We got snow! 4-6” of dense snow fell from the sky last night, followed by a mix of freezing, rain, sleet, and has now changed back to snow this morning. Additional accumulations are expected in the mountains from upslope snows today and tonight. With the new snow being dense and sticky, it has filled things in quite nicely, The Mansfield snow stake is now above 30”, meaning for the first time all season, the woods are good to start exploring. Skiers and riders should always be aware and ski with care in the woods, keeping your speed down and in check and always be in control . Always be aware that hidden obstacles are always lurking underneath the snow, such as rocks, stumps, and blow downs that can be hit, snagged, impale you or cause a skier to get thrown in a uncompromising position that could lead to injury. Also keep in mind that tree wells are easy to fall into and can be tough to get out of as well. If you are going into the woods, keep these factors in mind and always, ski with a partner in case one of you gets into trouble so you can be there to help each other out. Stowe Mountain Resort has been dropping ropes on most of the fabled Front Four trails to include Goat and Starr from the top, as well as well as opening up some upper mountain trails on Spruce side to include Whirlaway and Smugglers. Lastly on the resort end ad an operation note, skiers should be aware that the Sensation Lift on Spruce Peak will now be closing at 3:30 each and every day. Make sure you are aware of this come late afternoon as you will get trapped over there and will have to walk back up hill a ways to then ski back down to the Spruce Peak base area.
The Vermont backcountry is also starting to open up, but you should be aware that all of the hazards that exist in bounds in the woods at the resort also come in to play in the BC, but there is no patrol to help you if an accident does occur. With this in mind it is critical that before you go out, let someone know where you are going, who you are with and when you plan on being back . You should also be prepared with the proper necessities in your pack in case something does goes wrong. Food, water, extra layers, tools, ski straps, spare gloves or mittens, hand warmers, a charged cell phone, and a bivy sack are just a few items that every backcountry skiers and rider should have with them. Conditions are pretty nice right now, with that new dense snow bonding nicely to the base. Upper elevations are still skiing the best with the most snow, while down low is still a bit thin with open water hazards still existing. Keep all of this in mind when you are ready to descend, as conditions will change and vary from high elevation to mid-slope and then down low. It is advised that you stay off steeper terrain until it fills in a bit more as one turn will likely go right down to the ground exposing yourself and your gear to hitting rocks, stumps and other trail debris. Low angle terrain is recommended and will offer the best turns as well as having the best cover and being the safest. Tread lightly and have fun out there!
Photo Credit: Cyril Brunner