Bolton Valley, VT 13MAR2022

A black and white image of Jay skiing powder after Winter Storm Quinlan on the Spell Binder trail in the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica skiing the powder from Winter Storm Quinlan in the KP Glades area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
As long as you knew the areas that have held onto good base snow, there was some great off piste skiing today thanks to Winter Storm Quinlan, as E demonstrates in the KP Glades.

Today was the day after the storm (Winter Storm Quinlan), and the weather had settled down.  E and I headed up for morning turns at Timberline, and the conditions were great.  It was still cold by March standards, somewhere in the teens F in the morning.  The storm total reported by Bolton Valley was around 18 inches.

We spent our entire morning at Timberline, and just stayed there since there was plenty of snow even down to 1,500’, and there was still some wind around as we hit 2,500’.  My depth checks generally revealed about 12” of new snow after settling down in the Timberline  elevations, which with the density at the beginning of the storm was plenty to cover most on piste terrain.  Initially, the headwalls of the steepest terrain areas were closed, since they had been scoured by the winds and thus not covered as well as they otherwise would have been.  The traverses below them were in good shape though, so that gave you access to run after run of untracked powder on trails like Spell Binder.  Eventually, patrol even opened the Spell Binder headwall, but you had to be quite cautious going down the most scoured sections.

An image of Jay skiing powder from Winter Storm Quinlan on the Spell Binder Trail of the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Jay enjoys some of that Winter Storm Quinlan powder today on Spell Binder

For off piste runs, you had to know the areas with good base depths, but the skiing in those areas was excellent.  The usual steepest areas were still sketchy of course, as one storm can only do so much to cover up areas with poor base depths.  E and I had a great run in the lower KP Glades, and when we showed it to Dylan and Parker once they arrived it the early afternoon, they were pretty impressed with the conditions as well.  E and I left around 1:00 P.M., but the boys did a lot of off piste exploring in the afternoon, and my Dylan’s ski got a solid core shot to show for it.

“My depth checks generally revealed about 12” of new snow after settling down in the Timberline elevations, which with the density at the beginning of the storm was plenty to cover most on piste terrain.”

The parking lots up at the Village were already full when we arrived in the morning, so the Timberline Quad had intermittent periods with a lift queue as the people arriving made their way up to the main mountain, but thankfully those died off as people dispersed.  Bolton opened the new expansion to the Timberline Lodge for the first time this weekend, and it looks quite nice.  I hear they are also going to use it as rentable space for conferences and events, but it’s going to be a great addition to the space in the lodge.​

Bolton Valley, VT 06MAR2022

An image of Dylan performing a jump on his skis in soft spring snow on the Showtime trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Dylan carving on his skis in soft spring snow on the Showtime trail under the Timberline Quad Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan laying out a carve on Showtime in today’s soft spring snow at Bolton Valley

I hadn’t planned to ski today, thinking it was just going to be a rainy one, but the sky cleared out in the afternoon to produce a beautiful, warm, early spring day.  Seeing that, Dylan and I popped up to the mountain for some runs.  In a classic reversal of Saturday, this was a situation where the terrain with manmade snow provided the superior skiing.  Manmade snow is dense enough that it generally transitions quickly to an appropriate spring snow surface, while the natural snow initially gets sticky with warm temperatures and requires some freeze/thaw cycles before it really primes up.  Trail pitch mattered today as well, and low angle terrain was the toughest in terms of movement.  We talked to a couple of guys in the parking lot who said that the flat terrain was brutally slow.

An image of Dylan jumping on his skis on the Showtime Trail under the Timberline Quad Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan was enjoying the soft spring conditions today by hitting the jumps just about any time he found them.

“…we just spent the rest or the time lapping the good snow on the Showtime trail under the Timberline Quad. The snow was great for railing carves and generally having a fun springtime ski session.”

