Bolton Valley, VT 20DEC2007


To head right to the pictures and data plots from the day, go to:


After our big nor’easter at the beginning of the week, our next notable system started up that Wednesday, December 19th.  At our place in Waterbury (elevation 495’), continuous snowfall began at around 5:30 P.M. that evening, and by the following morning at 7:00 A.M. we’d picked up 3.2 inches of new snow.  I had some obligations at work later that morning, but I suspected Bolton had received a decent dump of snow and it seemed like a good opportunity for some dawn patrol turns.


I decided to pay another visit to the Timberline area, and when I got there at around 7:30 A.M., I was happy to find that temperatures were in 25 to 30 F range.  That wasn’t all that different from what we had for a temperature down at the house (28.4 F at 7:00 A.M.) and I was thankful for such pleasant temperatures after Monday’s single digits.  I noticed a couple of skiers just getting back to their car as I was arriving in the parking lot, and figured that I might actually have the opportunity to use an established skin track for the first time in a while.  I parked in the uppermost lot, and traversed across toward the lift line in search of ascent tracks.  There were a couple of skin tracks (possibly belonging to the people I’d seen in the lot) that headed up Twice as Nice, so I followed a combination of those.  On this occasion though, breaking trail turned out not to be a big deal.  The trail had been groomed at some point during the night, and only 1 to 2 additional inches had fallen there since the grooming.  That area made for a very easy ascent.  Where the trail hadn’t been groomed, my measurements indicated about 4 to 5 inches of new snow.  I still followed the skin tracks as a matter of course, and saw that one of the skiers had jumped into a herring-bone ascent for one of the steeper pitches.  I didn’t get a chance to see what type of gear they’d been on, but perhaps it was lighter Telemark stuff because it looked like they had just skipped right up the slope.  I was feeling a bit sluggish that morning, so the though of following their lead on that pitch wasn’t appealing at all.


I had sufficient time, so I decided to continue my ascent beyond the mid station dip and hit the Timberline summit.  Although following the skin track(s) hadn’t been that important up to that point, it was very helpful to have an established track up the initial steep pitch of the Intro trail.  That area required several switchbacks, and the track I followed made for a pleasant ascent.  I topped out at the Timberline summit a little while later, switched to downhill mode, and had a quick snack while I walked around checking out the summit conditions.  I had continued my snow depth measurements throughout the elevation range of my ascent (~1,550’-2,500’), and the new powder continued to be in the 4 to 5-inch range.  It was interesting, but getting reliable estimations of the new snow was actually a little tough.  It wasn’t because of excessive wind, but because the new snow was medium-weight powder that seemed to blend seamlessly into the underlying snow. 


I wasn’t sure what time they were going to start loading the Timberline Lift, but I figured it would be 9:00 A.M., and as I’d hit the summit area at around 8:40 A.M. I decided to just hang out there for a while and enjoy the scene.  The temperatures were very comfortable and there was no wind, so there wasn’t too much more that I could ask for.  As it got closer to 9:00 A.M., I began to wonder why the lift wasn’t going, and why I hadn’t seen any lift operator at the upper station.  I started to think they weren’t even going to run the lift.  At some point though, a guy came by on a snowmobile and did a quick check on the lift’s upper station.  However, he quickly left the lift, we exchanged greetings as he passed by, and then he disappeared down Brandy Wine.  I wasn’t sure if the lift was ever going to start, but I decided it was time for my descent.


I headed down Brandy Wine and then Intro, and the steep pitch of Intro was quite fun.  The 4 or 5 inches of new powder on Intro weren’t enough to really keep you floating on such a pitch, but the underlying snow was in such good shape that the turns were still top notch.  Essentially everything that hadn’t been groomed was bottomless due to the density of the snow and the lack of traffic even on the subsurface.  I varied my run between shredding some deep powder arcs on the ungroomed areas of Showtime and Twice As Nice, a little playing around in the fluffy glades between the trails, and a few high-speed carves in the 1-2 inches of stuff on the groomed for good measure.  At some point during my run the Timberline Lift started running, so when I reached the bottom I headed to the lift and inquired about the opening time.  I was thinking that they might have just gotten things going a little late, and I’d be able to catch a run, but the lift operator said that they weren’t opening until 9:30 A.M.  That was a little too long to wait with my schedule, so I decided to head out.


There were a few cars arriving at Timberline when I was leaving, and since Bolton was continuing their $10 tickets through that Friday, I’m sure folks were getting out to shred some of that economical Bolton Valley powder.  I believe I forgot to bring my Avocet altimeter on that outing, but the Suunto recorded a vertical descent of 1,050’.  It was yet another in a great string of ski days with fresh snow.  Back in Burlington, I found light on and off snowfall throughout the morning, and in the afternoon the sky began to brighten up.


A couple of pictures and some data plots from the day area available at:




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