Bolton Valley, VT (Timberline) - 1/4/2009


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  1. #1

    Camera Bolton Valley, VT (Timberline) - 1/4/2009

    Date(s) Skied: 1/4/2009

    Resort or Ski Area: Bolton Valley, VT (Timberline)

    Conditions: Packed powder, wind pack, rocks, ice, and powder up to 1-2 feet in depth

    Trip Report: Here’s a Bolton Valley Timberline update from yesterday. It was a beautiful blue sky day for most of Sunday, so Ty and I headed up to Timberline for some earned turns. Leaving the house (495’), the temperature was 22 F, and up at the Timberline Base area (~1,550’) it was 18 F. Fortunately, the winds of Saturday had essentially disappeared and all that was left was a slight breeze. However, the overnight winds had wreaked havoc on the snow in some areas. We parked in the upper Timberline lot and started skinning over toward Twice as Nice, and a bunch of the snow above the Timberline Lodge had been whipped into wind crust. In some areas it was barely noticeable, although the fluffy upslope powder had certainly been compacted, and in a few areas it was thick enough to support my weight. We ascended Twice as Nice, and most of it had been rolled by groomers, presumably to preserve some of the snow from winds and get the trail ready for an eventual opening. There were some strips of powder left along the edges of the trail, but the groomers had done a pretty good job of squashing the snow down, and with the resulting grass and ice patches exposed it was definitely NOT the prime option for a powdery descent. Ty did have a few firsts on the day, such as using his backcountry pack, carrying his helmet, and using his heel wires on the ascent. Ty skinned at a five-year old’s pace, which is apparently (or perhaps thankfully) still much slower than my pace, but I think his skinning technique has improved to a level of greater efficiency. The more horizontal platform provided by the heel wires certainly seemed to make things easier for him on the generally blue-grade ascent.

    Ty’s pace, the time of day, and my desire to no push him too hard called for a descent from the mid station area (~2,250’). He was in good spirits and energy level at that stage, even doing a few laps of sliding in the powder on the unloading ramp of the Timberline mid station, so I figured we’d stopped with energy to spare. With the effects of wind we’d seen on some of the west-facing terrain, we headed northward along Wood’s Hole. The powder in there was OK and well protected, but we didn’t have any particularly inspiring turns because there wasn’t quite enough pitch to really get moving in the amount of powder available. We stopped at Brandy Wine and took a look at the conditions, but they looked pretty wind scoured so we continued on to Tattle Tale. The first steep pitch of Lower Tattle Tale was wind scoured as well, and Ty did an amazing job of wedging in the thin strip of powder that was available along the skier’s left, literally along and IN the trees. Below that however, the snow on Tattle Tale was marvelous. Once Ty released his wedge, he blasted down the rest of the snowy face making a long figure 11, followed by a big wide sweeping turn through the powder. He later told me that the big turn he made was actually a Telemark turn. I was too far away and there was way too much powder for me to see it, although I suspect it was more of his usual paramark-style turns because I’ve never seen him get too much knee bend at that speed. Whatever the case, at least he’s experimenting and thinking about his turn options. Once Ty had stopped, I made my descent in that section of Tattle Tale and the turns were major “Yeehaa!” material. The upslope fluff had settled down a bit, but 1 to 2 feet of it had collected in there over the previous base, and I got in some great bottomless turns. Since I haven’t been out on my Teles too much yet this season, those were certainly my first deep and moderately steep Telemark turns of the season, and they felt really good. I yelled to Ty to watch and finished with a big long Tele turn through the deep powder along the side him so he could see what was possible. I’ll have to get back to that area again and see if it provides the same rush. If time had permitted that would have been the place to lap.

    Below that we eventually got back onto Timberline Run, and the mountain was making snow down there so we played a little on the whales. After a bit we got off Timberline Run to get away from the manmade snow and we traversed to Spell Binder. The snow in that area was nowhere near as deep as what we’d found on Tattle Tale, but the quality was good as it also hadn’t been affected by the wind. From the bottom of Spell Binder we skied back to the car, and the daylight was definitely starting to fade.

    Anyway, while there’s plenty of nasty snow, rock, and grass in areas of Timberline that were hit by the wind, there’s also some awesome powder that’s prime for the taking on the more protected trails. With the forecast and the way the mountain is making snow in the area, I’m not sure how much longer it will be amenable to earned turns, but we’ll see what this next storm brings for accumulations. Currently the Burlington NWS is suggesting a moderate storm for our area, but there also seems to be a bit of upslope potential on the back side. A few pictures from yesterday are included below.


  2. #2
    You're putting out some really good Bolton trip reports--especially the info on conditions/snow quality. Thanks for making the effort.

  3. #3
    very nice. i've never seen someone so young on free heels.

    pardon my ignorance here, but is timberline part of bolton valley and no longer used by the ski area?

  4. #4
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    NEK by Birth; Alta/Snowbird by Choice
    I was just going to ask why Bolton has not blown snow/gotten Timberline open?
    Live, Ski, or Die!

  5. #5
    Boy, you're really turning Ty into quite the experienced, all around skier. He's gonna have most of us beat and out-experienced within a couple more years. Cross fingers that he sticks with it; kids can be fickle.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2knees View Post
    is timberline part of bolton valley and no longer used by the ski area?
    Timberline is still an active part of the ski area, but it's lower elevation (~1,550') than the main base (~2,150') and they usually open it later in the season than the main mountain and close it down earlier in the spring. But it is very popular for earning turns when the lift isn't running. The Timberline area is shown in the lower right part of the map below.

    Last edited by J.Spin; Jan 6, 2009 at 2:49 PM. Reason: Added map

  7. #7
    Wow, very nice TR... I'll love seeing more like it. I'm insanely jealous of the little guy... I wasn't even started alpining early, nevermind touring.
    Making sanity obsolete since 1982...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    I was just going to ask why Bolton has not blown snow/gotten Timberline open?
    Back on December 24th, I heard from one of the patrollers I know that they were planning to open both the Timberline and Wilderness sections of the mountain on December 26th. At that time I guess there had been enough snow to open both areas with essentially no snowmaking. But then it got warm and they lost some base so those areas didn't end up opening. However, I got the following in my Bolton Valley Snow Report/Update by email today:

    "Our snowmakers are continuing to make snow over at Timberline and we are looking to get that terrain open by this weekend. We plan to have Timberline Lodge open with skiing on Timberline Run, Villager and Sure Shot. Showtime will be open as well from the mid station down."

    So it sounds like they will try to open at least part of the area this weekend, but from what we saw on Sunday, the way the wind had scoured the snow from the steep upper sections of some of trails, those won't be able to open until they get another good storm or two. Hopefully the Tuesday-Thursday storm will be a good start.


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