We spent our whole session today at Timberline, and Bolton Valley had recently put down a bunch of manmade snow under the quad that provided great turns in the warm temperatures.  We did venture off to flatter terrain on one run per Dylan’s request, just to see what it was like.  Thankfully, we didn’t actually find that conditions on the flats as bad as the guys we’d talked to in the parking lot, and I’ve definitely seen it worse.  I was on Teles, which can be brutal with respect to the effort required to keep fore-aft balance and prevent yourself from going over the handlebars all the time on really sticky snow, but I found that today was at least reasonable compared to some days we’ve been out in the past.

The difficulty in traveling on flat terrain was still made abundantly clear after that run, and we just spent the rest or the time lapping the good snow on the Showtime trail under the Timberline Quad.  The snow was great for railing carves and generally having a fun springtime ski session.  Also, there was hardly anyone at the resort, probably because they had assumed it was going to be a dreary day like we’d thought.  When we arrived in the early afternoon, there were just three cars in the upper Timberline lot.

An image of a few cars on a spring day in the uppermost parking lot at the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
We assume everyone thought that today was going to be dreary, because there was hardly anyone with us in the upper parking lot at Timberline

Bolton Valley, VT 05MAR2022

An image of the Miso Kome stand that offer Authentic Japanese Rice Balls and related fare near the main base lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica Telemark skiing in powder on the Cougar trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
In areas that still held untracked powder today, the skiing was excellent, but we had to search harder than usual due plenty of skier traffic over the past week.

E and I headed out for some turns this morning, thinking it was clearly going to be the better day for skiing over the weekend.  Temperatures were in the 20s F, so it was quite nice in that regard, but we were curious to see how the trail conditions were faring after the midweek clippers.  Despite all the new snow, trail conditions were fairly poor, even at a relatively low traffic resort like Bolton.  The powder that hadn’t been touched was actually skiing really well, but untracked areas were few and far between on the lift-served terrain after the completion of school vacation week and the extension of the break period into Monday and Tuesday that most local schools had.  I actually think some low to moderate angle backcountry might have even been the better call based on the sharp contrast in snow quality between the on piste vs. off piste conditions we found.

“The powder that hadn’t been touched was actually skiing really well, but untracked areas were few and far between on the lift-served terrain after the completion of school vacation week and the extension of the break period into Monday and Tuesday that most local schools had.”

The recent clippers from this week were nice, and were potent enough that they made for some great short term conditions while the snow had its loft, but there just wasn’t enough liquid equivalent in there to really set up for lasting improvement in the on piste snow surfaces.  Those systems, and even Winter Storm Oaklee before it, were fairy cold from start to finish.  That meant that there wasn’t any notable dense snow to bond to the underlying subsurface, and the light, dry snow eventually just gets pushed around, bringing you back to whatever hard base was there before.  My snow analysis numbers show that these past four storms (there was also a smaller system with squalls between Oaklee and the two larger clippers) actually put down over an inch of liquid equivalent here in the valley.  But despite there likely being somewhat more liquid equivalent than that in the mountains, it wasn’t going to be enough to hold up to lift-served levels of skier traffic.  Even more than usual on Saturday we found a huge difference between the quality of the manmade subsurfaces and the natural subsurfaces.  Erica commented on it during one of our runs because the difference was so extreme that it jumped right out to her.  Based on what we encountered, it seemed like the denser manmade base areas had an even harder time incorporating the new snow than the natural snow terrain.

We finally had a chance to check out the Miso Kome stand by the main base lodge up close today – it wasn’t open in the morning when we were there, but we’re excited to check it out.  Stephen had a chance to try it a few weeks back, and said good things!  Now that we’re into March, hopefully we’ll get a chance to try it out on one of these nice spring days.  One notable event of the day was having to wait ~15 minutes on the Wilderness Chair, which was apparently due to a mechanical issue.  They got their backup power going to get everyone unloaded, but they didn’t reload after that, presumably to take care of the issue.

Bolton Valley, VT 26FEB2022

An image of Erica and Tyler getting ready to ski some powder from Winter Storm Oaklee below the Spell Binder headwall at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty skiing powder from Winter Storm Oaklee in the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty out there charging through the powder from Winter Storm Oaklee at Bolton Valley

This morning, Ty, E, and I headed up to Bolton Valley to check out the snow from Winter Storm Oaklee.  The boys were both asleep as E and I were just about to leave to get in on some of the fresh powder, and we assumed they were just going to sleep in.  Ty just happened to wake up at the right time, and he was excited to join us, so that was fortuitous timing for him!

