Bolton Valley, VT 16FEB2024 (Night)

A view of some of the night skiing terrain and part of the Village from down in the lower parking lots during a night skiing session at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of the Valley Road terrain and the Vista Quad Chairlift during a night skiing session in  February after an Alberta Clipper system at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
The Alberta Clipper system from this morning had departed, but we were back up on the hill tonight for some night skiing with friends.

E wanted to catch up with some friends who were doing some night skiing at Bolton Valley tonight, so on top of my morning session of ski touring followed by riding the lifts with Stephen and Johannes, I ended up right back up at the mountain in the evening. It was very busy for a Bolton night skiing session, and we wound up parking in the lower tennis court lot because the others were so full. It’s very dark down there, but it does provide some neat views of the resort at night. It’s also right along the Nordic trails, so it makes for a fun evening ski to get back to the car. With so many visitors at the resort tonight, I assume all the new snow and the kickoff to the holiday weekend came together to really ramp up people’s interest for getting out for turns.

An image of a snowboard in the snow with the text "YES." on its base during a night skiing session at the main base area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Combining fresh snow from earlier today and the start of school vacation week meant that the resort was really hoppin’ with visitors tonight. People and their equipment were all around the base area, including this fun snowboard that we came across.

I doubt I would have headed up for this evening’s session were in not for getting out to make some turns with friends, because I would only have expected the on piste conditions to deteriorate further after a full day of traffic. And at night, only the most popular trails are open, so that means extra traffic in the high-traffic areas. One thing about the end of a long day though, especially when there’s been new snow, is that you do get those terrain areas where the snow collects due to skier traffic. Directly under the Mid Mountain Chair was one of those spots tonight. Patrol has set up marking poles right beneath the chair because the snowpack is deep enough that you might run into people’s skis, and even after that caution area, people never return to skiing the center near the lift towers and they just push a lot of snow there. So, that held some of the best snow we found in the Beech Seal area.

Areas with those skier traffic-related accumulations and low-angle terrain were definitely the best bets when we were out there this evening, but when possible, I’d recommend just heading out in the day and venturing off piste if you can. The off piste conditions are just so much better right now, especially on moderate-angle terrain and anywhere that is untracked. The subsurface is definitely firm, so do watch out for places where the wind has scoured the powder or evergreens are dense enough that they’ve reduced accumulations – those areas can leave you bottoming out on some unforgiving snow.

Bolton Valley, VT 28DEC2023

An image of Jay Telemark skiing in soft snow on the Hard Luck trail during the Christmas holiday week at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Today we were happy to find steep slopes like Spillway and Hard luck loaded with soft snow for some fun, steep holiday week turns.

As of mid-December, Bolton Valley had already reported 100 inches of snow on the season, and with most of that falling from mid-November onward, it created a solidly snowy stretch. That period offered a ton of great skiing here in the Northern Greens, so the end of November into the first couple weeks of December was quite a whirlwind of trying to make time to get out for turns while also finishing up the busy fall semester period. It’s always best when the snowstorms keep rolling through, but when snowfall slowed down during the mid-month period, it was actually nice to be able to finally catch up with everything else in life that had been put on the back burner due to all the time spent out on the hill.

The family has been able to catch our breath the past couple of days after a busy period of holiday activities, and since I’ve been hearing about the nice soft conditions out there on the local slopes, E and I decided to head up to the mountain for some turns this afternoon. The snow report indicated that skier traffic was fairly light today, and I guess that makes sense – with no major snowstorms in the past week or so, there’s really no pressure to run out immediately and get after the fresh powder, so I assume a lot of folks have taken the same approach we have. We watched the Bolton Valley Base Area Webcam for a while today and could see that skier traffic was indeed fairly light.

We arrived at the mountain in the mid-afternoon period, and the top tiers of the parking lots were fairly full, but there were some open spots in the first lot due to folks who had already left. We often find that this ends up being the case around mid-afternoon because some people have left, and you’re still ahead of the bump in visitors that arrive as night skiing kicks off.

