Bolton Valley, VT 30MAR2008
Pictures are embedded in this report, and also available along with video at:
In terms of new snowfall at the end of March, we’d had a small to medium-sized system come through on Friday the 28th to touch our area with 4 to 6 inches of new snow from the valleys to the mountains. Even though we hadn’t received a ton of snow, I’d gotten good mileage out of it with an outing on Friday morning, another on Saturday morning with Ty, and then some turns up at my cousin Steve’s sugarbush in Barton on Saturday afternoon. Throughout that time, the weather had remained in winter mode with many locations even in the valleys not getting out of the 20s F, but by Sunday it looked like we were going to make a quick switch to spring.
Sunday did start out cold however, with a morning low temperature of 8.6 F recorded at our house in Waterbury (495’). With such a cold start, we decided to let things warm up and hit the mountain in the afternoon, so E went to work in the morning to get some things done. The sky was absolutely clear and blue, and we knew that with Bolton’s western exposure, the afternoon sun would likely make it the best part of the day. By about 2:00 P.M. when we were heading out to ski, the temperature had reached 38 F at the house (495’) and up in the Bolton Valley Village (2,150’) it was a few degrees colder in the mid 30s F. We probably would have gone to the Timberline area for turns, but the website indicated that they had stopped running the lift for the season. It was a bit of a shame, because they still had wall to wall coverage on all the trails, even down to the Timberline base area elevation (~1,550’). It was good news for those wanting to earn turns at Timberline though, since the only competition for powder was other backcountry skiers. As we passed by Timberline on our way up to the main base, we could see that the trails still held various areas of untracked snow.
Up in the village people were already well into spring mode, with lots of folks out on the back decks of the lodge, and more visitors expanding out onto the area below. We kicked off our afternoon with a ride up the Snowflake lift and a run through the Sprig O’ Pine area. I managed Dylan with his leash, and with the softer spring snow on the trails combined with the way he was handling it, I suspected we’d let him make some turns off the leash before the afternoon was over. We chose the Mid Mountain chair for our next run, with Ty and E taking a run down the steeper slopes of Beech Seal while I took Dylan around on Bear Run and below the Kid’s Terrain Park. It took a bit of vocalization to all meet up back on the lower part of Beech Seal since we weren’t using the radios, but we all managed to finish the run together. We rode the Mid Mountain lift again, and this time E and Ty checked out what the Forest terrain had to offer. Dylan and I did our same route from the previous run, but Dylan had been doing so well that I let him ski the entire middle part of the run off the leash by himself. That was a great step in his skiing progression, and it certainly marked some of the longest and steepest terrain that he’d skied on his own. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get any video there, but we did capture a couple clips of him down near the bottom of Beech Seal. With Dylan off the leash and without poles, he was a bit slow to move around in the flatter areas around the lift loading stations. Ty offered to help pull him around as we were heading toward the lodge for lunch, which was really fun to see and made for a fun photo-op.
By the time we stopped for lunch at around 3:30 P.M or so, the outdoor revelry was starting to decrease with the end of the day. At 3:55 P.M. I mentioned to Ty that we should get on the Vista Quad for one more long run before the lift closed, but he really wanted to get back on the Mid Mountain chair so we did that. I’d tried to tell him about the strategy of catching a long run because the day was almost over, and that from the Vista we could catch everything that the Mid Mountain chair offered, but he’d held firm. We took a run through the Forest, which held some neat terrain and snow conditions. The main line through the trees was like a big half pipe with everyone sculpting the softer snow from their turns. I checked on the consistency of the snow in the tighter lines off to the sides, and was amazed to find that what wasn’t directly in the sun was still powder. Apparently temperatures out of the sun just weren’t warm enough to transform the snow, even on the lower half of the mountain. In areas that had seen sun, the snow was a pleasant mixture of soft packed powder and a few areas of corn, but apparently the combination of sun and temperature wasn’t enough to turn really transform everything. E and Dylan had come around to meet Ty and me at the top of the Kid’s terrain park, and we all skied that together to finish off the descent.
By the end of that run it was after 4:00 P.M., but we were surprised to find that the mountain was extending the Snowflake Lift’s operation until 4:30 P.M., so we decided to catch another run and hit part of the smaller terrain park under the lift. The afternoon sun was still shining brightly and it was hard to pull ourselves away from the trails, but the lift was eventually going to close and we needed to get the boys home. My Suunto altimeter had recorded 5 runs for 1,549’ of descent that afternoon, although once again I don’t seem to have the data from my Avocet altimeter for comparison.
Pictures and video from the day are also available at:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont.
To unsubscribe, visit http://list.uvm.edu/archives/skivt-l.html