Posts Tagged ‘Cross-Country Skiing’

Sunday, January 8, 2012

‘Open House’ Weekends at Camp Santanoni

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb, and the Adirondack Ecological Center have announced that historic Camp Santanoni in Newcomb will be open for three special long “open house” weekends this winter. Over these weekends, cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit the Gatelodge and Main Lodge, get short interpretive tours with AARCH staff, and warm up at the Artist’s Studio before the return trip. These weekends will be January 14-16, February 18-20, and March 17-18.

Camp Santanoni was built beginning in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn and eventually consisted of more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, Gatelodge complex, and a huge rustic Main Lodge and other camp buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Santanoni was in private ownership until 1972 and over the last several decades, in state ownership, it has gradually been restored by a partnership between NYSDEC, AARCH, and the Town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

Camp Santanoni is one of the most popular cross-country ski destinations in the Adirondacks, and for good reason. The snow conditions are usually excellent, the trip itself is of only moderate intensity, and the camp on its remote lakeside setting makes for an interesting and most beautiful destination. The round-trip cross-country ski and showshoe trip is 9.8 miles on a gently sloping carriage road. People may visit Santanoni 365 days a year but these weekends are rare opportunities to visit the camp in winter, have a brief tour, and have a place to warm up.

As snow conditions so far in 2012 have been light, it is best to check in advance to make sure the road is suitable for skiing.

 


Monday, December 26, 2011

BurkeBeaner Coffee to Benefit Dewey Mountain

Home on holiday break from the World Cup circuit, Olympic biathlete Tim Burke has launched a limited-edition coffee with the Adirondack Bean-To. Proceeds from each bag of BurkeBeaner Hammer Roast sold this ski season will be donated to the campaign to build a new lodge at Dewey Mountain, where Burke learned to cross-country-ski race as a kid.

Burke went on to compete in two Olympics and to become the first American to lead the biathlon World Cup, in 2009.

“I support Dewey because of all the great opportunities it provided me,” Burke said. “This was the place I could come not only to ski but to be with friends, meet new people and live a healthy, active lifestyle. That was important to my childhood, and I’d like other kids to have that opportunity as well.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paul Smith’s College VIC Expands Winter Trails

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will have even more terrain to explore at the Paul Smith’s College VIC this winter. “We’ve made some significant upgrades,” said Brian McDonnell, the VIC’s director. “We’ve almost doubled the size of the trail system, and we now have trails to suit both classic and skate skiers.” A groomer purchased by Paul Smith’s College last winter will be used to maintain the expanded trail network.

Since the college acquired the VIC from the state in January, it has made improvements to the building and grounds. To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months.

“We’re trying to improve the trail system for the community, but we need to cover our expenses,” McDonnell said. “We’re on a five-year plan to make the VIC self-sustaining.”

Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Classic-ski trails will typically be groomed 4 feet wide with a track for both snowshoeing and classic skiing, while skating ski trails will be cut 7 to 10 feet wide and groomed to accommodate both skate and classic skiers. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit.

Some trails will also be designated for skijoring, or dog-drawn skiing. Leashed dogs are allowed on the snowshoe trails at anytime, as well.

Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions.

McDonnell said the trail network is likely to be expanded next year. The VIC staff has scouted a network of potential trails that could be added to the nature center, which covers nearly 3,000 acres.

“This is a transitional year, and future expansion will depend on how much interest we have from the community for the varied ski-trail network,” McDonnell said.

Fees:

Day pass

Under 6 years old: Free
Child (6-17): $5
Adult (18-64): $10
Senior (65+): $5
Current Paul Smith’s faculty, staff and alumni: $5
Current Paul Smith’s students: Free
Other college students: $5
Groups of 10 or more: $8 each

Season pass

Under 6 years old: Free
Child (6-17): $50
Adult (18-64): $75
Senior (65+): $ 50
Current Paul Smith’s faculty, staff and alumni: $50
Current Paul Smith’s students: Free
Other college students: $50
Family: $150 (Buy 2 adult season passes and children under 18 in the household ski free.)
Guest pass: Add an additional $25 to any season pass and bring a guest.

Snowshoe-only pass

Individual day pass: $5
Individual season pass: $50

Additionally, the VIC will rent cross-country skis for $25 a day and snowshoes for $15. Trail fees will be included in the cost of the rental.

Trail pass holders will be eligible for discounts on weekend events and program at the VIC, including bird watching walks; natural-history themed walks and events; and backcountry snowshoeing led by VIC staff up the Adirondack Low Peaks. Several other weekend programs are in the works.

