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Bolton Valley - 01/31/14 - Hyundai/Subaru Days!

MadMadWorld

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Jan 10, 2012
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Leominster, MA
Conditions: Hard Pack and Machine Groomed

Decided that I would take a personal day from work and take advantage of a free lift ticket. This was my first visit to this mountain and wanted to share my observation with others. First, the mountain is located right along the infamous route 100 between the Mad River Valley and Stowe/Smuggs. After getting off the highway it is a bit of a drive and the access road looks rough. It is extremely steep and long so if you go after a snow storm I highly recommend 4 wheel drive. Driving up to the resort I realized how massive an area Bolton Valley is tons of backcountry trails for Nordic, snowshoers, etc. The lodge and base area are very similar to Magic and MRG and to me that's not a bad thing. Everyone there seems to be very friendly and I really felt a good vibe (minus my run in with a patroller later in the day!). As I said, Bolton Valley is huge and the tree skiing has massive potential. There are thinned out trees everywhere on the mountain reminiscent of Jay. And a vast backcountry/sidecountry area that is as big as Brackett Basin. The groomed terrain skied phenomenally all day (Hard Luck and Show Off) but the natural terrain was in really rough shape. This shot is from Upper Vt 200....I couldn't believe it was even open.

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I was surprised by some of the low angle glades. They were skiable if you took your time. One good storm and it should ski great!

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I packed my AT skis to check out the backcountry area. Apparently they don't run the Wilderness chair during the week so I had to go over the ridge between the Vista and Wilderness chair to access it which was kind of annoying. The ridge is unbelievably steep with large cliff bands. It seemed like there were 2 or 3 skiable lines after a few feet of snow. I would say it's the equivalent of Jay's Ridge but with bigger trees and more vert. Unbelievable stuff. After I got into the BC I found good snow up high but down low my bases took a beating. I decided to bail out and head back to the resort. In conclusion, this mountain has a ton of potential and I think it's a great place to find pow days after a storm because there is so much area with not a ton of traffic.

Positives
Vibe
Tree Skiing
Terrain Variety

Negatives
Location - out of the way and access road sucks
Chairs - Vista chair is really uncomfortable and not running Wilderness during the week is annoying
Limited snowmaking
 

Cornhead

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Great TR, thanks, my first time at BV was after a foot on a weekday, just a dusting in the valley, the only cars in the lot were ones covered with snow, I had to ask the plow driver if they were opening. Needless to say, it was an awesome first impression. Tell us more of your run in with ski patrol.

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Savemeasammy

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Mar 20, 2013
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S. NH
The pics and TR make Bolton seem worthy of a visit. It sounds like a great mountain, and it gets a decent amount of natural, yet it seems like it's popularity is lacking. I wonder why...? Is it the access? Modest vert? I will have to check it out!


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lerops

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Jan 28, 2008
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Westchester, NY
The pics and TR make Bolton seem worthy of a visit. It sounds like a great mountain, and it gets a decent amount of natural, yet it seems like it's popularity is lacking. I wonder why...? Is it the access? Modest vert? I will have to check it out!


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I love this mountain. I think it is the proximity to big guys, combined with poor access and its inability to compete with MRG for the niche market.


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bdfreetuna

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Jan 12, 2012
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keep the faith
Bolton Valley is one of my favorite ski areas. Adams Solitude, Devil's Playground, Preacher, Lost Boyz and some others are incredible unique trails/tree zones. The terrain and trails there is really diverse considering the overall size of the place.

I'll be spending at least 2 days there this season (date TBD). I am waiting on snow because I've been spoiled on Bolton powder too many times to look back.

Bolton Popularity is lacking #1) Look how many trails they had open like 2 weeks ago. 7 trails in January? If they are trying to compete with Magic for least snowmaking, it seems they've put in a good effort. Even now at 32 trails, come on, there are places way south of there that are 90% open.

I know they got the short straw like everyone else this winter with the snow (so far..). But they fell seriously far behind most other VT resorts this season and now are relying mostly on natural snow fall to possibly recover.

But when there's good snow Bolton Valley is at the top of my list.
 

Tin

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Oct 14, 2009
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ZooMass Slamherst
Kind of amazed, TrueVert shows it at 960'. It must ski much bigger than it looks. The backside of Vista and the area in between Vista and Wilderness look tempting.
 

MadMadWorld

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Great TR, thanks, my first time at BV was after a foot on a weekday, just a dusting in the valley, the only cars in the lot were ones covered with snow, I had to ask the plow driver if they were opening. Needless to say, it was an awesome first impression. Tell us more of your run in with ski patrol.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

Yea I would love to get their for a pow day. Patrollers were yanking passes without warnings for anyone skiing on a closed trail and one of the guys saw me as a I was skiing down the bottom half of a closed glade and proceeded to give me a hard time and seemed like he was going to yank my pass. I told him over and over again that I entered further down from a open trail and there was no rope across the lower entrance. Another skier overheard the shouting and stepped in and let them know I was telling the truth. The patroller apologized and skied off.

The pics and TR make Bolton seem worthy of a visit. It sounds like a great mountain, and it gets a decent amount of natural, yet it seems like it's popularity is lacking. I wonder why...? Is it the access? Modest vert? I will have to check it out!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Access is huge. It's located between the Mad River Valley and Stowe. Coming up the highway it's much faster to get to Sugarbush, MRG, and Stowe. And the access road is BAD. It's very steep at points and I can't imagine driving up it unless it has been plowed and sanded well. The vertical is pretty low because it is a very wide area but short runs from top to bottom.
 

MadMadWorld

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Kind of amazed, TrueVert shows it at 960'. It must ski much bigger than it looks. The backside of Vista and the area in between Vista and Wilderness look tempting.

It doesn't have a ton of true vert from top to the base. Timberline runs lower on the mountain and that make a huge difference. There are tons of BC acreage to skiers right of Wilderness. I think if you park at the bottom of the access road, you can ski down from the top and it would be probably 3 miles. Granted you would need a touring setup for some areas but that is pretty cool. I would not recommend going off the back. The whole area is a giant valley and once you ski down you will have a terrible time getting back out since there is nothing out there. You would most likely have to hike back up the way you came. You can hike behind the Vista chair and use the Long Trail to hike up to the ridge or get to the BC area off the Wilderness chair.
 

MadMadWorld

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Another thing that is pretty cool.....If you buy an all day lift ticket and they are doing night skiing, they allow you to ski from 8am to 8pm without paying any additional cost.
 
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