Bolton Valley, VT 02APR2013

An image of ski tracks in powder snow on the Alta Vista trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Starting off with the powder on Alta Vista today

I hadn’t really been paying attention to the weather forecast over the past couple of days, but I looked out in the back yard this morning to find that no longer was it just the leftover snow standing out – everything was whitened again.  It looked like it was back to spring in Northern New England.  There was over an inch of snow on our back yard snowboard here in Waterbury as of my 6:00 A.M. CoCoRaHS report, and after a short lull in the precipitation, the snowfall came back in with huge flakes.  When I checked the morning snow reports for the local resorts, I found that Bolton Valley hadn’t updated theirs yet, and I wasn’t sure if they were going to since they aren’t firing up the lifts until the weekend.  Just a bit farther north though, Stowe was reporting in, and they were at seven inches of new snow and counting.  If they’d received that much snow, Bolton was likely to be somewhere in that ballpark as well, so I packed up the gear for a stop in at the local hill on my way to Burlington.

“while I finished gearing
up for the ascent, the
snowfall ramped up to
probably 2 to 3 inches
per hour or more…”

Light snowfall in the valley became a decent 1”/hr snowfall up in the Bolton Valley Village at 2,100’.  A couple of minutes after parking and beginning to get my gear together, I re-parked the car with the back facing to the east because everything inside was getting covered with flakes due to the heavy snowfall driven by those westerly winds.  That reorientation was apt, because Mother Nature decided to really crank up the snow spigot at that point; while I finished gearing up for the ascent, the snowfall ramped up to probably 2 to 3 inches per hour or more, with visibility dropping to less than 100 yards.  It seemed like the parking lot picked up another inch in just 10 minutes.

An image of heavy snowfall at the base of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont during an early April snowstorm
Ahh, just dumping.

The resort appeared absolutely deserted as I began my ascent behind the main base lodge.  The wind was howling at times, and it was certainly pushing the snow around and making it difficult to get a read on just how much had fallen.  I took a route up Beech Seal and then Cobrass to the Vista Summit and made the following measurements for new snow over the old spring subsurface:

2,100’:  3-4”
2,500’:  4”
2,600’:  5”
3,100’:  5-6”

An image of fresh snow on evergreen boughs along the side of the Cobrass Trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Views of the fresh powder as I ascend Cobrass

With no midweek grooming taking place, the only issue with regard to measuring the snow depth was that wind, which somehow seemed to find a way to mess with everything on the compass that had any sort of westerly component.  There had definitely been some southwesterly winds, because during my ascent of Cobrass I saw that the powder had been blasted in most areas, and indeed up at the Vista Summit I found the wind turbine facing a somewhat uncommon southwesterly direction.  I was happy to see that it was running though and cranking out some power for the resort.

Seeing that wind, I opted for starting my descent on a more northerly aspect using Alta Vista, and the powder was notably better there with respect to scouring.  The snow was indeed quite dry as my morning snow analysis from down at the house indicated, so even with 115 mm underfoot I was still hitting the subsurface on 50% of my turns.  On the lower mountain I opted for Fanny Hill, since it’s typically well protected from most wind.  A little wind had gotten in there, but nothing like what I’d found in the more exposed areas.  Overall the skiing was certainly decent, with a good dose of surfy turns in the new snow, but not so mind-blowing that I wanted to throw on the skins for another run and delay getting to town.  I’d had a good morning workout in any event, and headed off with a smile.

“…even with 115 mm
underfoot I was still
hitting the subsurface
on 50% of my turns.”

As of this evening it’s clear that Mt. Mansfield really took the brunt of this storm though, with a foot of snow down and some nice views of it thanks to Powderfreak’s usual snow journalism.  His Stowe shots from today are certainly worth a look to see Mt. Mansfield doing its thing.  Stowe, both the mountain and the village, looks like it was definitely the spot for this event based on those images and the reports coming out of the rest of the Vermont ski areasBolton did update their snow report today, and they came in with four inches.  That’s certainly reasonable based on what I found, and either a bit on the conservative side for the summit areas – or they may be reporting just from the Village since the groomers hadn’t been out.  This storm has brought the snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield stake up to a healthy 87 inches, and it looks like there are a couple more cold days on tap in which to enjoy the new powder.