We picked up a fairly impressive amount of water from Wednesdayís storm, with 1.24 inches of liquid equivalent falling even at our place in the Winooski Valley (495í).  However, as Powderfreak nicely discussed in one of his SkiVT-L posts, conditions in the upper atmosphere werenít all that conducive to the growth of fantastic, loft-producing dendrites, and our 1.24 inches of liquid in Waterbury only equated to 11.8 inches of snow.  Those numbers indicate an average snow density of 10.5% H2O for the storm, which isnít all that dense as snow goes, but itís notably denser than what Iíve typically seen around here in Northern Vermont in the middle of winter, especially in the case of a storm that didnít involve and mixed precipitation.  Temperatures were cold enough that the snow was quite dry, but it was clearly dense.  The upshot of this type of snow is that it is fantastic for building base, even if it isnít the Champlainô Powder that many people crave.


With the snow density in mind, I headed up to the mountain with my alpine fats, figuring the powder skiing might be tricky in the dense snow.  I arrived up at the Bolton Valley Village area (2,100í) to a temperature of 13 F, and there was still a little wind around.  At first glance I had to ask myself if there had even been a significant storm on the mountain, as everywhere I looked I could see what appeared to be old snowbanks with no new snow on them, trees devoid of any sort of coating, and slopes that didnít look anything like powder.


I strapped on my skis and started skinning up Beech Seal under the Mid Mountain Lift, and couldnít believe the condition of the snow.  The usual trails were groomed of course, but even the groomed snow seemed like it was more dense that after a fresh snowfall.  Off piste I could see that all the new snow had been blasted into some sort of sculpted Styrofoam stuff that really didnít resemble powder.  The snow was packed down so thoroughly that I skinned straight up Beech Seal instead of taking my usual powder day route around on Sprig Oí Pine.  I was beginning to wonder if the skiing was really going to be much fun, but once I got to mid mountain and found places that were out of the wind, things were looking up.  The snow was clearly more dense than usual, but where the wind hadnít affected the snow there was plenty of powder.  The mountain was reporting an 18-inch storm total, which seemed in line with what other resorts around the area were indicating.  I decided to head to a nicely sheltered area and opted for a trip to the Villager Woods.  I found that coverage was excellent Ė a chute that drops into the area had had barely enough coverage when Ty and I visited it a couple of weeks ago, and now it was filled wall to wall.  There were very few spots in the Villager Woods area that had caught much wind, so the skiing was undisturbed in that regard.  I was glad Iíd brought my fat skis however, since I think they helped in the dense snow.  Overall Iíd say this was more of a base-building storm than a fantastic powder storm based on local standards, but the skiing should be great this weekend.  We picked up a bit of fluff down in the valley this evening, and if the mountains got a few inches out of it that will make a nice covering over the great base.  A few shots from yesterday are below:






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