Tag Archives: backcountry

3rd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Festival

A hearty crew joined us last Sunday for the Get Out and Backcountry Festival!

Temperatures hovering near 0˚ F didn’t deter over 70 participants from sharpening their backcountry skills at the 3rd Annual Get Out And Backcountry Ski Festival held at Bolton Valley on Jan 23, 2011.  The sold out event, organized by the Catamount Trail Association (CTA), attracted skiers from 25 to 65 years old with three primary goals: to try out some of the latest in backcountry ski equipment, to learn skills to be safe and proficient skiing in a wilderness setting, and to have fun.

With over a 100 km of backcountry trails and an abundance of new powder, Bolton Valley Resort provided an ideal setting for the 3rd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival. The enthusiastic skiers were broken up into groups based on ability and matched with instructors who shared and practiced skills appropriate for each group.  From simple wedge and stem turns in powder to linked telemark turns on steep wooded terrain, everyone was able to boost their proficiency and confidence throughout the day. While the outdoor sessions were the main attraction, the workshop also included indoor talks on dressing and packing for backcountry excursions, and selecting proper backcountry ski equipment for one’s individual skiing goals.  Culminating a perfect day, skiers were treated to a social gathering with beverages, Cabot cheese, Vermont Smoke and Cure Products, and an abundance of raffle prizes. A special thanks goes out to the SkiRack for providing demos and raffle prizes. We also want to thank Darn Tough Socks and the Outdoor Gear Exchange for providing raffle prizes as well.

According to Snowsports Industries America (SIA) backcountry skiing is the fastest growing winter sliding sport.   In their March 2010 Executive Market Summary, the SIA reports Nordic ski sales were up 18% in 2009/2010 over the previous year, and Randonee/AT sales were up 16%. This recent growth can be attributed to modern equipment and the numerous opportunities to explore backcountry throughout the country. Vermont’s own Catamount Trail is a natural and recreational asset that attracts thousands of skiers from the Eastern US and beyond. The 300-mile trail meanders the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts border to Quebec, offering a diversity of terrain from the gentle rolling hills of southern Vermont to the steeper hardwood forests of the northern Green Mountains. The CTA is at the forefront of backcountry skiing in Vermont and offers many Nordic skiing events including over 50 free, guided tours each winter.

We hope you can join us on the trail soon!

Jim Fredericks and CTA Staff

Lots of Snow

We have snow!! We did some creative snow farming on Monday with the frozen granular that was left after last weekend’s warmup.    New snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday on top of the nice solid base has made for some pretty good skiing this week.  We don’t have everything open, but there is 10km groomed for skate and classic.







World Cup after a busy day of skiers.







Bryant Trail saw a lot of skiers last week and it almost looks groomed from all the skier/snowshoe traffic.







Beautiful late afternoon sunset on Bryant Trail.  Snowshoe only in the backcountry this week- trail will be open for skiing once we get more snow.






Single track snowshoe path on North Slope.

Starting to Look Like Winter!!

Here are a couple of photos of the recent snow from last weekend.

Blast from the Past– This is the time of year that I often look back at old posts and see what the snow was like.  Today I looked at posts from December 2007–  We have our fingers crossed that this year is like December 2007… there was so much snow and we had great skiing. — Liz

Event Report: Get Out and Ski Backcountry Festival

As alpine lift ticket and equipment prices continue to rise, more and more skiers are looking to the backcountry to satisfy their sense of adventure while gaining positive health benefits.  The Catamount Trail Association offers opportunities for those new to the backcountry to try new equipment, practice new techniques, and learn about other strategies and accessories that help set the stage for positive and safe excursions.

photo credit: Sheri Larsen

The Catamount Trail Association hosted its 2nd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival at Bolton Valley Nordic Center Sunday January 24th.  Sixty-six enthusiastic skiers from throughout New England experienced a perfect day of backcountry skiing on some of the best terrain in Vermont.

