Posts Tagged ‘skiing’

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adaptive Nordic Ski Camp This Weekend

Despite the wet weather, the 2nd Adirondack Adaptive Nordic Ski Camp is still being held this weekend, February 3-5, 2012, in Lake Placid, NY.

This unique 3-day event will bring together new and experienced adaptive Nordic skiers from all over the country for an adaptive Nordic skiing training camp and races at the Empire State Winter Games. The camp is being organized by a partnership of local and regional organizations including Adirondack Adaptive Adventures, Mountain Orthotic and Prosthetic Services, U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team, Olympic Regional Development Authority, Northeast Passage, New England Nordic Ski Association, and Horowitz Associates, Inc. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

10th Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival Slated

The Mountaineer and Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides have teamed up to host the 10th annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival on March 3 and 4, 2012. The event celebrates the ski experience both here in the Adirondack backcountry and in the greater ranges of the world.

This year’s event features guest athlete Glen Plake, star of many ski films and an accomplished backcountry skier, guide and instructor based in Chamonix, France. He will be skiing at Otis Mountain in Elizabethtown on Saturday and offering a presentation on Saturday evening at the Keene Central School.

Guided ski tours will be held on Saturday and Sunday, led by Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides and a group of local ski guides. Skiers with intermediate nordic skills can join the classic Avalanche Pass ski traverse, while intermediate to expert downhill skiers looking to get into backcountry skiing will want to join the Intermediate Tour. Expert skiers with prior backcountry experience and their own gear can refine their skills on the Advanced Tour. Space is limited, so check out their website to register.

Free demos and mini clinics will again be held at Otis Mountain on Saturday. The Mountainfest is benefit event, with all proceeds supporting the New York State Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic racing programs and the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, stewards of the Adirondack Park’s backcountry ski trail system, including the Jackrabbit Trail.

Call The Mountaineer at 518 576 2281 or visit www.mountaineer.com for more information and to register for the clinics.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adirondack Winter Athletes Update

This winter the Almanack has been reporting the results and standing of our local winter sports athletes. The big news this week is Saranac Lake’s Chris Mazdzer and the the U.S. luge team, which won a silver medal in the FIL World Cup team relay in Winterberg, Germany.

You can find all our winter sports coverage here, and World Cup coverage here.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): In Kitzbuehel, Austria, Weibrecht skied to a 42nd place finish in the FIS World Cup downhill. The Super-G was cancelled because of weather. Beismeyer raced in last week’s Europa Cup stop in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and did not finish Wednesday’s, Jan. 18, giant slalom event. The reigning Nor-Am champion also failed to finish Monday’s giant slalom race in Zell a. See, Austria.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Antholz-Anterselva, Italy hosted last week’s IBU World Cup tour stop. In Sunday’s team relay event, Baily and Burke skied with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) and finished 10th. In Friday’s 10 km sprint, Burke was 12th, while Bailey was 36th. Burke also finished 20th in Sunday’s 15 km mass start event, while Bailey was 21st. Cook posted a 74th place result in Thursday’s 7.5 km sprint, before teaming up with Sara Studebacker (Boise, Idaho), Tracy Barnes (Durango, Colo.) and Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) for a 13th place finish in Saturday’s 4×6 km team relay.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup tour visited St. Moritz, Switzerland. Napier droved his two-man sled to a 16th place result, Saturday, and his four-man sled to a 12th place finish, Sunday.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): Mazdzer helped the U.S. luge team to a silver medal in the FIL World Cup team relay in Winterberg, Germany. The 2010 Olympian was 29th in Saturday’s men’s singles race. Sweeney was 13th in the women’s singles race in Winterberg.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong did not compete last weekend and this weekend’s event in Zakopane, Poland has been cancelled because of weather. He is scheduled to compete Feb. 3-5 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): In Sapporo, Japan, Frenette competed in three events, one on the k90 and two others off the k120. The 2010 Olympian dealt with difficult wind conditions to finish 26th in the k90 jump and recorded 26th and 25th place results off the k120.