Having clear skies, comfortable winter temperatures, and about a foot of fresh snow held the potential for some great skiing.  Based on my snow density observations down at the house, the storm cycle progressed from denser 8-10% H2O snow into some impressive 2-4% H2O champagne, and indeed what we found out there at Bolton today was some very high quality powder.  This was also the first chance for E to try out her new Rossignol Spicy 7 HD skis, and she was very happy with how they felt with today’s conditions.

An image of Erica Telemark skiing in powder from Winter Storm Oaklee at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
E dancing through today’s powder with some impressive contrast between the cold smoke, bright sun, and snowpack

The denser snow from the front end of the storm cycle wasn’t too evident underfoot actually, so the only major downside of today’s powder skiing was that it wasn’t quite bottomless.  Depending on the pitch, you were certainly touching down on the subsurface, but on everything except for the steepest terrain, the powder turns were quite good.  On moderate-angle terrain you could typically get by with 80-90% bottomless skiing, and because the powder was just so incredibly dry, you could ride it on lower angle terrain and it skied really well because of such low impedance.

An image of Jay skiing off piste in the powder from Winter Storm Oaklee at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Jay getting a taste of the off piste Winter Storm Oaklee powder today at Bolton

Measurements throughout the morning revealed plenty of 8-12” powder depths, and we just ended up staying down at Timberline for our entire session because there was rarely a lift queue of note.  A lot of trails weren’t open simply because the headwalls didn’t have quite enough snow to cover them up fully, but routes were available to traverse below them, and all that terrain was just loaded with quality powder.  We generally stayed on piste because there was plenty of powder available there, and it was the better option anyway.  Some off piste areas are dicey because of the recent warmth, but the off piste areas that are typically protected from the warmth and are well manicured were in great shape, so we did have some nice turns in those spots.

Storms like this are where one’s knowledge of their local hill really comes into play for putting together a fun session vs. one where you’re constantly dodging rocks and logs, wrecking your skis, or even worse, potentially wrecking yourself.  Although we did spend most of our time on piste over the weekend because there was plenty of available powder there, our travels also brought us into some off piste lines that we trusted, and we found great turns in those areas.

An image of Ty jumping while skiing the Wood's Hole area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
You wanted to be careful about which off piste areas you skied today due to the recent warmth, but the usual protected spots were skiing quite well with the fresh powder.

From conversations with friends and colleagues who have skied in different spots in the Northern Greens over the past few days, it sounds like with respect to off piste turns, the farther north you go, the better the base gets.  These next couple of bread and butter systems that are coming though this week should only help in that regard, and then we’ll have to see if that mixed system that’s farther out there in time can further substantiate the base.

Bolton Valley, VT 12FEB2022

An image of Dylan in ski goggles smiling on a February day at the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Dylan skiing the Showtime trail in the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan throwing around some of the loose snow on Timberline today as he enjoys some sun and comfortable temperatures

This weekend’s forecast suggests the reverse of last weekend when it comes to temperatures.  Whereas Sunday was the warmer day last time around, this weekend, Saturday is the day.  We’ve had a couple of nice, milder days this past week with temperatures up around 40 F, and that spell continued into today.  Tonight, the temperatures are expected to drop below zero F with the passage of a sharp cold front, and tomorrow’s highs are only in the single digits, so today was definitely the day to hit the slopes.

D, E, and I headed up to Timberline today for a ski session in the late morning.  The Timberline Quad seems to be back up to full capacity, so whatever repairs were needed must have been completed.  With full capacity loading, there were occasionally a few people forming a lift queue, but it was mostly just walk-on service.