An image of Erica Telemark skiing on the Hard Luck trail during the Christmas holiday week at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Erica getting in some Telemark turns today on Hard Luck

Skies were mostly cloudy with a few breaks of blue when we started our session, and the top of Vista Peak from about 2,800’ on up was hidden in the clouds. Temperatures were in the upper 30s F, and there wasn’t any wind in the lower elevations, so it was a very comfortable time for suiting up at the car. Even with temperatures in the just the 30s F, the snow was soft at all elevations because it’s been warm enough over the past couple days that the snow isn’t freezing up too thoroughly. You can find some firm patches out there in high traffic areas, but most of the snow is loose, pliable, and nicely carvable.

A black and white image of Jay Telemark skiing on the Hard Luck trail during the Christmas holiday week at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
It may not have been steep and deep today with the relatively mild conditions, but it was at least steep and soft with trails like Hard Luck available.

I was quite impressed with the number of trail options available from the Vista Summit. I remarked to E that compared to when I was last up there on the 12th after one of our larger storms, there are actually a lot more options now. Back at mid-month, many routes were closed due to snowmaking and ski patrol marking obstacles, but with the colder temperatures following that storm, the resort was able to finish up their snowmaking and open up those routes. So while natural snow trails like Vermont 200 that were open at the point are closed because the coverage isn’t quite there, steep favorites like Spillway and Hard Luck are now available with deep coverage thanks to snowmaking. Alta Vista was also open, and I don’t think that’s been open yet on any of the days I’ve been up on Vista.

We heard a lot of foreign accents around the base area and out on the slopes today, so it seems like Bolton has a good number of international visitors for the holiday week. Indeed skier traffic was fairly light, but the scene was definitely lively enough, so the folks who are visiting are getting quite a good mix of soft snow, comfortable temperatures, winter holiday vibes, and elbow room on the slopes. This is a blackout period for folks who have restricted season’s passes, so that’s probably helping to reduce holiday week skier numbers a bit as well.

With the late December daylight period, the night skiing lights were already coming on by about 3:00 P.M. or so, and as we were leaving a bit after 4:00 P.M., low clouds rolled into the base area dramatically, just as I noticed a dense fog advisory on my phone. The fog moving in with the night skiing lights definitely pumped up the solstice vibe at that point.

An image of a car roof top cargo box with stickers from various locations in North America located in one of the parking lots of the Village during the Christmas holiday week at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
We heard a lot of foreign accents out on the slopes today, and saw a lot of people from out of state, so visitors were definitely livening up the resort for the holidays. It was hard to guess where the owner of this fun cargo box hailed from , but the license plate on the car was New Jersey!

Tomorrow might be the last day to catch this soft snow, because it sounds like snow and colder temperatures are in the forecast starting tomorrow night. With that shift we’re going to need to get enough fresh snow down to get back to soft skiing, but at least the dividends of all those early season winter storms are still present in the form of the snowpack in the higher elevations. It won’t take too much new snow to get a lot of natural snow terrain back in action, so we look forward to Mother Nature helping out soon.

Bolton Valley, VT 05DEC2023

An image of a snow covered tree lit up at night in the Village area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of a light revealing evergreens caked with snow from recent early December snowfall in the Village at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A light in the Bolton Valley Village reveals evergreens caked with snow from the most recent storm to hit the area. The Village was teeming with skiers this evening setting out for ski tours with their headlamps to enjoy the fantastic snow conditions

I was busy through most of the afternoon, but still wanted to get out to the mountain today to check on the additional snow that fell on the back side of our most recent system. As the temperatures dropped yesterday, the density of the snowfall fell to 10% H2O by the afternoon, and finally down into the 3-4% H2O range overnight. Bolton Valley was reporting another 5 inches of accumulation as of this morning, and that drier snow atop the substantial amounts of denser snow from the earlier part of the storm would likely set up some excellent turns.

