I’d say we got at least a foot in Saranac Lake. That would be in line with North Country snowfall totals reported by the National Weather Service: 16 inches in Duane Center (northern Franklin County), 14 inches in Malone, and 13 inches in Tupper Lake.
Michael Muccilli, a meteorologist with the service, said the northern parts of Herkimer and Hamilton counties got 6 to 12 inches.
And up to two feet fell in the High Peaks, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
With all this powder, skiing in the backcountry should be primo this weekend.
There is so much fresh snow, however, that you may get bogged down if you’re on a trail that hasn’t been broken in. This afternoon, I climbed through some local woods for a short descent. On the steeper pitches, the skiing was great, but as soon as the terrain mellowed, I found myself shuffling and poling. See short video below.
You might be tempted to ski one of the slides right away. However, DEC warns that the storm increased the risk of an avalanche. Indeed, many avalanches are triggered soon after a heavy snowfall. It’s always better to wait several days to give the snow a chance to settle. Even then, conditions may not be safe. You should take into account past weather events and analyze the snow by digging pits and looking for weak layers. If you don’t know how to do this, you probably shouldn’t be skiing slides.
And if you do ski a slide, you and each of your partners should bring an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel—and know how to use them.
For more information on avalanches, check out this page on DEC’s website.
Get out and enjoy the snow, but be safe.