Bolton Valley, VT 28DEC2007

 

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

 

http://www.JandEproductions.com/2007/28DEC07.html

 

In the days surrounding Christmas, we attended various family gatherings and split our time between Vermont and Southern New England.  Unlike last year during the holidays, this year there was actually a bit of snow on the ground in Southern New England due to the substantial snowstorms that theyd seen.  The South Shore and Rhode Island areas that we visited had rather minimal areal snow coverage at that point because any surface that was exposed to the sun had melted out, but in shaded areas there were sometimes 6 to 12 inches of snow on the ground.  Up in Vermont, my weather records for our house in Waterbury (elevation 495) indicate that we picked up 3.1 inches of snow on December 24th, and then another 4.9 inches on December 27th with our yard snowpack fluctuating in the 13 to 18-inch range during the period.  Each of those snowfall events was accompanied by roughly half a foot of new snow in the local mountains, so that kept the slopes pretty fresh.  A lot of the snow fell later in the day on December 27th, and Bolton Valley reported 6 inches from the event, so we decided to make use of the fresh snow the following day.

 

We hit the mountain around mid morning, and kicked things off with several runs on the Snowflake Lift.  The temperatures were quite nice, just a bit below freezing, and with the new snow it seemed like it would be a great day out for Dylan (and Ty for that matter).  I checked the depth of the new powder and found about 4 inches in the Snowflake area.  At the top of our first run, Dylan started skiing down the hill a little on his own, and Ty was so worried that he would get out of control that he threw his body in front of him to stop his progress.  It looked like something that a secret service agent would do for the president, and it was nice to see that Ty was watching out for his little brother.  It did work to stop Dylan, but it was also sort of comical to watch Ty flail himself on the slope.  We found the trail conditions to be very nice packed powder over in the Snowflake area, with untracked powder off to the sides where they hadnt groomed.

 

After our fourth trip up the Snowflake lift, Ty and I decided to head over for a run off the Vista Quad while E took Dylan in for a break.  I was thinking of making the trip a little more interesting than just taking the Sprig O Pine trail, and with some fresh powder, I was inspired to hit a little woods shot that Id been eyeing between Sprig O Pine and the Chill Zone Terrain Park.  I can always see this shot through the woods when I ride the Vista Quad, but of course at that point Im destined for the upper mountain and I never remember to check out those woods when Im actually on the Snowflake Lift.  This time I remembered.  Although I bet the most efficient way to get to the line in question is to drop off from the skiers right of the Chill Zone Terrain Park at the appropriate spot, the terrain park wasnt open yet at that point.  There were still leading up to the opening of the special park built by Snow Park Technologies (who I guess are the builders of some of the X-games structures).  So, we stayed legal and cut into the trees off to the skiers left of Sprig O Pine.  That was actually a good option because I was interested in checking out that whole area of trees for potential lines.  I popped into the trees and set up a traverse track that I thought would work, and Ty did a nice job of following me.  It turns out that there are actually plenty of nice lines in there, but I was fixated on the one I saw because it seemed to be the most open and would be the simplest for Ty to ski.  My traverse bought us right to a good launching point for that line.  Ty headed down first and I recorded some video.  He kept in control the whole time, took it fairly slow, and did a nice job.  Then I hopped in and left the video running for some first-person perspective.  I had the camera in one hand, and my poles in the other hand, so even for me it constituted a fun ride.  Once out of the trees, we actually wound up behind a rope in an area that was closed to keep people out of the terrain park, but we quickly got right back on trail.  I dont want to set too many bad examples for Ty just yet.  Exploring that route took more time than simply staying on the Sprig O Pine trail, but its a more adventurous way to get from the top of Snowflake over to the Vista Quad or the Mid Mountain Chair.

 

Ty and I then hopped on the Vista Quad and did a run from the Vista summit.  The snow wasnt nearly as soft in the high traffic areas near the summit, and the steep, exposed trails like Spillway looked like they were still quite firm.  We worked our way over to the Wilderness Lift area, getting off to the skiers right of Shermans Pass as soon as we could and taking Work Road over towards Wilderness.  There are some little used trails in the Work Road area, and some nice shots through the woods as well.  Ty and I found plenty of good powder and decided hed have to show Mom that stuff on the next run.  Once we/d reached the Wilderness Lift area, we visited the woods between Turnpike and the Wilderness Lift Line where wed spent some time the previous Saturday.  The routes in there were in nice shape, with about 5 inches of fresh snow on them according to my measurements. 