Since I was starting my tour around dusk, I fired up my headlamp because I knew I’d need it on the descent. What amazed me this evening was the number of people who were out touring by headlamp as well. I knew that folks got out for Wilderness tours after dark because I’d sometimes see them on their way up when I’d be finishing a late descent, but I had no idea just how substantial the numbers were. During the course of my relatively short tour this evening I saw at least a couple dozen skiers out there for headlamp touring, and most of them were actually ascending or just starting out at the parking area. Indeed, the Village parking lot was teeming with skiers, more than I’ll typically even see for a morning session. I guess that part of local ski culture is clearly alive and well. And I can’t blame folks for getting after it this evening, it was dead calm with temperatures in the 20s F with new dry powder atop a substantial base. I can remember a couple decades ago when folks would need to set up these elaborate, heavy battery packs to run their powerful halogen lamps to have enough light for skiing at night, and that all seems pretty irrelevant now with modern LED headlamps. My little LED headlamp was more than powerful to enough to provide light for me to ski, even on its lowest setting. I did use the brightest setting on the descent since I figured I might as well, and it was potent.

A night image of a light covered by snowy evergreen boughs from recent early December snowfall in the Village area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontIn terms of the snow, with settling I generally found 2 to 4 inches of the new drier snow in the 2,000’ to 2,500’ elevation range. In some spots it was easier to distinguish the demarcation between this drier snow and the denser snow below as I probed around, but at higher elevations where even the base snow was drier, it became more and more difficult to separate the new snow from the old. In any event, the quality of the skiing took a nice notch upwards with the addition of the new powder. I’m sure the earlier snow dried out a bit as well, but with this new snow on top, turns were much silkier than yesterday, and lower angle terrain was much more in play and enjoyable since you were gliding through fluff instead of sinking into the denser stuff. There’s excellent midwinter skiing to be had out there right now in the Northern Greens, whether you go during the day… or at night.

A night image with lights revealing snow covered branches from recent early December snowstorms hitting the Village at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A scene from up at Bolton Valley this evening – the lights of the Village were setting all the snowy trees aglow as people headed out for ski tours, or just for a walk in the evening scenery

Bolton Valley, VT 31MAR2023

An image of ski tracks in powder snow from Winter Storm Uriel while night skiing under the lights at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of snow from Winter Storm Uriel lit up by evening lights while night skiing at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Winter Storm Uriel brought significant snows into the area right into the evening to set up for some great skiing under the lights tonight at Bolton Valley.

The system currently working its way through the area has been named Winter Storm Uriel, and it’s actually provided a nice addition to the snowpack so far.  There hadn’t been too much coverage of its snow potential in the forecasts, presumably because it was one of those systems passing well to our northwest with anticipated front end and back end snow, but mixed precipitation and rain in the middle.  I was in Burlington yesterday afternoon when the storm started up, and the snowfall came in with some decent intensity right away.  Temperatures were marginal in the Champlain Valley, so the snow didn’t accumulate very rapidly, but there was probably about a half inch of new snow on the UVM campus when I was heading home to Waterbury.

I arrived at the house to find that Parker was with Ty and Dylan, and they had just loaded their ski gear into their car to head up to Bolton for some runs.  Ty son was on his alpine gear, but asked me to bring his Telemark equipment to switch over if I came up to the mountain later.  In my mind, I was certainly not planning to go for a ski session.  It didn’t seem worth it to head up to the hill for what I thought was probably an inch or so of new snow atop the spring base that had probably gone through some freeze-thaw cycles over the past couple of days.

But apparently, Mother Nature was going to convince me otherwise.  It just kept dumping snow at our house, and of course, Bolton’s Webcam at their main base showed the exact same thing as we watched it on the TV.  I couldn’t quite get a feel for the amount of new snow from the webcam, but my snow analyses from the house revealed that we’d already picked up a few tenths of an inch of liquid equivalent in the snow we’d had.  Before long, I texted the boys and let them know that I was on my way up.

