Hometown Mountain Shoutout: Bolton Valley, VT

Saj Sheth-Voss |
Skier above powdery tree line at Bolton Valley, VT
Skier above gladed run. Image: boltonvalley.com

Bolton Valley, VT, is a mountain for the adventurous family. Located 30 minutes outside of Burlington, this mountain offers terrain for every level of skier and opportunities for endless exploring. Offering 6 lifts, 71 trails, and the highest base elevation in the Northeast (2,100 ft), Bolton keeps you on your toes. Find yourself winding through birch trees, bumping off powdery moguls and laying down trenches on steep groomers. If that’s not enough, look to Bolton’s backcountry program. 

Bolton also symbolizes the success of a strong Vermont community. Founded in 1996 by the DesLauriers family, Bolton is independent and family run, upholding its community centered values. During 2011-12, there were rumblings that 1,161 acres of land would be up for sale and development, causing the closure of many ski trails. A local campaign was started to purchase the land, resulting in a $1.85 million fundraiser by the Vermont Land Trust to save the wonderful backcountry trails that so many enjoy today. 

Trail map of Bolton Valley, VT
Expansive trails at Bolton Valley. Image: boltonvalley.com

On my first day skiing, I was adamant on riding telemark. I grew up cross country skiing, on trail networks outside of Boston, not dabbling in downhill skiing until middle school. So, when my cousins took me to Bolton Valley for the first time, the idea of having my heels locked in terrified me. I ended up clicking into downhill skis that day, but throughout my years exploring Bolton Valley, I eventually let my heel loose (at least on the uphill). 

On my first powder day at Bolton, my cousins darted off to ski a trail called ‘Glades’. As a novice skier I didn’t know what glades meant, but it quickly left a smile frozen on my face. That smile stuck as I graduated past blues to trails like Vista Glades, and Wilderness Woods, which soon became my favorite trails. 

Snowboarder riding through deep snow at Bolton Valley
Riding through steep and deep trees. Image: Bolton Valley Facebook

Bolton’s Backcountry Terrain 

As I looked to progress my skiing and my pursuit of glades, Bolton continued to deliver. Just on the other side of the parking lot, Bolton Valley established a vast backcountry ski area and program. With 12,000 acres of ‘untouched wilderness’, the opportunities for skiers of all levels are endless. As soon as you take your first steps on the skin track, you immediately understand the magic of the Green Mountains. Drooping spruces and pines line the trail, creating a tunnel of powder. As you glide along, it’s quiet except for the occasional sound of a branch breaking from a tiptoeing chipmunk or the calming drone of a woodpecker. After transitioning, it’s time to pick your line, and the options are endless. Steep glades, cliffs dropping into pillows, and granite sided couloirs all lie below you. 

Après skiing at Bolton connects you to the Vermont community that makes Bolton feel like home. End your epic day by popping down to the tavern for brews and tunes. Bolton hosts local artists for live music every Wednesday and Saturday. A lively way to end a day at a lively resort! 

Backcountry ski trails at Bolton, leading up to the highest point on the catamount trail
Pure joy on the skin track. Image: Author



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