Backcountry

George’s Gorge bryant cabin

Our backcountry ski trails are the gateway to some of the best backcountry skiing in the east. Our high elevation backcountry trails tucked in the Green Mountains overlooking the Champlain Valley receive epic snow each winter . Find your line and enjoy!

Backcountry Conditions Reporting:
We want to hear from you!! Do you have something to add or would you like to write a backcountry report? Please send an email to the Nordic Center our email address is nordiccenter@boltonvalley.com.  Tell us about your day on the trails– please include your Name and the Date.  We also love to post skier photos… send them along and we will post them.

Goat Path

Catamount Trail BC Events and tours

There is a lot going on with CTA in 2011…. if you are looking for folks to explore with these tours are a great opportunity.  Click here to see the full schedule of CTA tours, multi- day tours and special events.

*3nd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival- Sunday, Jan 23

Women’s Backcountry Tour at Bolton– Sunday Feb 20

*4rd Annual Catamount Trail Challenge – Sunday, March 13

Trapp to Bolton Backcountry Race and Tour

Please visit www.catamounttrail.org for detailed event descriptions and for registration/sign-up information

Conditions Reports

February 2011 Backcountry Report By Zack| Feb 5

Backcountry skiing is amazing right now. Our snow cover on all our terrain is deep and full of untracked lines, and with another 6-10″ forecasted for tonight, everything should get nicely refreshed . The glades and trails that had been getting lots of attention during the fall are all skiing great. Keep an eye out as you ski past World Cup for some of the new glades that let you squeeze out a few more turns before getting to the bottom. Lately, we’ve been busy putting up trail signs and moving some of the old ones to make intersections easier to navigate. (Let us know of any areas that could use some better signage.)

Skiing out towards Eagles Nest the other day, I was reminded of how great backcountry skiing can be here. It had been several days since the storm had come and gone yet the options for fresh tracks and finding some tranquility were endless. This is going to be the best month of skiing!

Bolton to Trapps Trail Update from Rich Baker – Feb 15, 2010

“Yesterday, February 15th, I did the Bolton to Trapps trail with three friends. I’m glad to report the conditions were very good on top of Bolton Mountain and coming down into Nebraska Valley. The trail is packed with some powder. There’s plenty of powder just off the trail. There was one stream crossing that was open, but easy enough to negotiate.”

Conditions Test by Dana | Sunday December 27, 2009

It wasn’t so much raining when we hit the trails as misting – like skiing through the cloud itself.  Our goal was Bryant Cabin, and we detoured through part of Cliffhanger and the (as I just learned) recently re-named Possum to tour a bit deeper into the woods, to meet back up later with the Bryant trail.  The woods were absolutely beautiful, and still holding strong with plenty of coverage – albeit a bit soft and tip-catching at times.  As a bonus, we were happily surprised to find that in the upper half of Bryant trail, the water bars remained totally snow-covered!

The temperature started to drop almost as soon as we got back inside, and the raindrops that had started on our way back turned into big, wet snowflakes.  The whole cloud seems to be lifting now, so maybe we’ll be able to put this whole wet incident behind us pretty soon, even if the warm morning was still pretty enjoyable.

By A Bolton BC friend |  Saturday December 12, 2009

“Super nice conditions, 24 inches of soft measured on my ski pole with a good base below. Upon leaving  we had first tracks on Big Blue at 2:45 PM!!! Are you kidding? So yeah, Bolton’s backcountry is ripping right now.”

Disclaimer: There are still variable early season conditions some places, please watch for open waterbars, trees and other obstacles.

By Philip Pezeshki, Burlington | Saturday December 20, 2008

“Powder, powder everywhere, but not too much to sink!”
Where was everyone today? My wife and I got first tracks at 11:00am! Despite the crisp temps, the brilliant sunshine had us peeling layers on the long climb up the Catamount and Beaver Pond trails. There were several inches of fluffy and sparkling powder everywhere on top of what felt like a thin, but secure base. After meandering around “on” Moose-ski, we reconnected with Beaver Pond and then grunted our way up to the Buchanan Trail shelter. (Actually, I put on my skins and heel-lifts fairly early on, but my wife was a trooper, herringboning and side-stepping the whole time!) Most of the streams were mostly covered with snow, but the water was still flowing so our heel and pole tips did ice up. With randonnee gear and unreliable turns, we took the shallower North Ridge Trail back down…the powder was heavenly and the streams less frequent/more deeply covered. Some clouds had moved in, but the very air was sparkling in the muted, mid-afternoon Solstice sunshine. Zooming down the Beaver Pond and Grandview trails, I hit a little bump and went for a soft tumble and roll just before reaching the parking lot. A fun ending to a beautiful day with near-perfect conditions…if only there’d been other skiiers to share it with!

By Liz, March 23, 2008 In the backcountry there is a lot of snow! Some trails are windblown and a slaby in places, so be aware of mixed snow conditions. South facing slopes have glazed a bit in the sun the past two days . . . so look for pockets of powder on north facing slopes. You will be rewarded with some great powder turns. All in all good skiing. There are also lots of low branches- b/c of a deep snow pack and some lingering ice from the past couple weeks. One skier reported yesterday that you “just have to ski like a ninja”– using your hands and arms to block branches from your face.

By Liz, March 21, 2008 18″ of powder in the last 36 hours…. enough said. It’s a powder weekend and the forecast is for sun. Also Bryant was tracked today– so there is a nice skied in track into the backcountry. But there is still lots of ice on the trees at the higher elevations.

