Bolton Valley, VT 14JAN2024

An image from behind of Erica Telemark skiing in untracked powder snow on the Lower Tattle Tale trail after Winter Storm Gerri hit Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica making Telemark turns in  untracked powder snow on the Snowflake Bentley trail after Winter Storm Gerri and Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
E getting some fresh turns on Snowflake Bentley during this morning’s outing at Bolton Valley

With the additional overnight snowfall, Bolton was reporting a total of 9 inches from Winter Storm Gerri as of their early morning report. And, since the Timberline Quad didn’t open yesterday due to winds, today would also be its inaugural run of the season. E and I figured the chance to visit the Timberline terrain that nobody has really skied at all up to this point was a nice bonus.

Based on the conditions I encountered yesterday, I really expected the main mountain to offer the best conditions today, especially above 2,500’ where the snow was never too wet. However, there was always the chance that the lower elevation Timberline terrain would still surprise us due to all the fresh snow. After our first lift ride on the Timberline Quad, the lift actually had to go off line for a time due to a mechanical issue, so heading to the main mountain turned out to be the appropriate option anyway.

An image of Erica making Telemark turns in untracked powder snow on the Snowflake Bentley trail with birch trees in the background after Winter Storm Gerri at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
E dives into some of Winter Storm Gerri’s fresh powder.

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of fresh tracks to be had out there today, but I’d actually say the snow quality below 2,500’ was a notch beneath what it was when I was out yesterday afternoon/evening. Yesterday I was skiing in 6 to 7 inches of powder off Snowflake, but the bottom few inches of that snow must have still be fairly wet at that point because we found it had thickened up with today’s cooler temperatures. So, it meant that today we were only skiing in the top few inches of powder and contacting that denser snow below if we pressured our turns hard enough. As long as you had untracked snow, it was nice skiing, but it certainly wasn’t as bottomless as yesterday in those lower elevations. Areas with previous skier traffic ended up with uneven subsurfaces that definitely detracted from the quality of the turns. Thankfully, the dense snow didn’t form anything like a breakable crust, which would have made the skiing much more challenging. On our return trip to the Timberline Base, we did get first tracks down the lower half of Tattle Tale, and that was really sweet, even if the powder wasn’t as bottomless as it would have been yesterday.

Bolton Valley, VT 13JAN2024

An image of two snowboarders riding the Wilderness Double Chairlift as heavy snowfall in the 1 to 2-inch per hour range falls at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont during Winter Storm Gerri
An image of fresh powder snow from Winter Storm Gerri below the Snowflake Double Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Thanks to some heavy snowfall from Winter Storm Gerri this afternoon, fresh lines of powder were plentiful throughout the resort, especially off the Snowflake Lift where skier traffic had been especially low.

Over the past week, the weather pattern has featured these larger systems with ample snow and moisture, and the most recent one in the series is Winter Storm Gerri. It moved into the area overnight in the wee hours with an initial burst of heavy snow. The front end snow in this case wasn’t as potent as it was with Winter Storm Finn that came through midweek, so when we saw that Bolton Valley was indicating only 2 inches of new snow in their early morning report, we knew there was no need to rush right up to the mountain.

We watched the Bolton Valley Base Area Webcam through the morning and could see that up at 2,100’, the precipitation was snow, and it was quite heavy at times. Dylan and Colin headed up to the mountain in the early afternoon, and we asked them to give us an update on what they found. Their impressions were that the snow surfaces were rather wet, and they said the precipitation was even mixed with rain in the lower elevations at times, so E figured that instead of skiing, she’d hold off until the snow got better. I took another look at the webcam feed and saw that there was heavy snow falling, and decided that it would definitely be worth it to head up for some lift-served runs.

