Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adirondack Cross-Country Ski Season Preview

Two inches. According to Olavi Hirvonen, owner of the Lapland Lake cross-country ski area in Northville, two inches of dense snow is all that’s needed to get at least a few kilometers of Lapland Lake’s trail network open for skiing. And if anyone should know, it’s Olavi: with 34 years experience grooming Lapland Lake’s trails on a daily basis, he’s considered to be the most experienced groomer in North America.

While we’re waiting for the snow to fly, here’s a round-up of what skiers can look forward to at Adirondack cross-country ski centers this winter.

Lapland Lake in Northville has 38km of trails that are snowcat groomed with trackset and skating lanes, plus an additional 12km of marked and mapped snowshoe trails. Lapland Lake will host its two-day annual Open House and first annual X-C Ski Swap Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26.

Garnet Hill Lodge in North River has 55km of groomed trails and is adjacent to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area for virtually unlimited backcountry touring. As in past winters, Garnet Hill will offer its popular “ski down, ride back” shuttle bus service to lodge guests and day visitors.

Dewey Mountain Ski Center, located in Saranac Lake and owned by the Town of Harrietstown, has 15km of trails that Olympians Billy Demong and Timothy Burke consider home. The trails are groomed and maintained by Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, and the area enjoys strong community participation in programs like its Dewey Mountain Youth Ski League (where Burke and Demong both learned to race), Graymont Tuesday Night Race Series, and the popular Friday Night Ski Jams. Dewey Mountain Friends, a grassroots support group, has undertaken a multi-year effort to widen and improve trail grading, drainage and signage, and eventually replace the ski center’s lodge building.

Cascade Ski Touring Center in Lake Placid has 20km of trails that wind through spruce / fir woods and connect to Mount Van Hoevenberg and the Jack Rabbit Trail. Cascade’s full moon ski parties have become a Lake Placid institution, with lighted trails, bonfires and hot chocolate, and live music in the lodge. Full moon dates at Cascade this winter are January 7, February 4, and March 10 (all Saturdays).

Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid has more than 50km of trails that were home to the 1980 Winter Olympic cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions. The expertly groomed, scenic trail system continues to be the site of World Cup and Junior Olympic competitions, but is open to recreational skiers as well. The 30th Annual Lake Placid Loppet, known as one of the best amateur ski races in the country, will be held on February 4. There are 50km and 25km classic or free (skating) technique events that follow a demanding but beautiful course laid out for the 1980 Olympics.

All of the ski centers above expect to open as soon as there is sufficient snow, so in the meantime wear your pajamas inside out, do a snow dance, and above all else… THINK SNOW!

Photo credit: Mount Van Hoevenberg / ORDA

Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.

Jeff Farbaniec

Jeff Farbaniec

Jeff Farbaniec, of Saratoga County, is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.

Jeff's emphasis at the Almanack is on the ski sports - everything and anything related to Adirondack skiing. Jeff lives in Wilton, just south of the Blue Line, with his wife and their two young children.


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