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Sunday, March 23rd saw persistently blue skies as Northern Vermont skiers continued to clean up the 2 to 3 feet of powder left over from the storm cycle that had wound down on Friday. The winds that we’d encountered when we were out on the mountain on Saturday had fallen off substantially, so the weather was looking much more comfortable for the highest elevations. Easter often finds us out of town, but this year things came together to allow Ty and I to pop up to Bolton Valley to make some turns between morning and afternoon holiday events.
After Easter morning activities, we headed up to the mountain around 9:30 A.M. and were surprised to find that the Timberline lift was standing still and there was nobody around at the base area. I’d been thinking of continuing our explorations from Saturday afternoon in the Villager woods, but without the Timberline lift it would be a lot more difficult. Short of flat out hiking, we’d have to approach from the Vista/Cobrass side of things, and I suspected the substantial amount of traversing through deep powder would be pretty tiring for Ty, even if I was breaking trail. We continued driving on up to the main base, where there were still surprisingly few people, so we grabbed a parking spot in row two. It didn’t look like Timberline lift would ever have been an option for the day because thanks to Alex Friend on SkiVT-L, I eventually found out that the Timberline quad was actually closed for repairs.
Since we couldn’t easily access the Villager woods from Timberline the way I had initially planned, I decided we could at least go the Vista/Cobrass route and keep the traversing to a minimum to make it practical for Ty. We wouldn’t be able to access quite the same terrain, but we’d still be able to explore some new areas. We rode up the Vista lift, enjoyed the fantastic views to the north, south, and west, and then headed in the direction of Cobrass. Although the winds had died down substantially from the previous couple of days, the combination of wind and/or traffic seemed to have taken its toll on the highest elevation trails. Cobrass had a big sign indicating that it was “Experts Only” so I explained to Ty what that meant. It was probably a case where the steep pitch at the beginning was all blown down to whatever hard surface lay beneath, and he would have to be sure to use his edges to turn. I made sure he was OK with the whole thing, and indicated that I’d stay right with him in case he had any trouble. It tuned out that the steep pitch was pretty darned slick as one might expect from the sign, but Ty surprised me again by taking the whole thing in stride and executing some great turns. It was nice to reaffirm that he could actually work his edges on a very firm surface when the occasion arose.
Short of being satisfied that my edges held as well, those turns weren’t all that fun from my perspective and I was quickly looking for a way to get our powder explorations under way. When I reached a point where I was fairly confident we’d be safe from skiing off the wrong side of the mountain, we cut skier’s left from Cobrass and into the trees. I’d seen various tracks leading into the area before, so I know that people skied those woods, even though I’d never been in there myself. Our run started off with decent blue/black pitch and powder through a combination of evergreens and deciduous trees. The lines where we entered were on the tighter side, but still reasonable and Ty didn’t have any trouble negotiating them. After descending for a short ride we found ourselves in a bit of a saddle between Cobrass and the local peak that rises above the Villager trail. There was a lot of good snow in that sheltered area, and some more open lines were present, but the pitch was mellower with only green/blue options. We hung to the right and caught some nice gentle lines as we descended along the saddle, then emerged back onto the trail network in the Cobrass Run area. The snow on Cobrass Run was awesome with some powder and chowder; it was literally night and day compared to the surface on the top pitch of Cobrass.
Ty was hankering for a trip on the Mid Mountain lift, so we rode that, skied Glades, and then hit the Wilderness chair. At the top of Wilderness we found that the situation was much like the top of Vista: the good snow had been blown away from the steeper trails, and we were restricted to Peggy Dow’s for our descent. However, the winds had sculpted some rather large and interesting drifts along the edge of Peggy Dow’s, so we stopped and took some pictures of those. Father down we took the little narrow trail option off to the skier’s left of the main trail, and then connected back to the Wilderness Lift Line. I’ve found that the snow in that bypass can be a little better than what’s on the main trail if there’s been a lot of wind or skier traffic in the area. We skied the steep pitch of the lift line below the mid station, then headed to the right through our usual tracks in the woods below.
We were heading off to my sister’s place for the afternoon, so we were done for the day after that run. We therefore continued skiing past the bottom of the Wilderness chair, and down through the townhouses toward the village parking lots. Along the way, we noticed a huge cut that had been made in one of the snowbanks to gain access to a power meter. It looked like quite a chasm. We also found an area where the wind had blown away the powder to reveal a crust. I chopped out a couple pieces of the crust and set them up in the powder so that Ty could blast through them when he passed. I knew he’d enjoy that. He smashed up the pieces of crust, and we were soon back at the car. The altimeters had recorded three runs with 2,615’ of descent on the Avocet and 2,566’ of descent on the Suunto for a difference of 1.9%.
Pictures from the day area also available at:
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