An image of heavy snowfall from Winter Storm Gerri with condominiums in the background in the Village area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Heavy snowfall in the Bolton Valley Village this afternoon as Winter Storm Gerri continues to affect the area

Heading up the Bolton Valley Access Road, the precipitation switched over to all snow at roughly the 1,000’ elevation, and above that the road was quickly covered. The road conditions must have been getting a bit slick with the new snowfall because I had to drive around a van that was stuck trying to make it up the steep s-curve below Timberline. I had actually planned to park at Timberline and start my session there, but the Timberline Quad was apparently on wind hold, so I had to continue on up to the main base area. I arrived up in the Village to very heavy snowfall in the 1 to 2 inch per hour range, and with the intensity of that snowfall, there was just no way that the turns weren’t going to be great.

An image of snow falling during Winter Storm Gerri on cars in a parking lot in the Village area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Arriving up in the Bolton Valley Village this afternoon I was greeted steady snowfall and cars quickly getting covered in new snow

During my afternoon session I managed to get in runs on all the rest of the lifts, and heavy snow continued to pound the resort at all elevations. It was windy, especially at the Vista and Wilderness Summits above 3,000’, but thankfully the wind was from the west and at your back while you rode the lifts. After my first couple of runs, the lights were coming on, and I got to ski Spillway in night mode. I always find it exciting to be able to ski something that steep under the lights, and I knew that the conditions on Spillway were going to be really good because you couldn’t hear anything from the turns of the skiers and snowboarders below you as you passed over them on the Vista Quad. Indeed, my own experience on the trail revealed that the conditions on Spillway were simply fantastic; new snow was falling so heavily that it must have been covering up an slick spots faster than skiers could push the snow away.

I did notice that below the Mid Mountain elevations (~2,500’), the groomed/packed ski surfaces did have that “wet pack” feel that I’ve encountered in the lower elevations of Whistler Blackcomb. That’s usually a sign that some very wet snow has fallen and was packed by skier traffic. I could see what Dylan was talking about with respect to the wet surface conditions, but at the point that I was up there, those conditions were hard to find because temperatures were falling, and it was snowing so hard that those types of wet surfaces were covered up in all but the highest traffic areas. Some of the best turns I found were near the end of my ski session when I visited the Snowflake Chair. That area hadn’t seen much skier traffic, so I found a lot of fresh powder that skied beautifully. I did numerous depth checks and was consistently getting new snow depths of 6 to 7 inches. There was enough powder there that I questioned whether it was all from just this storm, but when Bolton’s afternoon snow update came in and they were reporting storm totals of 5 to 7 inches, that nicely corroborated my measurements.

An image with snow in the air and snow on skis and snowboards at a ski rack near the base lodge during Winter Storm Gerri at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontAll this new snow is a great addition to the snowpack, but even without it, one thing I noticed while out on the mountain today was the huge jump that the snowpack has taken since last weekend. I hadn’t been up to the mountain since Sunday, and at that time, patrol was just starting to open up more areas of natural snow terrain as coverage improved thanks to Winter Storm Ember. The contributions made by Winter Storm Finn must have been huge though, because the resort has now been able to open up just about everything, and everywhere I looked this evening, coverage felt like midwinter. As I look back now at my storm data, I guess I see the difference – Winter Storm Ember dropped 0.69 inches of liquid equivalent here at our site, while Winter Storm Finn dropped 1.99 inches of liquid equivalent. That’s almost triple the amount of liquid, and when you get up around 2 inches of liquid equivalent, that starts to become a serious resurfacing of the slopes. Winter Storm Gerri has already dropped about an inch of liquid equivalent here at the house, and the back side snow is still coming through, so that’s simply adding yet another great layer to the snowpack. All told, this past week of storms has dropped almost 4 inches of liquid equivalent here at our house in the valley, so it must have put down at least 4 to 5 inches plus of liquid equivalent for the mountains. When I look at the numbers, I realize now why the snowpack seems to have improved so much so quickly. When I was riding the Wilderness Chair today, I actually saw a ski patroller skiing the headwall of the Wilderness Lift Line to check the snow. You know the snowpack is getting decent when that headwall is even close to being skiable, so the fact that he was even testing it speaks volumes about how things have gone over the past week.

