Stowe, VT 31JAN2010
Sunday saw a notable jump in temperatures compared to Saturday; it was about 20 F at the Spruce Peak base area at noontime. Even though there hadnít been any real storms, Stowe still managed to pick up 20 inches of new snow in the summit areas since our previous visit a week earlier. The midweek trip reports had shown some excellent skiing, so I was very curious to see how the new snow had held up. When we arrived at Spruce, the steep pitches of the Meadows area looked really nice in the sunshine, so I brought my group there to kick off the day. It turned out that although there was a lot of untracked snow remaining, there was also a 1 to 2-inch wind crust on top. The crust was breakable and soft, but it definitely challenged the boys, so we talked about techniques to handle those conditions and they got to practice there. The groomed areas below the steeper shots were simply fantastic; just lots of packed powder to dig into with the skis.
We spent the rest of the day over on Mt. Mansfield, and the conditions were highly variable. Apparently the wind had done its worst in the higher elevations, because most areas we skied up high were quite icy. The very top of Gondolier was icy, Switchback was generally a disaster, and the top of Nosedive was its usual icy self. The only real saving grace on any of these was the fact that in some spots, the sides held good snow where people had pushed it around. I worked with the boys on short-radius turns in those areas and they made some decent progress. None of those areas were really worth a second visit though. Fortunately, many of the lower parts of the mountain skied very nicely akin to what weíd experienced over on the bottom of Spruce Peak. The bottom half of Perry Merrill that we caught had great snow, as did parts near the bottom of Cliff Trail. I also took the boys for a couple runs in the Nosedive Glades. The area was generally tracked out, but there are so many options thatís thereís always another untracked line to pick. We worked on trees and hit some powder as well. The trees had protected the powder from the wind, and the new snow was so deep in there that the old base was a distant memory. I checked at one point with my measurement pole and there were still 20 inches of powder above the base after settling. The boys got a kick out of that. However, the powder had settled noticeably or been at least slightly affected by the wind, because it wasnít quite as fluffy as what Iíd found over at Boltonís Nordic area on Saturday.
Snow started falling up high in the mid afternoon and gradually worked its way toward the base elevations by the time we were leaving. Thereís already been an additional 10 inches of snow since we were there on Sunday, and I donít believe thereís been excessive wind, so things should be at least as good as we encountered. Thereís also more snow on the way tomorrow. Hopefully some the surfaces on the upper elevation groomed terrain will have improved with these latest rounds of snow, because they definitely needed it.
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