Sunday, March 31, 2024

An Early Spring Irving Pond Cross-Country Ski Trip

I decided to take advantage of Saturday’s (March 23) snow dump and go cross-country skiing today, March 26. Last year when I tried to ski, the sole fell off a pair of brand new boots that had been in my closet. Since 3 pin boots are no longer an option, a local shop put new bindings on my 80s skis (which I refuse to part with). Good thing I tried to put the new boots in the new bindings before I left the house! I could not figure them out–I finally had to watch a video because once one boot was in, I could not figure out how to release it.

Done with all that tomfoolery, I headed to Irving Pond in Caroga Lake. Years ago, I went every Saturday. I was incentivized by promising myself a stop at Maple Tree Knoll for an apres ski drink. Nick, the owner, was known far and wide for his mixing skills. Even if I was the only one there, he would come out from behind the bar, start a fire in the parlor, bring me a drink, and set out snacks. If I tried to leave after only one, he insisted on buying me one more. Nick’s family still lives there, but no longer operates it as a restaurant.

There is a small, plowed parking area at Irving Pond. I go up the path and into the woods, but others prefer to ski the Nick Stoner Golf Course. The beginning of the trail is flat for a short way, following a creek. Then it goes up a little bit. At the top, where the dam used to be, I head further into the woods. There is a nice balance of up and downhills. I normally ski to the point where there is a little bridge and an intersection, but right near that spot, there was a lot of exposed water and rocks, so I turned back. Even though it was over 40 degrees, snow conditions were great. There was good glide and I did not even need wax. If you go, be aware that you will share the trail with snowmobiles (next season).

Places to visit while you’re in Caroga Lake:

Slate (restaurant/bar/formerly “The Outlet”)

Vrooman’s (restaurant/bar)

The Lakeview Store (formerly “Grooms”)

Royal Mountain Ski Area

All photos by the author.

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I am a retired teacher who enjoys the outdoors, especially the Adirondacks. My parents took us camping when we were kids, then we attended 4-H Camp in Speculator (a former CCC camp). As an adult, I served on the Camp board for 8 years. I went to my friend's camp in Bloomingdale (Saranac) for 10 years. We enjoyed cross country skiing, canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing, etc. I still hike, cross country and downhill ski, snowshoe. I bicycle and ride a Harley. I play the organ at a 300 year old church.




7 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    That looks like a great day.

  2. Derrick says:

    Why are 3pin boots no longer an option for you? They still make some nice ones, I have a couple year old pair of Alpinas that look just like your picture but 3pin.

  3. laura bellinger says:

    Hi, Derrick! Where were you able to find them? No physical stores near me sell them. I found only one pair online and they didn’t fit in my bindings correctly.

    • Derrick says:

      The Mountaineer in Keene Valley had them in stock, about 1hr45min from me but we were in the area. Their website still shows a few options so maybe try there if folks are looking to stick with 3pin! (I am not affiliated)

  4. Suzanne Hamalak says:

    Thanks for the shout out Laura! I miss my Dad and all of our wonderful customers. More snow is on the way.. happy spring!

    • laura bellinger says:

      Hi, Suzy! I miss your Dad too! I’ve been getting lazy since I don’t have an excuse to stop to see you guys!

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