Bolton Valley, VT 01DEC2013

An image of ski tracks in powder snow on the Fanny Hill Trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Checking out the snow on Fanny Hill today

The ski tour we took yesterday was certainly considered a success, since both E and Ty were saying positive things today, and Ty was expressing to Dylan that he missed out on some fun.  With the prospects for a little more snow today from a passing Alberta Clipper, I figured another visit to the mountain was in order, and I decided to make it at the end of the day once the new snow had started to accumulate and top off the powder.  I couldn’t quite convince anyone else to come with me since they were having too much fun sledding or doing other stuff, so it was another solo outing.

I wasn’t exactly sure when the snow was supposed to start, but eventually it looked like I was going to run out of light, so around 3:00 P.M. I finally headed out.  Fortunately, flakes had just started falling in the valley, so I knew the snow would already be well underway up on the hill.  Up at Bolton Valley, the temperature in the Village at 2,100’ was 30 F and a steady light snow was coming down.  The flakes weren’t huge, but it was accumulating on my equipment quickly enough that gear left out took on a coating within a minute or two.

“Fanny Hill ultimately lost
out to Work Road because
the snow was just too
good – 6 to 8 inches of
fluff and hardly a track.”

After using Turnpike for the past couple of ascents, and seeing that skier traffic there had been decent, I decided to go for an alternative ascent route up through the Fanny Hill area.  It would give me a chance to check out the skiing in that area, and still head over toward the Wilderness Lift Line if I didn’t find anything that seemed to top what we skied yesterday.  My first interesting sight was right as I was starting my ascent on Lower Fanny Hill – on one of the small cross trails there was a group of folks hanging out in a protected nook in the trees, just sitting in a circle of chairs and chatting.  I suspect they were from the Liftline Condos that were just beyond.  There was no wind, so with the light snow falling and temperatures around 30 F, it was indeed a fun time to be outside; it just seemed like a fitting thing to be doing on a dark Sunday afternoon in December.

An image showing the snowpack depth aside the Fanny Hill trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontUpon reaching Fanny Hill, the snow looked good, so I decided to continue my ascent there and explore the surfaces further.  In general there were the same several inches of powder above the base snow that we’d encountered on the Wilderness Lift Line yesterday, and only when I got into the steeper sections of terrain near the top did the pitch seem to be too much for the snowpack.  In a nice undisturbed spot along the edge of the trail at 2,600’, I was able to check the full snowpack at that elevation, and that came in at 13”.  I’d say that consisted of a 6” base, and the rest was powder on top

I continued up toward Upper Fanny Hill, generally staying away from the Sherman’s Pass area where I could hear the snow guns running.  Those higher trails like Coyote, Work Road, Lower Crossover, and Swing, held deeper snow and had seen much less traffic.  They were definitely going to be on my descent route.  I stopped my ascent around 2,900’ on Upper Fanny Hill just before the steepest pitches, because I could see that they were somewhat windswept and just didn’t have the coverage they needed yet.

I played it by ear on the descent, just watching for those trails with deep snow that had seen minimal traffic.  Fanny Hill ultimately lost out to Work Road because the snow was just too good – 6 to 8 inches of fluff and hardly a track.  That brought me over to the Wilderness Lift Line, and since we’d skied the skier’s right yesterday, I took the skier’s left today and found the same type of good snow.  I’m sure Fanny Hill would have been fine as well, but after committing to Work Road I went where gravity took me.  The rest of the descent back to the Village was just like yesterday, good soft snow, so no complaints.

It was getting pretty dark when I was leaving, but the group of folks was still hanging out in their little alcove in the trees – it was a good spot.  As I made my way along some of the Liftline Condos, I saw a woman pushing something along through the snow – she made her way through some of the deeper snow around the back of the condos, and then was out of view for a bit before she got onto the street and I could get a picture  I didn’t know if it was a stroller, or just some other sort of vehicle for moving things, but whatever the case, the fact that it was on skis was intriguing.  Clearly it seemed to be somebody who knows the Bolton Valley environment.

An image of a woman pushing some type of sled in the snow in the Bolton Valley Village in Vermont
Bolton Valley Village version of getting around

It snowed all the way down to the valley when I was heading back to the house around 5:00 P.M., and the temperatures had fallen below the freezing mark even at the bottom of the access road down at 340’.  It looks like the next opportunities for snow are some light stuff in the early week, and then a frontal system later in the week.

