Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Totals and Vermont Week Events

Did anybody catch the sunrise this morning? The moon and sun were in fairly close proximity to each other from my vantage point, and it made me feel a bit like I was on some desert planet with two suns in the Star Wars universe. Eerily cool feeling actually. But I digress...

It's been about a week since I last addressed you all, and with that, we got another 7" or so of new snow, which is always a welcome sight. Our monthly total now sits at 52" or, if you prefer, more than four feet of shred sugar. I can't even remember the ancient history that is January. That's probably a good thing.

We're halfway through Vermont Week up here at the mountain, so if you're local, the kids are on vacation and you're trying to find something for them to do - obviously this is the case - then bring them up to visit us. We've got events going on through the weekend with some pretty cool people, so come get a balloon hat from Dux, take a snowshoe tour from the Nordic Center or do your best Iditarod impression on a dog sled tour - sans the heavy parka and foreboding dark, arctic atmosphere.

Come play in the snow!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Over the Hump

The second half of the winter, from Mid-February to mid-March, is my favorite half. It's, like, almost daylight when I drive in to work now, there's actually a few other humans up and around that early and it's not even dark when I clock-out! Snow keeps falling by the truckload, temperatures are starting to mellow out a little and yet there's still plenty of season left. Personalities start to come out both in people's clothing and their faces, and it's pretty difficult not to have a great time on the mountain. It's awesome.

We've added 2-4" in the last 24 hours, 7" since the time I last addressed you, and 45" in this month alone. We're about 98 percent open and I can say with confidence, that after testing our product extensively in the last week, these are the best conditions we've see all season. The groomers are soft and easy to edge, the trees are thin but fun with the proper caution, and we've let a few trails bump up, which adds a whole other dimension of enjoyment. Now, if only we could get this annoying wind to move out over the ocean where it belongs!

Pretty soon, it will be March, another snowy month for us, and, before you know it, April will come calling and we'll be skiing and riding in tee shirts again. The season goes faster than you think, folks. So make an effort to get up here and enjoy the next two months. There's plenty of snow to go around, and if history means anything, it's only going to get better from here. So get excited like the colorful guy in the photo above. It's the best two months of the year.

Get outside and play.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

21" of powder in the last 24 hours!!

It's beard-deep out there!


Sorry, had to get one last powder yell in from yesterday. In case you've been living in a cave, I should probably tell you that the reason for my powder yell is Winter Storm Pax. As in, the Nor' Easter that dumped 17-21" of snow on us in the last 24 hours! Mother Nature must be feeling a little guilty about how she treated us in January, because she gave us a Valentine's Day to remember. There's so much to talk about this holiday weekend, so let's drop in...


I mean, if you like snow, you need to get up here. If you like your powder sticks but never get a chance to use them, you need to get up here. If you like Wilderness and Timberline with freshies everywhere, you need to get up here. Simple as that. 29" in the last week and 41" since February 1 - it doesn't get much better than that, kids.

Oh, wait - it does! Believe it or not, there's actually a chance of flurries again today, with a possible accumulation of an inch or two. It might turn out to be nothing, but I like to deal in positive thinking. Temps will cool off a bit today, but the mercury shouldn't dip below about 20 degrees. A.k.a. perfect conditions for an epic weekend of skiing and riding!

How's the snow:

Oh. Em. Gee. It's an absolute dream out there. We don't get more than a few real pure powder days each year out here on the East coast, but days like yesterday remind you why it's the most invigorating and enthralling skiing there is. Pure, unadulterated, dry, fluffy powpow! Almost everything is open, and I can say with first-hand experience that it's all pretty amazing. Preacher. Brandywine. Wilderness Liftline. TNT. Show Time. Vista Glades. You name it, and it's skiing great. Pillowy fluffiness is my phrase of the weekend, and I think it perfectly describes how it feels to float through this new snow. Awesome!

Wilderness? More like Wilder-yessssssssss! For the first time this season, all six lifts will be running today and we're skiing and riding on 65 open trails. Winter Storm Pax was the best Valentine we've had in a long while and our trails are just begging for you to ski them. So, what are you waiting for? Get after it!

What's going on:

Bolton After Dark: $19 lift tickets TONIGHT, $2 slices and sodas at Fireside Flatbread, and we're showing the Olympics on the big screen!

JMT Entertainment: Dewey Drive Band live from 8-11pm TONIGHT.

Late Night at Bolton Valley: Every Friday night in February, we'll keep our doors open and the lifts running until 10 p.m. That means you'll have an extra two hours of night skiing on those days. Lift tickets will be just $19 from 7-10 p.m.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We're LIVE-TWEETING the Women's Snowboard Superpipe!

It may not be Sochi, but we've got some fun freestyle of our own.
What are you doing at 10am? Working? Fair enough. How about 12:30? Come on, that's your lunch break! Plenty of time to watch the women's snowboard superpipe final! You aren't fooling me.

I really hope you've been watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Despite so funny stories about facility issues, poor snow conditions and creepy bears that will haunt your dreams, the Games themselves have been pretty entertaining.

