Springtime exploring in backcountry was challenging on Saturday

Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 10:05 AM

On the backcountry trails at Bolton Valley, Vermont, on Saturday, February 25, 2017.
Spring has sprung — much too early.

As we started a ski tour on the Bolton Valley backcountry trail network on Saturday, it was immediately clear: The snow was melting in a big way. The river and brooks were gushing with water that was once the lovely, powdery snow that fell earlier this month. <Sigh.>

But the day was warm (much too warm for February!) and we had our waxless skis so we went exploring. The groomed terrain was quite nice to ski on, but we ventured onto ungroomed trails where going uphill was fine, and downhill was very challenging. I mostly zig-zagged my way down any hills because the snow was very soft and inconsistent in depth. We would by skiing along and then suddenly sink in six inches and make a trench with our skis.

There's still quite a bit of snow where we were (between 2000 and 2500 feet), but the snow was melting away from the tree trunks, and streams and wet spots that had recently filled in with snow were opening up. It was often a challenge to find a dry path to cross the partially covered stream beds.

We skied through foggy areas where the snow was evaporating before our eyes. We finished our ski tour on groomed trails that offered a much smoother ski back to the Nordic center. 

Saturday evening brought rain and then three inches of new snow to this area, as well as strong winds. Temperatures have dropped for the time being so it's probably extra challenging on ungroomed terrain today. However, it is expected to get warm again this week. The weather roller coaster continues.

Filed in: Backcountry skiing, Bolton Valley, Spring skiing

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