Tag Archives: West Slope

Stowe, VT 21JAN2018

An image of Dylan, Jay, and Ty on the Sunny Spruce Quad at Stowe Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont
The boys out at Stowe today for our first BJAMS ski day of the season

Our first BJAMS ski program day of the season at Stowe was scheduled for two Sundays ago, but we canceled it due to dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills.  That wasn’t an issue today though – with base elevation temperatures in the 30s F, it was quite comfortable out there.  On piste coverage and conditions were actually quite decent, whether it was the softened snow on the lower slopes of Spruce Peak, or the midwinter snow higher up on Mansfield.  Although natural base depths are fine, and there are definitely people skiing off piste, the snow is sort of thick and punchy out there, so the groomed runs are just a much friendlier place to be.

“Although natural base depths are fine, and there are definitely people skiing off piste, the snow is sort of thick and punchy out there, so the groomed runs are just a much friendlier place to be.”

An image of Dylans ski helmet with the Backcountry.com goat and the Turtle Fur turtleWe arrived at Spruce Peak early enough that I was able to take a couple of runs with Ty and Dylan off the Sunny Spruce Quad.  We found nicely softened snow with those temperatures in the 30s F, and it was really only those usual high-traffic areas out of the sun that we found to be slick.  We had a mixed group of snowboarders (Cole and Robbie) and skiers (Dylan and Wiley, with Norris also tagging along) today, but since we were on piste for the most part there weren’t any traversing issues for the snowboarders.  We did a couple of runs off Sunny Spruce, carving up the soft snow, and then headed over to Mansfield for some longer runs.  Being fairly old snow, and a Sunday afternoon, the best turns were definitely the sides of the trails where ample traffic had built up substantial loose, soft snow.  We did a few runs on Gondolier and Nosedive, and you could just go and go and go and rarely have to leave those edges with good snow if you didn’t want to.  I think one would have to grade the overall conditions as subpar because of the quality of the off piste snow, but on piste conditions are fairly typical for when we haven’t seen a substantial snowstorm in a while.  We had a nice break at the Octagon toward the end of the afternoon before heading back to Spruce Peak to catch up with everyone else.

A fundue sign at the Skinny Pancake at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont

For Ty’s first day as a chaperone/coach in the program today, he was helping E with some first-timers over on the lower parts of the Meadows area.  When I stopped in to check on them at the end of the day, he was just heading up the Inspiration Chair with a boy who had graduated from the Magic Carpet.  It was actually a great day to be out there with the first-timers, because he wasn’t really missing out on anything special on the steep or off piste terrain.  I think it will be a couple of weeks before we get back into some really good storms, so hopefully he’ll be able to put in some more time at our next session helping out the beginners again.

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.