For more information, call the Paul Smith’s College VIC at (518) 327-6241.

Photo: The pack sprints from the starting line during a snowshoe race at the Paul Smith’s College VIC (photo provided).


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake Placid Peninsula Nature Trails

Though there are many places to enjoy throughout the Adirondack Park, the small village trails are often the sweetest treat for families with young kids or anyone just wanting to stretch his/her legs.

The Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails in Lake Placid are situated on a parcel of 133 acres of land purchased by New York State in 1960.

According to the self-guiding pamphlet produced by The Garden Club of Lake Placid (with help from the Adirondack Ski Touring Council and the NYS DEC, the Brewster Peninsula trails were heavily logged in the 1940s with the exclusion of a small 200′ strip of untouched lakeshore.

Our main purpose for being in Lake Placid is to shop but with all the holiday craziness we need to get outside so we are taking the snow pants, boots and coats for a stroll around one of the Brewster Peninsula trails. The ground is hard and not much snow but we just need some fresh air. When we arrive we diplomatically choose one of the three trails; Lakeshore (0.8 mile loop, Boundary (0.9 mile loop) or Ridge (rock, paper, scissors). We go the Ridge Trail.

The Ridge Trail is the longest trail at a 1.3-mile loop. We pass the entrance gate and watch for signs to the right. The main path is the old logging road. It is a wide, relatively smooth dirt road. The legs of my daughter’s snow pants are rubbing together reminiscent of corduroys squeaking. She informs me that they are talking to her. I ask what they say and she replies, “They want me to run.” We oblige.

My son sword-fights with tree branches that have the audacity to be in his path. The trees retaliate by dumping melting snow down his back. The path is a gentle incline and the new boots seem to up to the task.

One short, more popular path, is the Boundary Trail. This 0.9 loop trail intersects with the popular Jackrabbit Trail and leads directly to the west side of Lake Placid lake. This trail also leads to the Shore Owner’s Association (SOA) dam. Along that path are wooded footpaths, roots to explore and a beautiful view of the lake.

Look for interpretive signs along the way (designed by Adirondack artist, Sheri Amsel) as well as benches in case members of your party need a moment of solitude. Enjoy these trails all year long on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skies.

From Saranac Ave (Route 86) in Lake Placid, turn onto Peninsula Way, between Howard Johnson’s Restaurant and the Comfort Inn and drive about 0.4 mile. Follow signs for Brewster Peninsula. Parking and entrance gate is to the left. Trail maps are available at the trailhead.

Photo from the dam at Brewster Peninsula used with permission of Diane Chase, the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities(with GPS Coordinates), covering the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene/Keene Valley, Jay/Upper Jay and Wilmington. Diane next guidebook of Adirondack Family Activities in this four-book series will cover the Adirondack Coast from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga.

 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Chili Full Moon Ski, Snowshoe

Though chances of snow in the Adirondacks for this weekend looks to be slim, the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb will still hold its first Full Moon Ski/Snowshoe and Chili party on Saturday, December 10 starting at 6:00 p.m.

According to Program Director Rebecca Oyer the focus of the event is to get people outside so if the snow isn’t available for this first event, the trails will be open to families and guests for a moonlit hike.

“This is the first year that the Adirondack Interpretive Center will be open for nighttime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, says Oyer. “People can come and either bring their own skis and snowshoes or borrow the snowshoes we have here. We also have child sized snowshoes available.”

Oyer encourages families to try snowshoeing around the Newcomb facility when the snow does come because it is a free opportunity to try the sport. She wants to remind people that snowshoes or skis are required on the Newcomb trails when there is snow.

“This first event will most likely be a hike. Each full moon event will start with a chili and cornbread meal and a quick orientation. If anyone has any questions about the menu, just give me a call. People are going to have to sign in once they get here for safety reasons. We want to make sure we know who is out on the trail,” insists Oyer. “The focus is being outside and having fun.”

Oyer says after the quick orientation participants are encouraged to go out and enjoy the 3.6 miles of trails on their own. Then people will return by 7:00 p.m. for fireside hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. There will be full moon events each month through March. The cost for each event is $5.00 per person, which covers the cost of the food.

The other full moon Chili and Full Moon Ski/Snowshoe dates are January 7, February 4 and March 10 so mark your calendar. Rebecca Oyer at the Adirondack Interpretive Center can be reached at 518-582-2000.

