Bolton Valley, VT 2/21/2009


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  1. #1

    Camera Bolton Valley, VT 2/21/2009

    Date(s) Skied: February 21st, 2009

    Resort or Ski Area: Bolton Valley, VT

    Conditions: 12" Champlain Powder overnight, 36" storm total

    Trip Report: Bolton Valley picked up a solid three feet of snow from our latest storm cycle, with the final 12 inches of upslope fluff coming in overnight to set the table for a fantastic Saturday. The day started off a little cloudy and breezy, but by midday we were left with warm sunshine to make for one of the best ski days of the season. We arrived up at the Timberline Lift for the 8:30 A.M. opening, and in classic Bolton Valley style the powder day lineup was comprised of a whopping three chairs worth of people. The first hour or two of the morning were pretty quiet in the Timberline area, at least in terms of numbers of visitors, although generally not in the voices of those of us that were there. By 10:00 or 11:00 A.M. more visitors started to arrive.

    While the trails only contained about a foot of powder in areas that had seen skier traffic over the past couple of days, many off piste locations that hadn’t seen visitors on Thursday or Friday held the entirety of the storm in and undisturbed stack. Before heading up to the mountain yesterday morning we joked about losing Dylan in the deep snow, but fortunately that didn’t happen. The good thing about the snow was that it was quite dry (my analysis on the overnight accumulation at the house was 3.7% H2O); even the boys could get down in it and really have a fun time experiencing the depth. We met up with Dave and his friend Jo at 10:00 P.M., and my colleague Stephen and his son Johannes early in the afternoon, and all eight of us managed to do a couple of great runs on Twice as Nice together.

    For Ty it was a day of notable improvements in his skiing. With the fantastic depths of powder in the off piste, he was able to start charging steep slopes more aggressively than I’ve seen up to this point. E and I had indicated to both boys that they would want to ski steeper terrain than usual today because the deep powder would be slowing them down. They weren’t very receptive to this idea at first. However, by the end of the day Ty had really changed his tune and was actually seeking out some of the steepest line so he could tackle them. Dylan had quickly picked up on the idea as well.

    The deep powder also let Ty engage in his own personal huck fest ’09. I’d been saving up a nice 5 to 10 foot drop with a sloped landing that Dave and I had discovered in the Villager Woods a couple weeks back, and with feet of new powder it was ready to be plundered again. Ty likes to do jumps on his skis, but this type of a drop was in a league he’d never really tackled before, so I was curious to see his reaction. When we arrived at the top of the drop, he was certainly intimidated by the height and confirmed that he didn’t want to hit it. We didn’t want to force him, but we had Mom drop it and demonstrate how easy it was with such deep powder. After seeing that, he didn’t immediately change his tune, but we could see that the wheels were turning. Later in the day we were in the Wood’s Hole glades and Ty somehow found himself atop a rather big rock. He dropped a pretty rugged looking line, and with that his confidence was building. I asked him if he’d be interested in joining Dave and I in dropping another small cliff on the next run and he said yes. We gave him first shot at the drop in the freshest powder, while E shot pictures from below. He wasn’t willing to carry a lot speed going into it, but he dropped right off and did an awesome job. At the end of the day when we were in the lodge, he indicated that he wanted to go out for one more run. He insisted that we hit the first drop that we’d shown him earlier in the day, the one that Mom had done. He said he was now ready for it. He had no trepidation this time around, and dropped it as soon as I was in position with the camera and gave him the go ahead. When we got back to the lodge he even told E that he’d done a better job on it than she had.

    Dylan also had quite a day, blasting lots of powder lines with the most consistency that I’ve seen from him all year. He plowed through every mellow or steep nook and cranny that we dragged him into, and his powder skiing is now becoming reliable enough that we don’t have to worry much about bringing him into any of the typical areas that we’d ski as a family. It appears as though a mounting topic with Dylan is the use of ski poles. Ty didn’t start using poles until his 4/5-year old season (last year), but it looks like Dylan is about ready. After I broke a wayward stick off of a tree yesterday in the Wood’s Hole Glades, Dylan proceeded to bring it with him for the rest of the run and use as a pole. Back on the trail, E told Dylan how he should be using the stick in terms of planting, and he easily coordinated the timing of planting and turning. We may have to start phasing in poles for him the way we did with Ty. Dylan also skied what was perhaps his biggest day to date, racking up over 8,000’ of vertical. He was clearly on his last legs when we came down through the Twice as Nice glades near the end of the day though; he just couldn’t handle the steepest pitches anymore and I had to help him down the final one.