Photo: Saranac Lake’s Chris Mazdzer, courtesy USA Luge.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

The second weekend of the New Year (January 6-9) saw some pretty strong results from area athletes competing internationally.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): Weibrecht spent some time home, in Lake Placid, and returns to the World Cup circuit this weekend. Beisemeyer raced in Saturday’s FIS World Cup giant slalom, held in Adelboden, Switzerland and did not finish.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): The IBU World Cup tour visited Oberhof, Germany over the weekend. In Saturday’s 10 km sprint, Burke was 36th, while Bailey finished the race in 45th position. The two, along with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), helped the U.S. squad to an 11th place showing in Thursday’s, Jan. 5, 4×7.5 km relay. The weekend wrapped up with the 15 km race… Bailey was 11th and Burke did not race. Cook did not race.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): Heavy snow delayed the start of Saturday’s FIBT World Cup two-man bobsled race for two hours and poor visibility forced officials to cancel the race’s second run. Napier finished 17th in the one-heat race. In Sunday’s four-man race, Napier drove his sled to a 16th place result.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): Mazdzer made his FIL World Cup debut Friday in Koenigssee, Germany. The 2010 Olympian finished 21st in the men’s singles race. He helped USA Luge to a fifth place showing in the team relay. Sweeney did not qualify for the women’s singles race after suffering a spill in Nations Cup qualifying.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong competed in Oberstdorf, Germany where he helped anchor Team USA to a fifth place finish in Saturday’s HS137/4×5 km team competition. In Sunday’s FIS Nordic Combined World Cup individual event, the reigning Olympic champion placed 14th.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette did not compete in last weekend’s FIS Continental Cup event in Kranj, Slovenia. That event was canceled.

Photo: John Napier.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

January is National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, dedicated to learning a new snow sport. New York has more ski and snowboard areas than any other state and hundreds of alpine and Nordic ski resorts in 22 states will be offering free and discounted lessons, rentals and lift tickets for new skiers and riders.

The goal is to get American families on the slopes and enjoy a healthy winter lifestyle. Organizers are hoping that more than 150,000 children and adults will take ski and snowboard lessons from a professional instructor. Last January an estimated 75,000 children and adults participated in the program.

During the National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, Whiteface will be offering a mid-week special for just $59, including lessons, rentals and a lower-mountain lift ticket. Lessons begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are available for skiers and riders 13 and older.

More information about the January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month can be found online.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

The holidays are over and it’s back to racing for several Lake Placid – Saranac Lake area athletes. You can find all the Adirondack Almanack‘s winter sports coverage here.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): Weibrecht did race during the holiday period. He participated in the FIS alpine World Cup downhill stop, Dec. 19, in Bormio, Italy, where he finished 49th. Beisemeyer is now back on the Nor-Am tour.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): The IBU World Cup tour is scheduled to resume Friday, Jan. 6, in Forni Avoltri, Italy. Bailey is ranked ninth in the overall Cup chase, while Burke is 37th. Meanwhile, Cook competed in Obertilliach, Austria, Dec. 14-17. She was 60th in the 7.5 km sprint and did not complete the 10 km pursuit. Cook did help anchor the U.S. squad to a 14th place finish in the mixed team relay.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series starts its second half this weekend in Altenberg, Germany. Napier is 15th in the overall two-man rankings and 12th in the chase for the four-man crown.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): The holiday break is over for the International Luge Federation’s World Cup athletes. Racing resumes this weekend in Koenigssee, Germany for Mazdzer and Sweeney, the sister of 18 year old 2010 Olympian Megan Sweeney (they grew up in of Suffield, Connecticut, but their father is from Saranac Lake). Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, returns to the tour after spending the first half of the season in Lake Placid testing equipment. Sweeney opened the season winning two junior World Cup crowns before joining the senior squad in Calgary, Canada.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong and Ryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) teamed up to compete in the FIS World Cup Nordic combined team sprint, Friday, Dec. 16. The two combined to finish sixth in the HS 109/2×7.5 km event. This weekend’s World Cup stop in Schonach, Germany has been canceled. The tour’s next event is the following weekend in Chaux Neuve, France.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette made is FIS Continental Cup debut, Dec. 22-28, in Engelberg, Switzerland. He was 69th in Tuesday’s event and 52nd Wednesday. He’s getting ready to jump again, Jan. 7-8, in Kranj, Slovenia.

