After getting out to the hill on Saturday to check out the snow conditions, I hadn’t really planned to ski any other days over the weekend – the conditions on the groomed terrain were fine, but definitely on the firm side. And, the off piste just isn’t very viable at the moment, because while the snow from this most recent storm contributed a fantastic addition to the base snowpack, it needs another good round of snow on top of it or else you’re just skiing on a dense, crusty moonscape. But, a couple of my students alerted me that they’d be up at Bolton Valley this morning and asked if I wanted to join them, so I said I catch up with them for some turns. E had the holiday off and joined me, and we met up with them in the late morning period and had a great time catching up after the holiday break. Light snow fell much of the time from the system off the coast, and it certainly made the mood even more wintry, even if it didn’t add much in terms of accumulation.
Along with the bit of snow today, we’d also had a little light snow from that coastal system over the previous day or so, but all in all, ski conditions weren’t really all that different from what I’d experienced on Saturday. Groomed terrain with manmade snow had some bright spots (like Alta Vista again), but most was fairly firm as it had been before. One very notable positive change that took place over the course of the weekend was that the resort had opened a lot more terrain. A little (like Hard Luck I believe) was due to snowmaking, but the vast majority was simply natural snow terrain that patrol had been able to check and mark. They opened all the lower Wilderness terrain that is accessible from the Vista Quad, as one would expect, but I couldn’t believe that even Cobrass was open. It’s quite steep in spots, has a decent amount of southern exposure, and seemed to be mostly operating on natural snow.
“The snowpack is there. At least based on what I saw at Bolton over the weekend, if these storms deliver even half of the snow that’s currently modeled, lift and trail counts are likely to explode over the course of the next week.”
All the natural snow terrain they opened is just a testament to how durable a resurfacing this most recent winter storm was. The only thing holding back the off piste skiing (although some folks were jumping into the woods in areas) is just the crusty, dense nature of the snow. It’s simply not all that much fun right now because it’s a bit upside down and crunchy, but boy are both the on piste and off piste areas going to be ready to go with just one decent storm. With three possible winter storms in the queue over the next six days, ski conditions are really set to take a quantum leap if the accumulations come through as the modeling currently suggests. The snowpack is there. At least based on what I saw at Bolton over the weekend, if these storms deliver even half of the snow that’s currently modeled, lift and trail counts are likely to explode over the course of the next week.