    When I finally downloaded the images from my camera yesterday evening, I discovered that I’d taken 479 shots throughout the day, but I managed to whittle it down to 21 that made the final cut. In some cases, the culling process involved skipping over some really nice waist-deep powder shots in favor of some even better chest and neck-deep ones, but sometimes that the way it goes! Images from the day are below:


  2. #2
    Those are some awesome pictures!! That place looks off the hook!!!


  3. #3
    reefer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Somewhere Outside


    It was off the hook! Between this post and davids post I feel kind of lame putting up any type of trip report or pictures. Anyway it was awesome both Saturday and Sunday as Chris, Mario, and myself paid our first ever visit here. Now we're spoiled. Some notes of importance:
    There is some sick terrain at Bolton!
    The locals are very friendly and were very willing to show us around! (there is a lot of unmarked gems around here that I can't discuss on-line)
    Great food in the James Moore Tavern! And great wait staff, especially Nikki and Violetta!
    There were empty chairs on a Saturday/Sunday Holiday weekend!
    There's a lot of snow up there! We were still finding plenty of stashes on Sunday!
    They have no high speed lifts!
    They have night skiing so we skied til' sunset Saturday! (like 5:30ish?)
    Here's a few pics
    Last edited by reefer; Mar 8, 2009 at 6:52 AM.

  4. #4
    reefer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Somewhere Outside


    And a few more after it cleared Saturday aftenoon:
    Last edited by reefer; Mar 8, 2009 at 6:52 AM.

  5. #5
    j.spin never dissapoints. great pics. those kids are rippers.
    '04-'05 - 2 days
    '05-'06 - 11 days
    '06-'07 - 20 days
    '07-'08 - 19 days
    '08 - '09 - 23 days
    '09 - '10 - 16 days
    '10 - '11 - 12 days
    '11 - '12 - 6 days
    Lifetime Total - 109

    Namaste you guys!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by reefer View Post
    It was off the hook! Here's a few pics
    Thanks for adding more pics, it's great to see Bolton getting some good love on the forum. It sounds like more great skiing is on the way tomorrow, as we're currently getting nuked down here in the valley. Here's my evening weather update from our place near the Waterbury/Bolton line:

    Summary: 17.4” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 10:00 P.M. EST

    Monday, February 23rd, 2009: 8:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

    New Snow: 4.7 inches
    Liquid Equivalent: 0.18 inches
    Snow/Water Ratio: 26.1
    Snow Density: 3.8%
    Temperature: 16.2 F
    Humidity: 82%
    Dew Point: 9.7 F
    Barometer: 29.74 in. Hg
    Wind: Calm
    Sky: Heavy Snow
    Storm snow total: 14.5 inches
    Storm liquid equivalent total: 1.06 inches
    Current snow at the stake: 31 inches
    Season snowfall total: 160.8 inches

    It snowed some today in Burlington, but visibility wasn’t all that low and I could see that it was really cranking in the mountains. We also picked up several inches during the day here in Waterbury, which brought us easily over a foot of accumulation for the event. I haven’t run the snow thrower yet for this storm, so blasting through the 3 to 4-foot berm at the end of the driveway and getting up to the garage was even a challenge for the Subaru. Having the snow cascading over the hood and up the windshield is always fun though. Over the past few hours the snow has really come on at a rate of 1-2”/hr in the form of huge, fluffy, upslope flakes that are settling as that sub 4% H2O Champlain Powder™. I’m surprised that there aren’t stronger echoes on the local radar with the snowfall rates we’re getting, but I’ve made some intermediate snowfall measurements from the board after the 8:00 P.M. clearing:

    Time – Total snow on board
    8:00 P.M. – 0.0”
    8:30 P.M. – 0.8”
    9:00 P.M. – 1.5”
    9:30 P.M. – 2.0”
    10:00 P.M. – 2.9”

    I thought that the snowfall was slowing down a bit after 9:30 P.M., but then it seemed to go nuts again not long before I went out to check the snowboard at 10:00 P.M. The 0.9 inches in that half hour period certainly suggests it came on strong.

