Posts Tagged ‘winter sports’

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Adirondack Backcountry Skiing Conditions

Since the big storm last week, I’ve been skiing a lot in the backcountry. Generally, I found the conditions very good, but skiers need to be mindful that we had little or no base before the snowfall. You may encounter exposed boulders on trails. If you’re skiing off trail, you must be wary of logs and rocks lurking within the powder.

On New Year’s Day, I skied from Adirondak Loj to Lake Colden. At the outset, I wondered if the cover would be adequate on the trail from the Loj to Marcy Dam, a section with a lot of large boulders. Although I did encounter some exposed rocks, they were easily avoided. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dan Crane: Missing Winter Camping

The end of the year brings thoughts of turkey dinners, confectionary favorites, over-crowded malls, excessively decorated plastic trees, mind-piercing hangovers following nights of revelry and portly, old, child-obsessed elves dressed in red and white. The recent early winter snows, also commonly found at this time of the year, not only put me in the holiday spirit, it also has me pondering my past winter camping experiences.

Winter camping conjures up thoughts of crisp cool air slightly stinging the lungs, sunshine glistening off newly fallen snow and the crunch of compressed snow under the weight of snowshoe-covered feet. Unfortunately, winter camping, much like holiday celebrations, is not merely all fun and games, but also a physically and mentally challenging activity, requiring more than a little persistence and perseverance.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Adirondack Ski Conditions Roundup

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.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Oak Mountain’s Family Ski Events

Like most people living and visiting the Adirondacks, my family  has been waiting for the snow to stay.  Ski resorts all over the Adirondack Park are celebrating this most recent storm, cushioning their base layer with natural snow. Our family enjoys skiing on a variety of terrain, but there is something wonderful about returning to those family hills where many of us were first introduced to the excitement of downhill skiing.

One such family mountain is Speculator’s Oak Mountain Ski Center. Now under new ownership, the O’Brien family has filled the Oak Mountain schedule with all sorts of exciting family-friendly events.  According to Laura O’Brien, owner and VP of Sales and Marketing, Oak Mountain has just been enhanced and is still the same family ski resort where many visitors and locals have grown up skiing. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 17, 2012

An Adirondack Ski Conditions Roundup

Snowmaking at Whiteface on Wednesday, Dec. 12It 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.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks

The Adirondack region has long been a favorite of skiers, as its mountains and snow cover provided a perfect landscape for downhill ski areas to develop during the Great Depression, when New Yorkers looked for an affordable escape to beat the winter blues. Over the decades, ski areas expanded with new lifts, lodges and trails. Despite the popularity of the sport, many ski areas have disappeared, yet countless people still hold fond memories of them.

Ski historian Jeremy Davis, the founder of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP), has released a new book on the subject. Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks (History Press, 2012).  A lost ski area is “a ski area that once offered lift-served, organized skiing, but is now abandoned and closed for good. For NELSAP’s purposes it had to have a lift – it could be a simple rope tow or multiple chairlifts, but it had to have a lift. The size of the area or number of lifts isn’t important,” Davis told Adirondack Almanack contributor Jeff Farbaniec in an interview last year. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Winter Perfection on Pitchoff

So far this season my home of Madison, Wisconsin has been bereft of any semblance of winter.  Last Monday it was 65 degrees and I got sweaty playing with my dog while dressed in a T-shirt.  Amy and I completed our circuit of holiday parades – we do maybe a dozen of them all over southern Wisconsin – without once seeing a snowflake or having stiff fingers from the cold as we prepped our equipment.  That kind of track record is without an analog in these parts.

Last week the NOAA announced that 2012 will finish as the warmest year in US history.  According to USA Today’s report, every state in the lower 48 was warmer than average and eighteen states set records for warmest year ever including New York and virtually the entire Northeast.  Many Midwestern cities will set records this week for longest stretch of consecutive days with no snow.  Climate change is upon us and both the accumulating data and trend models show that it is warming more rapidly and more severely than previously predicted. Yet most Americans still don’t seem to care all that much about it and plenty of ignoramuses still deny it, following an ugly and embarrassing American trend of belittling science and knowledge.  Even on the Almanack one suspects there are more than a few readers who are as likely to believe in Bigfoot as in human-made climate change.  In their case – in all our cases – ignorance will surely not be bliss. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Public Ice Skating Indoor Arenas

Once the weather gets a bit more consistent outside it will be time to hit the many outdoor Adirondack skating rinks. Until that time my family makes time for ice-skating at the indoor arenas. That is fine, too. Inside we have the opportunity to take off our skates, warm up our toes and listen to the music piped in over the sound system. It’s a great way to work off the holiday desserts!

