Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Western Adirondacks Best Bet For Nordic Skiers

The view this morning from Baker Mountain outside Saranac Lake.The Tug Hill region east of Lake Ontario got clobbered by a lake-effect snowstorm Tuesday.  I was hoping we’d get a decent snowfall in Saranac Lake, but we received only a little more than a dusting. The woods on Baker Mountain looked pretty this morning, but they would have made for ugly skiing.

The western Adirondacks, however, picked up several inches of fresh snow.

Chris Tapper, business manager of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company in Old Forge, said the Old Forge area got about five inches of light snow. The area now has about eight inches on the ground, and Tapper said most trails favored by Nordic enthusiasts should be skiable.

“Wider skis are going to be the tool of choice, because it’s light, fluffy snow,” Tapper said.

Rick Kovacs, owner of the Wanakena General Store, said Wanakena area received about six inches of snow Tuesday on top of a two-to-three-inch base. He said skiing should be good on most trails.

In contrast, there are few, if any, opportunities for backcountry skiing in the Lake Placid region. Tony Goodwin, the executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, said he cannot recommend even the Marcy Dam Truck Trail—which requires only a few inches of base to be skiable.

Goodwin said he has seen winters like this before (including in 1980, the year Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics). “It’s certainly not unprecedented,” he said. “Unfortunately, it seems to become less unusual with every passing year.”

One Nordic option might be ponds. I skied on several ponds in the Fish Creek Ponds region last weekend. Conditions were superb. Since then, we’ve had wind, rain, subzero temperatures, and a dusting of snow. The ice should still be solid, but I can’t vouch for the surface conditions. As always, be aware that ice on a pond often is thin or non-existent where there is a current even if the ice is several inches thick elsewhere on the pond.

For now, the best bet for trail skiing is the western Adirondacks. Unfortunately, the National Weather Service is forecasting freezing rain this weekend.

“If people are going to ski, they better do it now,” Tapper said.

Photo: The view this morning from Baker Mountain outside Saranac Lake.

The post Western Adirondacks Best Bet For Nordic Skiers appeared first on Adirondack Explorer.

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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. Charlie S says:

    Nothing ever stays the same,always we can expect variations from the norm….if there is sucha thing as norm.In my grandfather’s letters of the early 1970’s he went on and on about how much he was sick and tired of all the snow.He recorded close to,or over,200 inches in one winter way back then in Blue Mountain Lake.It has been comical going through his letters (to my dad)the way he griped so much about all of the snow.He said the snow was piled so high on Durant Road back then that he would have been able to touch the electric wires overhead were he to stand on the ploughed heaps. Snow is beneficent in many ways as much as some of us would rather not see any at all.I love the snow and cold,and I hope we have lots more of both before winter’s end,though,at the same time,I hope the wild animals,especially deer,fare well and there’s no suffering on their part due to extreme depths,which evidently is not the case yet.

  2. loggerhead says:

    My New Years wish….. groomed Nordic trails for classic and skate on the wonderful Essex Chain existing logging roads network…the Newcomb to Indian Lake Loppet !

  3. Teresa Rozycki says:

    Both McCauley Ski Mountain and the cross country trails surrounding it are in great shape. But, with the coming of high temps and rain this weekend, who knows. Best hit them today.