I was really curious about the new accumulations up at the Village elevations, so as soon as I parked and got out of the car, I headed to an undisturbed location to check out the depth of the snow.  I was surprised to get a new snow depth of 6 to 7 inches, and I figured there could have been some drifting around the parking lot area as there often is, but the measurement was quite encouraging.

An image of cars in the Village parking lot during Winter Storm Uriel at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
It was clearly a wintry evening with plenty of fresh snow as I arrived up in the Bolton valley Village for some night skiing.

The timing of my arrival was great, and I caught the boys right at the base of the Vista Quad, so we all hopped on together for a run.  It continued to snow steadily, and the conditions were looking really good – folks below us on the trails were making virtually silent turns aside from the usual steep and heavily used spots like the middle of Spillway.  Up at the Vista Summit, I checked the new snow depth in the clearing right below the wind turbine and measured 7 inches.

The snow wasn’t enough for a full resurfacing of all pitches of course, certainly not the center of very steep, high-traffic trails like Spillway, but the periphery of the steep terrain was skiing really well, and mid-level pitches were great.  Based on my snow analyses back at home, I bet the mountain had picked up a half in of liquid equivalent by that point.  I’d say the quality of the skiing was just a touch below the conditions we had back on Sunday with the 6 to 7 inches of new snow that we found then; that round of snow may have had just a bit more liquid equivalent in it.

The boys were mixing things up with a bunch of runs through the terrain park on Valley Road, but fresh tracks were easy to get just about anywhere off Snowflake with the continued snowfall.  While riding the Snowflake Chair, we saw a couple of guys skiing some of the unlit Snowflake trails by headlamp, and those were probably some sweet turns because all those trails were essentially untracked.

An image of a snowbank with night skiing lights in the background during Winter Storm Uriel at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
The snowbanks from a long winter season dominating the Bolton Valley parking lots, with the slopes lit up for night skiing in the background

Bolton Valley, VT 30JAN2020

An image of Ty along the edge of the Beech Seal trail during night skiing at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica Telemark skiing at night at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Erica out for some night tuns as we joined James and his family for an evening of good snow at Bolton Valley

For James, Jack, and Lizi, this was the last week of their Bolton Valley ski program, so E managed to get us all coordinated for a trip up for some night skiing with them this evening.  This was good timing with respect to conditions – the local resorts picked up roughly a foot of dense snow from the system earlier this week.  It was my first time up to the mountain since the four days of protracted snowfall we had, and up around 2,000’ as you approached the Village, you could really see the impacts of the new snow.  All the snow banks were substantially larger, the trees were coated with an impressive layer of white on every branch, and any area that was lit with lights revealed a dramatic scene of white trees against the backdrop of night.

“We ventured off piste a bit along the edges of the trails and there was roughly a foot of powder.”

Since it was night skiing we were mostly on piste, and conditions were quite good.  The dense snow gave the slopes a solid resurfacing and really buried any underlying firm layers.  We ventured off piste a bit along the edges of the trails and there was roughly a foot of powder.  A few exposed spots seemed to have picked up a bit of a thin crust a few inches down into the snowpack, but it wasn’t present in areas that were protected by aspect or trees.

After James and the kids had to catch their bus, we did a final run and stopped in at Fireside Flatbread for some slices.  Night ski racing had been taking place, so the après ski scene was quite popular and they seemed to be doing some nice business!

An image from the Fireside Flatbread restaurant after a night skiing session at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Enjoying some slices and atmosphere of Fireside Flatbread after an evening ski

Bolton Valley, VT 03JAN2019 (Night)

An image of Jay and Ty having pizza at the Fireside Flatbread restaurant at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty night skiing on the Beech Seal trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Night lights and snowfall set the scene as Ty rips up some of today’s new snow at Bolton Valley.

Ty and I headed up to Bolton Valley for a few runs this evening to catch up with my friend James and his kids Jack and Lizi.  James is one of the chaperones for their school’s ski program, which has their sessions on Thursday nights at the resort.  They’ve actually had some great Thursday nights so far with respect to conditions.  They had a couple of nice days before the holidays, and they scored again tonight as well with the resort reporting 6 inches of new snow as of this evening.