Most of the indoor rinks cater to the hockey and figure skating crowd. We’ve found that even if the schedule is posted online, it is best to call first just to make sure a make-up game hasn’t altered the free skate time. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Study On Local Impacts of Climate Change

In the northern hardwood forest, climate change is expected to reduce the viability of the maple syrup industry, encourage the spread of wildlife diseases and invasive species, and impact timber resources and the winter sports economy.

Accurately gauging the pace of change in the Adirondacks has been challenging, owing to the relative dearth of long-term local data. Now, a new study published by 21 scientists that reviews 50 years of data from Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire concludes that our current models of climate change don’t account well for surprising real world changes taking place in local forests.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cool Beanie Keeps Skiers Warm

I do a lot of backcountry skiing, and so over the years I have collected a half-dozen pairs of skis. Not as many as some skiers, but enough to make some people wonder if I’m obsessed.

Maybe I am, but not about skis. I have far more ski hats. I must own nearly twenty: wool, synthetic, thick, thin, beanies, Peruvian models with ear flaps, balaclavas, you name it.

I didn’t set out to collect hats, but I was always searching for the perfect hat, one that fit right, kept my head warm, and looked good. I now have several that fit the bill, but I’d say my favorite is the Exos Beanie by Outdoor Research.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

How To Wax Backcountry Skis

Backcountry skiers on Mount MarcyEvidently, many backcountry skiers find waxing mystifying. Otherwise, why would waxless skis be so popular? But it needn’t be so.

“Waxing isn’t alchemy,” Paul Parker advises in his classic manual Free Heel Skiing. “It can be as simple or complex an art as you choose to make it,”

We choose simple. There are two types of wax: glide wax and kick wax. Glide wax keeps your skis running smoothly over the snow. Kick wax is applied to the midsection of your skis to bite into the snow, providing the purchase necessary to propel yourself forward. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Whiteface Ski Area Opens Early

Favorable snowmaking temperatures this month will allow Whiteface Mountain to open a week ahead of schedule for the 2012-13 season. ORDA announced the ski area will open for two days this weekend, Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Plans are for the Facelift chair to open with skiing on Upper Valley, Lower Valley and Fox. Lift tickets will be $25. Lifts and trails are subject to change. Updates will be posted on Whiteface.com under the conditions tab, and on Whiteface’s Facebook page. After this weekend, Whiteface will re-open for the regular season on Friday, November 23 (Photo: Whiteface on November 6th).


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Snowmaking Begins: Ski Season Preview 2012-13

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.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lake Placid To Open World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton

The United States’ bobsled and skeleton teams will try to get off to fast starts when the eight-race 2012-’13 Viessman World Cup bobsled and skeleton series opens on the Olympic Sports Complex track, at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, in Lake Placid, N.Y., Nov. 8-10. Last February, the team captured a record five medals, including four gold, when the same track played host to the season-ending 2012 FIBT world championships.

“I’m excited to be starting the season in Lake Placid. I’m fastest on this track as you saw back in February,” said U.S. bobsled pilot Steve Holcomb, who raced to three world championship gold medals, including the United States’ first-ever two-man world crown. “I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going and start the season on a high note. It will help set the tone for the rest of the season.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tom Kalinowski’s Winter Weather Forecast

Last Thursday, the Climate Prediction Center, the long range weather forecasting division of the National Weather Service, made its prediction for this coming winter with a rather unusual statement.

The El Niño event that had started to slowly develop and was expected to strengthen and influence weather patterns across our continent, suddenly vanished. (El Niño is a cyclical warming of the surface water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean and helps to establish a broad area of high pressure over this equatorial region which can greatly impact weather patterns over the U.S., especially in the northeast.) » Continue Reading.



Wait, before you go,

sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!