Friday saw a small snow event pass through the area, and when Ty and I went up to Bolton for a few runs to check out the new snow on Saturday, we found overcast conditions with the best fresh snow on the lower half of the mountain where things hadnít frozen up. By Sunday, spring was back in full force and when the family headed up to the mountain around noontime we were looking at temperatures in the 50s F, blue skies, and little wind. It definitely had all the makings of a great day for spring skiing, and as it was Boltonís last day of regular lift operation, it was a chance to close out the season with a bang. Arriving in the afternoon, the mountain was already full of visitors out enjoying the great weather and deep base of snow, so the parking lots were quite full. After dropping off E and the boys in the village circle with the gear, I headed down to the parking areas and was directed to a spot where Iíd never parked before. It turned out that the tennis courts in the lower part of the village had melted out fairly well and were being used for additional parking. There was a little snow left in some of the corners of the courts, but on top of a nicely paved surface the snow was evaporating away as it melted. Distance wise, it was like parking in the bottom lots of the village, but it was kind of nice to be able to put my gear down on the ground and not worry about dirt and mud whatsoever.
Once we got out to the lifts we had a nice view of the pond skimming reservoir that Ty and I had seen on Saturday. In the sun, it looked like it would be a lot of fun to use, in contrast to the way it had looked under the overcast and fog from when weíd first seen it. One potentially exciting aspect of the day was Dylanís progression on his skis. When he had been out on the slopes the previous weekend he had skied by himself on slopes with more pitch than heíd ever managed before. We knew that he was right on the verge of skiing without the leash all together, and with the continued good snow and weather there was a strong possibility that this was going to be the day that he broke free once and for all. Just in case he was going to need it, we had Dylan wear his leash pack with the leash inside, and when we got to the top of the Snowflake lift for our first run, he was willing to keep it stowed away and go for the descent under his own power. I wanted to let him go for a run down something fairly gentle like Sprig Oí Pine or Timberline Run, but Ty insisted on Foxy. I told Ty that Foxy was going to be difficult for Dylan on his own because it was an intermediate run, but Ty really seemed to have his heart set on it. We didnít want to split up on different runs at the time, so it looked like Dylan was really going to have to step up to the plate right at the start of the day. Off Dylan went, and thanks to the soft spring snow he was easily able to dig in on turns and control his speed on much of the run. However, on the steepest sections of the trail even the perfect corn snow wasnít enough to let him slow his descent under his own power. He fell a few times, and needed some help from the rest of us. So we gave him some speed control when he needed it, but there was no need to pull out the leash. By the time he was done with Foxy, we knew that heíd be able to go the whole day without any leash assistance; if he could manage much of Foxy on his own we knew that tackling most green runs would be a piece of cake.
On the next run we were able to take Sprig Oí Pine, and as it looked like it would be Dylanís first full run without assistance of any kind, I shot a little video of the event. Dylan did manage the run all by himself to complete his first one ever. It seems as though he is on a fairly similar track to Ty in terms of his progression. Ty had gone off the leash for good when we were at Big Mountain on February 26th, 2006, 35 days after his 3rd birthday. In Dylanís case he had actually gotten off the leash 22 days before his 3rd birthday. However, Dylan was a month or two farther into his third ski season than Ty was when he had dropped the leash, and Dylan didnít seem to have quite the fluidity in his style yet that Ty did when he got off. In terms of the level of control they had when finally getting off the leash, it makes some sense in terms of their individual personalities at those ages. Dylan appears more willing to throw himself at something, whereas Ty was more conservative. Dylan did have a couple of falls on his first solo run, but nothing of much concern, and he really seemed to be enjoying his enhanced freedom on the slopes.
As the afternoon continued and we did more runs off the Mid Mountain and Snowflake lifts, Dylan continued to do great with his turns as we hung around in the Bear Run/Sprig Oí Pine area. Before long he was following Ty around and attempting jumps like his big brother. Itís going to be fun to see how Dylanís skiing progresses with his penchant for trying whatever Ty does. Throughout the afternoon we mixed it up on those lifts, skiing Bear Run and Deer Run along with Sprig Oí Pine and a run through the terrain park. After 5 runs we went in for a break and some food, and then after 8 runs Dylan was done for the day. On Dylanís last run it was pretty obvious that he was getting tired while we were riding the lift, because he was really leaning over and resting on Mom. I managed to get a picture of that one.
Dylan might have been done with his skiing for the day, but Ty and I stayed out together for a few more runs. One of Tyís popular circuits at that point was to hit the woods off to the skierís right of Bear Run, then get onto Sprig Oí Pine and catch a big jump on the skierís left of the trail. Heíd finish off the route among the trees where everything came back together above the base of the Mid Mountain Chair. I also enjoyed Tyís bigger jump on Sprig Oí Pine because itís one I like to use to practice switching my Telemark stance in mid air. Iíve tried switching my lead leg similarly with my alpine skis and it doesnít feel like much of anything, but like various other techniques, itís a lot more fun on Tele skis. We finished up with a good run off the Mid Mountain Chair around 4:00 P.M. A total of 12 runs were recorded on the altimeters, with a total descent of 3,655í on the Avocet and 3,553í of descent on the Suunto for a difference of 2.8%. It turned out that they were actually running the Vista Quad until 5:00 P.M. that afternoon, which was quite easy with the extended daylight. We headed home however as both boys had had a good afternoon by that point.
Pictures and video from the day are available at:
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