Up at the mountain we quickly caught up with James and made a run off the Vista Quad.  Like my tour at Timberline this morning, the overall weather was quite nice.  Temperatures were well up into the 20s F, and another bout of snow had come in for the evening to further freshen up the slopes.  Wind was pretty minimal as well, except for up near the Vista Summit where it was howling at times.  The off piste was actually a bit better than what I found this morning, presumably due to some additional snow, but the groomed areas were really what I found to be impressive.  You could still find scratchy areas, but a lot of new snow had been groomed into the base, and combined with the additional snow that was falling and had been pushed around by skiers, there were some really soft zones of snow throughout the available runs.  The steepest slopes like Spillway weren’t open, which is probably a good idea with respect to safety, since that very firm subsurface is still sitting there lurking under the new snow.

“…a lot of new snow had been groomed into the base, and combined with the additional snow that was falling and had been pushed around by skiers, there were some really soft zones of snow throughout the available runs.”

We caught up with Jack and Lizi for a final run off the Mid Mountain Chair, and I was surprised to see that they headed right down Beech Seal vs, the easier Bear Run route.  They get an hour of ski lessons on each of their program days, and it’s obvious that they’re really coming along in the way they easily tackled Beech Seal.  I could tell that Jack was clearly comfortable by the way he flashed me a peace sign as he buzzed the camera while I was shooting photos.

An image of Jack night skiing on the Beech Seal trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Jack is clearly comfortable skiing Beech Seal this evening as he has time to add a bit of flair and flash the camera.

James and the kids had to head out around 8:00 P.M., but Ty and I went for one more run off the Vista Quad before retiring to Fireside Flatbread for some pizza.  We’d snacked at home a bit earlier, but we’d definitely been saving space all evening for some of their great pie.

It looks like we might have another small system coming through on Saturday night into Sunday, and then there’s the potential for another couple of larger systems midweek, so conditions may improve even further over the next several days.

Bolton Valley, VT 24MAR2017

An image showing snowly slopes with fresh powder as night skiing gets going at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty night skiing in a snowstorm at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Fresh snow under the lights tonight at Bolton Valley

There’s a frontal boundary spread across New England right now, and up here in Northern Vermont we’re on the cold side.  That’s given us a decent amount of fresh snow today, especially in the mountains where more than a half foot has fallen in some cases.  Bolton Valley was already reporting 4 to 6 inches of new snow as of mid-afternoon, so Ty and I decided to head up to check it out and grab some dinner for the family.

“…the snow surface was dense, buttery powder with a really good shot of resurfacing liquid equivalent in it.”

It was surprisingly quiet for such a spectacular night skiing evening, but I suspect concerns about the roads kept a lot of people home.  There’s definitely been some mixed precipitation around, but the precipitation was mostly snow while we were up at the mountain.  Flakes varied from granular types all the way up to massive 1” aggregates, and the snow surface was dense, buttery powder with a really good shot of resurfacing liquid equivalent in it.  Tonight looked like it was one of those evenings where weather conditions were coming together to make for some great turns under the lights, and indeed that was the case – the temperature was right around 32, there was no wind, and there was lots of fresh snow.

An image of snowfall at the Vista Summit at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
At times we had some huge flakes tonight at Bolton Valley

Ty and I focused on Spillway, and it was great letting those steep turns fall away in the dense powder.  I brought my Tele midfats, but I definitely could have gone with the full fats and had a blast.  It’s no wonder the skiing felt like there had been such a solid resurfacing; we’re already past ¾” of liquid equivalent with today’s snow down in the valley at our house, and up high they’ve certainly had more.

Bolton Valley, VT 22DEC2016

An image of some holiday decorations in the Village at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Dylan Telemark skiing in powder at night under the lights at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
We headed up to the mountain this evening for some turns and found some great conditions brought on by today’s new snow.