An image of Erica on the Showtime trail in the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
E out in the sun for some Telemark turns on Showtime

Today’s outing on the mountain had a somewhat Colorado feel – temperatures were above freezing in the 30s to near 40 F, but the air was dry, and the snow stayed relatively dry as well.  There’s lots of loose, chopped up snow on the trails, and it really seems like we’re still just working with long-lasting leftovers from Winter Storm Landon.  I guess with low levels of skier traffic at Timberline, and the resort leaving parts of the trails ungroomed, that snow is just sticking around.  We had some sunny periods that really brightened up the session, and the snow got a bit sticky in a few spots, but in general I found even the sunniest areas of snow to be quite dry.  Even among the sunshine there were a few flakes falling today, and the views across the lake were impressive with squalls dropping snow among the Adirondacks ahead of an approaching clipper system.

An image of the Adirondack Mountains across Lake Champlain with snow squalls as viewed from the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Snow squalls were seen breaking out over the Adirondacks today ahead of an approaching Alberta Clipper system

I was on my Atomic RT-86 Tele Skis with an 86 mm waist, but I think even something in the 90-100 mm range would have been nice out there today with all the loose snow.  E was riding her old school Tele skis that have a 70 mm waist, and that lack of width just made it harder to negotiate the chop.  We actually discussed a similar theme during our Bolton Valley outing back on the 30th, when E and I were skiing some leftover powder and chopped up snow at Timberline.  It seemed like it was a good time to get E something wider for a daily Tele driver, so I ordered up a pair of Rossignol Spicy 7 HD skis.  Those were delivered earlier this week, and we actually just visited OGE to get them mounted this afternoon.  They should be a nice addition to her Tele quiver, and she can save her old skinniest Teles for real groomer days or early/late season situations with poor coverage.

An image of Dylan skiing the Showtime trail of the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan heads off down Showtime through some of the loose snow.

We spent our time today on the main Timberline runs like Twice as Nice, Showtime, and Spell Binder, and despite some warm days this week, coverage is in pretty good shape for all those areas, which are all running on natural snow.  Not surprisingly, the Spell Binder headwall is the place with some thin cover, but it’s hard to overstate just how important it was to get those inches of liquid equivalent put down by Winter Storm Landon last weekend.  That really was an absolute game-changer on the season for the lower elevation slopes.

Bolton Valley, VT 06FEB2022

An image of Jay catching some air while skiing among the powder left over from Winter Storm Landon in the Doug's Knob area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Jay skiing off piste powder from Winter Storm Landon in the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
The recent powder from Winter Storm Landon remains in excellent condition as we discovered in Bolton Valley’s off piste areas today.

Temperatures definitely warmed up today relative to yesterday, so E and I headed out to Bolton Valley for an afternoon ski session.  We spent our time at Timberline, since it’s only been open for about a week, and it allowed us to check out some of our favorite areas for the first time this season.  We checked out Twice as Nice, where the on-piste conditions are excellent, as well as spots like the Corner Pocket Glades, Doug’s Woods, Doug’s Solitude, Doug’s Knob, Wood’s Hole, etc.

An image of Jay standing near a tree in the glades at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontConditions continue to be excellent, although the trails are getting pretty tracked up at this point, so we had to head a bit farther off piste for fresh snow.  In line with the observations from my backcountry ski tour yesterday, we found powder depths at around 20 inches, even down to the 1,500’ – 2,000’ elevation range.

We were hoping for some afternoon sun, but we only had it very briefly before clouds moved in from the west and the light got flat.  This made the action photography more challenging, but we still managed to get in some good sequences.  It was a solid ending to the weekend that Mother Nature really turned into quite an extended break – many schools, like Dylan’s, had a four-day weekend with both Thursday and Friday off due to Winter Storm Landon.

A snowy scene from the snows of Winter Storm Landon near the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Snow scenes remain all around the resort as Winter Storm Landon’s accumulations continue to stay light and fluffy in the cold temperatures.

Bolton Valley, VT 04FEB2022

A close-up shot of Dave skiing the powder of Winter Storm Landon at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Dave spraying powder while skiing during Winter Storm Landon at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Winter Storm Landon’s potential was enough to lure Dave up north to Bolton Valley today, and the powder didn’t disappoint!

