just been building up over the past few weeks with little traffic.”
We finished off the day with a ski down through the fresh powder on Timberline, and of course that was a highlight. There’s been at least a little skier traffic down at Timberline from folks earning turns, but fresh turns are essentially everywhere. Ty had no choice but to work on powder turns for that run… oh well. There’s easily a foot or more of powder in many places over there – it’s just been building up over the past few weeks with little traffic. We’d called ahead to let E know that we were heading down, and she was right there at the Timberline Base to pick us up and bring us back up to the main base.
E couldn’t stay, but Ty and I headed up to Fireside Flatbread as planned, and had a couple of slices at the bar. Since E and Dylan hadn’t been able to join us, the natural course of action was to get a couple of pies to take home. Man that crust was good.
The base depths at Timberline aren’t quite there for lift-served traffic yet, but we’re definitely OK with that. There’s more snow in the forecast in the coming week, so surfaces and powder availability should remain in good shape.