Photo: Emily Sweeney watches the action after her second run at Calgary. Courtesy USA Luge.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Outlook for Adirondack Ski Areas

It’s no secret that it’s been a difficult start to the ski season. Besides a notable lack of snowfall, the cold temperatures that ski areas need for snowmaking operations have so far been hard to come by.

I started my ski season on Thanksgiving weekend, when both Gore and Whiteface opened for the 2011-2012 season, and I’ve now got several days at both mountains under my belt. Although trail choices have been limited (both mountains are about 20% open as of this writing), conditions have been surprisingly good, thanks to efficient snowmaking plants and modern grooming equipment. You can check out my most recent visits to Gore and Whiteface here and here. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

For a lot of area athletes, the first half of their international competition schedules are wrapping up. Some will be returning home for some much needed rest and prepare for the second half of their competition tours. Below are some of the results from this past weekend.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series visited Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy, where Weibrecht skied to a 20th place finish in Friday’s, Dec. 16, men’s Super G. Beisemeyer did not finish the race. High winds forced officials to cancel Saturday’s, Dec. 17, 50th running of the famed Saslong Classic downhill.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Hochfilzen, Austria hosted the IBU biathlon World Cup’s third stop of the season. Bailey skied to a 21st place result in Thursday’s, Dec. 15, 10 km event, while Burke was 63rd. Bailey was 25th in Saturday’s 12.5 km pursuit, while Burke did not race. Burke and Cook teamed up with Sara Studebaker (Boise, Idaho) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) in Sunday’s mixed relay and finished 14th. Cook also made her World Cup debut, finishing 60th in Friday’s 7.5 km race and she did not complete Saturday’s 10 km pursuit.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The third stop of the FIBT World Cup bobsled series took the world’s top sliders to Winterberg, Germany where they battled high winds and blowing snow throughout the weekend. Napier drove his two-man sled to a 14th place finish, Saturday, and a 13th place showing in Sunday’s, Dec. 18, four-man event.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series paid a visit to Seefeld, Austria. Partnering with Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Demong finished sixth in Friday’s team sprint event. Saturday, Demong did not qualify out of the jumping round.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette did not jump this weekend. He’s still awaiting his 2011-’12 season debut.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update on Local World Cup Winter Athletes

The holidays are almost here and local world-class athletes were trying to pick up more valuable World Cup points, last weekend, Dec. 9-11, before the break.

Alpine Skiing:

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series stop in Val d Isere, France was cancelled due to a lack of snow. Weibrecht, Beisemeyer and the rest of the U.S. alpine squad began racing in Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy today, Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Biathlon:

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Hochfilzen, Austria played host to last weekend’s IBU biathlon World Cup stop. In Friday’s 10 km sprint, Bailey posted a 14th place result, while Burke was 42nd. During Saturday’s pursuit, Bailey was 17th, while Burke was 47th. Bailey is currently ranked seventh in the series standings. The race weekend wrapped up with the team relay, and Bailey and Burke, along with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), finished ninth. Meanwhile, Cook made her international debut this season, competing in the IBU Cup event, held in Ridnaun, Italy. She was 59th in Saturday’s 15 km individual race and 36th in Sunday’s 7.5 km sprint.

Bobsled:

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series stopped in LaPlagne, France over the weekend. Napier drove his two-man sled to an 11th place finish, Saturday, and a 13th place result during Sunday’s four-man event.