From several days out, the weather models suggested that Winter Storm Landon was going to target Northern New England with more than a foot of snow.  Unlike last weekend’s Winter Storm Kenan, this wasn’t a coastal system that needed to line up perfectly and might affect only a small geographical area; this was a large overrunning system stretching up all the way from the Southwest, through the Midwest, and into the Northeast with an almost nation-wide swath of wintry precipitation.  By Wednesday, it was obvious that Northern Vermont was on track for a solid snowfall, and late in the afternoon, I got a quick text from Dave that led to the following exchange:

Dave:  “Any thoughts on this storm?”

Jay: “I would say 12”+ is a good bet for around here.”

With that, the plan was on.  Dave was heading to Killington to ski on Thursday, and then he’d make his way up to our place to stay Thursday night, with the hope of being able to get some turns together on Friday.  This was exciting, because Dave’s schedule and obligations haven’t really lined up for a visit in a while.  A search on our website revealed that his last trip up for skiing was in 2018 when we skied Stowe on March 14th and Bolton Valley on March 15th.

When Dave got to our house late yesterday afternoon, he said that he’d almost bailed on skiing at Killington when he arrived there in the morning to find it raining.  Thankfully, it was much more wintry up high on the mountain, and the conditions just got better as the day went on.  He met up with another guy that was skiing solo, and ended up having a fantastic time roaming around and even getting some video shots with the guy’s camera.

“At our site, I recorded 6.0 inches of new snow from 6:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M., and then another 5.2 inches between 12:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. Our storm total at that point even down at the house was over a foot of new snow, and 1.4 inches of liquid equivalent, so it was clear that the storm was putting down a very solid resurfacing of the slopes.”

There were no concerns about rain for Friday at Bolton though.  Here in the Northern Greens, it had already been snowing at elevation for a while, and Stowe had flipped to snow even at the base elevations as of midmorning yesterday.  The precipitation had switched to snow even at our house in the Winooski Valley by midday.  When Powderfreak sent in a report with Stowe’s accumulations at the end of the day, he said there was 5” in the higher elevations, 3.5” at the top of the Lookout Double, and an inch at the base elevations.  My 6:00 P.M. observations at our house revealed that we’d picked up an inch of snow even down at the 500-foot elevation.  The snow just continued to pick up as the evening wore on.  Dylan was up at Bolton for some night skiing yesterday evening, and he said that his drive down the access road was hairy – with a number of cars off the road.  That was some great winter driving experience for him though.  From his report, it was obvious that the storm meant business, and with everyone in the north over to 100% snow by that point, the only things to wonder about were snow density and just how much we were going to get.

As expected, the snowfall really turned on around here yesterday evening.  At our site, I recorded 6.0 inches of new snow from 6:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M., and then another 5.2 inches between 12:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M.  Our storm total at that point even down at the house was over a foot of new snow, and 1.4 inches of liquid equivalent, so it was clear that the storm was putting down a very solid resurfacing of the slopes.  Between getting gear together, snow blowing the driveway, solidifying Dave’s ski plans, getting his ticket, and everything else that goes into a storm morning, it was quite busy.  But we easily made it to the Vista Quad lineup for the planned 9:00 A.M. opening.

An image of skiers in the parking lot preparing for a day of skiing the fresh snow of Winter Storm Landon at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
A powder morning in one of Bolton Valley’s parking lots as eager skiers get ready to experience the snows of Winter Storm Landon

It was chilly out there on the mountain, with temperatures probably in the 10 F range.  We were happy to discover that winds weren’t strong at all though, so there were no wind holds, and the lifts seemed to start right up at their planned times aside from the usual smaller delays of getting the later lifts rolling on a storm day.  We were all set to head over toward Timberline on our second run, but we ran into a patroller on Cobrass who said that it wasn’t quite ready yet, so we gave it one more run and the timing worked out beautifully.

