We had another beautiful midwinter day on tap today, so I planned to make good use of it with my BJAMS ski group at Stowe. It’s been a few days since our most recent snowstorm, but from my tour yesterday on the Bolton Valley backcountry network, I knew that the powder was holding up well. The only trick on a Sunday afternoon of course was to pay a visit to those lesser-used spots at the resort to get the kids some fresh tracks.
My group today was Ty, Dylan, Luc, Jonah, and Elizabeth, and after they took a quick warm-up run on Sunny Spruce, we met up and headed right over to the Gondola. We worked our way down into the Nosedive Glades, knowing that the main lines would be pretty tracked up at this point, but the snow would be of much higher quality than what would generally be available on piste. The snow was good, and there were still lots of untracked areas to be found if you wanted to venture around a bit of the beaten path, but I knew we’d find plenty of untracked snow on the southern end of the resort so we didn’t belabor the searching at that point. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Nosedive had been hit with a massive amount of manmade snow. There were huge 10-15-foot snow wales all down the slope, and the kids love playing on those, but they were also very impressed with the surface conditions. Instead of worn down scratchy surfaces, everything was chalky manmade, and although not quite as good as natural packed powder, it was really quite pleasant. You could hold an edge anywhere you wanted.
After a trip up the Fourrunner Quad we made our way to the lower angle glades on the southern end of the resort. There will still plenty of areas with untracked snow in the in the Chapel Glades/Birch Glades area, but we continued below that down to the Toll House for long run through the trees with almost limitless powder. The Toll House is a great place to when much of the resort is tracked out, but it’s especially good right now with the snowpack a bit on the low side and Stowe’s steepest glades still a bit too bony for safe skiing.
After a good powder session in the Toll House trees (and even trails) we headed back to the Spruce Peak Village in time to make the hot chocolate and s’mores session. They’ve got it right alongside the new ice rink, and it’s a great setting. I took a tour around the rink and surrounding structures and they’ve got some really nice spots for gatherings and events, including a barn-like building at the south end of the rink with a huge fireplace. After our break I took one more run with the kids on Sunny Spruce where we went to some of our favorite powder stashes off the west end of the mountain, and the snow was still holding up well. I’m still impressed at how eminently skiable most of the trees are despite the low snowpack. More snow will obviously continue to open more lines but with the moderate to even semi-steep terrain that we were able to ski today, it’s hard to complain.