An image of snow falling from Winter Storm Gerri near the Hotel and Village Circle area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A scene from the Bolton Valley Village Circle area this afternoon with snow from Winter Storm Gerri falling in front of the Hotel

Bolton Valley, VT 11DEC2023

An image looking down the Villager ski trail choked with fresh snow from near the Timberline Summit during a December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of the Timberline Quad Chairlift during an early December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Bolton Valley has already picked up more than a foot of snow from our current winter storm, and the Timberline Quad Chair is showing the results of some of the mid-elevation accumulations.

As of their 4:00 P.M. update, Bolton was reporting a foot of new snow so far from this current winter storm, and I’m sure they’ve cruised right past that mark with the way it was snowing up there when I left the mountain this afternoon.

The early morning report from Bolton was 6 inches new up top, so my wife and I planned to let a few more inches accumulate and then head up in the afternoon for some lift-served runs. That plan quickly changed around 11:30 A.M. when we noticed that their main base area live webcam was frozen. We checked their website and they’d updated the snow report to indicate that they’d lost power. They were working directly with Green Mountain Power and hoped to get it back up in an hour, but that was very much up in the air.

An image of snow-covered vehicles in the main Village parking lots during an early December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Even at the Village elevations in the parking lots you can see the results from our ongoing winter storm.

About an hour later with no change in operating status at the resort, I figured it was time to head up for some ski touring to get out in the new snow, since the potential for lift-served skiing was just too uncertain. When I first arrived up at the mountain, the snowfall was steady but I’d say only moderate in intensity. I did some quick depth checks around the Village to get a sense for how much new snow was there, but it was tough to gauge. In many areas, the new snow was so well blended with the old snow that it was hard to determine where the interface was. Overall, that’s a great sign because it indicates that the snowpack wasn’t hit too hard by the warmer temperatures on the front end of this system. In some spots I could find a thicker layer below the new snow, but even at that point I was often getting surface snow depths of 12 to 14 inches. Whatever the accumulations, there’s plenty of new snow and it’s coming together nicely with the underlying snowpack.

An image of heavy snowfall during a December snowstorm at the Wilderness Summit area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
When I reached the Wilderness summit during today’s ski tour, the snowfall was quite intense, often in the 1 to 2 incher per hour range.

I skinned up to the Wilderness Summit, and touring traffic at that point seemed very light – there were just a couple of tracks down Peggy Dow’s. As I ascended, the intensity of the snowfall increased, and when I was up above 3,000’ on Wilderness it was definitely in the 1-2”/hr. range at times. I know it’s really dumping by how quickly my gear takes on snow accumulations during touring transitions, and this was one of those times where I was constantly having to brush off the snow.

Fat skis were the call again today, and this snow is on the denser side, so you want some pitch for the best turns. In terms of density, at 2,000’ the snow seemed to be a bit above the 10% H2O range, and up at 3,000’ it’s definitely drier; it’s got the feel of something in the 7 to 8% H2O range. The turns are great anywhere at elevation of course; it’s simply bottomless powder everywhere with this storm putting down plenty of liquid equivalent. I was worried about some of the water bars getting blown out with the warmer front end of this storm, but in general they seemed similar to how they were before. The snowfall didn’t actually slow down when I descended back to the Village, so it wasn’t just 3,000’+ that was getting hammered at that point – the intensity of the snowfall had definitely increased in association with the back side of the storm.

An image of delicate fresh snow covering the branches of a tree during a December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontThe mountain had been running at least the Snowflake Chair when I started out on my tour, so my plan was to swap over to mid-fats and get in a few lift-served laps to finish off the session. Well, when I arrived back at the main base, power was out again everywhere, so that plan was out the window. There was an easy solution to that though; I just slapped the skins back on and kept touring. I was initially thinking a nice little tour up to the Snowflake Summit would be a great way to finish off the session, but when I got to Five Corners I suddenly thought about hitting the Timberline Summit. I haven’t been up to Timberline at all yet this season because the snow depths at the Timberline Base are still a bit lean compared to the stronger snowpack above 2,000’, but that part of the tour gave me a chance to check out Timberline’s higher elevations. There’s been hardly any skier traffic over there, so it’s nearly untracked everywhere.

