Bolton Valley, VT 22DEC2007


Ive got some video of the boys to go with this report, to head right to the video use the link below:


Saturday, December 22nd was the start of the holiday break for the boys, and with the parade of snowstorms that had been coming through the area, it was also the start of a great week of skiing.  We still hadnt managed to get our Christmas tree yet, so we picked it up in the morning and went up to the mountain in the afternoon.  There was the potential for a warmer storm with possible mixed precipitation the next day, so Saturday seemed like the pick of the weekend.


Up at the mountain, temperatures were in the comfortable 25 to 30 F range.  There wasnt any wind, although the sky was generally cloudy with just a couple breaks of sun.  The focus for the day was certainly getting the boys their turns, and Ty actually said he wanted to use his poles.  Ty had used his poles on at least one of our previous outings, but he would still forget about planting them on more challenging terrain, so my plan was to bring them on days when he and I were alone and could focus on them a little more.  With the added factor of Dylan skiing with us, its easier to let Ty just ski and have fun instead of concerning ourselves too much with more detailed instruction.  But, since he wanted to use his poles, we figured he might as well go for it.


I dont think the holiday crowds had fully arrived yet at that point, but by arriving in the afternoon I still had to park in the lowest lot of the village.  Interestingly, when I dropped off E and the boys up at the village circle, I noticed that they actually had $10 valet parking available.  Id never seen that before at Bolton, so Im guessing they were running it for the holidays.  When I was heading back from dropping off my car, I saw that there were about 8 to 10 cars in the valet lot, so at least some people were making use of the option.  E discovered that the lower area of the lodge (especially around the corner where the season passes are given out in the early season) sees a lot fewer people than many other spots, so we set up camp back there.  Actually, despite the approaching holiday, there seemed to be far fewer people at the resort than wed seen two weeks prior.  Im guessing that many people were getting their fill of skiing after so many weeks with good snow, so there wasnt as much of a push to get out on the slopes.


When we headed out to the lifts, it was nice to see that there werent any lift queues at the Vista or other lifts, despite the parking lots being close to full.  We decided to head over to Wilderness, and got off at the mid station to ski Cougar and Turnpike as wed done previously with the boys.  Dylan started with the tip lock as usual, and again seemed to be picking up the idea of turning on his own.  The fun really started when Ty hopped into one of the tracks through the woods off to the right of Turnpike.  It was one of those bobsled-style tracks where you may have to make quick decisions as each turn comes at you, and Ty was hooting and hollering as he made his way through.  E had stayed over on the trail with Dylan so that Id be able to follow Ty through the trees.  On the next run, we hit the exact same route, and I pulled out Es camera to get some video of the boys.  Following Ty through the trees with Es camera in hand was certainly more challenging that doing it with my helmet camera, but hes not too fast yet.  After that, Dylan indicated that he was done, which meant that he was ready to go inside.  It was nice that he seemed to realize he was getting tired before he had really hit the wall.  I removed the tip lock from Dylans skis so that he could walk around a bit easier, but little did I know he wouldnt want to put it back on when he hit the slopes again after lunch.


Dylan and E headed into the lodge, and Ty and I headed back up Wilderness for more.  Ty was interested in checking out something different, so I thought wed ski in the lift line area, and check out the maze of routes in the woods between Turnpike and the Wilderness Lift Line.  We dropped into the woods fairly quickly from the steep pitch below the Wilderness mid station, and Ty was immediately in the groove.  The terrain in that area starts off with some rather steep (probably 20-25 degree pitch) trees off to the skiers right of the lift line, then the pitch mellows out a bit before crossing a small connecting trail between Turnpike and the lift line.  After that, one enters a section of mildly-pitched woods that seems to go on forever.  There are also some terrain features in there (like a huge rock that is one of my favorites) that make for some very short but steep pitches.  Wed seen other families in the area before, but Im not sure how much time Ty had actually spent in there.  By the time we hit the second section of trees however, Ty was going crazy, screaming and cheering as he took the tight corners or dropped off the steeper shots.  Typically Ty would follow the established tracks that had already been set down in the area, although it was nice to see that hed occasionally create one of his own through the powder if he saw a spot he liked.  At one point during our time in the woods, Ty just handed me his poles because he said he wasnt using them.  I found it interesting that he was cognizant enough of his pole use that he would do that.  He was right though, when we were skiing in the woods, he was so focused on all the excitement that he mostly forgot about his hands, and he was really using the poles mostly for pushing himself through any flat areas.  So, I carried his poles for him for the rest of that run.  After that run, Ty and I were so excited that we had to tell E all about the terrain wed skied.  We headed into the lodge for lunch, and we got to recount our adventures to Mom.  My plan was to let her ski in there with Ty after lunch.