I was home this afternoon with enough time to head up to the mountain for a couple of runs before dark, with the incentive being a bit of snow that we picked up today from a small Alberta Clipper-type system.  Although the snowfall had generally been quite light in intensity today, it had been snowing continuously, and reports of 3 to 5 inches were coming in from the mountains.  I didn’t know if anyone else would be interested, so I figured it would just be a solo outing for me to scope out how the new snow was setting things up for coming days.  But, before I knew it, the whole family was interested in getting some turns, and once we confirmed that night skiing was on, up to the hill we went!

“…combined with the weather, the overall ski conditions were so good that we ended up staying a lot longer than I’d thought we would.”

The temperature at Village elevation (~2,100’) was right around freezing, and while we were at the mountain the cloud deck fluctuated between there and Mid Mountain (~2,500’).  There was light snow falling the entire evening, and although we never went higher than Mid Mountain, there was no wind to speak of.  So overall, it was an incredibly nice time to be out skiing under the lights.  I measured 3” of snow in the Village parking lot, and generally found 3-4” on the hill, which jives perfectly with the 3-4” that I see this evening in the Bolton Valley snow report.  My liquid analyses down here at the house (500’) revealed a very mid-weight 10% H2O snow, and while we may have had a touch of compaction due to being slightly above the freezing mark at our elevation, I’d say that 10% density is fairly consistent with what the mountain received.  So the new snow has got a bit of girth to it and can float you pretty well on low- to moderate-angle terrain as long as there’s a smooth subsurface.

An image of Erica snowboarding in the Mighty Mite area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontOne thing that got Ty excited to head to the mountain this evening was the chance to do some snowboarding.  He’s big enough to use my snowboard now, so E said that she’d give him some instruction to get him started.  We all started off at the Mighty Mite to ensure that Ty was set on the board, and then spent the rest of our time on the Mid Mountain Chair so that Ty could work on his snowboard turns with E, while I worked with Dylan on his Telemark skiing.

An image of Jay skiing powder at night under the lights at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Dad having a blast in the fresh snow!

There was plenty of powder available this evening off to the sides of the main runs and on the easily accessible side trails, and combined with the weather, the overall ski conditions were so good that we ended up staying a lot longer than I’d thought we would.  There obviously hasn’t been enough liquid added atop the snowpack to keep folks from touching down to the old surface on steep terrain yet, but lower-angle to moderate terrain is skiing beautifully.  I suspect the groomed terrain could have been pretty loud before this new snow, but turns were very silent and peaceful tonight.  And, there’s the aesthetic quality of all the new snow.  Folks coming up for the holiday weekend should be pretty psyched, especially if Mother Nature tops this current snow off with a bit more from the system potentially affecting the area on Saturday.

An image of the dart board outside the James Moore Tavern at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontWe capped off the evening with a trip to Fireside Flatbread for the first time this season.  It was a quiet midweek evening, and service was really quick – we sent the boys downstairs to the cafeteria to get a couple of appetizers and the pizza arrived before they even got back!  Anyway, tonight’s experience with the soft conditions has got everyone in the family interested in getting more turns this weekend, so hopefully we’ll have another chance to get out and enjoy the new snow.

Bolton Valley, VT 12MAR2016

An image from the Vista Summit of Bolton Valley out to west looking at Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks
An image of Cole riding his snowboard in soft spring snow at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Cole shredding some of the soft spring snow that we found today at Bolton Valley

Today was a sunny, spring-like day in Northern Vermont, with temperatures in the 50s F in the valleys and snow corning up nicely on the mountain slopes.  Dylan’s friend Cole was coming over in the mid to late afternoon to stay for the night, and since he had his snowboard for tomorrow’s BJAMS ski program at Stowe, we headed up to Bolton Valley for a few sunset runs.