An image of the deck of a house covered in snow during a December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
It was a winter wonderland out there at the resort today as my ski tour brought me around through the Bolton Valley Village, up to the Wilderness Summit, and even up to the Timberline Summit.

Heavy snowfall continued to pummel the area right through to the end of my ski tour, and my car had been loaded with snow in just the couple hours that I was out there. It took me probably 10 minutes to clean off the snow.  The temperatures had definitely dropped as I was heading down the access road, and the heavy snowfall didn’t start to abate at all until I was below 1,500’. We’ve been accumulating better even down in the valley now that the temperatures have dropped below freezing.

Bolton Valley, VT 03DEC2023

An image of the summit station of the Snowflake Double Chairlift during heavy snowfall from an ongoing December storm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of ski tracks in a bit of fresh snow on the Sprig O' Pine trail with heavy snowfall during an early December snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Catching some turns on the Sprig O’ Pine trail at Bolton Valley this afternoon during heavy snowfall from our latest winter storm

Down here in the valley at 500’ our precipitation has generally been snow, but the temperatures have been marginal, so thus far we’ve had less than an inch of accumulation. It’s been a different story at elevation though. We’d been watching the Bolton Valley Base Area Webcam since this morning, and more often than not it’s shown moderate to heavy snowfall with some big fat flakes. Even from the webcam you could tell it was accumulating, so I waited until the afternoon to let some of new snow build up, then I headed up to the mountain for some runs.

Coverage has mostly melted back at the base of the Bolton Valley Access Road at 340’, and the precipitation there was a mix of rain and wet snow, but cars coming down from the resort had at least a couple inches of fresh snow on them. As I ascended, somewhere in the 1,000’ to 1,500’ range, the precipitation instantly flipped to 100% snow, and you could tell that you’d hit a critical temperature threshold.  Up in the Village at 2,000’ it was pounding big flakes. There were visibility issues just like yesterday, but while yesterday was due to thick low clouds and fog, today it was due to the snowfall.

An image of the main base lodge amidst heavy snowfall during an early December winter storm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A view of the main base lodge at Bolton Valley – heavy snowfall greeted me as I arrived up in the Bolton Valley Village for some afternoon skiing.

Like yesterday, I skied again off the Mid Mountain Chair, and you could tell that the base snow had stiffened up where it had been groomed, at least up around 2,500’. From about 2,200’ and below, there was a notably softer base. At those higher elevations where the base was starting to tighten up, the new snow was definitely helping to take the edge off, but with on piste skier traffic, the fresh snow had been pushed around a lot, and you had to move off the groomed terrain to really take the best advantage of the new snow. In areas that hadn’t been groomed, there was no demarcation between the new snow and more recent layers below it, and my off piste adventures generally yielded turns in 12-14” of powder. The powder did get a bit denser as you dropped in elevation, but it was still quite manageable. I was on mid-fats and never even felt the need to switch to alpine turns; the snow was dry and consistent enough that Telemark turns were still comfortable all the way.

An mage of heavy snow falling in front of some of the condominiums in early December at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Heavy snowfall continued up at Bolton today throughout the afternoon while I was out on the mountain

The freezing level was slowly dropping in elevation while I was out on the mountain, and by my last run it was only right down at base elevations where the groomed base still had that initial softness I’d encountered. Driving down the access road at closing time was a bit hairy with the pounding snow and fresh accumulations. The road accumulations finally started to abate around 1,500’, and road surfaces switched to just wet below that. The snowfall rate was easily an inch an hour at times, and even thought it occasionally slowed down for periods earlier in the afternoon, it looks like it averaged around that inch per hour mark because the resort was reporting 4 inches of new snow as of 4:00 P.M. closing. If the snowfall keeps up for a while this evening like it did this afternoon, they’ll have another great shot of snow to cover up the slopes by the morning.

