Bolton to the Barns
An Epic Backcountry Ski Tour
Saturday, February 16th, 2013
Bolton to the Barns
7:15 - "Crew Leaders" arrive at the West Monitor Barn
7:30 - Shuttle takes CL's to Bolton Valley Nordic Center
8:00 - Crew Leader Route start
9:00 - "Crew Members" arrive at the West Monitor Barn
9:30 - Shuttle takes CM's to Bolton Valley Nordic Center
10:15 - Crew Member Route Start
On Saturday, February 16th, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), in partnership with the Bolton Valley Nordic Center and the Vermont Land Trust, will host the fourth annual Bolton to the Barns ski tour. This tour is fast becoming a classic mid-winter Nordic event for backcountry ski enthusiasts in search of a healthy challenge and a fun day of adventure and camaraderie high in the hills of Vermont.
This year, VYCC is teaming up with the Vermont Land Trust to help spread the word about and generate support for VLT’s ongoing campaign to permanently protect over 1,100 acres of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry land. If you are interested in learning more about the campaign to save the Bolton backcountry or want to make a gift in support of the project, please visit VLT's website.
As was the case in previous years, registration fees and gifts to the VYCC will ensure essential education, training, and employment opportunities for young Vermonters wishing to play an active role in conserving the Vermont landscape.
Skiers will have two options: the 11-mile “Crew Member” route or the longer “Crew Leader” route. Both routes will begin at the Bolton Nordic Center and finish at the Monitor Barns. The Crew Member is described below while the Crew Leader route will take skiers on a (approximate) 2.5 hour loop on the trails of the Bolton Valley Nordic Center. This additional ski will be for the heartiest of skiers and led by Liz Hollenbach, former Bolton Valley Nordic Center Director and current member of the Bolton Ski Patrol.
Skiers doing the longer Crew Leader route will start at 8:00 and those skiing the Crew Member route will start at 10:15.
On all sections of the trail skiers will find Barn Markers indicating the correct direction. To accommodate the wishes of private landowners we are not publishing a map of the entire route. However, the combination of the descriptions below and the Barn Markers posted along the way will make route-finding clear—even for those unfamiliar with the route. For those interested in an elevation gain/loss map, here is a profile.
Crew Leader Loop
Exploring the Bolton Trails ~7 Additional Miles
The Crew Leader Route will include a loop within the Bolton network of cross country and backcountry trails. This loop has several demanding climbs and descents. Skiers undertaking this route should be comfortable skiing narrow chutes on steeper terrain. On this map of Bolton’s Nordic trails, a likely route will have skiers ascend Gardiner’s Lane and Birch Loop trails to where the Birch Loop/Catamount Trails intersect with the Bolton-Trapps trail. Skiers will then descend on the steep and narrow descents of Ravens Wind and George’s Gorge Trails, eventually making their way to Brook Run and Broadway where we’ll join the Crew Member route. Again, the exact route of this additional loop will be determined by snow conditions on the day of the event.
Crew Member Route
Section One: Bolton Nordic to the Bolton Access Road
Crew Members will also start at the Nordic Center, heading out on Broadway to Maple Loop before rejoining Broadway and Grand View/Catamount Trail. This route will descend to where the Catamount Trail intersects with the VAST Trail, just below the S-turn on the Bolton Access Road (at the sugarhouse on the west side of the road). Skiers will then cross the Access Road and head west on the VAST Trail.
Section Two: Bolton Access Road to Bolton Notch Road 4.3 miles
Leaving the sugarhouse and heading west, skiers will face a long and challenging uphill climb. But, have faith, this is the longest climb of the tour, taking skiers through a beautiful beech and maple forest and eventually climbing a ridge high above the Notch Road. From here, the trail parallels the Notch Road, heading north for several miles on mostly rolling terrain before dropping steeply down the road.
Section Three: Bolton Notch Road to Stage Road 1.5 miles
After crossing the Notch Road, skiers will be right at the base of the Bolton Cliffs, which loom high above the trail covered in mid-winter snow and ice. After climbing to a saddle, skiers then head north of Preston Pond before descending quickly to Stage Road. This section is the shortest leg of the tour.
Section Four: Stage Road to Snipe Ireland Road 1.7 miles
Having reached Stage Road, skiers are more than half way there! This section is a hidden gem within Chittenden County, covering gently rolling terrain around secluded beaver ponds and the occasional meadow. Like all sections, there are a few steep descents where skiers should consider taking off skis if the conditions are too fast for comfortable descent.
Section Five: Snipe Ireland Road to the Monitor Barns 2.2 miles
The home stretch! After crossing Snipe Ireland Road, skiers face the last (and long) uphill climb of the day. Hang in there—the barn awaits and is less than 3 miles away. Once you complete this climb, you will pass through a metal gate marking the boundary of the VYCC property. From here, follow the trail markers down to the welcoming crowd set to cheer you on!
With generous support from our local sponsors.