Once we were done eating we were eager to get back at it.  Id taken Dylans tip lock off his skis just before lunch so that he could walk a bit from the Wilderness Chair to the lodge, and he was very angry with me when I tried to put it back on.  We tried to explain how it helped him with both stability and speed control while skiing, but he was pretty set about not having it, so we decided to let him ski without it for a while.  We headed right back up to the Wilderness mid station so that Ty could ski the trees with E.  From the lift, Ty and I pointed out the wooden pole along the side of the Wilderness lift line that wed used to mark our convenient exit point from the trees.  Below that point, the terrain starts to get a bit flatter, and the tracks all sort of head off toward Turnpike on the skiers right.


Ty was really eager to hit the woods as soon as we got off the lift.  Whereas I had traveled at least part of the way down the first steep pitch below the mid station before entering the woods with Ty before, this time he chose the spot and went right in near the top.  It was quite steep and narrow, and E initially laughed to think that Ty was going in there, but he was.  Im not sure if he knew exactly what he was getting himself into, but he did surprisingly well with a little help from E.  Of course after completing that first pitch, the rest must have felt like a piece of cake so Ty was off like a rocket.  I skied with Dylan along the edge of the trail, and we were able to watch how it all went down.  Dylan had seemed to be a bit tired when we first got out of the lodge, but that faded once we got out on the slopes and he got going.  Perhaps he was taking a cue from his brother. 


Dylan and I caught up with E and Ty near the cross trail that splits up the woods.  I thought we were just going to say hi and head back to the groomed run, but Dylan was just far too intrigued with what Ty was skiing.  He insisted that he wanted to follow Ty.  I dont think he had any clue what that meant in terms of actual skiing, so I just released him totally and let him go on his own to see what happened.  He shuffled to the top of the entry to the woods, just started skiing, and then crashed off the side of the track into the powder.  Im not sure if hes fearless or clueless, but I guess he was having fun because he didnt mind crashing very much.  We continued on through the trees with Ty and E leading the way, and Dylan supported by me behind them.  It was a lot of work to hold Dylan and control my speed through the trees, but Dylan had so much fun I couldnt let him down.  My legs were pretty happy when we finally pulled back on to the trail though.  Dylan continued on skiing with the leash there, although still without the tip lock.  He actually does have pretty good balance, but he just cant turn as well or wedge as much yet without the tip lock.


We finished off the day with one more run from the Timberline mid station, heading off to the Work Road and Abenaki trail areas.  Because these trails can be accessed from the Vista Quad as well, they werent quite as deserted as what wed been skiing and we had to watch out for the boys when some faster skiers came by.  Ty stuck to the groomed terrain and worked on his carving, especially in the steeper areas.  He said he was taking a break from the trees.  We were heading to a holiday party in Colchester that evening, so combined with the ski day and picking up the Christmas tree it was quite a way to kick off the holiday season.  There was nothing to complain about in terms of snow or temperatures, and it really looked like the resort was off to a fantastic holiday week based on the conditions.  The altimeters recorded 5 runs on the day, with 3,445 of descent on the Avocet and 3,406 on the Suunto for a difference of 1.1%


Some video of the boys from the day can be found at:




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