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 26MAR2023

An image of Erica Telemark skiing in powder in the Valley Road area after a late March snowstorm at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Dylan performing a 360 ski jump in the Valley Road terrain park after a late March snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan sailing his way through a 360 during today’s session with the family up at Bolton Valley. Our most recent spring snowstorm brought excellent conditions for both powder skiing and hitting the terrain parks.

We haven’t seen much snow here in the Northern Greens since last weekend, and from what I’ve heard, the conditions on the slopes haven’t been all that remarkable.  A more substantial winter storm started to affect the area yesterday however, and it seemed to hold some promise with respect to putting down several inches of snow in the mountains.

While the storm had only dropped an inch or two of snow down here at our house in the valley as of this morning, that snow contained almost a half inch of liquid equivalent, and with the temperatures being marginal in the lower elevations, it was easy to see that the accumulations were going to be elevation-dependent.  The Bolton Valley snow report was only indicating a few inches of new snow as of this morning, but that was enough to at least get us to head up to the hill and check out the conditions.  It seemed like a toss-up with respect to whether or not the snow would really be enough to kick the conditions into high gear, but there had to be more than a half inch of liquid equivalent from the storm at elevation, and that’s certainly enough for a decent resurfacing of the slopes.

An image of snow bikes near the Timberline Base area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontWe parked at Timberline, and right from the start, we were encouraged by what we saw.  There were 2 to 4 inches of dense accumulation even at those lowest elevations, and as we rode the Timberline Quad and watched and listened to the skiers below, their relatively quiet turns suggested that the new snow had bonded well to the subsurface.  Our plan was to head up to the main mountain, get a good assessment of the conditions at all elevations, and then take it from there.  Up at 2,500’ when we got off at the Timberline Summit, it was immediately obvious that the conditions were going to be good.  The new snow had clearly put down a resurfacing that was incorporated well into the grooming and created a soft, quiet surface that let you cut right into it with your carves.  We next took a trip up the Vista Quad, and the conditions above 3,000’ were even better.  The sides of Alta Vista yielded excellent turns, and my depth checks were coming in with 6 to 7 inches of new snow.

An image of a house in the Village area along the side of the Villager trail during a late March snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
We were treated to wintry scenes and great snow all around the resort today compliments of our latest winter storm.

We’d met up with some colleagues from work and their families, and our group spent much of the afternoon roaming around the main mountain, venturing from Vista to Wilderness, with a lot of time spent on Snowflake.  The boys were having some great fun on the jumps in the terrain park, and with the usual low traffic of Snowflake, the trails held plenty of untracked lines.  When we were over on Wilderness, just about everyone hit the Wilderness Woods and had some great turns, and those of us inclined to hit the trees off Snowflake were treated to run after run of untracked powder through some very nice lines.

An image of Dylan jumping into some powder skiing in the trees of the Snowflake Lift after a late March snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
We spent a lot of time today catching up on some powder skiing in the trees today, and the conditions were excellent thanks to this most recent winter storm.

We finished off our day with a long run down from the Vista Summit to the Timberline Base, and based on that run it was very evident that the main mountain was the place to be today for the best powder and groomed surfaces.  The snow below 2,000’ was still decent, but as we’d seen, the accumulations were a bit less, and the powder a bit denser.  Up on the main mountain was definitely where the best snow was located, and skier traffic was quite light.  It’s March after all, and since this wasn’t an obvious slam dunk storm cycle, I’m sure there were many folks that opted not to make the trip to the mountain for conditions that probably could have gone either way.

Bolton Valley, VT 05MAR2023

A black and white image of Ty Telemark skiing in powder after Winter Storm Quest in the Snowflake area of Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
An image of Ty Telemark skiing in powder in the Bonus Woods area of the Snowflake Chair at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
We had initially planned to stay mostly on piste for today’s outing, but the powder ended up being so good that Ty got in an excellent Telemark practice session spanning the entire alpine area of the resort both on and off the trails.

