Bolton Valley, VT 20JAN2019

An image of Ty skiing the Lost Girlz area at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica spraying powder as she skis in fresh snow from Winter Storm Harper at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
E throws up some powder today during our Timberline adventures in the snows of Winter Storm Harper

The current weather system affecting our area has been named Winter Storm Harper, and its snowfall began around here yesterday afternoon.  There was a long lead up of light snow into the evening, but overnight it finally started to unload snowfall at roughly an inch per hour.  The snowfall density hovered around a fairly standard 10% H2O because the flakes were quite small and temperatures were in the single digits F, but those small flakes still managed to accumulate at quite a pace throughout the morning.

An image of skis at the Timberline Lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontTemperatures were only expected to stay in the single digits F today, so I had initially planned on heading for some backcountry skiing to stay warm, but once we saw that there was zero wind and all of Bolton Valley’s lifts were running, our plans shifted to riding the lifts.  We headed up to Timberline around midday and found continued snowfall that was robust enough to challenge both the road and parking lot plows to keep up with it.

“…with the storm cycles we’ve had recently it’s just been resurfacing after resurfacing. So, you can certainly go fast and big on the slopes, and that’s just what the boys had fun doing today on the steep and deep terrain.”

We started off with a quick run on Spell Binder to get warmed up, and the depth of the powder seemed to range from 15 to 25 inches.  I’d say the low end values would represent what had come from this storm, with the deeper areas including snows from previous storm cycles.  Anything in that range of depths was more than enough to keep you floating though, since it was fairly hearty mid weight powder.

An image of Dylan skiing powder snow in the KP Glades are of Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Dylan plowing through lots of untracked powder today out in the KP glades

That introduction on Spell Binder set the tenor for the day though, and it less us know that both the depths of the powder, and the degree of resurfacing called for steep terrain and plenty of it.  With that in mind we spent the afternoon visiting a ton of powder-filled, steeply-sloped favorites like Lost Girlz, Thundergoat Pass, KP Glades, Sure Shot Trees, Doug’s Solitude, etc.  Off piste coverage is excellent, and with the storm cycles we’ve had recently it’s just been resurfacing after resurfacing.  So, you can certainly go fast and big on the slopes, and that’s just what the boys had fun doing today on the steep and deep terrain.

An image of Dylan jumping on his skis in the Thundergoat Pass area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan catching some air on Thundergoat Pass today as we focused on the steep and deep terrain thanks to our recent storm cycles

We took a mid-session break in the Timberline Base Lodge to have some food and pop in some hand/boot warmers, and seats were just about filled, but we were able to get a table within a minute or two.  Food options are fairly minimal now from what we saw, but there were fries and chicken fingers for hot items.  I’m sure it’s hard for the resort to manage the availability of food services at the Timberline Base Lodge because of the variability in its opening schedule, but we’d certainly be ordering more food if they had more available.  We’d love to go back to the South of Solitude days as well!

An image of Ty skiing powder snow in the trees at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty slicing up the powder in the trees today

Overall all though, it was simply fantastic to get the whole family out for a lift-served Timberline powder day, and I think this was our first one of those this season.  As usual, Ty was very impressed with how the lot was quite full of vehicles, but people seemed to be nonexistent on the slopes.  I guess the message is that they were well spread out.  E was cold and didn’t come out for our last run, but it was a big hit with the boys, especially Dylan.  We hit Doug’s Solitude to Adam’s Solitude, and he jumps off big ledges, lots of untracked powder, and a chance for Dylan to ride his favorite return track to the base with all its whoops, jumps, walls, and endless halfpipe nature.

Bolton Valley, VT 21DEC2014

An image of Ty skiing powder on the Timberline Run trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Back out in the powder at Bolton Valley today

We had family staying over with us this weekend, so we hadn’t really planned on doing any skiing, but they’d actually departed by late morning today. E and Dylan happened to be out until later in the afternoon due to a birthday party, so Ty and I found ourselves unexpectedly home alone. I finished up some cleaning from the weekend, but we really had no obligations until a Christmas party in the evening, so as you can probably imagine based on this report, we found our way up to the slopes. Bolton Valley has actually expanded their terrain substantially in the past couple of days by opening up the Wilderness Chair, but the mountain had still seen a weekend’s worth of traffic by this afternoon. With that in mind, and recalling the good snow that I’d found during my ski tour on Friday, I figured that a little more touring would be a quiet way to spend a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon. With the knowledge gained from my previous outing, I also realized that I could further optimize the tour I’d done to get Ty the best powder with the least effort.

“The roughly eight inches of dense powder that I’d encountered on Friday was still sitting there…”

Timberline was very quiet as we arrived in the early afternoon – aside from a couple of workers dealing with some equipment in the lower parking area, there was only one vehicle parked in front of the base lodge. We’ve had slate gray skies in the area today but no snow falling, and with temperatures in the 20s F and winter solstice light, it’s one of those days where it’s easy to stay indoors if there isn’t something to lure you out. Fortunately, that powder is still out there, and we were thankful for that as we began our tour and got the blood pumping. We followed the skin track up Twice as Nice and got to watch a group of four skiers and snowboards descending the last pitches of the trail. They were encountering some crust and it was making the turns difficult. Ty was cringing a bit at the conditions he saw, and most notably heard, but I told him they were descending in totally the wrong location. They at least seemed to be having fun, enjoying the descent as a group, but they clearly hadn’t poked around on the terrain enough to find where the good snow was located. Even if they’d skied over on our side of the trail they’d be finding much better snow; you just needed to avoid the most exposed areas to stay away from the crust.

An image looking down toward the Winooski Valley from the Timberline area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A view down the valley from Timberline

We stopped our ascent at the Timberline Mid Station instead of heading up to Brandywine as I’d done on Friday. I hadn’t encountered much in the way of good snow in the extra terrain above that point, and I knew that Wood’s Hole would offer some great snow due to the way it’s so sheltered. We took a short break as we switched over for the descent, and once we got going we indeed found that Wood’s Hole had nice snow. The passage through Wood’s Hole was a bit more challenging than it should have been though, as there are a few trees down across the trail. Presumably they fell due to some of that heavy snow from Winter Storm Damon.

An image of Ty Telemark skiing in the Lost Boyz glade at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty makes use of that durable powder left by recent December snowstorms

We continued across to Lost Boyz, finding it in essentially the same condition as it was when I’d skied it on Friday. There were a couple of tracks on their in addition to mine, but it really didn’t look like there had been much for skier traffic in there. We were fine with that of course, and found plenty of untracked lines to ski. The roughly eight inches of dense powder that I’d encountered on Friday was still sitting there – that rather dense snow really holds its own in terms of staying consistent, which is generally the case when the snow doesn’t have much settling to do. Ty was even feeling comfortable enough to send himself off some of the ledges in there, and at one point he pulled quite the acrobatic move as he skied with one leg behind himself after his ski tip got caught in the snow.

“…that rather dense snow really holds its own in terms of staying consistent…”

Below Lost Boyz we stuck to the same route I’d used for my tour on Friday, since I’d found generally good snow where I’d traveled on Spur and Timberline Run. Even though it was essentially the same route, it was fun exploring it with Ty, since he’d have different takes on the terrain and it got me venturing into pockets of snow that I might not have otherwise encountered. It was a great reprise of that route that served me well on my solo outing. The forecast calls for some warming during the middle of this week, but until that happens, it looks like that powder is going to stay where it is for those that want to get some smooth turns.