By Art, March 14 There is 3-4″ on top of a crust, below the bryant cabin the crust is unbreakable, above that point it is hard to describe. Still 4″ on top of breakable dense sleet layer. So the skiing can be tricky lower down, but as is often the case higher up its closer to heavenly. All said that the half inch of ice on the trees was quite beautiful. Not for lack of snow, but he area will close April 6. Go ski, it’s still 4-5 feet deep up there!

By Liz, February 20 With the rain event on Sunday night and into Monday early morning and the warm temps Monday– the trails lost a lot of snow. Conditions are very crusty– it’s probably only good for snowshoeing. The temps are more seasonable now and predicted to remain between 10/20 through the weekend. With more snow bc should be back in action.

By Liz, February 15 Backcountry reports from Thursday are good. Most of the up trails have been tracked, so getting into the higher trails is easier. We have heard from some skiers that there is a crust layer in some places. But don’t be deterred by this — the skiing is AMAZING. We have had 12-18″ of new snow this week!!

By Liz, February 11 It’s cold today, but the sun is out and there is a ton of fresh powder from last week. We have had 33″ in the last 7 days!!! It’s great February skiing out there- take a snow day.

By Liz, February 7 What a different a couple of days make. We went from Rain on Tuesday to lots of new snow by Thursday!! We received about 18″ of new snow Wed/Thurs this week and it’s brought winter back. Backcountry skier reports from today were good. Although the new snow has made things slow out there. But the glades and other steep runs are back in action with lots of powder. I think that there is probably over 2′ of new snow on the higher terrain — Up Heavenly Highway way.

And things look good for another 2″-6″ of snow over the weekend.

By Jack and Jill And Art, February 2 With the wind and new snow yesterday we were hopeful that backcountry conditions would improve. But today it’s a breakable crust. Once you start turning your ski breaks through. This makes for very tricky skiing and very challenging turning.

The Bryant Trail to Bryant Cabin is nice because it was groomed last week and now there is a nice layer of powder on top. But skiing up higher from Bryant Cabin is the challenge.

By Liz, January 14 There is still snow in the backcountry! But with lots of warm day last week the Backcountry definitely lost lots of snow. And over the weekend we had more seasonable temperatures, so things are pretty crusty. The snow in the forecast should make for some great skiing this weekend.

By Traven, BV Ski Patrol, December 30 The goods are up high. Don’t be discouraged by the hardpack and crust in the lower trails. Go High! Above Bryant Cabin you’re skiing powder. Birch Loop is Great. The Glades excelent, but largely unskied.

Maybe 5 inches of powder on a firm base. So skin up to the glades or take Lift #1 and cruise down onto Heavenly Highway for a surprise powder day.

December 31 Update– Now there is another 2-5 inches of power on top of the hardpack and upper powder.

Cabin Rentals

We are now accepting reservations for our rustic backcountry cabins — Bryant Cabin and Bolton Lodge. The cabins are quite rustic, but with some good friends and a warm stove they provide a great place to escape and spend the night in the wilderness. Call for more information and reservations.
Cabin from the outsiedStovetable
Photos of Bryant Cabin

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6 responses to “Backcountry

  1. Backcountry skiing suffered from all the rain and snow melt of early January. As of January 20th conditions were still sub-par, creating dangerous conditions and open waterbars throughout. I skiied the glades off Trapps once, George’s Gorge, etc. and Telemark twice. Many hazards were poking through the paltry, ice base including recent stumps from fall clearing effort. On Telemark there were sections of bare ground. Hopefully This weekend of Feb. 1 will be a turn-around.

  2. I would like to ski the Woodward Trail some time with good snow and a group of people that have skiied it before. I don’t see that CTA is organizing any ski tours on the Woodward Trail this year. Do you?

  3. it was ok today but there was alot of ice but it got better later today

  4. A few years ago I was given carte blanche to cut some new back country trails here at Bolton. Since everybody loves the glades and cotton brook, I thought this is what I should try to replicate. So far it’s been a disappointment how few people use these trails, I guess habits die hard.
    The trails: Cup Runneth Over, Do Drop In, Holden’s Hollow, Hare’s Breath, and more. The first two are glades within just minutes of the nordic center. The cup runneth off World Cup. You can get to it by skiing up Bryant, you cross over World cup once then the second time turn left on World Cup, straight ahead there will be a red marker on a tree before the trail turns to the left. It’s a fun glade that drops you out at the pump house on Broadway. Go right on Broadway and you’ll be at Do drop In in two minutes. Again only marked with one of those red plastic markers. It’s easy to miss on the left, after Tear Drop, but before Lynx. The trail is marked at the bottom at Joiner Brook, goes along a little way then back up to Broadway at Telemark. Yeah, there’s no easy way back from this one, almost as challenging as the descent.

  5. Just wanted to thank Liz and the gang for having the Bryant Cabin stocked with wood and ready to go for our over night this past weekend. Being our first time in the Bolton Backcountry we got good trail info from Art before heading out. The conditions were ok, but we had a blast checking it all out and can only imagine how great it is today with the new snow! Keep up the good work Liz and gang!!!

  6. Skiied up to Bryant Camp yesterday evening and experienced a wide variety of conditions. The good news is that from about 2500′ and up the snow quality was still really good. The trees at Bryant still were holding ice which shows how little the air has warmed at the higher elevations. North aspect slopes should be skiing well for the most part with consolidated powder the primary surface. Sun slopes have developed a crust even up at the higher elevations. Skiied lower JJ’s and the first pitch skiied good and got crustier as we went down. Bryant was very fast once it started crusting back up, watch out! Liz and company are doing an awesome job and all deserve a big raise!!

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