A week of VT Powder Skiing

By:  Ben
January 10, 2010

Sometimes I like Vermont weather. This past week opened up with Winter Storm Debbie dropping 1-2 feet of soft new snow, making the post-Christmas rain layer a distant memory. Over the course of the weekend I skied at several northern Vermont locales with a few friends from school.

Noah finds some good snow on our season’s first visit to an old friend…

Misha likes the snow too

Me skiing a VT treeline (Photo credit: Noah Harwood)

But Debbie wasn’t the real story of this week. On her heels came a series of small, localized snow events and cold weather. These are the sleeper storms, the ones that drop a dusting to 2” every night, just enough to fluff up the conditions a bit. No liftlines or crowded skintracks, just run after run of powder waiting to be skied, lining the spaces between the trees with velvety smoothness.

On Tuesday, Allen and I found our own private stretch of woods to play in. While Allen took video, my friend from school, Noah, and I shot some pictures with his new camera.

Me showing off my uncanny ability to always look at my topsheets

The snow was good!

Later in the week, I got to check out an area that I’ve heard rumors about for years but have never been to. A few friends from school and I skinned to a bowl high on a Vermont peak and were rewarded with run after run of open, untracked glades blanketed in an ample coat of recent snow. Backcountry skiing exploration in Vermont can be frustrating at times – you need a high tolerance for bushwhacking through dense underbrush, following sucker hole after sucker hole, and generally having a fairly low turns-to-skinning ratio. But every once in a while you stumble across a really good zone, with nice open treeshots and untouched snow. This was one of those days.

Noah thinks the approach was worth it

I agree

Tom Flynn showing off the soulfullness of the free heel

Parker thought the trees were good too

Saturday was the biggest surprise of the week though. Kate, KC, and I went to the mountain with low expectations, fearing the cold and lack of recent large storms. The sun was out and shining though, and beautiful lenticular clouds clung to the ridgeline looking almost like a second layer of wind-sculpted snow. It was my first day shooting with my new Canon 40D, and it was a good day to practice.

The snow ghosts were amazing

KC skiing in some amazing light

After warming up, we headed to our main destination of the day. We dropped in, then dropped our jaws. Everywhere we looked was a blanket of 6-8” of Utah-style blower, snow so light that you could get the occasional faceshot with shin deep snow.

KC had to check to make sure she did in fact come back from Utah…

Until she remembered that the trees are closer back here

Kate wasn’t complaining either

At the end of the day we found ourselves skinning up near the ridgeline and were treated to an amazing display of alpenglow over the Champlain Valley. It was a fitting end to a surprisingly good day. Once again, Vermont delivered the goods, on a day when the groomers were skating rinks and the mercury was hovering around 0 F. It’s weeks like these that remind me why I love skiing and exploring these mountains.

KC and Kate smiling at the end of a great day

Read about the author:   Ben
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Diagonal Gully, Huntington Ravine


  1. Sam
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 12:10 am  

    Sweet Ben, welcome to the crew (officially). Some of those shots are sick!

    • Ben
      wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 11:01 am  

      thanks sam! have a safe flight!

      looking forward to seeing some india stoke…

  2. Anonymous
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 9:58 am  

    I think you were skiing my snow on the west side…

  3. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 10:22 am  
  4. Evan
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    Good work Ben. Any interest in filming some with High Anxiety Films?

    • Ben
      wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 12:28 pm  

      Definitely! I’m going to Katahdin for this coming weekend, but after that I’ll be skiing every weekend & tues/thurs. you can email me at powderskier AT gmail dot com…

  5. MICKY O
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 11:38 am  

    Great photos as always… keep up the good work

  6. powhounddd
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

    Super nice. Thanks for sharing that.

  7. K_C
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 3:03 pm  

    Nice photos Ben! Saturday was a lot of fun, thanks for inviting me along. I’m kinda half smiling in that last photo, yikes. At least Kate looks cute!

  8. sfmornay
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 4:56 pm  

    great sunset and alpenglow! it helps to have a good quality new camera, doesn’t it?

    • Ben
      wrote on January 12th, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

      Yep! I’m still learning the basics, but the 40D is a great setup to play with!

  9. Chen
    wrote on January 11th, 2010 at 5:05 pm  

    Want to bring some of that snow to colorado?

  10. Sean
    wrote on January 12th, 2010 at 12:36 am  

    I think I saw the Aguille d’Mansfield in one of those.

  11. bushman
    wrote on January 13th, 2010 at 10:56 pm  

    Great shots as usual. On Monday had to help a guy who toppled forward, skis got hung up behind/above him, poles buried in 2-3′, too soft to push off to get up. Clicked off skis once we found and got his poles to him. Back country deep snow presents different challenges. Always like it when pines are wearing thick coats, so they cushion me if i bump them. Damn hardwoods don’t yiled, though. Heading up to JP tomorrow. Thanks for the clips and comments.

  12. Arjuna
    wrote on February 28th, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

    Hi guys keep living your passion

  13. Anonymous
    wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 9:02 am  

    always liked this TR!

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