 

After lunch we headed up the Vista Quad again and worked our way over to make another run in the Turnpike/Wilderness Lift Line trees that wed enjoyed before.  We got to show E the route we enjoyed and everyone had a chance to get in on the powder.  We finished off the day with a couple of runs from the Mid Mountain Chair because Ty wanted to try out some of the features in the Kids Park.  Weve decided that it is a big hassle to get over from the bottom of the Wilderness Chair up to the bottom of the Mid Mountain Chair carrying two kids and a bunch of ski gear especially when the kids are getting tired toward the end of their day and are no help in the process.  Were not looking to repeat that any time soon.  Once we got to the lift and up the hill, I took Dylan around on the Sprig O Pine route, while Ty and E went through the Enchanted Forest and skied the bumps below the Vista Quad.  In the main line of the Forest, E said that there were some very fluffy bumps, and she was having so much fun that she just kept going and missed the turn off for the Kids Park.  She then had to climb back up to meet Ty.  E said that Ty did a nice job in the bumps; they werent too large and he was able to manage his turns and speed control.  Down in the terrain park, Ty had quite a time on the boxes, skiing them rather smoothly.  There were two of them in succession that were maybe 50 feet apart, and he was able to hit them back to back and stay in control.  There was also a big (5 to 10-foot) kicker near the bottom of the terrain park, and Ty was very keen on hitting that.  Fortunately (at least as far as Im concerned at this point), he couldnt really carry tons of speed up the ramp of that kicker and only got minimal air.  Around that time, E and I discussed how wed both noticed that Dylan seemed to be pulling to the right while he was skiing, and we tried to figure out if it was because he was purposefully turning as he wanted to go that way, or if he just favored weighting that brought him in that direction.  He does like to go off the edge of the trail since he sees his brother (and his parents) doing it all the time, but in the end it seemed like he just favored that direction due to his weighting.  Well have to see if that changes over time.  I dont think well be able to fix his alignment issues by simply replacing a couple of his body parts.

 

Dylan was really cooked by the end of that day his legs were shaking on the last run and E and I were surprised that he hadnt wanted to quit sooner.  Fortunately he was able to take a nap as soon as he got home (or he may have even fallen asleep in the car as sometimes happens).  When he got up from his nap he actually had trouble walking at first because his legs were so cooked.  E said it was rather comical, because when he got up from his nap and tried to stand, his legs crumpled and he crashed to the floor.  So even after waking up, he needed to relax on the couch for a while.  After resting for a spell, his legs recovered and he was soon running around the house with Ty.  Its interesting, but I dont recall Ty ever pushing himself to that extent when he was Dylans age.  Whether Ty just stopped skiing earlier, or had a different level of stamina at that point Im not sure.  I believe that Dylan skied every run with us that day except for the first one on the Vista Quad.  The altimeters logged 8 runs, with 3,990 of descent on the Avocet, and 3,970 of descent on the Suunto, for a difference of just 0.5%.  So, for Dylan, his vertical for the day would have been around 3,000, which is probably about as much as hes ever done.  I checked back in my reports from December of 2006 to see what Ty was typically skiing for vertical at this stage, and although it doesnt look like I was archiving my altimeter data, I can get a pretty good estimate from adding up the vertical of each lift ride.  Coincidentally, while most of Tys skiing was done at Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana during this period two years ago, his closest day to this would actually have been a day at Bolton Valley on December 24th, 2005 while we were back in Vermont on holiday.  Below Ive listed three of Tys ski days from the 2005-2006 season that are closest in equivalent date to this report.  Ive listed the approximate vertical he skied for each day, and then the link to the text report is available under each entry for more information:

 

Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT, December 18, 2005: ~1,600

http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0512C&L=SKIVT-L&D=0&I=3&P=35252&F=P

 

Bolton Valley, VT, December 24, 2005:  ~1,600

http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0512E&L=SKIVT-L&D=0&I=3&P=12505&F=P

 

Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT, January 2, 2006: ~3,500

http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0601B&L=SKIVT-L&D=0&I=3&P=1089&F=P

 

From reading my old reports, it looks like the roughly 3,500 of vertical that Ty skied at Lost Trail on January 2nd, 2006 was quite a big day for him at the time, and definitely enough to tire him out.  So, I guess Dylans ~3,000 of vertical from December 28th was more substantial than Id realized.  In terms of ski technique, I can see from my reports that both boys were on the leash at this stage of their progression.  However, from the pictures associated with the December 24th, 2005 report from Bolton Valley, I can also see that Ty wasnt using a tip lock.  I think Ty might have been a little ahead of Dylan in his ski control at this stage, or perhaps he was just more willing to hold a wedge.  Dylan is certainly assisted in his wedge by the presence of the tip lock, and seems to control his speed better when its on.  In terms of balance, Dylan is definitely fine without the tip lock, as we saw on the previous Saturday when he refused to put it back on.  But, it really seems like Ty was catching on to the potential of the wedge, because I noticed a remark in my December 18th, 2005 report where I indicated that I was shocked at one point when he used a wedge to bring himself to an almost instantaneous stop.

 

While the ski day was more than sufficient for Dylan, it certainly hadnt tired Ty out enough because once we got back down to the house he was quickly on his new sled.  The boys had received a couple of saucer-style sleds for Christmas, and Ty was anxious to get on his and use it in some of the recent powder that had fallen at the house.  E and I spent some time out there with him while Dylan napped, and I shot some pictures of Ty taking some runs off a jump wed built.  It was quite a day on the snow for Ty, but at some point even he got tired and called it quits.

 

Some pictures and video from the day can be found at:

 

http://www.JandEproductions.com/2007/28DEC07.html

 

J.Spin



 



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