Bolton Valley, VT 16MAR2013

A black and white image of Ty Telemark skiing in powder on the Wilderness Lift Line trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Back to reality today with some good powder at Bolton Valley

Since we had some warm weather at the beginning of the week that brought all elevations above freezing, and a return to more wintry temperatures by midweek, I wasn’t even sure that we were going to ski today.  The snow surfaces were simply going to be hard, the only way around that would be fresh snow, and there were no notable storms in the forecast.  Because the weather pattern has been relatively prosaic over the past month or so, there hasn’t really been much of need for refresher storms, but they were definitely needed this week.  The only winter weather events in the forecast were a couple of small, upper level low pressure systems that were expected to pass through the area.  Each one looked like it would be a 1-3” type of event, which would hardly be enough to get past “dust on crust” conditions.  The Green Mountains came through though, working their magic to pull out up to 10” of snow from the first event, and another 6” from the second in the north central areas.  Even areas father north that didn’t jackpot with those two storms were well on their way to some nice conditions.

“I did numerous depth checks
on the powder up there in the
3,000’ range, and was getting
readings from 6 to 9 inches in
areas that didn’t have drifting.”

With the storms delivering, it was time to make a plan for some Saturday turns at Bolton Valley.  I expected that the 7” they’re reported in the past couple of days was a bit conservative, but with the new snow being split between Thursday and Friday, the best turns were going to be found on terrain that hadn’t been touched at all.  I decided that some moderate angle terrain on the backcountry network would be the way to go, and it seemed that one of the glades we’ve been skiing the past couple of weeks would fit the bill nicely.  With some sidecountry laps off the Wilderness Lift, we could get good access there.  That plan actually went by the wayside when I saw that the Wilderness Lift wasn’t running, but of course that opened up a whole new realm of untracked terrain in the Wilderness area itself, and we could certainly make use of that.

“The three of us packed
our bags with skins and
snacks, and headed up to
the mountain in the late
morning.”

E was dead set that she wanted to do a bunch of cleaning in the house today, so I couldn’t convince her to head out for turns, but she did insist that I get the boys out of the way.  No problem.  The three of us packed our bags with skins and snacks, and headed up to the mountain in the late morning.  Temperatures had been hanging in the low 20s F all morning in the valleys, and even colder in the higher elevations, so we knew that powder would be staying light and dry.  The on and off sun that we’d had in the lower elevations much of the morning was quickly replaced by light snowfall as we hit the 1,000’ elevation mark on the Bolton Valley Access Road – the mountains just didn’t seem to want to let go of that moisture.  The resort looked like it was doing a brisk business, with the fourth tier of parking in the Village lots just about full.  I chatted with the parking attendants about potential spots higher up from people that had already left, and ended up getting a good parking location right along the south edge of the lot.

There was lots of activity at the main base area as we boarded the Vista Quad, because the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge was taking place.  It would have been fun to hang out and join some of the festivities, but there was powder to be skied.  Our first test of the day’s conditions was Alta Vista, and indeed one could see that surfaces were much firmer than last weekend.  The grooming had definitely tilled the new snow into the base, but traffic had also made its mark on the terrain.  I’d hit some areas of excellent packed powder where my skis could bite soft and deep, but plenty of others where it was quite firm, and at 115 underfoot, the fat skis certainly weren’t the tool for the job there.  The skier’s left offered up its usual supply of powder, but it wasn’t quite the effortless, soft flow that it sometimes is; the powder hadn’t quite hit that threshold depth to really let you crank hard in there while totally avoiding the old base snow.

At the base of Upper Crossover, we began strapping on the skins to head upward.  Josh, who had found time for a break from his day’s duties, was out taking a run and spotted us in preparation for the ascent.  We chatted for a bit about the festivities going on with the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge, and he brought up the fact that part of the event was a race.  I think they boys might have fun with that, so we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled if they do it again next season.  We bid Josh adieu as he continued with his run, and we finished preparing for our ascent.  I finished with Dylan’s skins first, and let him go to get a head start, then followed up with Ty and let him go.  They’re definitely becoming faster ascenders, but I knew I’d be able to catch them pretty quickly.  We found that there was a skin track in place, but it looked like only one other person had used it at that point, and that bode well for encountering lots of untracked terrain.  The weather was just perfect – wintry and moderately cold, with no wind.  I did numerous depth checks on the powder up there in the 3,000’ range, and was getting readings from 6 to 9 inches in areas that didn’t have drifting.  That’s after some settling over the past couple of days, but the 7 inches reported for the past two events certainly seems to be in the ballpark.  The crux of the ascent was actually right at the top of Bolton Outlaw.  New snow hadn’t settled in well there, and previous scouring left a lot of ice.  We really had to work our edges and do some side stepping and pole work to pass through that area.  Dylan muscled his way through a challenging slick spot that Ty and I staunchly avoided, and it was quite impressive to see him stick it out.  The boys recharged with some GU at the Wilderness Summit, and then we headed in the direction of Peggy Dow’s.

