Date(s) Skied: March 22nd, 2009



Resort or Ski Area: Stowe, VT

Conditions: 6 to 8 inches of new medium to light density powder up at 3,000', 4 to 5 inches of accumulation down atound 1,500'. Hard spring base snow exposed in some areas, sunny in the afternoon, temperatures in the mid 20s F

Trip Report: After catching some morning powder runs up at Bolton Valley, I came back down to the house a bit before 11:00 A.M. and filled E and the boys in on what was going on up on the mountain. It had been absolutely dumping snow in the 1 to 2 inch per hour range at the village (2,100’) when I’d left, and since we were heading to Stowe in the afternoon we were hoping that Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak were getting in on the action. In the late morning it was actually still snowing moderately at the house with some nice fat flakes coming down, but it wasn’t accumulating very quickly since the temperature was in the mid 30s F. We had still picked up another 1.5 inches of snow on the snowboard though, bringing our valley accumulation to 4.7 inches.

E was giving one of the BJAMS students his first snowboarding lesson in the afternoon, which meant that she wouldn’t be able to have either Ty or Dylan in her group, and with their differing abilities there wasn’t any group that would really be a good fit for both of them. We’ve been pretty good about getting Ty to ski with a variety of groups up to this point in the season, so it seemed like a good day for me to just take the two boys out together by myself. Knowing that it was going to be a powder day, I was surprised that Ty indicated strongly that he wanted to be on his Telemark gear. I was actually contemplating letting the boys hike up a bit above the gondola and ski some of the climbing gully for a taste of what was up there, and I was thinking his alpine gear would be the way to go. But Ty knew what he was doing in choosing his Telemark gear for the day. Although I didn’t know it (and apparently he did), his past couple of sessions on his Tele gear were really setting him up for a breakout day on free heels.

We got to Spruce and found a temperature of 27 F along with a mixture of sun and snowfall as we spent our first several runs there. The new snow, which was probably in the range of 4 inches or so at the Spruce Base, had been enough to set up a nice packed powder surface on many of the groomed runs. There were still some areas where the hard spring snow was evident because of traffic or wind, but I was very impressed with how nicely many of the surfaces had been coated by a relatively minor snowfall event.

We caught some good packed powder and powder turns on some of the mid mountain trails off the Sunny Spruce Quad, but some of the most exciting turns of the day turned out to be right down on Easy Street. Ty started to really get grooving and began to connect some bona fide Telemark turns that were much deeper than the paramark turns that he often makes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, or how quickly it just started to click for him. He certainly wasn’t nailing every turn, especially when he was on some double fall line terrain where he would favor one side, but he was clearly putting angulation, ski placement, edging, and weight distribution into a workable package. E said that she didn’t expect him to get to that stage until next season, and not having a clue about how younger kids progress on Telemark gear, I had no idea how long it was going to take him to get there. But as I saw the initial turns start to flow, I realized that for Ty it was now inevitable that he was going to be linking Telemark turns in the near future. He wasn’t going to be waiting until next season… he was doing it this season. I’m not sure exactly what he though was going to happen on Sunday in terms of his progression, but I now understand why he insisted on going Tele instead of Alpine. We hung out for several runs off the Easy Street Double Chair, and managed to do a couple runs with E and her snowboarding student so that Ty could show her what he was doing on his skis and get some pointers. I almost hated to pull Ty away from Easy Street the way things were going, but we wanted to catch some powder over on Mansfield and I figured he’d still be able to work on his turns over there.

Over on Mansfield I took the boys all around in the Perry Merrill, Gondolier and Switchback areas. Up around 3,000’ there were a nice 6 to 8 inches of fresh powder, and with the sun out it was simply amazing to think about the dust on crust that would have been there if the mountains hadn’t grabbed all that moisture. I took the boys through lots of trees, and even into the Chin Clip streambed, although I brought them back out above the big roped off drop because I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like down in that area. Ty even began to hit some deeper Telemark turns in the powder, which was really fun to watch. Dylan was enjoying the powder as well, and was looking more and more comfortable with his poles. It’s really nice to see how much more mobile Dylan can be with the aid of his poles.

Eventually we headed back to the Spruce Peak Base area, and I had enough time to head up with Ty for one more run and get some video as he worked on his Telemark turns. One of the most enjoyable parts of the afternoon was watching how much fun he was having as he played with the turns. After the lifts closed, we hung out and had dinner upstairs at the Great Room Grill with some of the other families. It was pretty much just our group in the Spruce Camp Bar area, and the facilities felt very homey even if they’re a bit snazzier than some of the other lodges. Most of the kids went up and hiked/sledded/skied on West Slope, and I even joined Ty for a couple of runs up there. Thanks in part to the new snow, it was a really great afternoon where Stowe delivered on many fronts once again. Some pictures from the day and a bit of video with Ty working on his Telemark turns have been added below:

























J.Spin