On Monday afternoon, E and the boys and I headed up to Bolton for a few runs. They hadnít reported picking up any new snow from the storm off to the south, and although they did mention that there had been a touch of mixed precipitation, the report said that it hadnít been anything of consequence. We were all curious to see what the conditions were going to be like, and watching temperatures, it was about 39 F at the house (495í) and 37 F at the base of Timberline (~1,500í). Since we werenít planning on a crazy day in the off piste, E and Ty brought their Telemark gear to work on turns. We kicked things off with a run down Twice as Nice thinking it would be pretty mellow for E and Ty, but we were surprised to find that the mountain has been letting it bump up. That certainly upped the challenge for those guys on their Telemark gear, but they had fun and the bumps were great. With temperatures a bit above freezing, the groomed snow was skiing very nicely. It was very soft, but fortunately not wet. I canít remember the last time Iíd actually been in too many moguls, and Iíd forgotten how much fun they can be. The only downside I saw with regard letting Twice As Nice bump up, is that with its low elevation and all natural snow (and the current snowpack), coverage is probably not quite as good as if it was being groomed. Patrol did have a thin cover sign at the top, which initially surprised us, but once we got in and saw the bumps we realized that was probably a big part of it. We then skied Showtime under the chair, and the consistency of the snow was excellent, aside from a couple of icy spots on the headwall. From the chair weíd seen people laying down some big trenches as they carved it up. Finally venturing up to the top of Timberline (~2,500í) we could see that right around that elevation was where winter was still in effect. The trees were coated with snow and the snow surface was a touch firmer.
We chatted with patroller Quinn down at the base area as we were leaving, and he said that the mountain has been listening to peopleís requests with regard to grooming (hence the bumped up Twice as Nice). We also talked about some of the several new glades that the mountain has added for this season, and he filled us in on how conditions had been for the week. He said that everything had remained quite wintry until Friday, when the mountain began to see some spring-style cycling. He also mentioned that the soft conditions on Timberline were certainly the best place to be on Monday. Taking a few trips off the sides of the trails, I found that the off piste snow was certainly a little mushy compared to what Iíd seen on Sunday across the Winooski Valley in Camelís Hump State Park. Over there at similar elevations, the powder had settled down and become denser, but it hadnít quite taken on that wetter consistency. Itís possible that Boltonís closer proximity to the Champlain Valley, and being on the west side of the Greens let them get a little warmer. So the skiing was really good at Timberline on Monday, although it might be a bit more variable now if you catch it below freezing. We have been picking up some new snow over the past couple of days with moderate temperatures, so that may help buffer the surfaces if temperatures start to drop.
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