One of the first things I heard about Bolton Valley was that it is home to some of the best backcountry skiing in the North East. After hiking Tuckerman’s ravine last year I decided I wanted to explore more backcountry skiing and Bolton was at the top of my list.
I see people finishing dawn patrol when pulling into work and people just heading up for a moonlight skin as I leave. Backcountry skiing allows you to get turns in if you don’t have time during the hours of operation/lift hours. #Earnyourturns
I did my first bolton tour with babe force during our moonlight skin with Skida. And boy can I tell you that was an awesome first experience! We took the Wilderness uphill route, which I would suggest for beginners. Turns out, I was not the least experienced person in our crew, as we had 10 people join for their very first time!
With multiple guides we were able to go at our own pace. Personally, it took me about an hour to get to the top and looking back I could have gone a little slower to make it a more comfortable pace. It was nice to treat ourselves with a little reward of s’mores at the top! Skinning is definitely more tasking than it seems, but if you are into hiking that can help you prepare.
For layering I sweat a lot so within 10 minutes I, along with many people were delayering. With it being night time I ended up being comfortable in a dri-fit long sleeve and a shell jacket. (The times I have gone uphill during the day I ended up in only a t-shirt). After reaching the top, within minutes of taking my skins off I put on my fleece layer and mittens to retain my heat. It is important to pack an extra layer because even though you work up a sweat you cool down fast. I have heard advice from many others that it is okay to start out a bit chilly because once you start moving you will heat right up.
For first timers I would suggest going up one of our uphill routes like Timberline or Wilderness. As you get more comfortable and find your touring rhythm it’s great to then venture out into the backcountry with one of our designated guides at the Nordic center. After getting all this snow I am planning on booking a tour myself! It is crucial you have someone aware of directions because you are skiing out of bounds. Guides can also help you become more familiar with your equipment and technique.