The descent featured some great snow, with generally that 6+ inches of untracked powder unless the wind had played around with it.  The best part of the descent was that the boys had plenty of time to work on their Telemark turns in powder, which is something they only get to do so often because they’re typically using their alpine equipment.  Today, with the quality of the snow and the very even subsurface, they were really making strides on those turns.  Time and time again I’d hear them hooting about how they’d just made “their best powder Telemark turn ever”.  Naturally the powder skiing wasn’t 100% bottomless everywhere, but you could definitely get a good percentage of bottomless turns on most pitches.  Since we’d all pulled out the fat skis to help in that regard, we were enjoying the fact that they were clearly doing their part to keep us off the subsurface.  Lower Turnpike was mostly groomed and had seen a little traffic coming over from Vista, but the edges held a lot of untracked snow, and powder turns were plentiful for essentially the entire descent.  It wasn’t going to be too hard to get the boys to do another lap if it seemed like that was the way to go.

Ty was raring to go again, but Dylan was calling for lunch after that lap, and the choice was made to head up to Fireside Flatbread.  The upstairs of the base lodge was full of people taking part in the various festivities of the day, so we sat at the bar and had our slices while we soaked up the scene.  My pizza was a fun combination of vodka sauce, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and red onions, and Ty and I joked about how my slice was almost half of a large pizza.  That was Ty’s estimate, and I’d say it was more like 1/3 of a pizza, but it was a monster.  We enjoyed watching the pizza guys doing their quick and masterful assemblies of various pies.  I overheard them talking with one of the managers about the potential Fireside Flatbread schedule midweek next week, discussing the options for what they’d do it if dumps.  There’s the potential for a significant synoptic storm in the Tuesday timeframe, and that’s something we really haven’t seen much of in Northern Vermont so far this season.  We’ll be watching the forecast with anticipation just like them.

A black and white image of Ty and Dylan at the Fireside Flatbread restaurant at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Pizza boys

After lunch we hit the lower half of Wilderness and worked our way over to Snow Hole.  The boys had already asked about it on their first run, and it seemed like a great idea.  The snow was quite good in there, with just a couple of other tracks.  The light snowfall that had been with us during the morning had tapered off after a couple of hours, but clouds were generally around and the snow was still staying wintry all the way down to the Village.  We also did a run on Snowflake to work in some of the powder on Snowflake Bentley, and it really was still sitting there along the edges even as we were moving past mid afternoon.  The boys worked in some additional excellent Telemark turns on those pitches.  Conditions really only get marked down today because of the subsurface that is firmer than usual due to the warmth, and some spots being closed because coverage was a bit thin, but if this next storm is substantial enough, those issues could be remedied quite well.

Bolton Valley and Backcountry, VT 02MAR2013

An image of a ski track in powder in the terrain off the back side of Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Enjoying some of the substantial powder of the back side of Bolton Valley

Since the storm that came through in the midweek period, we’ve moved under the influence of an upper level low pressure system that is off to our northeast.  It’s keeping snow showers in the area, but as of this morning the Northern Vermont ski Resorts had only picked up 1 to 3 inches of snow.  Without much in the way of new powder, it was a little hard to get the boys motivated to head up to the mountain today, but E thought that they might be excited by some swimming at the Bolton Valley Sports Center.  Indeed that was enough to get them excited, so while E and the boys spent time at the pool, I planned to get in a quick sidecountry and backcountry ski tour.  My plan was to head off the back side of the Wilderness Summit to explore a line that I’d seen before, and then connect back onto the trails of the Bolton Valley Backcountry Network and return to the village via a front side run.  Dylan had to get to a birthday party at 3:30 P.M., so I had to fit my tour into a two to three hour window.

An image of the ski patrol headquarters at Bolton Valley Resort in VermontE and the boys dropped me off at the base of the Wilderness Lift as they headed down to the pool, and light snow was already breaking out after a morning lull.  Temperatures were comfortable in the low 20s F, and winds were fairly minimal.  Rime still coated the trees all over the mountain, and clouds shrouded the upper elevations, leaving the overall views very white.  As I approached the Wilderness Summit, the chairs ahead of me began to disappear into the clouds, but visibility at the summit itself would up not being all that bad.

