Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Backcountry Skiing Over? A Jackrabbit Trail Report

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were predicting we’d get more than six inches, perhaps a lot more. They were wrong. We got only two or three, which prettified the woods, but it wasn’t enough to turn the season around for backcountry skiers.

There is still hope: the National Weather Services predicts Saranac Lake, where the Explorer office is located, could get three to five more inches over the next few days. Again, not enough to turn the season around, but we’ll take it. And who knows? Maybe this time we’ll get more than predicted.

On my lunch hour, I skied the Jackrabbit Trail from McKenzie Pond Road to McKenzie Pond to check out the conditions. The first thirty or so yards of the trail were scratchy, owing to exposed tree roots. After that, cover was thin but adequate for the two miles to the pond.

Keep in mind, however, that this section of the Jackrabbit doesn’t require a lot of cover to be skiable. I’d be leery of skiing trails with lots of boulders. If they were problematic before yesterday’s snowfall, they probably still are.

The larger problem on my trip was the quality of the snow: it was very sticky. I was on my Karhu Pinnacles, which are waxless skis. If I had thought to bring glide wax, I might have been OK. As it was, I had to stop numerous times to scrape the snow off the bottoms of the skis. I’d go twenty feet and could feel the snow building up again. It was frustrating and not much fun.

Here’s hoping that the snow on it’s way will be fluffy.

Photo of the Jackrabbit Trail at lunchtime today courtesy Phil Brown.

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Phil Brown

Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.




3 Responses

  1. Sue says:

    We noticed a period of heavy sleet or something similar last evening (the 19th) while outside int he evening, confirmed by the thick layer of frozen gunk on the windshield this morning. Could be what caused all that sticking!

  2. Ron Kon says:

    Basing a published ski report from just one ski on the Mac Pond section near Saranac Lake seems alittle short sided Phil. The Old Mountain Road section has perfect cover. Try Keene, Lake Placid, Paul Smiths, Coreys ,Newcomb, or just about anywhere in the High Peaks. 20 inches up high from this past storm system. Great Back Country skiing still!
    And for those who like to ride the lifts, Whiteface is having a phenomenal year with Spring rates and 18 inches in the past 72 hours. It’s never over til Ullr says its over! Ski Ya Later Phil!

  3. Phil Brown says:

    Ron, I didn’t say the season was over (despite what the headline suggests). Nor did I intend the report to be comprehensive. I simply reported on the conditions I found after the storm in my neck of the woods. I hope to get deeper into the backcountry this weekend.

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