Designed for skiers who had previous cross-country ski experience,

Full ski rack!

this all day event focused on the basic techniques needed to feel comfortable in the backcountry. Numerous companies including Rossignol, the Ski Rack, the Outdoor Gear Exchange, and TSL Snowshoes were on hand with demos, giving participants the opportunity to experience first hand the various types of backcountry gear.

Under the sunny skies and powder conditions, expert instructors led groups of skiers through Bolton Valley’s backcountry trail network. Lessons on ungroomed backcountry trails and in powder filled glades covered basic balance and edge-control, climbing and descending techniques, and the classic telemark turn.  Many skiers were captured on video and were able to review their technique as an additional learning opportunity at the après ski social.

While the perfect day of backcountry skiing came to an end,  Amy Kelsey, Catamount Trail’s Management and Protection Director, gave an informative talk about being prepared for the unexpected in the backcountry and what accessories one might carry to meet those needs. Jim Fredericks, Catamount Trail’s Executive Director followed with a talk about matching the proper equipment to the personal needs of the individual.

The Catamount Trail Association will also host the 3rd Annual Backcountry Challenge Race and Tour on March 14th. This 17km race or tour starts at the Trapp Family Nordic Center and ends at the Bolton Valley Nordic Center. For more information, go to www.catamounttrail.org or call 802-864-5794.

Catamount Trail Tours and Events at Bolton Nordic

A happy group of skiers in front of Bryant Cabin.

We have heard from several people interested in skiing with other folks on the Bolton Backcountry Trails… these tours and events are perfect way to explore and meet others interested in BC skiing.

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

Exploring the Bolton Backcountry

Part 1 – Strong Intermediate

Friday, January 22

2nd Annual Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival

Sunday, January 24

Bolton Valley to Nebraska Valley Road


Saturday, January 30

Exploring the Bolton Backcountry

Part 2 – Strong Intermediate

Sunday, January 31

3rd Annual Catamount Trail Challenge

Trapp to Bolton Backcountry Race and Tour

Sunday, March 14

New Backcountry Rental Equipment!!!

New BC Rentals!!

Visit and try our new Backcountry Touring rentals.

Boots: Rossignol BC X9

Skis: Rossignol BC 70 (full metal edge and waxless pattern)

Poles: Black Diamond

What’s going on in the backcountry?

It’s Wednsday, we haven’t gotten snow in two days, what to do?  I didn’t have alot of time. so I went up Bryant to cliff hanger, (bob cat tracks) and then left at the top of the glades to Holden Hollow.

I like Holden Hollow because it has a bit of everything you might want.  Yes it was untracked, but with only six inches of powder on top of a breakable crust, I didn’t want anything too steep. There are some steeps on this trail but if you stick to the trail you’ll never hit them. The difficulty was that as you set your edge, the slightly breaking crust didn’t want to let go of your ski.

If I wanted easy I’d be on a chairlift. Judisous weighting and un-weighting of leading and trailing ski made for some nice turns in not so friendly conditions.


Event Report: Catamount Trail BC Challenge

Sunday March 1
Women's Race
Place  Bib #  First Name   Last Name    Finish Time
1       11      JoAnn       Hanowski     2:16:45
2       14      Betsy       Richert      2:19:14
3       10      Carrie      Nourjian     2:36:40

Men's Race
Place Bib #  First Name    Last Name    Finish Time
1        1      Eric        Tremble       1:35:46
2        18     Marc        Gilbertson    1:36:50
3        16     Chris       Rodgers       1:48:22

Full results online:


WCAX News Story about the Catamount Trail BC Challenge click here

Race Report From NWVT Skier Eric Tremble

I’ve been looking forward to the Catamount Trail Trapps to Bolton race for quite some time, pretty much since I crossed the finish line last year. It’s an awesome event; difficult race, unknown conditions and tons of variables, great prizes, free food, good cause, etc.