Two of my favorite events to watch are the men's and women's ski/snowboard superpipe and slopestyle events. I missed the men's events, since I couldn't figure out NBC's schedule of events, but I think I've sorted it out just in time for the women's pipe. I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for how difficult those tricks are and it's always so impressive to watch these incredible athletes just send it 20' out of the pipe and boost off 50' kickers. They're two of the most popular and exciting sports to watch, often igniting millions of comments from viewers all over the globe. So I thought, why not join in the conversation?

Follow @boltonvalley on Twitter for a live chat during the women's snowboard superpipe today. Use the official Olympic hashtag (#Sochi2014) as well as #BVSochi and chime in with your armchair analysis, observations and comments during each run. We'll follow along as the world's best vie for Olympic Gold!

Semifinals are live at 10am and the final begins at 12:30, according to NBC. You can stream the event online for free at

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"I'm yellin' Timber!"

A sea of freshies on Lower Tattle Tale!

Dear everyone who thought Winter was going to pass us by after a weird January,

Are you still wondering?!?

But, seriously. It took 17 days in January to total up a foot of natural snowfall, and we've already seen that much during the first week of February. Timberline got open, we're at a season-high of open terrain, and while we're still waiting on one more good storm for Wilderness, it's no longer a questions of "if", but rather, "when" that will open up. I tell ya, the next month-and-a-half are going to be the best snow months of the season. They always have been, and the stage is set for history to keep on repeating itself. What can I say? When I'm right, I'm right.

And now, onward we trek...


January's biggest problem was that its weather patterns were about as stable as a one-legged chair in the middle of an oil slick. February has righted those wrongs and we've seen pretty normal weather over the last 8 days. Pretty much every day this month, it's either been dumping snow or bluebird skies. That's my kind of forecast. After three consecutive days of sunshine, today brings a chance of flurries again. See what I'm saying?  This also makes it a heck of a lot easier to talk about the weather because, ya know, we can actually sort of predict and follow it again. Today will be a little warmer than yesterday, but not much, and Monday might bring a passing flurry or two as well. Tuesday and Wednesday look bright blue again and there's a little something something brewing for Thursday that we're keeping our eyes on. Stay tuned.

How's the Snow:

I'm exhausted from all the powder riding I've done this week. Wednesday - Thursday were arguably the three best days of the season so far, and with freshies over the boots in most places, it's gets pretty tiring to ride after three solid days. So many powder laps off Timberline down Sure Shot and Lower Tattle Tale (photo above). First World problems, I know, but still. What you should take away from this is that the skiing and riding has never been better, and even four days after Winter Storm Nika, there's still some first tracks and powder stashes to be found out there. With 51 trails and 5 lifts up and running, you should be able to make yourself as tired as I.

Two important notes: 1) Timberline looks great when you're riding up the chair, but I promise you there's only 12 inches of fluff on closed trails. Underneath it's all rock. Respect Ski Patrol's ropes. They're up for a reason. 2) The trees are not ready. Again, it's powder syndrome. I'm dying to get my glade runs in just like everyone else, but not at the expense of my health or equipment. It's just too thin underneath. One more big storm, and that might change, but right now it's just not there yet. Sad face.


In one word: halted. We finished up work on Cobrass the other day, and that trail opened up yesterday. Snowmaking crews wanted to freshen up the top corner, which was looking pretty Earthy, so they blew snow from the top, down to Cafe corner. It should ski great now, and we'll have a nice base depth on Cobrass for spring. Crews have really battled Mother Nature this season, and our pond is starting to look a little low now. We're reevaluating our strategy in the next day or two to figure out what our next move is with the guns and how we want to finish up the year.

What's Going On:

Trivia Night: Beat the back-to-work blues. Head to the James Moore Tavern for a night of trivia. 

50/50 Monday: On Mondays beginning January 6th, folks age 50 and over can enjoy 50% off in many spots here on the mountain

College Night: Wednesdays starting at noon, students with a current college ID can ski and ride for only $19. Also includes $2 pizza slices.

Night Riders: This park event has been a huge success this year. This week's format: Slopestyle.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

"No Friends On a Powder Day"

Powder day! Photo from 2/5/14

With 7-9" of fresh powder in the last 24 hours, we're in for another powder morning today under bluebird skies. With that in mind, it occurs to me that some people may be visiting us for the first time, or have never experienced powder before. GASP! You're in for a treat. Let me assure you that it's some of the most fun you'll ever have in the Winter, but there's a few things you need to know. Powder skiing & riding is vastly different from lapping groomers all day, and you'll likely hear a bevy of new language and terminology you're unfamiliar with. So, here's a list of key terms to help you find your way through your first powder day.

