Jeff Farbaniec, of Saratoga County, is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.
Jeff's emphasis at the Almanack is on the ski sports - everything and anything related to Adirondack skiing. Jeff lives in Wilton, just south of the Blue Line, with his wife and their two young children.
Last winter’s mild temperatures and lack of snow left winter sports enthusiasts disappointed, but there is already snow on many summits and die-hards earned turns on the Whiteface Memorial Highway several weeks ago. It looks like the start of the downhill season could be just a few weeks away.
It may seem like fall is reluctant to give up its grip on the northeast, but ski season is just around the corner. Gore and Whiteface are targeting the day after Thanksgiving to start spinning their lifts, with most other New York ski areas following suit shortly thereafter. Here’s a look at what’s new for skiers and riders across the region. » Continue Reading.
If you’re a skier or snowboarder, the best time of year is almost here. With overnight temperatures dipping below freezing, ski areas around the region have begun firing up their snowmaking equipment to prepare for the start of the 2014-15 ski season.
Crews have been busy with projects all summer and fall, here’s a look at what they’ve been up to. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is soliciting comments regarding their plan to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), the document which governs management of the state-owned “forever wild” lands of the Adirondack Park. It’s the first time the SLMP has been substantially amended in more than 25 years, and represents a critical opportunity for advocates of backcountry skiing.
Among the changes that are being considered is a proposal from the Adirondack Powder Skier Association (APSA) to explicitly allow for the creation and maintenance of designated backcountry ski touring trails on Forest Preserve lands classified as Wild Forest and Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
This is the time of year when skiers’ anticipation is at its peak. The first snows have already whitened the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, signaling winter’s approach.
If you’re a die-hard skier, you’ve lined up your season pass and tuned up your equipment. You wear your pajamas inside-out and you’ve flushed a tray of ice cubes down the toilet (trust me, it works) to ensure a winter of bountiful snow.
Maybe you’ve even had a bonfire to sacrifice a pair of skis to Ullr, the Norse god of snow and skiing. All that’s left now is waiting for the chairlifts to start spinning. Ski areas in the region have been busy too, working on improvements and upgrades all summer and fall. Here’s a quick look at what they’ve been up to. » Continue Reading.
ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), the volunteer group that ran Big Tupper Ski Area for the winters of 2010-11 and 2011-12, recently announced that Big Tupper will be open for the 2013-14 season. The ski area did not operate last winter due to a shortfall of funds and volunteer burnout.
Keeping any ski area open and running is great for the sport. Small, local hills like Big Tupper are vitally important because they provide a lower-cost alternative and they introduce people to skiing. Kudos to the volunteers at Big Tupper for all their efforts over the past few years. But it’s not all good news. » Continue Reading.
According to preliminary data for this year released by the National Ski Areas Association, after a disappointing 2011-12 winter, ski resorts reported an 11% increase in visitation nationally, with a 20% increase in skier visits in the Northeast region.
Not surprisingly given the reduced snowfall last year, results at Gore and Whiteface, both operated by the Olympic Region Development Authority (ORDA), improved significantly for the 2012-13 season. » Continue Reading.
New skis for Christmas? If so, your timing is about perfect. Snow conditions at Adirondack ski areas are arguably the best we’ve seen so far this season, and trail counts have been steadily expanding. If the storm that is predicted to drop a foot of snow region-wide tonight and tomorrow delivers as promised, ski conditions will be ideal.
We skied Sunday and Monday at Gore, where roughly 30% of the mountain’s trails were open. Snowmaking crews were at work getting more expert trails ready to come online. A very dense natural snow base on the unopened trails and in the glades means that trail counts could expand significantly with some natural snow. Recent reports from Whiteface show similar conditions there. » Continue Reading.
It may be hard to believe that we’re a month into the ski season, but Whiteface kicked things off on November 17 with its earliest opening in nearly 10 years. Following rain and warm temperatures last week, snowmaking and grooming crews have been able get trails resurfaced quickly, and skiers heading to the slopes this weekend should see some of the best conditions of the season so far. I skied at Whiteface on Wednesday (you can read my report here), and was amazed at how good the skiing was just 36 hours after last Monday’s rain. Other skiers that I’ve spoken with report similar current conditions at Gore. » Continue Reading.
