It was my first ski of the season. November 12th isn’t my earliest start to the ski season, but I was feeling pretty good about it.
Not surprisingly, I ran into Ron Konowitz, president of the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. It was Ron’s thirteenth day on skis.
We talked for several minutes about the association’s campaign to maintain ski glades in the Forest Preserve. Adirondack Almanack reported on this initiative back in May. Since then, the association has been meeting with environmental activists and government officials to drum up support.
Konowitz is hopeful that the idea will win approval. So far, he said, he has not encountered much outright opposition. However, not everyone has made up his or her mind.
Essentially, the Adirondack Powder Skier Association wants to trim brush and saplings and cut or remove blowdown in natural glades to keep them suitable for skiing.
One big question is whether or not the maintenance of ski glades would require an amendment to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which dictates what can and cannot be done in the Forest Preserve.
At a public meeting in May at Saranac High School, an official with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said it would be illegal to maintain glades in the Preserve under the existing plan. Amending the plan is a difficult and time-consuming process.
Konowitz, however, said yesterday that the skier association believes that glades are analogous to trails and thus could be allowed without an amendment.
Ultimately, it will be up to the Adirondack Park Agency, which administers the master plan, to rule on the legal issue. Typically, the APA consults with DEC on master-plan questions.
APA spokesman Keith McKeever said the agency is aware of ski-glade initiative. “We’ve had a few informal meetings with the Powder Skier Association,” he said. “We’re encouraging them to do some research and present some proposals.”
The association has attracted a fair amount of publicity for its initiative. Articles have already appeared in the Adirondack Explorer, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Powder Magazine, and Adirondack Life, and Konowitz said one will appear soon in Backcountry Magazine. The organization recently created a Facebook page.
As to the skiing … conditions on the highway were very good. With recent snowfalls, it was possible to begin skiing right at the tollhouse. It’s supposed to warm this week, so the thin snow at the bottom of the road might melt. Even so, there should be skiing at higher elevations.
Photos by Phil Brown: the Whiteface Highway (top) and Ron Konowitz.