The race starts with a couple of k’s on the groomed trails at Trapps before dropping down Old Country Rd into the Nebraska valley. Then after two road sections where you need to take your skis off and run, you hit the main obstacle on the course, a long grinding climb up over the ridge, topping out at over 3000 feet. Once you’re over the climb, you have to navigate a technical decent down to the Bolton nordic center.

In the weeks leading up to the event, I was doing a bunch of testing and going back and forth between two pairs of skis, one with a metal edge (for control), and one without (for climbing speed). With the nasty rain, tiny bit of snow, and cold that we got Friday into Saturday, I was back to square one with no idea what I’d use. Luckily, I had time on Saturday to go out and test both the climb (from the Nebraska valley), and the decent into Bolton. I realized that the decent was going to be nasty no matter what skis I had, but the climb was going to be next to impossible on fish scales alone. There just wasn’t enough new snow on top of the boilerplate ice, so the scales had nothing to grab onto. I made a last minute decision to borrow a pair of kicker skins and use the lighter skis without edges.

As we lined up to start the race, I sized up the competition (Marc Gilbertson). He had similar skis, but no skins so I knew he would open a gap on me while I was putting on the skins, but I hoped I would be able to make it up on the long climb. Another wild card was Eric Carter from UVM. He was going to give it a go on waxless race classic skis. He’d definitely be fast on the groomed part, but I was pretty sure I’d see him suffering on the climb.

Out of the start I settled into 3rd behind Eric and Marc. Eric was quickly out of site on his fast race skis, and Marc opened a gap on me pretty quickly too. Jake Hollenbach was cheering at the top of the groomed trails, and he said Eric was 1 minute ahead and Marc was about 15 seconds ahead.

At the first road crossing, I struggled to get my skis off and by the time we got to the base of the climb after the second road crossing Marc was out of site. I put on my skins as fast as possible, but it still seemed to take forever and I almost got caught by the next racers. Once I started climbing I was making pretty good time, and sure enough I quickly caught up to Eric Carter. He must have had no kick at all because he was trying to run up the trail carrying his skis.

A while later I passed Sam von Trapp who was doing the tour, and he said Marc was 4 minutes (!) ahead. I thought he was joking. I was sure I was making up ground, but 4 minutes was a lot. I thought it might be over, but I kept on and with only a few switch backs remaining before the top, I finally caught and passed Marc. I tried to get out of site as fast as possible, but I was starting to bonk so it wasn’t easy. Finally I got to the end of the ridge, ripped off the skins and headed down.

The first few turns were tough due to the icy snow and my shaking legs, but after a few falls I got the hang of it and cruised the rest of the way down to the Nordic center to take the win.

Just finishing this race is a real accomplishment. Congrats to all participants and thanks to Catamount Trail Org, Trapps and Bolton for making this a great event.

More info and full report available at http://www.catamounttrail.org

New Snow (and a lot of it!)

Sunday: Bolton By the Numbers looks pretty good and skis even better.

Base: 20° Snowfall Average Base Depth: 29″-55″
Summit: 14° Last 24 Hours: 1-2″
Trails Open: 64 Last 48 Hours: 10-14″
Lifts Open: 6 Last 7 Days: 34-38″
Primary Surface: Powder Season Total: 247

Wax is Blue. Today we have 20km Skate and Classic Groomed.  It is forecast to just keep on snowing for the next 24 hours, so trail surfaces will be a mix of packed powder and powder.  We will be grooming through the day… but it’s going to be pretty soft.

Backcountry trails are all powder.  Lots of groups skied Bolton to Trapps on the Catamount Trail- conditions are perfect.

Make a Day of It: Today’s spotlight is on Jericho Settlers’ Farm.  Krista and Mark do a great job providing

Stop by their farm store for some great local food year round.

Stop by their farm store for some great local food year round.

awesome locally produced all year round and they are skiers.

Eggs and baked goods, jam and meat in the winter- then it’s veggies, flowers, meat, in the summer.  Jericho Settlers’ Farm also has CSA Shares… check out their website for more information.

