Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bolton Valley Access Is Evolving!

I hope you're all enjoying the Bolton Valley Access video series we started up this season. When I started to create it I thought about what skiers & riders would really want to know about the mountain. What would I want to know? What would I want to take away from a video report? The end result is lots of footage of actual conditions, what trails are open and a little creativity & humor. Skiing is fun, after all. I hope I've achieved that so far.

Now that it's up and running smoothly (through a few technical difficulties early on), we're going to add a new dimension to the series. We're going to connect with you even more and add something we've never done before. I'm excited to announce that I'll be working with Ski & Snowboard School instructors and staff to make weekly tip & how-to videos. The goal of this is to make learning easier and expose people to some of the basic skills required of our sport before you even set foot on the mountain.

There are so many skills and tricks to learn, and I know it can be daunting at times if you're new. We want to help make learning a little easier for you and a little more convenient. Many of us have experienced times when we wanted to learn a new skill (carving, freestyle, basic turns) but couldn't make time to take a real lesson. That's where these videos will come in handy. Just fire one up on your smartphone or computer for a basic one-minute lesson.

While the best way to learn is still to take one of our lessons in person, these videos will aim to provide you with a brief overview of the basic skills you need from the convenience of your home.

Whether it's how to be prepared for your first day, learning how to turn, stopping effectively or stomping your first 180, these tip videos will break down the learning process with the same vocabulary and teaching techniques that our professional instructors use. It will be like taking a mini-lesson right from your bedroom or couch. Hopefully, you'll enjoy them and add a few new skills to your bag of tricks.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weekend Warmup

If you haven't checked in with us since last week, let me bring you up to speed...

Sunday-Monday: Snow - 6-8"
Tuesday: Cold
Wednesday: Super Cold
Thursday: Wow it's really cold!!

Much like the rest of the state, we're ready for a brief warmup. Good news? We had over a foot of snow since last week, bluebird skies, perfect corduroy and we've more than doubled our trail count since last weekend. Make that 34 trails serviced by 4 lifts, which happens to be a season high for us. I bet you're sorry if you weren't paying attention now! But seriously, it's a completely different world up here since I wrote to you last Saturday. The mountain is skiing great, our groomers are some of the best in the east coast, the cold is gone and now it's snowing again. All is right with the world. Moving on!


I thought I was done talking about the polar vortex...

We saw a fantastic bluebird day yesterday, but it sure was chilly in the morning hours. Thankfully, after pestering us for another week, Snow Miser is giving us a break, at least for the day. There's a chance of flurries off-and-on through the day today, and our weather guys say there's a chance for some accumulation by the end of the day. I tried to pressure them into giving me expected totals, but they weren't budging. I even offered up Oreos as a bribe, but, alas, no luck. Guess I'll have to get more creative.

So, if you're joining us today, expect cloudy skies and temperatures above zero. Hooray! It should top out around 20 at the base and somewhere in the mid-teens at the top of Vista. That's going to feel downright hot after a week in the freezer. There's only one caveat: we could see some gusty winds today, which might affect lifts. That'd be a bummer if it happens, but for now, everything is scheduled to spin as normal. I'll have updates on the official report if something goes down later.

How's the snow:

Honestly, when it's as cold as it's been for the past few days, I'm not so much worried about freezing out there as I am about what the snow surface will feel like. Typically, if it's below zero for more than a day or two, the corduroy freezes up, snow tightens and everything gets pretty hard and bulletproof. But I was really surprised to find that wasn't the case this week. All our cord remained pretty soft and easy to carve, the hill itself didn't feel too fast and I even saw some powder stashes out there yesterday. It's a testament to how hard our groomers work every night and we're really lucky to have them.

So, if you're worried about it being hard and fast up here this weekend, don't sweat it. With the temps warming up a bit today, it should keep everything in its preferred state. There's a few thin spots on natural snow trails like Fanny Hill and Coyote, but that's to be expected with the snowfall trends of the season so far. Spillway, Hard Luck, Butterscotch and Beech Seal were my preferred laps this week, so check those out and see if you can find my tracks.