After a couple of great outings in the new snow on Friday and then again yesterday, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to ski today.  I figured the snow would be settling or warming, at least in the lower mountain elevations, and combined with skier traffic, that would bring the conditions down a notch.  Ty was still at the house for the weekend though, and when he was eager to get out for some turns, that easily tipped the balance and we decided to head up to Bolton Valley.

It was late morning by the time we hit the mountain, and they were already running out of parking spots at Timberline, so people were clearly eager to get out today.  Once we hit the hill, it was easy to see why.  Winter Storm Quest had departed, the weather was pleasant, and the quality of the snow seemed like it hadn’t changed at all.  There had been some additional snow on the back side of the storm cycle, but even the earlier snow seemed like it was in great shape.  Amazingly, it almost felt like it had dried out a bit more and the powder seemed notably less dense.

An image showing skis on a ski rack outside the Timberline Base Lodge at Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont
Skis filling up one of the racks at the Timberline Bae Lodge today

We had planned on a mellow day on the Telemark skis enjoying the groomed and packed runs, but that plan fell by the wayside a bit when we found that there was still plenty of untracked powder around, and it was of such good quality.  We had a great time touring around the mountain and managed a big loop that hit every chairlift at the resort and concluded with a big long run down from the Vista Summit to the Timberline Base.  Temperatures were very wintry and chilly up above 3,000’, and remarkably pleasant down around 1,500’, but still cold enough to continue preserving the snow.

An image of Ty smiling after taking a tumble in the powder while Telemark skiing in the trees at Bolton Valley Resort in VermontWe were most impressed by the durability of the recent snow.  The surfaces just continued to hold up with incredibly soft composition and no signs of ice, even in high traffic areas.  I know that we’re really skiing on snow from more storms than just Winter Storm Quest, but even the packed runs were just so enjoyable because on every turn you made, you could rely on encountering only soft, yielding snow.  We’ve reached a point where the quality of the snow is so good that it’s actually dropped the difficulty of every trail down a solid notch.  Skiing advanced runs feels like skiing intermediate runs, and you can definitely enjoy the steeps without having to dodge patches of hard snow.  This aspect of the skiing was displayed prominently on the steepest pitch going down into Maria’s, where tight, high-angle, moguled terrain just seemed to flow because you never had to avoid ice or other obstacles.  It was a great day for Ty to push himself with his Telemark skiing on challenging terrain, so I’m definitely happy he tipped the scales and got us out for those turns.

Bolton Valley, VT 18FEB2023

An image of a taco salad from El Gato Cantina in the Timberline Base Lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of snow guns making snow near the base of the Timberline area at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Bolton Valley was making a lot of snow at the Timberline Base are today, which should really set up those lower elevations of the resort with a snowpack that will last well into the spring ski season.

Our most recent system was named Winer Storm Nova, and while it wasn’t especially warm in our area, the storm still contained some mixed precipitation.  Some of the mixed precipitation was freezing rain, which I experienced on my way to Burlington yesterday morning.  After getting the car out of the garage, I‘d only driven for a couple of minutes before my windshield suddenly started to ice over very aggressively.  I switched to the defroster and that took care of it quickly, but it was clear that our area was getting a shot of freezing rain.  Thankfully, the roads had been well maintained and they remained ice free, but everything else was taking on a glaze.

All the precipitation eventually changed over to snow, but with some freezing rain in the mix, I really wanted to see how much snow fell on top of it to decide whether or not it would be worth skiing this weekend.  Down at our house we picked up a total of 1.5” of snow on the back side of Winer Storm Nova, and with Bolton Valley only reporting a couple of inches, it didn’t seem like that would really be enough to redeem the snow surfaces from the icing they’d likely seen.  This is also the President’s Day holiday weekend, so skier traffic would likely be even higher than usual.  With all that, I figured it would be a good weekend to stay off the slopes and instead go snowshoeing or something along those lines.