Photo courtesy Diane Chase.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) available online or bookstores/museums. Diane’s second guidebook, Adirondack Family Time from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities will be stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Local Winter Atheletes World Cup Results

It was a successful World Cup week for several Lake Placid area athletes. Many posted their first top-10s of the season and two raced to career-best World Cup finishes.

Alpine Skiing
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series stopped in Beaver Creek, Colo. last weekend, Dec. 2-5. Weibrecht skied to a World Cup career-best 10th in Saturday’s Super G. The finish matched his career-best World Cup downhill result, also in Beaver Creek, in 2007. In Friday’s downhill race, Weibrecht was 32nd. Beisemeyer did not finish Sunday’s giant slalom race.

Biathlon
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.): The IBU Biathlon World Cup series opened in Oestersund, Sweden. In Wednesday’s, Nov. 30, men’s 20 km race, Bailey skied to a ninth place result, while Burke was 58th. Bailey and Burke both had strong results in Friday’s, Dec. 2, 10 km sprint and Sunday’s 12.5 km pursuit. Bailey finished a career-high fifth Friday, while Burke was 12th. Burke’s best finish from the weekend came on Sunday when he completed the pursuit ninth, while Bailey posted a 13th place result.

Bobsled
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series got underway over the weekend, when the world’s top sliders visited the 1976 Olympic track in Igls, Austria. Napier piloted his sled to an 18th place finish in Saturday’s two-man race and followed up that result with a 12th place showing in Sunday’s four-man event.

Nordic Combined
Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series visited Lillehammer, Norway. Demong was 25th Saturday, but was disqualified at Sunday’s event. He will compete next weekend, Dec. 10-11, Ramsau, Austria.

Elsewhere, ski jumper Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and biathlete Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) did not compete last weekend. Frenette is gearing up for his first international competition this season, a FIS Cup event, Dec. 17-18, in Garmisch P., Germany. Meanwhile, Cook is preparing for next weekend’s IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy.

Photo: Tim Burke.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adirondack Cross-Country Ski Season Preview

Two inches. According to Olavi Hirvonen, owner of the Lapland Lake cross-country ski area in Northville, two inches of dense snow is all that’s needed to get at least a few kilometers of Lapland Lake’s trail network open for skiing. And if anyone should know, it’s Olavi: with 34 years experience grooming Lapland Lake’s trails on a daily basis, he’s considered to be the most experienced groomer in North America.

While we’re waiting for the snow to fly, here’s a round-up of what skiers can look forward to at Adirondack cross-country ski centers this winter.

Lapland Lake in Northville has 38km of trails that are snowcat groomed with trackset and skating lanes, plus an additional 12km of marked and mapped snowshoe trails. Lapland Lake will host its two-day annual Open House and first annual X-C Ski Swap Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26.

Garnet Hill Lodge in North River has 55km of groomed trails and is adjacent to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area for virtually unlimited backcountry touring. As in past winters, Garnet Hill will offer its popular “ski down, ride back” shuttle bus service to lodge guests and day visitors.

Dewey Mountain Ski Center, located in Saranac Lake and owned by the Town of Harrietstown, has 15km of trails that Olympians Billy Demong and Timothy Burke consider home. The trails are groomed and maintained by Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, and the area enjoys strong community participation in programs like its Dewey Mountain Youth Ski League (where Burke and Demong both learned to race), Graymont Tuesday Night Race Series, and the popular Friday Night Ski Jams. Dewey Mountain Friends, a grassroots support group, has undertaken a multi-year effort to widen and improve trail grading, drainage and signage, and eventually replace the ski center’s lodge building.

Cascade Ski Touring Center in Lake Placid has 20km of trails that wind through spruce / fir woods and connect to Mount Van Hoevenberg and the Jack Rabbit Trail. Cascade’s full moon ski parties have become a Lake Placid institution, with lighted trails, bonfires and hot chocolate, and live music in the lodge. Full moon dates at Cascade this winter are January 7, February 4, and March 10 (all Saturdays).

Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid has more than 50km of trails that were home to the 1980 Winter Olympic cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions. The expertly groomed, scenic trail system continues to be the site of World Cup and Junior Olympic competitions, but is open to recreational skiers as well. The 30th Annual Lake Placid Loppet, known as one of the best amateur ski races in the country, will be held on February 4. There are 50km and 25km classic or free (skating) technique events that follow a demanding but beautiful course laid out for the 1980 Olympics.

