The tour from Adirondak Loj to Avalanche Lake in the High Peaks Wilderness may be the best day trip for intermediate skiers in the Adirondacks. Both the scenery and skiing are superb.
The scenic highlight is Avalanche Lake, a sliver of frozen water walled in by the cliffs on Mount Colden and Avalanche Mountain. This iconic Adirondack landscape is stunning in any season, but skiing across the ice offers a perspective impossible to obtain in summer.
The skiing highlight is a half-mile downhill on the return from Avalanche Pass on one of the few trails in the High Peaks designed for skiing.
How hard is the descent? That’s a question asked by probably every skier contemplating the trip for the first time. Of course, the answer depends on conditions, but you can get some idea of what’s involved by watching a video I made this past weekend. I strapped a point-and-shoot camera to my chest before making the descent.
Note: I pretty much pointed my skis straight down the trail. Others may prefer to check their speed by making more turns or stemming their skis.
Mine isn’t the only YouTube video on Adirondack backcountry skiing. Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides has posted two lengthy clips, with music. One was taken on the Whale’s Tail and Wright Peak ski trails during the 2008 Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival. The other is from the Angel Slides on Wright Peak. Their links follow.
You also might be interested in another video I posted last week: a five-minute clip of my descent from McKenzie Pass on the Jackrabbit Trail. Again, I had the camera strapped to my chest.
You can find a number shorter clips, usually less than a minute, by searching for “Adirondack ski” on YouTube.
Incidentally, I took several short clips during my ski to Avalanche Lake. I plan to stitch them together in a video montage. If and when I do, I’ll let you know.
For more articles on skiing and other outdoor adventure, visit the Adirondack Explorer website.
Photo by Phil Brown: Looking toward Avalanche Pass from Marcy Dam.