Nordic Combined:

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series was in Ramsau, Austria. Demong posted his best World Cup result, 11th, since the Olympic season. He was 14th after the jump and started eighth in the cross country ski.

Ski Jumping:

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette was scheduled to make his FIS Cup debut in Garmisch P., Germany, but that event was cancelled due to weather.

Photo: Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy (Photo provided).


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Local Winter Atheletes World Cup Results

It was a successful World Cup week for several Lake Placid area athletes. Many posted their first top-10s of the season and two raced to career-best World Cup finishes.

Alpine Skiing
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series stopped in Beaver Creek, Colo. last weekend, Dec. 2-5. Weibrecht skied to a World Cup career-best 10th in Saturday’s Super G. The finish matched his career-best World Cup downhill result, also in Beaver Creek, in 2007. In Friday’s downhill race, Weibrecht was 32nd. Beisemeyer did not finish Sunday’s giant slalom race.

Biathlon
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.): The IBU Biathlon World Cup series opened in Oestersund, Sweden. In Wednesday’s, Nov. 30, men’s 20 km race, Bailey skied to a ninth place result, while Burke was 58th. Bailey and Burke both had strong results in Friday’s, Dec. 2, 10 km sprint and Sunday’s 12.5 km pursuit. Bailey finished a career-high fifth Friday, while Burke was 12th. Burke’s best finish from the weekend came on Sunday when he completed the pursuit ninth, while Bailey posted a 13th place result.

Bobsled
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series got underway over the weekend, when the world’s top sliders visited the 1976 Olympic track in Igls, Austria. Napier piloted his sled to an 18th place finish in Saturday’s two-man race and followed up that result with a 12th place showing in Sunday’s four-man event.

Nordic Combined
Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series visited Lillehammer, Norway. Demong was 25th Saturday, but was disqualified at Sunday’s event. He will compete next weekend, Dec. 10-11, Ramsau, Austria.

Elsewhere, ski jumper Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and biathlete Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) did not compete last weekend. Frenette is gearing up for his first international competition this season, a FIS Cup event, Dec. 17-18, in Garmisch P., Germany. Meanwhile, Cook is preparing for next weekend’s IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy.

Photo: Tim Burke.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Double H Ranch’s Adaptive Winter Sports Program

Sometime in early January, the first participants in Double H Ranch’s Adaptive Winter Sports Program will begin arriving at Double H’s facility in Lake Luzerne. The program offers children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to participate in downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Around 30 children per day typically participate in the program, which runs every winter weekend from January through March. Most children participate for 3 or 4 days over the course of the winter, and five Family Sleepover Weekends allow the entire family to participate in winter sports together.

The program takes place on Double H’s ski slopes, which are equipped with a double chairlift and snowmaking. Like all programs at Double H, the Adaptive Winter Sports Program is offered completely free of charge to participants, and thousands of children and their families have been served since the program’s inception in 1998.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adirondack Winter Atheletes Update, Outlook

A number of Adirondack athletes have been competing in World Cup and international events around the globe. Here’s how they fared over the past several days, and the outlook ahead:

In alpine skiing, Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht and Keene’s Tommy Beisemeyer competed in the World Cup series opener in Lake Louise, Canada. Weibrecht, the 2010 Olympic Super G bronze medalist, finished 30th in Saturday’s, men’s Super G event. Beisemeyer did not finish the race, but both are off to Beaver Creek, Colo. for this week’s Audi Birds of Prey World Cup.

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths will headline the American squad at the IBU Biathlon Workd Cup series which opens today, Dec. 1, in Ostersund, Sweden.

Bobsled’s Europa-Cup series visited Koenigssee, Germany over the weekend and Lake Placid’s John Napier, a 2010 Olympian, piloted his two-man sled to a fifth place finish on Saturday. The following day Napier drove to a 13th place result in the four-man event. The World Cup tour begins this weekend, Dec. 2-4, in Igls, Austria.