The farms is located on Barber Farm Rd in Jericho… it’s worth the detour when you are in the Richmond/Jericho area.  directions

Saturday: All the rumors are  true.  While valley locations have only a dusting in the last 48 hours, Bolton has been hammered with powder.  Today might be about the best day of skiing of the year.  With some nice heavy snow on Wednesday topped with some of the lightest powder.  Justin, our ace  snow reporter, is saying 23-27″ of new powder in the last 48 hours.  full report

Harold is grooming 25km this morning and on the groomed trail surface is packed powder/powder.  It is going to be pretty soft, fun skiing today.  Wax is blue and at 8am the temperature is 15 degrees.  The forecast is for warming a little  through the day and maybe some sun later in the afternoon.

In the backcountry first tracks are the name of the game today….. it’s a no consequences powder day.

Event Update: All this new snow is great for next Sunday’s Catamount Trail BC Challenge Trapps to Bolton.  Conditions don’t get much better. Register online  today.

Friday: It certainly is a winter wonderland once again up here at Bolton Valley. With 6″ two nights ago and 6-8″ last night, the backcountry is in great condition. We have not been able to groom the nordic trails as of 10am, but anticipate having it finished by noon. We will post what has been groomed as soon as we know. So come on up and enjoy the snow! There is even more on the way!

A perfect long weekend.

Monday: Overnight temps around 10degrees and morning grooming will make great skiing to

Our grooming advisors.

Our grooming advisors.

day on our groomed trails.  We have 25km groomed classic and skate.  And it doesn’t get much better than this- extra blue.  Temperature at 8am is 12 degrees and forecast is for temps to rise into the mid 20s.

There is still nice power on our backcountry trails.  And folks skiing Bolton to Trapps trail report good skiing.

Sunday: It’s another great ski day today.  Groomed and Backcountry Skiing is awesome.  25km groomed, trail surface is packed powder mixed with frozen granular.  at 8:30am it is 12 degrees and no wind.

Backcountry reports are great.  And we have heard that there is powder everywhere and no breakable crust.  Out pass holders are calling it “BOLTON MAGIC”– great powder when you lease suspect it.

Make a Day of It– Our spotlight today is  On the Rise Bakery



This place is amazing.

They make a mean pizza, fab baked goods, coffee, great music and if you get there early enough in the morning a bag of day olds.  And everything is local!!!  Also live music Wednesday-Saturday.

They are just off Rt 2 in Richmond.  Turn at the light in Richmond onto Bridge street and they are down the hill on the right.

[do you have an idea of a place that we should add to our Make a Day of It listing… let us know. send an email nordiccenter@boltonvalley.com]

Happy Valentines Day! Bring your valentine skiing and check out our Make Your Own Valentine Table.

Saturday: Conditions are perfect today. 4-6″ of powder on Thursday afternoon and some cold temperatures in the past 48 hours will make for some great skiing all weekend. Today we have 25km groomed Classic and Skate. Trail surface conditions are packed powder with some granular snow tilled in. Wax of the day is Blue. Temps at 8am is 7 degrees, it’s a perfectly clear blue sky and the sun is just rising over the mountains. The forecast is for warming through the day.

We recommend getting here early to ski for the next couple days so you can get parking. And don’t forget there is often space in the Tennis Court Lot down behind the Sports Center building.

Today we have Groups lessons at 10am and 1pm. Our Explorer Snowshoe Tour is today from 2-4pm.

Williston Farmers Market

Make a Day of It- Today’s spotlight is on Williston Farmers Market Winter

Market. Grab breakfast at the market on your way to Bolton and you will be fueled for a great day of skiing with some yummy locally made food.

Friday 2/13 we hosted the CVU/CHS High School 5km Freestyle Race. Thanks to everyone who helped make this race happen. We had great trail conditions and it was fun to see so many parents and spectators cheering.

Link here to the CVU Ski Team Results Page [results will be posted asap]