This was advertised as a joint trip of GMC and Catamount Trail Association, but it appears that everyone who joined the trip learned about it through CTA. After bad rains on Jan 25, it was doubtful that the trip could be held, but there was a surprise snowfall in the Bolton-to-Mansfield area on the night of Jan 26, variously reported between 5 to 10 inches. So, on January 28, Sheri and Rich Larsen skied up from the Nebraska Valley Road to the east ridge of Bolton Mountain, finding ‘decent to good’ conditions, but two stream cuts that would require ski removal. At that time, the forecast for Saturday solidified as ‘extreme cold’, with an outlook for below zero temperatures and wind. We decided to go on Saturday, but restricted the trip to people who we were confident could keep up a pretty fast pace on the uphill and downhill. Friday was intensely cold and windy, further reducing the number planning to go. On Saturday, we ended up with ten intrepid skiers starting up from Bolton.
We used our usual strategy of Sheri leading and Rich sweeping. We reached Bryant in 40 minutes, and in another 40 minutes we were at Raven’s Wind. The weather was cold, temperatures below zero, but the wind had ended, and there was sun, so things did not feel too bad. Two hours into the trip we had a quick lunch break in the woods, and then headed on to reach the top of the downhill at ‘Windy Ridge’, where there is a view of Camels Hump. We started down about 2 ½ hours into the trip. The snow was wind-packed in the downhill, and the lead skiers had trouble with breaking wind-slab, but after about 3-4 skiers went through the powder had been ‘generated’ by the break-up of the wind-pack.
Surprisingly, the places where we expected to have to remove skis had frozen and gotten some snow blown in on Friday, so we never had to remove skis, although we still had to step gingerly across a couple of places. Other than the problems of the wind-slab and an occasional avoidable bare-ground area, we had pretty good conditions, and no major problems, in the downhill. We reached the cars in about 3:45 from the start. For the last half-hour, at the lower elevations, the temperature was probably above zero!
Richard Larsen leader