Yesterday E and the boys and I joined up with James and Jack for some backcountry turns up in Bolton Valley.  After a morning low around 0 F at the house (495’), the temperature was up to the 20 F range by mid morning.  We headed up the Catamount Trail from the access point on the Bolton Valley road at an elevation of ~1,200’.  Most of us skinned, although Dylan and Jack, the littlest guys, used snowshoes.  We covered about four tenths of a mile and a couple hundred feet before Dylan and Jack were calling for their skis and a descent.  After we hit the bottom, the boys did a couple more small laps on skis and then switched to sleds for a bit.  The conditions were nice, with packed powder on the trail and powder off to the sides.


E then took the boys down to the house for more sledding, leaving James and I with enough time for a bit of additional backcountry exploring.  We skinned along an old logging road that breaks off the Catamount Trail about 100 yards up from the parking area, and then headed away from that and up one of the gullies dropping down from the west wall of the valley.  Our trip topped out at around 1,700’, where a big icefall and boulder field loomed above us.  I checked the depth of the powder in a few spots, and it seemed to be running at about 17 inches throughout the tour.  When we were descending it was mid afternoon, and the temperature had gone a bit above freezing in our elevation range.  The temperatures saw the top surface of the powder getting a little thick, and our skis would stick to it a bit until we got moving.  On south-facing slopes that had been hit by the sun, the snow was just right for supporting pinwheel formation, so on one steep pitch we found ourselves setting them off all over the place.  We didn’t find anything especially spectacular in terms of glades, it was just the typical sort of hike up in the hardwoods where there’s usually plenty of space for turns as long as the snowpack is deep enough.


Later that evening we were driving to my sister’s house and on the radio I heard that the temperature was 44 F in Burlington and 35 F in Montpelier, so the southerly winds certainly seemed to be doing their thing in the Champlain Valley.  A few shots from yesterday are attached below:














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