All of the ski centers above expect to open as soon as there is sufficient snow, so in the meantime wear your pajamas inside out, do a snow dance, and above all else… THINK SNOW!

Photo credit: Mount Van Hoevenberg / ORDA

Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Off-Season Workouts of Winter Sports Athletes

As a winter athlete, it is inevitable that even in a town like Lake Placid, which is known for its accessibility to winter sports, there will be an off season. Athletes in all winter sports have an “in season”, where they are competing and training, and an “off season”, when there is less availability to the medium of their sport (snow, ice) and they must train differently.

Athletes approach training differently; however, there are certain methods of off season training which are uniform. Different sports emphasize different qualities; speed, agility, flexibility, or power. Some need more of one quality than others; for example, figure skaters require more flexibility than a speed skater or hockey player, while the focus in the latter sports is on speed and power. Therefore, the training varies from sport to sport.

Figure skaters don’t tend to have a break from skating; most train all year round. What differs is the intensity of training. The off season for skaters is often from late spring until early fall, and this time period is spent developing new programs, building up strength and agility, and using other sports to train for the in-season. Many skaters practice dance, weight-lifting, cardio, stretching, and yoga in both on and off season, but the off season is a good time to practice more extracurricular activities. Figure skaters need agility but also flexibility; as such, their training program emphasizes those qualities. While most lift weights, they also practice plyometrics (which develops quickness and agility) and off ice jumps. Stretching is also an important part of their training routine. It is important to note that many skaters do not run or participate too much in activities that pound on their knees, as they already take a beating in figure skating training. Check out this link for more information about off ice training for figure skating.

Speed skaters require totally different training. The emphasis in the off season is on building strength for the upcoming season. Many don’t realize that speed skaters make their greatest strides from off season training, which incorporates “dryland” training, weight-lifting, and cardio. It is common for a speed skater to practice “low walks”, which is walking with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle to simulate the position achieved in speed skating. Watch this video of Sven Kramer, one of theWorld’s best long track speed skaters training in the off-season. For a glimpse of what it takes to train as an Olympic speed skater during the season, watch Apolo Ohno work out in this video.

Hockey requires speed, power, and agility. The training program off-season reflects this, and many hockey players spend their off-season lifting weights, working on cardiovascular fitness and agility. On ice and off ice training is year round, and the player’s training routine depends on what position they play.

Skiing has a few different sub-sports: alpine, freestyle, Nordic, and ski jumping. All have different emphasis and are very different in not only activity, but how training is approached. Ski jumping, the exciting sport in which the ski jumper flies down the ski jump, launches themselves in the air, and lands, requires precision and control. Explosive power is needed for the takeoff, and the legs must be able to support the force of landing. As such, ski jumpers practice plyometrics, lunges, squats, and stair running workouts.

Athletes who compete in alpine skiing usually train on the snow, but when that isn’t available, train dry land. This can take several forms, including sprints, plyometrics, and weights, all tailored to the common movements in alpine skiing.

Freestyle skiing combines several types of skills and a few types of skiing; aerial, moguls, and ski-cross. Aerials combine skiing and acrobatics, so athletes need to be coordinated and agile. Moguls, where the skier maneuvers around mounds of snow with tight turns, requires quickness and agility. Ski-cross is a discipline in which the skiers take off en-masse and navigate a course. They need to be technically proficient, quick off the start line, and able to maneuver around each other and terrain. Athletes can train with several aids such as trampolines, cross country simulation machines, and in Lake Placid, a pool for athletes to practice aerials into during the summer months. Other than that, skiiers train various ways including cycling, weight lifting, roller-skiing (like cross country skis, except with wheels) and plyometrics.

Nordic skiing athletes are more endurance based skiers whose sport consists of skiing various distances. Their training is similar to the other skiers but with more emphasis on endurance. They might also row, cycle, or in-line in the off season.

Biathlon is a sport which combines cross country skiing with target shooting. Biathlon athletes must combine the endurance and fast paced nature of cross country ski racing with the focused accuracy of target shooting. Arguably the most difficult part of biathlon is calming the mind and body after cross country racing to shoot the target. Racers practice the same type of training as cross country skiers, but also have to practice incredible mental focus.

Luge, the sport requiring athletes to slide down a track on a sled, requires a lot of upper body strength. The takeoff for the luge track is started by using the upper body to gain momentum while on the sled. Therefore, the off ice training often focuses on upper body strength. Mental fitness is also very important.