If you've never seen a groomer at work, let me assure you, it's a pretty awesome thing to behold. I have no idea how they push all that snow around, and I'm not going to strain myself thinking about it, but it's incredible. I took a field trip over to Timberline yesterday to watch our staff work on pushing out Sure Shot, and it's coming along pretty nicely. There's still a few days of work to be done, both on Sure Shot and Timberline Run, but so long as the temperatures cooperate, we're aiming for a February 1 opening.

We plan on running the guns on the Grom Park all day today and through the night before shutting down early tomorrow morning. Once that's finished, our park crews and groomers will push out and shape the new park, which will be skier's/rider's left of Butterscotch. It should be ready in time for Night Riders on Wednesday night.

As soon as that work is finished, it's back to hammering Timberline Run, and we hope to have that lift running by February 1.

What's going on:

Bolton After Dark: $19 night skiing from 4-8 p.m. TONIGHT, and we're screening "Head For the Hills" by Meathead Films.

PHAT Helmet Day: TODAY! You only get one brain, so protect your head and put a helmet on it. Stop by Guest Services for some info on head safety and some sweet stickers.

JMT Entertainment: The Woedoggies will take the stage live from 8-11 p.m. TONIGHT. We'll also show the Winter X Games on the big screen throughout the weekend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Things You Can Do At Bolton Valley That Don't Involve Skiing & Riding

It looks like the deep freeze is going to be hanging around for a while. After a brief warmup this weekend, it's right back to zero again on Monday. So, if you're not a fan of subzero temperatures, or sub-ten below temperatures, or sub-fifteen below temperatures, here are 10 things you can do at Bolton Valley other than skiing & riding.

  1. Post up in the James Moore Tavern and enjoy 18 beers on tap, satellite TV and a crackling fire. Try the Chipotle Maple Pulled Pork or the Chicken Pot Pie to instantly feel warm inside.
  2. Grab a legendary waffle from the Waffle Cabin outside the base lodge. Get it with chocolate. Trust me. You'll thank me later.
  3. Bet you wish you could take a hot bath in temperatures like this. We'll do you one better. Melt your stress away in our Jacuzzi! Located in the Sports Center.
  4. Order a hand-tossed, wood fired pizza at Fireside Flatbread. Baked in our very own clay oven. You can even call ahead for take-out.
  5. Grab a few friends for a game of pickup basketball in our Sports Center.
  6. Try any of the sandwiches from Bolton Valley Deli & Grocery. Steaming hot breakfast sandwiches, wraps, paninis and build-your-own options make for a great lunch. I recommend the chicken salad.
  7. Eventually it will warm back up. Stay in good shape with the cardio equipment in our fitness room. Located outside the Admin office.
  8. Shop for some new gear at BV Sports. Jackets & outerwear, gloves, socks, goggles and more. If you need to tune your current equipment, we'll do that too.
  9. Check out the Indoor Amusement Center for some inflatable games & obstacle courses, Dance Dance Revolution and a 14' movie screen. Open from 2-7 p.m. on Saturdays & holidays and 2-6 p.m. on Sundays.
  10. You don't have to be outside to love winter. Enter our Instagram Photo contest! Follow us on Instagram (@boltonvalley) to enter. Then, take a photo of something you love about this season, tell us what that something is & tag it with #Bhappy and you could win free lift tickets! Not to mention, if your photo is selected as the weekly winner, we'll post it up for all our fans to see.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

MLK Weekend Update

Rejoice skiers & riders! For the long weekend is finally upon us. I mean, unless you work in the ski or hospitality industry. Then, it's just another busy day at the office. Luckily for me, this is only half true, because I get to cruise around the slopes with all of you while I'm at work! Not a bad gig.

There's a lot to talk about this weekend, so let's dive right in...


As I look out my window, the alpenglow from the Eastern side of the mountain is showing over the top of our ridgeline, and let me tell you, it's pretty. We may not get to see the sunrise from this side, but it sort of bathes our mountain in an almost heavenly silhouette for a little while - perhaps indicative of our conditions this weekend? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Anyway, clear skies make that view possible and right now, there isn't a single one to be found. We do expect it to cloud up through the day, and there's a chance for flurries this afternoon. Temperatures should remain in the high 20's throughout the day, and with just a minor breeze, it's going to be a real comfortable day to ski and ride.