Maybe it’s pent-up demand following last year’s lackluster ski season, but skiers seem more excited than usual about the approaching ski season. Adirondack ski areas are eagerly anticipating a bounce back from last winter’s disappointing snowfall too, and have been busy with upgrades and improvements all summer.
Snow this weekend meant some tentative trips down the Whiteface Memorial Highway, and cold temperatures last night have kicked-off snowmaking at Gore and Whiteface. » Continue Reading.
Skiers will have more terrain choices this winter at Titus Mountain, in Malone. 15 new trails, eleven of which are glades, have been added, bringing the ski area’s trail count to 42. The new terrain encompasses all ability levels, from beginner to expert. A second terrain park has also been added, and a major expansion of the ski area’s base lodge is underway. “We’ve completely gutted and renovated the lodge,” said Bruce Monette, Principal at Titus. “People will not recognize the place.”
The expansion comes less than a year after Monette and his two brothers, Brian and Christopher, purchased the ski area from long-time owner Paul Augustine. “With all the changes, upgrades and excitement, we’ve modernized the logo and website and are calling ourselves the “New” Titus Mountain.” » Continue Reading.
It’s official. The 2011-12 ski season was the worst in 20 years. That’s according to the National Ski Areas Association’s (NSAA) preliminary end-of-season survey released last week. Nationwide, skier visits were down by more than 15%, to their lowest levels since the 1991-92 ski season. The season was characterized by low snowfall and mild winter weather across nearly the entire U.S.
All this comes as no surprise to skiers or anyone who enjoys winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks. Natural snowfall was sparse, and a lack of cold temperatures hampered snowmaking operations all season long. By the end of March, every ski area in New York State had closed for the season, casualties of the month’s record-setting warmth. Jon Lundin, Public Relations Coordinator for the Olympic Region Development Authority (ORDA), which operates the Gore and Whiteface Mountain ski centers, estimates a 14% decrease in visitation across all of ORDA’s venues for the 2011-12 season. » Continue Reading.
Nordic skiers in the northern Adirondacks will want to keep Tupper Lake’s free, groomed cross-country trail system on their radar screen. Expected snowfall should have the 10k trail network skiable this weekend. The trails are located on town-owned land and can be accessed from the Tupper Lake Country Club or Big Tupper Ski Area.
Even though the trail system has been in existence for 40 years, it’s something of a well-kept secret. “We’d like to change that,” says John Gillis, one of a half dozen community volunteers who maintain the trails in winter using snowmobiles and a variety of grooming and track-setting equipment. The trail system is free of charge, open to the public 24/7 (conditions permitting) and is dog-friendly. The trail system’s website and Facebook page are updated frequently with current conditions and grooming reports. Upcoming events include:
– February 4th, 6 pm: Full Moon ski and bonfire at the Cranberry Pond Picnic Area.
– February 11th, 6 pm: Skiing with the Stars. If the night is clear a telescope will be set up.
– February 18th, 10 am: Lumberjack Scramble Ski Race.
– February 25th, 6 pm: Skiing with the Stars. If the night is clear a telescope will be set up.
– March 2nd, 6 pm: Winterfest Bonfire at Cranberry Pond.
Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.
It’s no secret that it’s been a difficult start to the ski season. Besides a notable lack of snowfall, the cold temperatures that ski areas need for snowmaking operations have so far been hard to come by.
I started my ski season on Thanksgiving weekend, when both Gore and Whiteface opened for the 2011-2012 season, and I’ve now got several days at both mountains under my belt. Although trail choices have been limited (both mountains are about 20% open as of this writing), conditions have been surprisingly good, thanks to efficient snowmaking plants and modern grooming equipment. You can check out my most recent visits to Gore and Whiteface here and here. » Continue Reading.
Sometime in early January, the first participants in Double H Ranch’s Adaptive Winter Sports Program will begin arriving at Double H’s facility in Lake Luzerne. The program offers children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to participate in downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Around 30 children per day typically participate in the program, which runs every winter weekend from January through March. Most children participate for 3 or 4 days over the course of the winter, and five Family Sleepover Weekends allow the entire family to participate in winter sports together. The program takes place on Double H’s ski slopes, which are equipped with a double chairlift and snowmaking. Like all programs at Double H, the Adaptive Winter Sports Program is offered completely free of charge to participants, and thousands of children and their families have been served since the program’s inception in 1998.» Continue Reading.