Monday, December 29, 2014

New Owners For Lapland Lake Cross Country Center

Lapland Lake New OwnersLapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in Benson, NY, one of the Adirondacks’ premier cross country ski resorts for more than 36 years, has new owners.  Kathryn and Paul Zahray, formerly of Matawan, NJ, and Lapland Lake customers for more than 17 years, have purchased the resort.

The new owners say they will seek to increase partnerships with local businesses and plan to continue the resort’s support of cross country ski racing at the secondary level. “Emphasis will be placed on enhancements such as the recently added Reindeer Rally program geared to introduce more youth to the sport of cross country skiing,” they said in an announcement to the press. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Visit to Hurricane Mountain

Hurricane Mountain From Amy's LookoutRecently I celebrated the heavy snowfall by visiting the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area. The first part of the visit was a hike to the summit along the trail that begins at Route 9N between the Keene Valley and Elizabethtown.

What a glorious day in the woods! The beauty of the snowfall, clinging to every branch, brushed and sparkled in the higher elevations with hoar frost, worked in concert with an utterly luminous winter light, to make it one of the loveliest winter climbs I’ve ever done. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Skate Into 2015 For A Good Cause

Lake Placid SkatingThe 8th annual “Skate into New Year” skating party on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid will benefit the Lake Placid Food Pantry. The event will be held on December 31st from 10:30 pm until 12:30 am.

Skate into New Year” began in 2008, the brainchild of Christie Sausa, a local skater who responded to comments that there was “nothing for families to do” in Lake Placid on New Year’s Eve. The substance-free family-friendly event has donated thousands of dollars to charity in the past eight years. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

‘Passion for Snow’ DVD Connects Locally

DVD CoverIf you enjoy skiing, you’ll want to see a Passion for Snow, an hour-long documentary produced by Lisa Densmore Ballard, a Saranac Lake native who frequently writes about hiking and paddling for the Adirondack Explorer.

The movie tells the story of Dartmouth College’s influence on skiing in North America, but it includes several Adirondack connections. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Adirondack Hut-to-Hut Style Effort Underway

AMC Highland CenterA new group is exploring the possibility of creating a network of trails that would link with new and existing lodging facilities in the Adirondack Park.

The concept is based on hut-to-hut systems that are popular in other parts of the world, including New Zealand and Spain. Closer to home, the Appalachian Mountain Club runs huts for hikers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: ‘Adirondack Trail Skier’

trail skier bookAfter last week’s snowstorm, a lot of people got out to ski and or at least were prompted into thinking of skiing. Ah, but where to go?

For years, the bible for the region’s cross-country skiers has been Tony Goodwin’s Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks.

Now there’s another book on the market: Adirondack Trail Skier by Spencer Morrissey.

Morrissey self-published his guidebook in 2013, but I didn’t get a copy until late last winter, so I held off reviewing it until now. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 19, 2014

New ‘Adirondack Explorer’ Features Ice Climbing

CoverALast winter, at age fifty-nine, I took up ice climbing. My first route was the popular Chouinard’s Gully above Chapel Pond. Don Mellor, the author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide, led all three pitches.

Later in the season, I climbed four classic routes with Dan Plumley: Roaring Brook Falls, the Cascade (between Cascade Lakes), Multiplication Gully in Wilmington Notch, and Chapel Pond Slab. On each climb, Dan led and thus assumed the lion’s share of the risk. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Backcountry Gear Choices: Tent Or Tarp?

Campsite on MacDonough MountainFew backcountry gear decisions seem as daunting as picking a shelter. Some prefer to sleep John Wayne style (under the stars), others prefer lean-tos, but most carry a shelter of some sort on their back – tents or tarps.

Tents are easier to set up (though I’ve seen exceptions), but are often heavier to carry. Compared to tarps tents offer less ventilation, critical when sharing the space with an aromatically challenged companion. Free standing tents are easier to set up and move – an important consideration in locating a good tent site while bushwhacking.  On the other hand, tarps are better in rain. Erecting the tarp over your gear in an emergency can keep you and your gear drier.  An open tarp provides more ventilation, which also allows for quicker drying.

A tarp system reigns supreme in the weight department, but smaller poles and hi-tech fabrics on new tents continue to chip away at the weight differential.

My history with shelters reads like something out of “A Christmas Carol”, with ghosts of shelters past, present and future. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Running Solo: Thoughts Ahead Of My Feet

valley_view_jaschwartzI’ve been called the Pippy Longstocking or Punky Brewster of running. Pick your generation, I suppose. I get myself into and out of my own troubles, and I tend to run in whatever multitude of clothing layers I can cobble together on a cold day.  The only article of clothing I find indisputably important is the sports bra. It’s my whole support team. (Oof. I’ll take that rim shot now!)

Today was a cold, bluebird day. Beautiful. Crisp. Just under 20 degrees when I set out, with the sun blazing overhead, tricking me into thinking I was warmer than I was. Truth be told, I’d only been running about 15 minutes when I could no longer really feel my legs. Just a slightly rough sensation as I rubbed one wool-covered hand across one reddened thigh. Oh yes. I was wearing shorts. Seemed like the right thing to do. Sunny = shorts. Right? Shorts and a-burst-of-color knee-high socks, socks that, having lost some of their elasticity, would slide slowly down to mid-calf every second mile or so. Annoying. Yet illustrative of the wearisome state of always being “on.” My socks, strangely enough, were telling me, nagging me to relax. I just know they were. Let go, they pestered. Slide a little, slouch, exhale. What a tease. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Slide Climbs: The Icy East Face Of Giant

Sunset on the summit of Giant Mountain.Giant Mountain offers a diversity of ascent options, but I’ll admit to playing favorites. Ascending the Ridge (Zander Scott) Trail and climbing the expansive East Face sets the stage for a day with breathtaking views on approach and a challenging slide climb as the main event. The steep dominant ledges that traverse much of the face set this apart from many other slides.

I’ve scaled the great scar several times over the years so finding new ways to breach the crux becomes part of the fun as I plan each outing.  For crying out loud, the beast is over ¼ mile wide and 1,200 high so the choices are as diverse as one’s imagination and comfort level.

Giant’s proximity to Route 73 also makes it a good option when seeking a late start as my partner, NP, and I had planned. My trips often begin at 5 am.  Here I can begin hours later and still return before dark. We parked near Chapel Pond and ascended the Ridge Trail under a bright morning sun. Conditions were perfect with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees at elevation.  There were stunning vistas from the southwest ridge. » Continue Reading.


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