We've got our eyes and ears on the radar this evening, as it looks like a snow squall could move through the region. Most of it looks like it's tracking toward Maine, but there's potential for a few inches of accumulation here if it continues on its current path. If we could scrounge up 4-6 inches, it would do wonders for our mountain operations staff.

How's the snow:

The snow is back, and I think that's the best news anyone could ask for. That annoying January thaw looks like it's finally out of our hair, and we've received 4-5 inches in the past week. Four lifts will whisk you up the hill where you'll find 15 different paths down the mountain. If we see any flakes today, make that five consecutive days of snowfall. Me likey that statistic.

Out on the hill, I've got to give it up for our grooming staff yet again. Not only did the rain of weeks past hammer our terrain, but it made grooming next to impossible, but our guys came through in the clutch like they always have. If you skied here in the past few days, you'd have no idea that we got over 1.5" of rain in the past two weeks. The groomers are soft, there's small powder stashes on the edge of most trails, and with more of the white stuff on the way, we're in good shape for the second half of the month.


Here's the other other key player. The Alfred to our Batman, if you will.

Our crew didn't like sitting on the sideline last week when it warmed up, so, now that our snow dance helped Ullr finish his Rip Van Winkle impression, they're gearing up to go again. Where, you ask? Timberline. Our snowmaking trails held up pretty well through the thaw and we resurfaced a few spots on the main mountain yesterday. Now we can turn our full attention to getting Timberline open.

We're going to whip up a local snowstorm on Sure Shot tonight, and hopefully Mother Nature holds up her end of the bargain and drops a few inches of natural on us for a base. You may remember that we blew snow on Upper Villager for a few days last week, and that snow got pushed out yesterday. We hope to connect the two areas of the mountain soon. Depending on what happens for weather, we may be able sneak a snow gun or two on the Grom Park underneath the Snowflake Lift as well.

What's going on:

James Moore Tavern: Do you like music? We like music. I bet you like music too. Pull up a bar stool and get comfortable because Dewey Drive Band hops on stage tonight from 8-11 p.m. They're based out of Burlington and play a wide variety of music from country to swing. Sierra Nevada will be on special from the tap all weekend, and if that's not your thing, there's 17 other brews on tap. I'm sure you'll be able to find something you like.

In case you haven't heard, there's two pretty big NFL football games this weekend. You know, the kind that determine who's playing in the Super Bowl - that popular sports thing with all the awesome commercials. If you're game for watching, we've got you covered. We'll have the AFC & NFC Championship games playing on the big screen, so bring your favorite jersey and get loud!
Bolton After Dark: What makes a great Saturday night? To each his own, but a ski movie and cheap pizza are pretty high on my list. From 4-8 p.m. night skiing tickets will be just $19 and Fireside Flatbread will be hand-tossing $2 pizza slices and sodas. We're screening "Prime Cut" by Meathead Films, and it will be looping throughout the night.
And don't forget about Corporate Race League on Thursday nights, Night Riders next Wednesday and a slew of other Deal Days coming your way soon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's Up Wednesday?

You can't live in New England without being familiar with this saying: "Don't like the weather? Just wait a minute." Yeah, I know it's cliche, but there's a reason why cliches are cliche. It's because they're so often true. We've been waiting more than a minute for this annoying January thaw to leave, but it looks like Mother Nature's cruel joke is over and we may finally be getting winter back for the second half of the month.

Rain stinks. We all know that. But, there's good news! Our trusty weather guys are predicting temperatures in the low 30's and falling as the week progresses. By the weekend, we'll be back into the teens, which are excellent temps, not only for snowmaking, but also for the natural stuff. Yes, that's right, snow is back in our forecast - to the tune of possible flurries every day. Now, that's no Nor' Easter, but we'll take what we can get these days. Friday night into Saturday looks the best, and it should stay cold through the beginning of next week. 

Now, I know what you must be thinking. "WHAT?! That can't be! It's rained every Sunday for the last month! I'll believe it when I see it!" Well, I'm right there with you, but I choose to have a more positive outlook on this one. Never give up. Never give in. "We WILL get snow!" That's what I'm telling myself.

Anyway, the next 48 hours should be pretty comfy up here and it's currently shining bright like a diamond. So, I'm going to go out and have some fun. Who's with me?