My ski plans changed though when Erica told me that her niece Allie was staying up at Bolton with some friends.  It’s hard to pass up the chance to see friends and family at the hill when we’re just a few minutes away, so we headed up in the afternoon to make some turns with Allie.  E and I parked down at Timberline with the intention of heading over to the main base to meet Allie, and I could tell today was going to be trouble when I nearly killed myself attempting my first three Tele turns on Villager after getting off the Timberline Quad.  My skis aren’t totally without edges, but I just couldn’t get a decent bite of the snow; the area that I’d chosen over on the skier’s right was just too slick.  Thankfully, we did encounter some areas during the day where skiers had pushed snow to provide a skiable surface (middle of Beech Seal by the lift towers, parts of Sherman’s Pass, parts of the Snowflake trails), but those were relatively few and far between.  I think the only other day that I’ve been out this season with really poor snow conditions was back on January 14th, which I rated as a 2 out of 10.  Well, today wasn’t a total zero, but it was somewhere in the 0 to 1 range.  I had a number of other close calls with slick surfaces simply kicking my skis out from under me due to lack of grip, and the surfaces simply felt far more dangerous than they were fun.

A sign from El Gato Cantina at the Timberline  Base Lodge at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in VermontThankfully, there were some bright spots on the day.  It was great to get to hang out with Allie on the slopes and catch up with her.  Temperatures were nice and comfortable up in the 20s F, and when you were in the sun it was especially pleasant.  Bolton was making lots of snow down at Timberline, so they are really setting up the base there at their lowest elevations to be able to last well into the spring ski season.  And, it looks like that base snow could soon be put to good use – the weather modeling suggests we’ve got a good run of winter storms on the horizon.  The most recent GFS run shows about seven storms lined up over the next couple of weeks.  Perhaps our favorite part of the day was when E and I discovered that El Gato Cantina has now moved into the food service area of the Timberline Base Lodge.  We had an excellent taco salad along with chips and guacamole, and having some great food in the newly expanded lodge is definitely something we’re looking forward to doing again.

Bolton Valley, VT 03APR2021

An image of Jay Telemark skiing in powder after an April snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
An image of Erica standing by some snowy evergreens after an April snowstorm at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
A shot of Erica and some of the beautiful fresh snow hanging around at the resort today as we head out toward Wilderness to ski some powder

After finding such nice conditions yesterday, E and I headed up for another session at Bolton this morning.  Based on the forecasts I saw, those temperatures and humidity should have preserved the powder beautifully – and they definitely did; the powder was just as good as yesterday.  It seemed to have settled a touch, but all the liquid equivalent was all still there, so it kept you off the subsurface and skied just as nicely.

The groomed terrain on the upper mountain that had been blasted by the wind yesterday was much improved today, I guess due to another round of the groomers pulverizing it with the new snow mixed in, and this time without the winds scouring it away.

We were talking about how the resort’s essentially come full circle on the season as it often does, and we’re back to the way it can be in November and early December when the focus is on the main mountain, but the other pods that aren’t open have enough snow to ski.  All you have to do is traverse out to the powder.

An image of the Vista Peak area of Bolton Valley Resort after an April snowstorm
A sunny view toward Vista Peak from Bolton’s Wilderness area

We both remarked at what a fantastic late winter day it was, with the powder, the Colorado blue skies, and humidity to match.  We were just starting to find a few spots in the direct sun where the powder was beginning to get sun-affected around midday when we were leaving, but it really was holding up quite well with these low humidity levels.

Bolton Valley, VT 05JAN2013

An image of Ty jumping in some powder snow on the Spell Binder trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Getting the boys out into the powder today

Although I never made it up to the main mountain yesterday, the skiing I found at Timberline was quite good, and suggested that the snow would be even better at higher elevations.  That snow, combined with the continued moderating temperatures expected to rise through the 20s F into the 30s was a recipe for some very nice skiing.  The forecast has been predicting these conditions for a while, and E and the boys were on board for getting up to the mountain today as well.  I’d told E about yesterday’s turns, so we had to decide if we wanted to go for some of that powder at Timberline, or ride the lifts and ski at the main mountain.  We decided that it would be good for the boys to get in some lift-served skiing at Bolton Valley, since they’ve yet to do that at all this season.  We also realized that we could still work in some Timberline powder if we spotted a car at the Timberline Base, and that would get the boys a little of everything.