An image of Erica skiing powder on the Tattle Tale trail during Winter Storm Landon at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
E was out on her fat skis today enjoying the powder of Winter Storm Landon

The new snow was undoubtedly a solid resurfacing of the entire mountain at all elevations.  Indeed, that 1.4 inches of liquid equivalent that we’d picked up at our house meant that the resort had at least that much, and you could feel it by the girth of the massive cushion beneath your skis.  The snow had started out quite dense at the very initial stages of the storm as temperatures were still coming down, and then it seemed to settle down to roughly medium-weight powder for the bulk of the overnight accumulations.  My 6:00 A.M. analyses revealed snow density at 9.4% H2O, which is solidly in that medium-weight powder category.  There hadn’t really been any fluff at that point to set up an impressively right-side-up powder accumulation, so you were generally riding in that medium weight snow, and we found the best skiing on steeper terrain.  Low angle slopes were just a bit on the slow side with the available snow density.  Thankfully, with that 1 to 2 inches of liquid equivalent down, it was game on for even the steepest terrain, and steep areas that we hit such as Vermont 200, the Spell Binder headwall, and the Tattle Tale headwall all delivered.  You could attack those pitches as aggressively as you wanted, without concern.  Another great example of the resurfacing was hitting Cobrass on our second run to find that even the usual ledges and ice bulges were covered.  Initially, I’d gone in with the usual strategy of negotiating those obstacles, but quickly saw that they were irrelevant, and I was able to ski like they weren’t even there.  That’s the sign of a solid resurfacing.  With depth checks, I was generally finding settled accumulations of about a foot at that stage of the storm, which I think was right in line with what the resort had noted in their morning report.

A black and white image of Dave in the powder of Winter Storm Landon at Bolton Valley Resort in VermontWe actually skied with an associate from PeakRankings.com who was getting info for his report on Bolton Valley, so we showed him around for a few runs.  His ski jacket has something like “WE RANK PEAKS” written in huge letters on the back, which quickly gets your attention and lets you know what he’s up to.  We hooked up with him just as we were finally planning to head over to Timberline, so we showed him the Maria’s route to get there.

An image of Colin and Dylan riding a chair lift and denying they're out for some powder on their snow day during Winter Storm Jaden at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
“NO” Mom, we’re not up here at Bolton riding the lifts, so pay no attention to this picture.

I had to head out around midday, but Dave and E did eventually catch up with Dylan and his friends out on the mountain for some skiing.  When E texted to see if the boys were on the mountain, they couldn’t help but have some fun by replying with a picture saying “NO” that was an obvious shot of them riding the lift.  The boys waited at the Vista Summit for the others to catch up, which shows a nice touch of class on a powder day.  Dave and E said they had a great time that afternoon, and E even had a some sense of where they were going on the mountain.  She recalled some trail names, and was remembering the character of many trails enough to give people an idea of what they were going to ski.

I have to give the boys a hard time for not getting out right at the start of the morning, but Dylan’s friend Parker did pull off a classic dual resort visit to really maximize a powder day.  He headed to Stowe first thing for the typical “hour of power”, where you can get some good fresh runs before it’s all tracked up and the lift queues grow, and then he headed to low-key Bolton where you can enjoy powder for the rest of the day in peace.  I’d say he’s wise beyond his years.

An image of a snow-laden pickup truck during Winter Storm Landon in one of the parking lots at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A snowy truck at Bolton Valley reveals some of the accumulations from Winter Storm Landon

Dave said that his drive home to Boston was fine on I-89, but I-93 was tough with lots of people off the road.  Those areas to the south apparently got a lot of mixed precipitation and it was quite a mess.  We were all happy to be well north of that stuff up here.

Bolton Valley, VT 30JAN2022

Erica Telemark skiing in some chopped up powder on the Showtime trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of the Timberline Quad Chair and Timberline Lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A view down the Timberline Run trail toward the Timberline Quad Chair and the Timberline Lodge. The Timberline made it’s season debut today and offered up some really nice snow with plenty of powder hanging around from recent storms.

Today was forecast to be the warmer of the two days this weekend, with highs in the 10-15 F range, so E and I headed up to Bolton for some turns.  There wasn’t much more than a trace of new snow around here from Winter Storm Kenan, the recent coastal system, but Bolton did pick up an inch or two from a cold front that came through the area on Friday.  That was nice to freshen up the snow surfaces a bit, but more notable was the fact that it was the first day of lift-served skiing at Timberline.  A bit of touring traffic was all the Timberline area had seen up to that point, so it was pretty much a bonus powder day for that entire section of the resort.