Stay Frosty,


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hump Day Report

When trying to describe the weather patterns over the past few weeks, I'll defer to my girl Katy Perry:

"You're hot then you're cold. You're yes then you're no. You're in then you're out. You're up then you're down."

Okay, so maybe she wasn't singing about weather cycles, but the lyric still applies. The weather has been all over the place for about a month now, and I'm starting to think Mother Nature is just teasing us.

We're mired in this strange freeze/thaw cycle where it's frigid in the early days of the week, but then it's 40 degrees and raining/mixing by Sunday. This week, Sunday was fantastic with sunny skies and mild temps, but it poured on Monday. Throw in a few days with 40 degree temperature swings, and it can get pretty frustrating up here. As soon as we get a little fresh pow and open up some more terrain, that stupid "R" word that I don't like talking about comes in again and wipes out our natural snow base, forcing us to rope off more trails. We've been oh so close to that first really big storm of the season a few times, but at this point, we're still waiting. Trust me, there's nothing I hate more than getting all excited to report new terrain, only to let you all down and drop trails again a few days later. I'm really not trying to drive you batty. I promise.

After a few wild days of wind, frosty air and freezing rain, the good news is that we're back up and running on the Vista Quad today, and night skiing is back as well. Temps should creep into the low teens by early afternoon, and we're seeing a mixture of sun and light snow right now (see, it's weird, right? I'm not making this stuff up). January is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, Corporate Race League starts tomorrow night and there's a slew of other events to follow.

What can I do to change this weather? I might try to sneak a late edit into the Farmer's Almanac this week in an effort to change our luck. If that doesn't work, I'll build the craziest shrine to the snow god Ullr that anyone's ever seen, and, if all else fails, maybe I'll get on the news and whip up a brand new Nor' Easter.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


After a wild weather day on Monday, we’re ready to re-set the table for today. The warm and wet weather has moved out. Temps have dropped to the single digits to provide a more traditional January feel. The natural snow trails took a bit of a hit in this recent thaw/freeze cycle and will need more snow to re-open. But, the good news is that the base on the trails where we have made snow has weathered the recent warm-up decently and our groomers got to work last night prepping them to open for today. Our snowmakers have fired back up on Upper Villager over at Timberline. We even have snow flurries in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Things are looking up.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Weekend Update: It's Above Zero!

Yeah, it's been pretty cold up here this week. We reached a daytime low of -14 yesterday with wind chill values as low as -40 in the evening. I'm a cold-blooded soul and I've gone riding in -30 before (once, and I was done by noon), but 40 below is pushing it. Thankfully, we can kick that cold front in the rear today and send it off to Greenland or Russia or somewhere that's supposed to be that frigid. Positive temperatures have already returned, and it should only get warmer over the next 48 hours.

Like I mentioned, cold. All week the mercury had trouble reaching zero, though it did stumble its way to -4 a few times. This weekend it will feel like a completely different ecosystem up here. It's an inversion day today, meaning the higher up you go, the warmer it gets. So, pay no attention to the double-digit negatives around your house today. We've stolen your sun and warmth, and we have no intention of giving it back. Sorry, we're not sorry.

Today should get warm around noon, when we expect temps to rise into the mid-upper teens (GASP!). Partly cloudy skies are a weather person's code of saying, "it's going to be sunny, but we can't give these people that much hope right? Let's throw a few clouds in there, too." So expect a beautiful day up here. Curse those weather people. Sunday will be even nicer, and we expect to see high 20s for the first time in over a week.

Hows the Snow:
In a word, squeaky. As in, that sound soft corduroy makes under your feet when you glide across it. Seriously, I expected the, let's call them "unseasonable", temps the past few days to make everything wicked slick, but everything we groomed this week has been soft and easy turnin'. A real shoutout to our groomers here, because they've worked magic on a few trails. If you came out yesterday, we got 2" overnight and there were some excellent powder stashes around, some 6-8" deep. You just had to know where to look.

Sometimes all it takes is 2-4". We've dropped ropes on 15 trails since last Saturday, including Swing, Schuss, VT 200 and Lower Showoff, bringing out open trail count to 28. That's keeping things pretty fresh up here as we eagerly await the first major signature storm of the season. Hercules and Electra clipped us, but we want more!