“I have to admit, I
could really tell the
difference between
being on my mid-fats
today, and being on
my fat skis yesterday.”

When I was checking out the Bolton Valley website yesterday evening, I noticed that they were having a special promotion today – it was the first of four Subaru/Hyundai days in which owners of those vehicle brands could get a free lift ticket for the afternoon.  Also, additional guests could get tickets at 50% off.  I wouldn’t have been more than a passing thought, except that E was thinking of getting out with Gabe, one of our BJAMS students, to let him practice snowboarding before our regular season program begins at Stowe next week.  I told E about the promotion this morning, and although it turned out that she didn’t get together with Gabe, we had another potential student that could use a ticket.  E was planning to get together with Claire to work out the ski groups for the ski program, and during their planning, they realized that Luc could come and ski with us using a free ticket.

Claire dropped of Luc with plans to meet with E again later, and we headed up to the mountain.  Heading up the access road, it was right as we approached the Timberline area that we realized our day was going to be a bit different than we’d expected.  The sign was already up indicating that the upper parking lots were full, and that meant that there were a lot of visitors at the mountain today.  Although we could probably have found a spot up in the Village lots from people that were leaving, we decided to park the cars at the Timberline Base, since we’d already been planning to end up down there anyway.  It was about three runs of the shuttle before we were able to get on, but once we did, the boys loved it since it was their first opportunity to ride the Bolton Valley shuttle bus.

“I guess when half the
state owns Subarus,
you’re going to get a
response to such a

As if the need to initiate parking down at Timberline hadn’t been enough of a signal, at the base area, it was immediately obvious that the Subaru/Hyundai promotion was a hit.  I guess when half the state owns Subarus, you’re going to get a response to such a promotion.  The lift queue at the Vista Quad was quite long, and had to be at least 10 minutes.  We decided to take a run on Snowflake, since the queue wasn’t too long, and the snow on the Butterscotch slope looked quite good.  Indeed the snow was quite good, with some powder off to the edges, but it was just too short a run to be waiting 5 to 10 minutes to ski it, so we decided to make the next run down to Timberline.

An image of Dylan skiing powder along the edge of the Brandywine trail at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Dylan making quick work of the powder out there on Brandywine

From my Timberline explorations yesterday, I knew that there would be plenty of decent skiing even if we just followed out the Timberline Lane traverse to Brandywine, so that’s what we did.  When we got there it was immediately obvious that there were more tracks than yesterday, so it was more challenging to find fresh snow.  Also, folks were finding the skiing a bit tricky, due to the snow composition and coverage.  I have to admit, I could really tell the difference between being on my mid-fats today, and being on my fat skis yesterday.  Typically that difference in powder performance is more subtle, but not today – the fat skis had kept me that little bit higher in the snow yesterday, and that meant minimal interaction with the base or any crust that was sandwiched in between the layers of powder.  Also, with the areas of untracked snow not as vast as yesterday, it limited line choice.  Although the conditions were a bit challenging for E and the boys at times, there were still a lot of great sections of powder, so great turns were made.

An image of Jay Telemark skiing in powder on the Spell Binder trail at Bolton Valley Resort in Northern Vermont
Even without getting in on the biggest accumulations, the Northern Greens have been doing their thing to the best of their ability.

Back down at the cars, it was mid afternoon, and the combination of lift queues and conditions on Timberline that while OK, certainly didn’t have E and the boys raring to go for more, and that made it an easy decision to just call it a day.  We headed back to the house where E and Claire spent some time working out all the groups for the ski program.  I’m not sure how many extra tickets were sold today for the promotion, but it certainly brought people out.  The fact that it was a nice mild day after the recent cold weather probably played into it as well.  Hopefully they can have some of the other main lifts open for the next one of these promotional days, because that wouldn’t put so much pressure on the Vista Quad.  With the base snow that is out there, all that’s needed is one good synoptic snowstorm to hit the area without going too far south or north and most terrain would be able to open.