The snow we found on today’s Timberline outing wasn’t quite on par with a fresh powder day, since a lot of the powder had been sitting and settling to a degree, and some exposed areas had taken on a bit of wind crust.  Areas that hadn’t seen any wind certainly had 10-12” of dry powder that had been well preserved in the arctic cold.  The opening of Timberline also meant that the resort finally had 100% of its lifts running for the first time this season.  Bolton put down manmade snow for the main Villager/Timberline Run route, and that surface was fine, but the rest of the trails were running on natural snow and even the packed surfaces were far softer than the manmade route.  There are still a few of the steepest wind-scoured spots like the Tattle Tale headwall that will need one more large synoptic-level event to be fully opened.

Bolton Valley, VT 18JAN2021

An image of the Timberline Base at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont after Winter Storm Izzy
An image of the Timberline Mid Station at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont with snow from Winter Storm Izzy
The snows of Winter Storm Izzy covering the Timberline Mid Station

Temperature in the single digits combined with wind seems a bit cold for riding lifts this morning, but the back side of Winter Storm Izzy came through with several inches of additional snow atop what fell yesterday, so I was definitely interested in getting out for some skiing.  With Bolton reporting 16 inches of new snow, just about any terrain at the resort would be able to support some decent turns.

I was unsure about whether I was going to aim for touring on Wilderness, the Backcountry Network, or even Timberline.  On my way up the access road, I saw several cars parked at Timberline from people who were earning turns, so I decided to check it out.  The parking lots weren’t really plowed, so it was little tough moving around all the new snow, but enough cars had packed down areas to make it manageable.

An image of snowy evergreens in the Timberline area o Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont after Winter Storm Izzy
The trees were loaded with snow thanks to Winter Storm Izzy

Although the Timberline Uphill Route is not listed as officially open, it seems like it’s seen a lot of traffic – it’s well established and in very good shape.  The coverage on Twice as Nice was excellent, with just a few tracks.  Upon reaching the Timberline Mid Station, I decided to continue on to the Timberline Summit – the Intro trail looked somewhat scoured as is often the case, but there were still some decent areas of snow on the skier’s right.

An image of the snowpack depth at the 2,000 foot elevation depth at Bolton Valley Ski Resort after Winter Storm IzzyI chose Twice as Nice for the main part of the descent, and the turns there were outstanding.  The powder was deep and the consistency was fantastic for turns on the powder boards.  I checked the snow depth in various spots on both the ascent and descent, and my best estimates of overall settled snowpack depth were ~18” at 1,500’, ~22” at 2,000’ and ~24” at 2,500’.  The resort wasn’t making snow at the Timberline Base, but they were making it up at the Timberline Summit, so I assume they’re on the way towards opening the area if temperatures continue to stay cold.

Bolton Valley, VT 21MAR2021

An image of a ski trail off reflective goggles while on the Timberline Quad Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty skiing down the Showtime trail with spring snow at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty ripping it up and tossing around some spring snow during our ski session at Timberline this afternoon

We popped back up to the mountain for another sunny ski session at Timberline on Sunday, and the boys were both off work so they were able to join us.  Temperatures were about 10 F warmer than Saturday, but I didn’t notice too much change in the variety of ski surfaces that we’d seen – the direct, west-facing trails were decent corn snow, but there were still some sticky spots on other aspects, and some firmer snow on terrain well out of the sun.

We sampled most of the available terrain off Timberline, and folks had some different favorite runs.  E liked Twice as Nice the most, while I liked Spell Binder the best because it seemed to have seen less traffic and offered some of the smoothest corn snow surfaces below the headwall.  All in all it was yet another great day of spring skiing though, topped off with a little takeout from Mad Taco Bolton for dinner.

An image of Erica Telemark skiing in spring snow on a sunny day at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
E was back out on the slopes today for more Telemark turns under the warm March sun.