Bolton Valley, VT 04DEC2007
Last weekís big storm didnít start in our area until overnight Sunday into Monday, and although it sounded like some areas to New York state had received mixed precipitation, my weather observations didnít reveal anything but snow at our place in Waterbury. By Tuesday morning, we were up to almost 16 inches of accumulation at the house, and the ski areas were passing the two-foot mark. I hadnít had time to get out to the slopes on Monday, but fortunately I had some time on Tuesday. With so much new snow down at the house, I knew we werenít dealing with an extremely elevation-dependent snowfall event. That had me setting my sights on a trip to
On Tuesday morning, the weather was light snow and partly cloudy skies down at the house, but it was absolutely dumping up on the mountain with a temperature of 13 F. When I arrived in the main village parking area at around 7:30 A.M., I noticed that another early morning skier was just leaving. I had suspected this storm would get lots of folks out to the mountain, and I was hoping there was an established skin track to make the going easier. The Mid Mountain Lift was running, and I could see the lift operators preparing it for what looked like an eventual opening. As I skinned by on Beech Seal, I asked one of the operators if an opening was still planned; he said it was, although he wasnít sure of the exact time. I started following a combination of skin and snowmobile tracks up my traditional Sprig Oí Pine route, and depth measurements revealed that roughly 6 to 7 inches of powder had accumulated in that area since they had last groomed. With the aid of the established tracks, the going was really easy and I was making decent time. As I approached mid mountain and passed under the Vista Quad, I noticed a skin (or possibly snowshoe) track heading up on the lift line. I thought it might be fun to see where it went and try a new ascent route, so I hopped on. Within a few strides, Iíd changed my mind. It appeared as though the track had been used just once, and even though the initial trail-breaking effort had been made, the second pass was still a lot of work and my pace slowed considerably. I checked the depth of the new snow around me and found that it was already at 15 inches. With hopes of getting in a run from the
Within a couple of minutes, I hit the mid mountain flats. I again checked the snow depth in a representative spot in the open and found that the accumulation was now up to 18 inches. I continued on up, and made good time as I stuck to the track on
I stopped at the patrol shack and went inside, where the heater was blasting out a ridiculous amount of heat. Iím not sure why that was the case, but it was really warm inside. I had just taken a look around, and started switching into downhill mode, when a couple of Telemark skiers showed up. One of them recognized my plaid swatch, and asked if I was from SkiVT-L. He seemed to recognize me as Jay, and introduced himself as Adam Sherman, a SkiVT-L lurker. His friend was Quinn, who is a patroller at the mountain. We rapped for a bit, battled with futility of trying to get the patrol shack door to stay closed, and then I joined them for some turns.
The choice for the first run was
As we approached the lower mountain, Quinn directed us toward the Glades area, and eventually we ventured into the open lines off to the right of the formal Glades trail. Quinn mentioned that it was called ďsomethingĒ Woods, but I canít recall that exact name. At that point I took the opportunity to get a few action photos of the guys, and although the powder wasnít as deep and the terrain wasnít quite as steep as higher up on the mountain, I still got a couple of decent pictures that give a good impression of the snow consistency. The Mid Mountain Lift was running by the time we got to the base, so we skied a few more laps in that area and enjoyed the powder. Adam also knows Maria from the
After a few more laps on the Mid Mountain Chair, Adam and Quinn headed off to ski a run over at Timberline where they had stashed a car, and I made a couple more runs before heading off to work. I was making my way to the car when I saw that the Snowflake Lift was also running, so I got sucked in for a couple of runs there as well. The trails in the Foxy area were in great shape, with 6-12 inches of powder over previously groomed terrain. The powder was actually dry enough to reach down and carve up the packed powder below, even on my fat skis. That was a unique sensation in relatively deep snow, and I was thinking I could spend the entire day there running laps and playing off the Snowflake Lift. Actually, the Vista Quad was supposed to open around noon to provide access to the summit terrain, and having lift-access to the steep and deep up top was another incentive to stay. However, the liftie at the Snowflake Lift said that he suspected the noon estimate was probably a bit too soon, so I decided to call it a day and head to work. I did find out that the mountain was open for good at that point, and it wasnít just a one-day special event. When I was finally leaving, I met Adam and Quinn in the parking lot on their return from Timberline. They said conditions had been great, and I think they mentioned skiing Spell Binder, which is pretty steep.
When I left the parking lot, the temperature was up to 20 degrees F and it continued to snow hard as it had done all morning. In the valley, I found that the
Some pictures and data plots from the day can be found at:
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