I followed the main route off the back of the Wilderness Chair that I’d taken before, and found a skin track ascending as I began my descent.  I initially followed the main drainage right below Ricker Mountain, but continued to head off to the north because I kept finding the terrain much more open.  The skiing was quite good, even if the powder was a rather dense, Pacific Northwest style snow, but it covered everything below the snow with such effectiveness that it really proved its worth.  There were numerous and continuous open areas, allowing for some big turns.  I’d pulled my fat skis out after a couple weeks on skinnier gear, and they were absolutely the call today.  The dense snow was accommodated well with girth and rocker, and there were minimal worries about catching a ski under the snow.  I continued to descend, heading generally northward when the appropriate opportunities arose, until I’d hit the 2,500’ elevation mark after descending close to 700’.  The snow was getting a bit of crust on it down at that elevation, and the terrain was flattening out, so it was the perfect place to stop.  I found myself in an area that I knew fairly well from previous tours, and with a little GPS guidance I was able to plot a course up toward Paradise Pass.

As I’d done on the descent, I continued to check the depth of the snow as I skinned up.  I generally measured depths between 20 and 30 inches before reaching a real solid subsurface, and although I was only skiing on the top several inches due to its density, it was still quite impressive.  All that wind that I mentioned in my Bolton report from February 18th had to put the snow somewhere, and plenty of it got thrown to the leeward slopes.  Combined with all the recent snowfall from various storms, it’s mighty deep out there.  The Mt. Mansfield Stake is at 63” as of yesterday evening, which is actually about a half foot below average, but at this time of year even being a bit below average means a pretty deep snowpack.  The intensity of the snowfall had picked up quite a bit since my tour began, I just about had to wear my goggles even while ascending because of the snow intensity at times.

I got myself up to Paradise Pass, and had to pull out my map a few times and I wound my way over to the section of Heavenly Highway where I planned to make my front side descent.  After a couple direction changes, I met my goal, and hit a glade I’d found that brought me right down to Snow Hole.  I couldn’t believe that the front side snow in the high elevations was even slightly better than I’d found on the back side.  I think that a little more of the recent snow had fallen there, creating a thicker coating atop the denser snow.  Whatever the case, it was sweet and allowed me to rip my way down through the terrain. Once down to Snow Hole I called E to check on their status – they were done swimming and were having lunch at the Village Deli.  With that info I was able to head toward the base of the Wilderness Lift, and then onward to the deli for some lunch of my own.  I was pretty bushed from keeping such a high pace on the tour to ensure that I got back to the village in time, and boy did I devour that sandwich.

A Google Earth map with GPS tracking data from a front and backcountry ski tour at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont on March 2nd, 2013
Google Earth map with GPS tracking data from today’s tour – Click for full size image

Later in the evening we went for a snowshoe tour around the neighborhood and across the Winooski, and the snowfall picked up, providing an excellent wintry scene.  We’ve already had more snow tonight than last night, and all these small rounds of snow are going to really help in keeping the slopes fresh.

Bolton Valley, VT 28FEB2013

An image of ski tracks in powder on the Wilderness Lift Line trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Dad and Dylan leaving their mark as they get in some afternoon powder turns today up at Bolton

Our most recent storm brought up to 18 inches of snow to the Green Mountains, and while it was certainly much denser than Champlain Powder™, it provided a solid resurfacing to most areas.  Based on the conditions we’ve had in the Northern Greens, it was hardly necessary, but a slope refresher is usually good, and this stuff is going to keep that mountain snowpack growing.  I was busy in the morning, but with E and the boys still on break they came and picked me up in Burlington so that we could get in some skiing in the new snow.  E and Ty had been tossing around the idea of working on a report that Ty had to do for school, and they ultimately decided that they had to use some of the afternoon to get a jump on that.  So, it was just Dylan and I that initially headed up to Bolton Valley for some afternoon turns, while E and Ty planned to join us later if the work went smoothly.

In this area, snow has been falling all the way to the valley floors with the current storm cycle, but it’s still been fairly warm and the lowest elevations haven’t been accumulating snow except when temperatures drop overnight.  Today it was fairly warm as well, with temperatures around 40 F or so at our house when we headed up to Timberline.  We found that the snow there was already wet and spring-like, and I knew we’d be heading to the upper mountain to get to the best powder for turns.  Indeed the snow was much better up high – at the Vista Summit above 3,000’ it was still somewhat dense, but dry and ready to support some good powder turns.

