Today started out very cold. We bottomed out below -15 F here at the house, so nobody was really in a rush to get out skiing this morning. Last Saturday, Dylan and I skied in temperatures around 0 F to catch the fresh snow from Winter Storm Kade, but today we took our sweet time and waited well into the afternoon when temperatures were predicted to be up around 20 F.
It was a bit after 3:00 P.M. when we arrived up at the Village, and we were able to grab a parking spot in the first tier and load right on the Vista Quad. We headed toward Maria’s for some powder, and a chance for Dylan to try out his new Rossignol Sky 7 skis for the first time. His skis were supposed to arrive last weekend, but in a nice piece of irony they were delayed because of Winter Storm Kade.
“We probed total powder depths above the old base and generally found 20 to 22 inches.”
In any event, Dylan’s skis were a great tool for today’s snow. The powder currently consists of snow from Winter Storm Kade last weekend, topped off with snow from four additional storms that included Winter Storm Lamont on Sunday into Monday, and Winter Storm Mabel that just hit the area at the end of the week. We probed total powder depths above the old base and generally found 20 to 22 inches. There was a breakable crust present within the snow from some mixed precipitation that occurred during Winter Storm Mabel. In some areas the crust was absent altogether, and in others it was anywhere from 2 to 8 inches down in the snowpack. The presence and depth of the crust depended on things like aspect, wind effects, and protection from that part or the storm by trees or other terrain features.
Overall the powder skiing was good, although of course not up to the level of last Saturday with the fresh snow from Winter Storm Kade. The crust is thin enough that it’s breakable, and buried enough that it’s inconsequential in many spots, but it definitely makes the powder skiing variable enough that you have to be on your toes. Putting down some additional fresh snow and burying the crust deeper will definitely help the off piste conditions, so we’ll have to see how the expected storms this next week play out.
Dylan and I were assigned a different group today for our BJAMS ski program session at Stowe. Erica was planning to work with Viviana, our student from last week, and we were going with Meredith and Bella. They’re farther along in their skiing and they’re working on transitioning from wedge to parallel. After spending time with them today I’d say they’re about 50% of the way there. They still need their wedge to control their speed on more challenging terrain, but on beginner/green terrain they can make parallel turns most of the time.
“Off piste areas typically held a foot of powder or more, and Dylan and I frequently played around in the trees for short stretches while we were working with the girls today.”
Our group spent time on the Adventure Triple Chair, Meadows Quad, and Sunny Spruce Quad today, and conditions were essentially perfect on beginner terrain. There are some slick areas on intermediate terrain depending on traffic levels. Off piste areas typically held a foot of powder or more, and Dylan and I frequently played around in the trees for short stretches while we were working with the girls today. It seems that we may have more powder on the way as well – the Mt. Mansfield forecast is suggesting an additional 4 to 8 inches of snow tonight into tomorrow.
Cold temperatures in the single digits F were in the forecast today on the back side of the storm, but Dylan and I decided to head up for a few runs anyway – the bounty of new snow was just too good to miss. Our timing was pretty good such that we took our first run off the Vista Quad and headed right down to Timberline to catch the opening of the Timberline Quad. The top of Vista was absolutely frigid, with an air temperature below zero, but as we made our way down toward the Timberline Base we found that the temperature went up significantly.
“We generally found about 18 inches of powder, and at one point Dylan probed the total depth of snowpack down near the Timberline Base at ~1,500’ and found close to 30 inches of snow.”
At Timberline, the sun was out, the snow was great, and there was essentially no line at the Timberline Quad, so we simply stayed down there and skied until we were ready to go. We generally found about 18 inches of powder, and at one point Dylan probed the total depth of snowpack down near the Timberline Base at ~1,500’ and found close to 30 inches of snow. So, the snowpack is ready for prime time from the top to bottom elevations of the resort.