An all day event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council (ASTC) and the establishment of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail will take place on November 12, 2016 at the Cascade XC Ski Center in Lake Placid.
Early in the day, Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) will lead a hiking tour of the Jackrabbit Trail and a new ski and bike trail network under development on the site of the old Scott’s Cobble Ski Area in North Elba, followed by a gathering at Cascade XC Ski Center for the BETA annual meeting and a party with live music, food and drink, a bonfire, and surely a bit of story telling by ASTC and Jackrabbit Trail veterans. » Continue Reading.
Wilmington is gaining a reputation as a mountain-bike mecca, but what’s less well known is that many of the biking trails in town make great ski trails.
Mike Lynch, a writer/photographer with the Adirondack Explorer, and I learned this firsthand when we skied a trail called Poor Man’s Downhill with Keith McKeever this week.
Keith happens to be the spokesman for the Adirondack Park Agency, but he also is active in the Barkeater Trail Alliance (BETA), a group of mountain bikers that has been creating and maintaining bike trails in Wilmington, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake. As noted in an earlier article on Adirondack Almanack this week, BETA recently merged with the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. » Continue Reading.
After nearly thirty years in the post, Tony Goodwin is resigning as executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, the organization that created and still maintains the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, a popular backcountry route that connects Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Keene.
“I am actually of retirement age. I had been thinking that when someone with the right skill set comes along that it would be time to bow out,” said Goodwin, who lives in Keene. » Continue Reading.
Glen Plake is skiing into Keene Valley from Chamonix, France to join The Mountaineer’s 10th annual Adirondack Back Country Ski Festival on March 3rd and 4th.
The annual charity event supports the Adirondack Ski Touring Council and the New York Ski Educational Foundation and allows back country ski enthusiasts a chance to demo equipment take clinics and enjoy an evening with Glen Plake on Saturday night at the Keene Central School’s “Beaver Dome” in Keene Valley at 7:30 pm. Plake will be here compliments of Julbo, the glacier and fashion sun glass company. Other sponsors who are supporting the event and providing raffle items for Saturday night include Back Country Ski magazine, Dynafit, Primaloft, Voile-USA, Marmot, Madshus, Garmont, Scarpa, Mammut, G3, and adkbcski.com. A ski tour and Intermediate and Advanced back country ski clinics are guided by Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides of Keene Valley.
The event’s sponsors will also be providing demos for on snow testing from 10 to 2:30 on Saturday. Plake will be on hand and there will be free telemark, skinning and avalanche beacon clinics. The demo event location will be announced on the 27th.
We plan just a jaunt to stretch our legs on the Lake Clear section of the Jackrabbit Trail. We are only going a small part of the nine-mile trail that starts near the Lake Clear junction and ends at the Paul Smith College Visitor’s Interpretive Center (VIC).
We struggle over the steep snow banks that line Route 30, throwing our snowshoes and skis ahead of us. With the recent dumping of snow we have to knock our feet into the snow to make steps up the embankment. We sit on the edge of the snow bank and quickly strap on our skis. When we reach the Jackrabbit trailhead sign my son notes that we are standing about four feet above the ground. Cars rush past but the tree cover soon muffles the sound. Even on skis we sink into the fresh snow. There are more popular sections to the 33-mile trail but this one fits our needs.
The conditions are perfect. We follow the corridor of telephone poles. Snowmobile and ski tracks are on either side of us. We skirt around the poles trying to avoid the heavy ice that hangs from the lines above.
The Jackrabbit Trail was modeled after the European tradition of cross-country ski journeying. In certain European countries towns are linked with trails allowing skiers to travel smoothly between villages, eating and sleeping along the way.
I’m sure there are people that have completed the whole Jack Rabbit trail in day. We will not be one of them. For families the Jack Rabbit Trail is a perfect opportunity to get out on skis and enjoy the Adirondack backcountry.
Named in memory of Herman (Jackrabbit) Johannsen, the Jackrabbit Trail is constructed and maintained by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. The 33-mile, multi-sectioned cross-country ski trail connects the towns of Paul Smiths, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Keene. The Lake Clear section is accessed about a half mile north on Route 30 from the Route 30/186 junction. There is a small sign across from the old Lake Clear Elementary School.
For more information on the Jackrabbit Trail please contact the Adirondack Ski Touring Council at 518-523-1365.
For advanced skiers who are looking forward to hitting the High Peaks this winter, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council has some good news: There are now fewer opportunities to get skewered by branches or whapped in the face by evergreen boughs when skiing down Mount Marcy.
Tony Goodwin, executive director of the council, joined two other local skiers last September to prune trees along the 7.5 mile trail from Adirondack Loj to the summit of the state’s highest peak. This was their second pruning trip in a year. Long a popular ski route as well as a hiking trail, it’s the only official ski trail to the top of a High Peak.
The route was first built with skiers in mind but has been allowed to grow inward over the years. Recently, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has allowed skiers to go in and clear the trail to the width allowed for skiing – six feet in most places, eight around turns.
The work, which included the use of expandable poles up to 20 feet long – the snow is often five to ten feet deep by March, meaning the dangerous branches are far overhead in summer – drew some curious stares by warm-weather passers-by. “People actually ski this trail?” was a frequent question, Goodwin said.
A week after their work on Marcy, a larger group headed to the Wright Mountain Ski Trail (which stops below the summit), which was also cleared of dangerous branches.
“We’re definitely making a noticeable improvement,” Goodwin said.
Backcountry skiing in the High Peaks has grown into a very popular sport in the past decade, with the advancement of high-tech alpine and telemark gear, a ski festival in March and the release of a photographic guide to skiing slides.
But many serious skiers complain the DEC has refused to consider making the mountains more backcountry ski-friendly, such as creating separate trails for skiers and hikers, allowing the widening of unofficial routes or permitting the pruning of small saplings in areas that would make nice glade skiing.
“They’ve definitely made it clear we can’t go too far beyond the six-foot width for trails,” Goodwin said.
In other ski news, the Town of North Elba has created a small parking lot on McKenzie Pond Road near Saranac Lake for users of the popular Jackrabbit Trail. The parking lot coincides with a new section of trail that takes advantage of an easement purchased by the council to ensure continued access from that point.
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