An image of Dylan buzzing the camera as he skis by in some powder on the Wilderness Lift Line trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontBeing well into the afternoon, I decided to show Dylan some terrain off Ricker Mountain; we’d explored it before, but I doubt he’d remember that.  The snow did get somewhat thick as we headed down in elevation, even just down to 2,800’.  Dylan didn’t seem to have a problem, but if I stopped for extended periods I’d have snow starting to stick to the bottom of my skis.  Fortunately, it would be cleaned off as soon as I started moving.  We continued our run by making our way over to Wilderness, and that’s where we found some of our best powder of the day.  Although we were lower in elevation  than we’d been before, the snow Wilderness Lift Line was holding up quite well.

Our next run was a trip to the Villager Trees, and I gave Dylan his choice of line – he wanted the “Heaven” chute that he’d enjoyed the other day, so Dylan got first tracks through there.   His run wasn’t without some adventure though – at one point he caught an edge and went flying head over heels.  He was OK, but it took him a couple of minutes to realize that.  Dylan wanted to catch a run on Adam’s Solitude, but once we got down to the lowest Timberline elevations and saw how sticky the snow was getting, I decided that we could hold off and catch it another time.

While we were in the lodge getting a snack for Dylan, I saw that I had a new phone message.  It was from E, and she said that they had finished Ty’s work and were thinking of coming up for some night skiing.  She also recalled that because it was Family Week at the resort, they had No Strings Marionette Company putting on a show up at the main lodge.  We all planned to meet up, watch the show, and then get in some evening skiing under the lights.

The marionette show was excellent as expected – No Strings Marionette Company had spent a week in residence at Ty and Dylan’s school, so we knew their work.  Ty had brought his Telemark skis and Dylan switched over to his, so they spent the evening working on their Telemark turns.  After a couple runs, we snuck in dinner at Fireside Flatbread, and I was really surprised that the boys hadn’t had enough skiing after that.  There was some really nice snow out there though, with the very best of it in the highest elevations.  Dylan and I had noticed that the line of transition to notably wetter snow was about 200’ above the main base.  The snow below that level was still OK, especially with skier traffic, but it was above that level that the new snow was driest and skiing really well.  We started out with a typical training run on the Sherman’s Pass route, but Ty was eyeballing the impressively steep expanse of Spillway as we went by.  I commented that Spillway was too steep for him to be working on Telemark turns, but of course Ty would have none of that logic.  I acquiesced with the insistence that Ty practice Telemark turns even on the steep terrain, and by the next run we were dropping our way down the steeps of Spillway.  The snow was somewhat packed in the center of the trail, and even starting to develop a few moguls.  However, the sides, especially the skier’s right where the terrain is somewhat invisible as it falls away from view, held a lot of deep loose snow that was either still sitting there from the storm or thrown their by the work of other skiers.  That terrain falling away from view also equates to it falling away from the assistance of the night skiing lights, and that adds quite a different dimension to the experience.  With only the marginal assistance of the lights from the other side of the trail, it was quite a hoot making steep Telemark turns in down Spillway amidst copious chopped up powder.  I found some beautifully soft lines of there, and it was a reminder of how even semi-packed snow can be a lot of fun.  The boys were clearly having enough fun as well, because they wanted to keep doing more runs – we kept going until the lifts shut down.

Bolton Valley, VT 23DEC2012

An image of ski tracks in powder on the Spell Binder trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Tracks on Spell Binder – sometimes you can tell the quality of the snow just by the ski tracks.

The upslope snow that started yesterday really delivered in the evening, and we got to witness it first hand as we drove off to a Christmas party in the Champlain Valley.  We almost turned around right at the house as the snow was coming down at 2 inches an hour or more, and we could only see a few yards in front of the car.  Fortunately that tapered off a couple miles to our west, but in the end we wound up with 9.5 inches of upslope fluff at the house, and Bolton Valley probably had over a foot, bringing them to 30 inches of snow in the past week.  This snow was some incredibly high quality Champlain Powder™ to boot, with my snow density analyses coming in at 2 to 3% H2O.