    As of earlier this evening, snow totals in the local mountains were already pushing past 5 feet over the last several days, so apparently February is trying to make up for its slow start. With the way it’s currently snowing around here, I suspect totals could be close to 6 feet by tomorrow. Here are some of the local resort snow totals for the two combined storms, listed north to south along the Green Mountain spine:

    Jay Peak: 61”
    Smugg’s: 49”
    Stowe: 49”
    Bolton 61”
    Sugarbush: 62”

    This storm has already reached 17.4 inches of accumulation down here in the valley and bumped the one before it (15.2 inches) into second place. Our valley total for the two events is thus 32.6 inches and counting. In terms of snowpack, this event has brought the snow at our stake to its deepest for this season at 33 inches, and as of this evening the snow depth at the stake on Mt. Mansfield has also reached its season high at 86 inches. If the winds in the mountains have settled down and the snow is falling like it is down here, the skiing should once again be off the hook tomorrow.


  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by J.Spin View Post
    the skiing should once again be off the hook tomorrow.J.Spin
    Here's the update from this morning:

    Summary: 18.2” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 7:00 A.M. EST

    Tuesday, February 24th, 2009: 7:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

    New Snow: 3.7 inches
    Liquid Equivalent: 0.09 inches
    Snow/Water Ratio: 41.1
    Snow Density: 2.4%
    Temperature: 13.6 F
    Humidity: 78%
    Dew Point: 5.7 F
    Barometer: 29.91 in. Hg
    Wind: 0-5 MPH
    Sky: Flurries/Light Snow/Mostly Cloudy
    Storm snow total: 18.2 inches
    Storm liquid equivalent total: 1.15 inches
    Current snow at the stake: 33 inches
    Season snowfall total: 164.5 inches

    Our snowfall tapered off down here at around midnight after some fairly heavy upslope snowfall; here are some intermediate accumulations from last night at the house:

    Time – Total snow on board
    8:00 P.M. – 0.0”
    8:30 P.M. – 0.8”
    9:00 P.M. – 1.5”
    9:30 P.M. – 2.0”
    10:00 P.M. – 2.9”
    11:00 P.M. – 3.6”
    12:00 A.M. – 3.7”

    That brings our total for this event to 18.2 inches, and our total for the back to back storms is 33.4 inches. As I suspected, some of the mountains have now hit six feet of accumulation from the last six days of snow. My daily email from Bolton Valley this morning had this to say:

    Six Feet of Snow.

    “Looking back at the log we keep of snowfall totals for the year I can hardly believe the last six days. It seems as if I am dreaming. We have measured snow of a foot or more on four of the last six days. We have a six day total of six feet. That's taller than most people. That's two yards of snow.”

    Here are some of the two-storm totals for local areas on the Green Mountain spine, listed north to south:

    Jay Peak: 68”
    Smugg’s: 54”
    Stowe: 52”
    Bolton 72”

    Our back yard stake is now at 33 inches as of this morning, and the Mt. Mansfield stake is at 86 inches as of yesterday evening. It will be interesting to see if the Mansfield stake report goes up with last night’s accumulation or down due to settling when they check it this evening. For now here’s the current snowpack plot for our stake and Mt. Mansfield’s:


  8. #8
    V. Impressive trip report!!!

  9. #9
    I CANNOT imagine what your boys are going to be like 5-10 years from now. Meathead films here we come! The tips up one of the two boys is priceless - that's poster material.
    I'll be there with friends and family on Saturday. After a day in the MRG woods yesterday, I sure hope that liquid precip is forecast for Thursday is a bust. I'm gonna try to get away from the slow crowd and explore a little deeper on Saturday.
    By the way, you are a stunningly good photographer. Great composition and timing.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  10. #10
    Wow! Careful you don't loose your kids in there!
    Whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly.

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