If you're riding the Vista Quad, no doubt you've taken note of the whalebacks on Spillway. Some of those things are huge! Our snowmaking team should finish up on the bottom section there either today or tomorrow, and so long as it drains enough to push out, we should have that trail open on Monday.

But, wait, Mike! What comes next? You haven't said anything about Timberline yet!


There. I said it, and I meant it. Once Spillway is done, we're going to absolutely light up Timberline. Upper Villager will likely bat leadoff, with Sure Shot and Timberline Run in the On-Deck Circle. Keep in mind, we're going to be hammering away on it, but there are some honkin' waterbars that need covering, so it's going to take a little while.

What's Going On:
There's SO MUCH going on!

Tonight is Bolton After Dark, where night skiing is just $19 from 4-8pm and we're serving up $2 slices and soda at Fireside Flatbread. Typically, we show a ski movie from Meathead Films, but this week we've got NFL playoffs on the big screen, so come warm up with some food, drink and entertainment once you're done skiing & riding.

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the first of our Subaru & Hyundai Days. If you're an owner of either of those vehicles, just head over to Guest Services starting at noon and show your current registration to receive a complimentary lift ticket. Then, Monday is a 50/50 Monday! It pays to be 50+ here at Bolton Valley - this year anyone over the age of 50 can enjoy 50% off in the following areas: full-day lift tickets, full-day rentals, group lessons and a special lunch menu at James Moore Tavern.

And don't forget, we're on Instagram now, so we're running a season-long photo contest! Happiness is a fresh line to ride, the sound of a boot ratcheting into a binding, the crisp smell of pine in the air. Happiness is finally nailing that cab 720 you've been working on, or a hot cup of cider in front of a fireplace. Happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you. So, tell us - what makes you happy? When you follow us (@boltonvalley) and use #Bhappy and share a photo of what you love about Winter, we'll automatically enter you to win lift tickets! We'll re-gram the winner's photo and that gets person a free lift ticket.

As for me? There's blue sky outside my window, so I'm going to play outside now.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"2014 will be...

...snowy, warmer, colder, better than last year, more fun, less stressful, happier, a good one, just another year, the most important year of my life."

I polled 10 people today, asking them to fill in the blank, and I got 10 different answers. Turning the page on the calendar means different things to different people, and hope for an excellent year runs highest on this day. Now, I've never made a New Year's resolution. I'm not really sure why, I guess there's just very little on my mind come January 1st. It's usually as simple as this:

I've never had a lot to think about changing at for the new year. Summer is my off-season, and that's when I do my reflecting. Now that it's 2014, I'm still going to put my socks on left foot first, crank the Katy Perry on my early morning commute and keep on snow reportin' for y'all. And, with that, here's what's going on up here at Bolton Valley.

2014 is on pace for 365 days of sunshine! It's peeking out of the clouds right now and bringing a little blue sky along for the ride. We don't expect it to last, as it's supposed to cloud up this afternoon. Let's hope those clouds come with some dangling snowflakes attached.

Other than sunny, it's COLD up here today. Currently 4 degrees at the base, which means it's zero or below at the top. The good news is that it's not super windy, but with ambient air that chilly, any wind will whip right through you. Definitely layer up if you're coming to visit us this week, as we expect this frigid grip to hold on through Friday before warming up this weekend.

How's the Snow:
Considering the aforementioned arctic blast, the snow is actually quite nice. It sounds a little cliche, but if you can handle the cold, you'll love the conditions. We're grooming out 12 trails nightly where we've made snow this season, so there's fresh corduroy to be found every morning. With the holiday crowds thinning out a bit, the trails should stay in good shape through much of the day.

If you're like us, you've always got one eye on the weather to see when some more natural snow might come in. I'm looking at you, Friday. I won't speculate on any possible accumulation, but there's a chance we could see a nice little storm to freshen things up for the weekend.

What's Going On:
UPDATE (10:50): Hard Luck is Open
If there's one thing frigid temps are good for, it's making snow. And we've got an amazing crew to help us out there. Our guys are working on Spillway, which is progressing nicely. With a little luck, we'll have it opened this weekend. We're also doing a little work on Upper Villager, with the goal of connecting our mid-mountain area with Timberline in the near future.

We've also got Bolton After DarkCollege DaysCorporate Race League and Night Riders starting up, so keep an eye out for those events and get up here to enjoy them!