The sliding sports of skeleton and bobsled share similar components; both require the athlete to get a running start on the track before boarding the sled and navigating the track. The sports have a quick agile component as well as precision in steering the sled. Athletes competing in these sports typically train all year round, even without the benefit of ice on the track. Training methods include sprint workouts, cardio, plyometrics and weight lifting.

For more information on winter Olympic athletes, check out teamusa.org


Monday, April 4, 2011

Madshus Epochs: Good Skis for Spring

Yesterday, the temperature climbed into the forties in Saranac Lake, and the sun shone all day. I saw people walking around in T-shirts. It was perfect weather for testing a new pair of skis.

Sue Bibeau, the designer for the Adirondack Explorer, and I did a round trip to Klondike Notch in the High Peaks Wilderness, a little-used trail that starts at the end of South Meadow Road and ends near Johns Brook Lodge.

I was trying out my Madshus Epochs, a waxless ski designed for backcountry touring. The Epochs have metal edges and are wide enough to provide stability for quick turns on downhills, though they’re not as beefy as most telemark skis.

The Epochs weigh 5 pounds 9 ounces. In comparison, Black Diamond Havocs (which I also own) weigh 8 pounds 6 ounces. Their lightness makes the Epochs a good all-round ski, ideal for tours that involve flats and rolling terrain as well as substantial downhill runs. A lightweight telemark boot is a good match.

Coincidentally, Sue was using essentially the same ski: Tenth Mountain Divisions made by Karhu, which is no longer in the ski business. The Tenth Mountains were in Karhu’s popular “XC Downhill” line of skis. The line’s four models, from narrowest to widest, were the Pinnacles, GTs (for “general touring”), Tenth Mountains, and Guides.

Last year, Madshus took over the XC Downhhill line. It dropped the Pinnacle but still manufactures the other three under different names (the GT is now the Eon, and the Guide is now the Annum).

Sue has owned her Tenth Mountain Divisions for a few years and loves them. She has taken them up Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak, and Wright Peak, among other places. She says the skis are not ideal for the steepest terrain in the High Peaks, but they do work. If you plan to ski a lot of steep terrain, the wider Annums are a better choice.

I wouldn’t mind trying the Epochs on Marcy if conditions were right (light powder), but I’d be more comfortable on the difficult pitches on heavier skis, my Havocs or Karhu Jaks. Given that much of the 7.5-mile trail up Marcy is fairly mellow, I can see the appeal of going light. In fact, many people do ski Marcy with light skis and leather boots.

Because they’re waxless, the Epochs are a good choice for spring skiing (as are the Eons and Annums). Hard waxes do not work when the temperatures rise above freezing, so those with waxable skis must resort to klister or kicker skins to grip the snow while climbing or kicking and gliding.

I used klister only once, years ago. It was such a gloppy mess that I haven’t used it since. It’s like melted bubble gum, sticking to everything it touches, including fingers and clothing. I later bought a pair of kicker skins, but I don’t use them much. Kicker skins attach to the ski’s kick zone. The nylon nap grips the snow, sort of like wax. The problem I have found is that the metal piece at the front of the skins often digs into the snow, inhibiting glide.

With waxless skis, you don’t have to fuss with klister or kicker skins. But waxless skis have their limitations. If climbing a lot of steep terrain, you should bring a pair of full-length skins–just as you would with waxable skis. Or be prepared to herringbone or side-step.

On our ascent of Klondike Notch, Sue and I gained more than a thousand feet of elevation. Since most of the trail is mellow, the scales on our skis usually provided sufficient grip. In a number of places, we did resort to herringboning or side-stepping, but these pitches were short. Skins would have been overkill and would have slowed our progress on the flats and small dips we encountered en route to the notch.

All in all, we had the right equipment for the job.

Click here to see a video of Ron Konowitz demonstrating the Karhu Guides (now Annums) on the Marcy Dam trail.

Photo by Phil Brown: Sue Bibeau carries her skis over South Meadow Brook.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stony Pond Ski Traverse and Falls Brook Yurts

Some of the best ski tours in the Adirondacks are traverses: Avalanche Pass to Tahawus, Siamese Ponds and the East Branch of the Sacandaga, and Hoffman Notch to name a few popular point-to-point routes. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to ski one of my favorite lesser known tours with a group of friends, from Route 28N in Minerva to Irishtown, passing Stony Pond and Big and Little Sherman Ponds along the 6-mile traverse. As a bonus, near the end of the traverse, our group made a detour to visit the Falls Brook Yurts, owned by Jim Hanley and Michele Quirk. The ski-through has become something of an annual tradition, organized by Jim and Michelle to mark the (almost) end of winter.