This morning we got up to the resort around 9:00 A.M., and similar to yesterday the scene was fairly mellow – after dropping off E and the boys I was able to park in the third tier of the main lot.  We started off with a run down Alta Vista, and it was E’s first chance to try out her Black Diamond Element skis, which are the women’s version of the AMPerage.  I warned her that unlike my first experience with the AMPerages, which was entirely under powder conditions, she might not be that impressed with how they skied on the groomed areas before we made our way to the powder.  Indeed she was very unimpressed, noting that there was so much ski width (115 mm at the waist) that she couldn’t even get them on edge.  I hadn’t found that to be an issue for me with the AMPerages, so it could certainly be attributed to a difference in our ski styles, but I think it questions again the potential for these skis to serve as a one ski quiver for all surfaces.  We got them as our backcountry/powder Telemark skis anyway, but it will be interesting to see how our usage patterns develop; being more comfortable on them so far, I might take them out on more marginal lift-served powder days, where E might stick with her narrower Telemark skis.  E did point out that her Telemark ski boots are a bit loose, and she could feel the slip in them today due to the thinner socks she was wearing.  Having that slip in there may make it challenging to get the pressure necessary to roll these fat skis on edge on groomed surfaces, so we’ll have to see if a better boot fit helps out, or if there’s going to be an adjustment period due to something else.

“We found a foot plus of
Champlain Powder™ over a
consolidated base – and it
was more than enough to
be bottomless…”

We made our way over to Wilderness and got into some powder, and not surprisingly, E didn’t have any issues with the skis there.  But, neither did she find them to be as amazing in the powder as I had on my previous outings.  Of course we were skiing in roughly a foot of amazingly dry snow over a well consolidated base, so almost any ski could handle it.  We enjoyed lots of fresh turns on Lower Turnpike, and it was a bit slow with the modest pitch and all the powder, but the boys had a great time.  Ty had an especially fun time straight lining sections of the powder.  We also jumped into Wilderness Woods, which were being skied extensively – they’re certainly skiable, although you still needed to be somewhat cautious to avoid underlying objects.  On that note, the Mt. Mansfield Stake hit 28” inches yesterday, passing the magic 24” mark that I’ve used as a measure of when those initial forays into the trees begin.  Bolton even opened steep tree areas like Devil’s Playground today, so many trees are definitely ready for skiing if patrol deems areas like that acceptable.

We headed for the same route again on the next run at Ty’s request, but wound up taking the Wilderness Lift Line when Dylan led us that way.  Conditions along the edges still offered up plenty of nice turns though.  The boys were calling for an early lunch after those two runs, so we headed into the lodge, and eventually got a call from Stephen that he and the kids had finally made it to the mountain.  We finished up our lunch and met up with Helena and Johannes to take a run while Stephen picked up his skis from the ski shop.  We opted for the standard Sherman’s Pass route to let Helena and Johannes warm up.  Surfaces were decent packed powder aside from wind-exposed areas, which were blasted down to whatever nasty hard surface lay below.

When we all got back together we hit Lower Turnpike again, and it felt much faster that second time.  There were a few more tracks around to let you gain your speed, but somehow it was more than that.  Whatever the case, the turns were smooth and silky in the powder.  Johannes and Helena needed their lunch break by that point, so while they went in the lodge, E and the boys and I went back for another round.  Dylan and I came in at a higher entrance and got some bonus fresh turns.

We had spotted a car over at Timberline on our way up to the resort, with the intent of finishing off the day there, but Dylan was pretty beat, so E decided that they would drive down and meet Ty and me there.  Johannes had enough energy, so he joined Ty and me for the trip.  Aside from windblown areas, which were reduced thanks to the lower elevation, the snow was simply amazing at Timberline as is typical for these types of events.  We found a foot plus of Champlain Powder™ over a consolidated base – and it was more than enough to be bottomless, even on the Spell Binder headwall as long as you stuck to the skier’s right.  That’s some pretty primo skiing.  The only part to avoid was the bulk of the headwall section with sastrugi (or “fake powder” as it often looked today) from the winds.  Both boys did well, and we made reasonable time down to the car, with the requisite photo sessions as well.  Dylan missed some great turns, but he was certainly tired – while E was out getting a couple of final things for the holiday in the evening, I found that Dylan had gone and tucked himself into our bed and gone to sleep.

An image of Ty skiing in about a foot of Champlain powder on the Spell Binder trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty taking on Spell Binder today

I was worried about the cold today due to the potential wind chill, but it turned out to be a fine day with temperatures in the 20s F and only minor breezes.  We’ve got more snow falling tonight with the potential for four more storms to pass through the area this week.  It could be an excellent holiday period for skiing if the potential storms hit our area as snow.  The mountain is already opening up lots of natural snow terrain, so the snowpack is building with the weather pattern we’re in.  The Mt. Mansfield Stake just hit 42” today, and that is a sign that off piste skiing should be well under way.