High winds in Kuusamo, Finland forced officials to cancel Saturday’s nordic combined jump and instead use Friday’s provisional round for seeding. Vermontville’s Billy Demong was 30th in that round and started his ski more than three minutes back. The two-time Olympic medalist was the 11th fastest skier on the course and finished 19th overall. The series moves on to Lillehammer, Norway for a pair of events this weekend.

Photo: Andrew Weibrecht (Courtesy U.S. Ski Team).


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.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Commentary: ORDA Privatization Not The Answer

In a recent editorial, the Glens Falls Post-Star stated “it’s time for officials to re-think the financial and ownership model” underlying the New York State-owned winter sports facilities managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), including the Gore and Whiteface Mountain ski centers.

The Post-Star argues that declining taxpayer support for these facilities (the state currently contributes $4.6 million dollars to ORDA’s $30 million annual budget, down from a $7 million contribution in 2008-09), jeopardizes their future viability. “For the sake of the Adirondack economy and for the towns and counties that thrive on the successful operation of these venues” the Post Star’s editorial staff suggests “a different approach is needed.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adirondack Backcountry Skiing Season Preview

“More monster snowstorms in the Northeast?”

So asks the headline on AccuWeather’s website. And the answer appears to be yes.

AccuWeather says the La Nina effect means the Midwest and much of the Northeast can expect a cold and snowy winter. Paul Pastelok, a meteorologist with the weather-forecasting service, predicts that arctic air blowing across the Great Lakes will generate above-normal lake-effect snowfalls.

“Overall, precipitation is expected to be above normal throughout most of the Northeast from January into February,” according to AccuWeather. “With the exception of northern parts of New York and New England, temperatures are forecast to average near normal for the winter season.”

So if you put any stock in long-range forecasts, this could be a great winter for backcountry skiing.

Even if they don’t believe the weatherman, backcountry skiers have something to look forward to this winter: new terrain.

In August, Tropical Storm Irene created or lengthened more than a dozen slides in the High Peaks, many of which should provide exciting skiing for those with the requisite skills and gear.

A big caveat: slides can and do avalanche. In 2000, a skier died in an avalanche on a slide on Wright Peak. Avalanches have occurred elsewhere in the Adirondacks as well, usually triggered by skiers, snowshoers, or ice climbers. Slide skiers should carry a beacon, probe, and shovel and know how to use them. And they should know how to gauge avalanche potential.

So far, I have climbed only five of the new slides, those on Wright, Cascade, Saddleback, Little Colden, and Colden. Click here to read about them in the new issue of the Adirondack Explorer.

Two slides that are likely to get skied a lot are on Wright Peak and Lower Wolf Jaw.

The one on Wright scoured a streambed that can be followed to a steep headwall. The streambed also will facilitate access to the nearby Angel Slides, where the skier died in 2000. Skiers will be able to bag the Angel Slides and the new slide in one outing. The streambed is reached by a short bushwhack from Marcy Dam. The new slide is a mile long.

Bennies Brook Slide on Lower Wolf Jaw has long been a popular ski destination. In the past, skiers followed a path through the woods to reach the slide. Irene extended the slide all the way to the Southside Trail and Johns Brook. With the easier access and additional terrain, Bennies will be more popular than ever.

Irene also has affected some popular trails used by backcountry skiers. Most noteworthy is that floods caused by the storm washed away the bridge at Marcy Dam.Skiers who started at Adirondak Loj used the bridge en route to Mount Marcy or Avalanche Lake. Thanks to Irene, they will have to cross the frozen pond (now largely a mudflat) or approach the dam via the Marcy Dam Truck Trail instead of the trail from the Loj.

The bridge at the start of the Klondike Notch Trail also was washed away. Skiers can still reach the trail by skiing up the Marcy Dam Truck Trail and turning left onto the Mr. Van Trail.

The Adirondack Ski Touring Council reports that Irene did minimal damage to the Jackrabbit and other ski trails maintained by the council. Repairs are scheduled to be made this fall.

Photo of Bennies Brook Slide by Carl Heilman II.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


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