There was still probably an hour of daylight left when we arrived, and after a quick warmup run on Beech Seal off the Mid Mountain Chair, we headed up to the Vista Summit.  We just missed our chance to catch Hard Luck before patrol closed it for the night, but it looked quite nice with the soft spring snow.  On our next run we did get to hit Alta Vista, and the skier’s left that often holds powder was again delivering the goods in the form of beautiful spring corn snow.  I’d say that was my favorite area of the day, and I heard Cole mention how he liked it as well.  I was worried that the snow would start to tighten up as the sun went down, but it stayed quite soft at least up to the point we left at around 6:00 P.M.

An image of Dylan skiing the Beech Seal trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan enjoying some spring turns today at Bolton Valley

Aside from the skiing, one of the most fun parts of the day was playing with the spring snow while we rode the chair, tossing snowballs from one side of the chair, up and over the tow cable, to be caught by the person at the other end.  Our record was 8 in a row before that snowball finally disintegrated, but the boys are already excited to try it some more tomorrow at Stowe – it looks like we’ve got another find spring day on the way tomorrow based on the forecast.

Bolton Valley, VT 07MAR2015

An image of Ty Telemark skiing at night at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty and Dylan sitting on the Mid Mountain Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
The boys having a little fun on the lift during our evening session of Telemark skiing up at Bolton Valley

We had some snow earlier in the week, but there hasn’t been much in the past few days and we weren’t in any rush to head off to the mountain early today. Temperatures were pretty nice though, approaching the freezing mark in the valley, so we did want to get out for a few runs. We also thought that it would be nice to get Ty and Dylan out for some Telemark skiing since they haven’t been out on the groomed slopes for Tele practice in a while. As we took care of everything else during the day, we eventually decided to make in an evening session up at the mountain under the lights.

We headed out around 6:00 P.M. and found temperatures in the 20s F up in the Bolton Valley Village. We’re expecting a bit of snow tonight with a weak system passing through, and while there wasn’t any sign of incoming snows when we first arrived, as soon as we made our initial trip up the Vista Quad we started seeing flakes. The intensity of the snowfall increased as we headed up toward the Vista Summit until it was a steadier light snow up there. Winds were light, so it was pretty comfortable overall even up in the higher elevations.

As soon as we hit the first pitch on Sherman’s Pass, everyone started remarking about the strange snow surface underfoot. We actually didn’t know what we were going to get this evening; it had warmed up above freezing earlier this week for the first time in a long time, and we didn’t have a feel for what had really gone on in the mountains. If it did going above freezing, it must have been very slight, because there was no sign of any effect on the snow surfaces. The groomed surface was very much midwinter, and when I headed off trail, everything was dry and powdery. So, we couldn’t figure out what was up with the snow on the trail. We all felt it had a strange consistency, but couldn’t put our fingers on what it was. I think it might have been the way that the loose snow on top that had been kicked up by skiers wasn’t bonding to the groomed snow underneath, and it felt like it made you slide out a bit as if you were on ball bearings. Everyone felt it, and indeed it’s been a while since we’ve been out on groomed slopes with our Telemark skis, but it was a surprising experience. For me personally it was my first time back on my RT-86 skis in a couple of months since I was having a warranty repair being done on one of the toe pieces. I’d forgotten how light those skis are relative to my other pairs. Also, with the way the snow has been and the type of skiing we’ve been doing, it was my first time on skis much under the ~100 mm waist range in a while, so that took a bit of adjustment. As I gradually got used to the snow I was reminded of how snappy the RT-86 is on turns.

We just did a few runs, and it was a nice evening for turns. E’s toe that she’d injured was feeling pretty good, and she had definitely been worried about putting stress on it via toe-bending Telemark turns. Ty was feeling good, but Dylan was struggling somewhat with his turns and it was evident that it had been a while since he’d been on his Telemark skis. He definitely improved with each run though, so he was starting to get back in the groove. Both boys had a lot of fun doing 360 spins on the trail, and the snow conditions really lent themselves to it. We’ll be watching for some additional evening opportunities not that the weather is warmer, because it was definitely good for the boys to get out for some groomed skiing on the Teles.