Date(s) Skied: Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Resort or Ski Area: Bolton Valley, VT

Conditions: Chopped up powder on piste, powder off piste in the 20-24 inch range with spots up to 30 inches. Additional snowfall moved in at midday with the approaching clipper system.

Trip Report: Last week’s midweek system had continued the excellent stretch of snow, yielding a great dose of dry Champlain Powder up at Bolton for Thursday, and then snowfall from that system continued at a slower pace right into the holiday weekend where a clipper was due to add more fluff. On Saturday, the whole family headed up to the mountain to try and catch up with Stephen his kids for the reopening of Wilderness. Ty was a bit out of sorts at first, so Dylan and I took a mid mountain run on Timberline to get going. The snow quality was excellent on piste, not quite perfect in coverage since there were a couple of spots to watch out for as we skied the skier’s right of the Showtime headwall, but any coverage issues there were pretty minor.

Once everyone was set, we headed over to the main mountain and hooked up with Stephen, Johannes, and Helena. With all the kids, the makeup of the group was constantly in flux, but on my end I had a couple of ripping runs through the Turnpike bobsled tracks with the Ty and Johannes. We hit those banked corners like race cars. On another run I was guiding Ty, Johannes, and Helena through some of the Wizard Way trees, and the end result literally saw Helena swimming the backstroke through the deep powder to get back to the trail. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of that, but I did grab one of Ty in there working the powder:

Johannes and Stephen were also out getting pictures, and they put together a substantial slide show along with Johannes’ report from the day at Amanda was out on the Nordic network for a tour, and it sounds like she had quite an adventure, but I really liked her description “It felt like walking through clouds” with regard to going through the powder. It certainly was that kind of snow. I was happy to have my first Kurt Ries sighting of the season, and learned that he has the same Telemark skis as me! A definite thanks goes out to Icelantic at First Tracks for turning me onto those. I actually saw no less than four pairs of RT 86s at the mountain on Saturday, all mounted Tele, so they seem to be quite popular.

Eventually the boys got hungry so we headed back to the Timberline lodge to have our lunch, and from there we finished off the day on the Timberline area. I finally got to bring E to the Corner Pocket Glades, and the snow was incredibly good; it didn’t seem like anyone had been in there all day. I also recall a fun run playing in the bumps on Twice As Nice. All in all it was a great family day on the mountain, and even though it was a holiday weekend we didn’t really encounter any lift queues because all the lifts were running.

In terms of weather, it started snowing around midday with the onset of the clipper, and I grabbed and excerpt from my 4:00 P.M. Saturday update to that details the start of that event and the snow depths we encountered:

“Saturday 1/15/2011 4:00 P.M. update: We were up at Bolton Valley and had just boarded the Wilderness Lift (elevation ~2,150’) when the clipper snowfall started there today; I looked at my watch and it was just a couple minutes before noon. The snowfall was comprised of small, 1 mm flakes, but from the initial flakes it ramped up in intensity very quickly. Of course, we were ascending about 1,000’ on the lift at the time as well, so that could have played a part in it too. The snow continued all afternoon, increasing in intensity to moderate snowfall by later in the afternoon, but with the small flakes there was only about a half inch on our car down at 1,500’ when we were leaving around 3:30 P.M.. Not surprisingly, the skiing was excellent as the mountain is reporting 3 feet since Monday and the new snow was already starting to freshen up the packed areas. The recent dumps are topped off with a good dose of Champlain Powder™ blower, so it skis like a dream. The trees and other untracked spots held great snow, and we generally found powder depths of 20-24 inches above the base layer, with spots close to 30 inches.”