Nearly twenty of us met Saturday morning at the Irishtown trailhead. Jim shuttled food, gear and refreshments by snowmobile the two thirds of a mile up the trail to the yurts while the rest of us grouped up for the shuttle to the Stony Pond trailhead several miles north of Minerva on Route 28N.

At the Stony Pond trailhead, any thoughts of spring skiing vanished. Snow earlier in the week and cold temperatures gave us beautiful packed powder conditions over a firm 2- to 3-foot base. The traverse begins with a rolling 2-mile climb to the lean-to at Stony Pond, passing numerous wetlands and beaver flows along the way. Stony Pond itself is a large, attractive body of water and makes a good destination for a short out-and-back ski tour. Our group continued across the frozen pond, then made a short uphill climb through the woods before descending to Little and Big Sherman Ponds. That short descent is the most challenging skiing on the tour, but is easily negotiated with a strong snowplow. Not far beyond the Sherman Ponds the route begins a series of long, gradual descents, dropping nearly a thousand vertical feet in two and a half miles to the Irishtown trailhead.

Before reaching the trailhead, we turned onto the short side-trail to the Falls Brook Yurts. Jim and Michele have owned and operated the yurts for 12 years, renting them to families, groups and individuals for weekends or several day stays. The yurts are well-equipped with propane lighting, heat and cook stoves. Guests carry in their own food and personal gear. If you’d like to stay in the yurts, plan ahead: both yurts are booked well in advance most weekends year-round.

Hauling propane, cleaning between guests, and general maintenance of the yurts and the 20 acres they are sited on is a lot of work, especially in winter, but today’s ski tour and visit to the yurts was meant to be pure fun, socializing and celebration. Thanks to Jim’s snowmobile shuttle in the morning, we had plenty of hot and cold food and – most importantly – celebratory beverages waiting for us at the yurts. The spring sun and daylight savings time allowed plenty of time for those of us who weren’t staying overnight at the yurts to linger and socialize for a few hours before heading down the trail for the short ski back to the Irishtown trailhead. Winter is bound to end soon, but there wasn’t a single person on Saturday’s trip who wouldn’t mind if it stuck around for just a few more weeks.

The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Central Region trail guide is the definitive guide to the Stony Pond trail and other trails in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.

Photos: Irishtown trailhead; Stony Pond leanto; on the trail; arriving at the yurts.

Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb. 24)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND
» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Phil Brown: On Secret Ski Trails

Last month I “discovered” some wonderful backcountry ski trails in the Bog River region south of Tupper Lake. I liked them so much I wrote a story about them for the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer.

I feel guilty about that.

You see, the trails lack the imprimatur of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. They’re marked by homemade disks and signs. As a journalist, I had to ask the question: is this legal? » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Adirondack Adaptive Cross-Country Ski Camp

Adirondack Adaptive Adventures has announced it will offer an Adaptive XC Ski Camp on the weekend of February 25-27, 2011 in Lake Placid. The 3-day event will bring together new and experienced adaptive athletes from around the Northeast who are interested in cross-country skiing.

In addition to the training camp, the Empire State Games has created an adaptive XC ski division and camp participants are invited to compete in a sanctioned race on Sunday, February 27. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities on the Jackrabbit Trail

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.

Photo ©Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Lake Placid Skating, Skiing Events

More skiing and skating will return to Lake Placid next weekend.The 29th Annual Lake Placid Loppet, a series of Cross Country Ski races, will be held on February 5th. Hosted by High Peaks Cyclery, this event draws hundreds of skaters from across the US and Canada and consists of a 50 kilometer Loppet (30.1 miles) and a 25-kilometer Kort-Loppet (about 15 miles). More information can be found online.

Also coming to Lake Placid on the same weekend, the Eastern Synchronized Championships will be in town February 3nd through 5th. More than 2,300 skaters from 150 teams from throughout the eastern United States will be competing. The top four finishers in the senior, junior, novice, intermediate, juvenile, collegiate, adult and masters divisions will move on to the 2011 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, March 2-5, in Ontario, Calif. The event is organized by the Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Skating Club of Lake Placid. For more information, visit http://www.lakeplacidskating.com/newsite.

Christie Sausa writes about national and international winter sports and blogs at Lake Placid Skater.

 



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