  • Powder Day: While the qualifying amounts vary from resort-to-resort and even from person-to-person, generally accepted to be any day with at least 6" of new snowfall. In light snow years, amounts greater than 4" may be called a powder day.
  • Powder: The fluffy stuff. There are two kinds - heavy wet and light dry. Think of heavy wet powder as the kind you'd make snowmen out of. It's sticky and hard to gain any speed on the hill, but we love it because it helps build up our base. Light dry powder (also called champagne powder) is, well, really light! If you've seen some "powder shots" in magazines, those ones where skiers just burst through a cloud of snow, that's the dry stuff. Easy to float on top of and easy to keep up your speed.
  • Pow/powpow/Gnar/Shred Sugar/White Gold: Other terms skiers & riders use when referring to powder. Varies with age and geographic location.
  • Wahooooooo!: One of many sounds a skier or rider may expel when dipping and diving through deep snow on a powder day. You'll develop your own without even realizing it.
  • Primo/Sick/Wicked/Stellar/**insert other adjective here**: Terms used by skiers and riders to describe the conditions and whatever line they just took through fresh powder.
  • "No friends on a powder day!": A popular phrase meaning, "Hey, good friend of mine, when it's snowing this hard, I sure will leave you at home or start my day at the lift without you unless you gear up in a timely fashion. I don't want to miss out on fresh lines because you took your sweet time making breakfast!"
  • Giggling or continued laughter: Typically happens within or immediately after the first few turns in fresh powder. That moment when you realize, "oh em gee, this is going to be a blast!"
  • Silence: Because when it's snowing, everything is quiet. It doesn't make a sound when it's falling, or when you're gliding over top of it.
And remember, if you keep passing people with huge stupid grins on their face all day, or you can't keep one off your own, you're doing it right. Now get after it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Yes, there is snow out there!

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need. I feel like I've heard that somewhere... Anyway, what we want: A few C-130 cargo planes to drop boatloads of snow on us. What we needed: the 6-8" we got last weekend and stable weather patterns for more than two days. It's really helped keep everything fresh out there, and the base depths on our snowmaking trails are quite deep. A few powder runs brought smiles to everyone's faces too, and the sunshine was awesome to see. We're still hoping the heavens will open up soon and help out our natural snow trails (**cough, cough, Timberline... *cough Wilderness**) but for now we're making due with what we've got. If you have any doubts as to whether you can have fun out there, take a look at the photo above, which was taken yesterday around 11:30 on Spillway.

Yep. There's snow out there. Have at it!

There's a chance of snow this afternoon extending through the evening. We're not sure about possible accumulation totals, but I've heard anywhere from 1-6" forecasted for our region. I know, right? That doesn't help anybody. Give us a real prediction, weather dudes! Remember how I tried to bribe them with Oreos last week? This time around I stepped up my game and offered cheesecake. They still didn't budge. Any suggestions for next week's bribe?

It's going to be pretty comfortable out there all weekend. Temps should max out around 25-27 degrees today, and may even hit the freezing mark tomorrow. GASP! Alert the media! So ditch the base layers, leave the puffy coats at home and ski like it's February. Because, hey, it is!

How's the snow:
Like I said, there's definitely snow out there. We've totaled nearly two feet since January 15, and this week has seen some of the best surfaces of the season. Seriously! If you love carving, the past 5 days have been absolutely textbook for it. I caught up with a few of our instructors the other day, and they were saying how easy it was to teach carving and turning lessons this week because of the perfect snow surface. Nothing was wind-blown, it wasn't too frozen and definitely not mushy. Now, if you venture off the snowmaking trails, things get a little thin, but hey, that's what p-tex is for, right?

Plan on 33 trails serviced by 4 lifts this weekend. The Grom Park has opened to rave reviews, and I'll be camped up there with my video camera today watching everyone throw down. So, if you wanna get famous, give me a shout.

Ok, I know you're all clamoring to hear more about Timberline and when it's going to open. Trust me, we want it just as badly as you do. Originally, we had planned on having that quad up and running today. However, the last super cold front messed with that plan. Just like your pipes at home can freeze in negative temperatures, so can snowmaking pipes, and that's exactly what happened. The long and the short of it is that, despite our team's best efforts, some areas of the Timberline pipe froze and were damaged in the cold snap, which has caused a multi-day delay. We've had crews working 'round the clock to repair it, and snowmaking has now resumed on Timberline Run. So, we won't have it this weekend, but keep an eye on the snow report for its expected opening date. Remember, Sure Shot is already finished, so we're just working on Timberline Run to have a runout back to the lift. Hopefully, we won't see any more curve balls from Mother Nature, and it should be open soon. Thanks for hanging with us on this.

What's going on:

Bolton After Dark: $19 lift tickets TONIGHT, $2 slices and sodas at Fireside Flatbread, and we're showing "Schooled" by Meathead Films.

JMT Entertainment: Lenny Noel live from 8-11pm TONIGHT.

Bolton Bowl: A brand new 52" HDTV, projector screen and 4 other TVs mean you won't miss a minute of the Super Bowl. Whether you're a Broncos fan or a member of Seattle's 12th man, starting at 4pm we've got discounts on food, drink and plenty of free giveaways when you come party with us.

Late Night at Bolton Valley: Every Friday night in February, we'll keep our doors open and the lifts running until 10 p.m. That means you'll have an extra two hours of night skiing on those days. Lift tickets will be just $19 from 7-10 p.m.