Jan 20, 2012 — John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.
This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.
Snow cover remains light and varies with elevation, with the most snow in the central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks where snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. Expect summit wind chill values to be in the lower 20s to single digits below zero.
The region's rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year. Ice has formed on all water bodies and the ice fishing has begun. There is now ice on most lakes at lower elevations, and on the bays of Schroon Lake, Lake George, and Lake Champlain and Sacandaga, but use extreme caution on larger lakes and near all inlets and outlets. Ice on or near running water should be avoided and be sure to check the depth of ice before and during crossing.
The Big Tupper Ski Area opened this week, and with the exception of Hickory in Warrensburg, all the regions downhill mountains are now open. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are reporting about 70% of their trails open. Skiers should use caution as some trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow.
There are still early season conditions for cross-country skiers with mostly smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails recommended for skiing. Some additional snow in the forecast could mean improved conditions for this weekend, but expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles - ski with caution.
Most of the region's cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover, and limited trails, recommendations include the trails around the Paul Smith's VIC, and the Tupper Lake's Country Club to Big Tupper Ski Area network. The Lake Placid area has about 6 to 8 inches of snow and the Whiteface Highway is skiable. The entire Jackrabbit Trail is now reported skiable with caution, although the section along River Road between Lake Placid and Cascade Cross-Country Center is thin. Call ahead to Mount Vanhovenberg, but you can count on skiable terrain at Henry's Woods, the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails, in Newcomb, at Garnet Hill near North Creek, in the Hoffman Notch, and the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness.
Early season backcountry routes are in fair condition, with fast hills and some obstacles just beneath the snow. There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin and the Marcy Dam Truck Trail between South Meadows Road and Marcy Dam is skiable as is the trail between Avalanche Lake and the Flowed Lands - ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is crossable - but Avalanche Pass is marginal, and Mount Marcy and the Calamity Trail reported unskiable. The St. Regis Canoe Area is reported skiable and would be a better bet.
A few of the more die-hard backcountry skiers have been testing out some early slide skiing, but we'll need more snow for a proper season to get started.
Some of the region's snowmobile trails are open, but expect generally thin, icy cover with some bare spots on heavily used trails. The best opportunities to ride are in the south Central Adirondacks and in Southern Franklin County, as other areas, including eastern Essex and northern Warren County are still lacking enough snow.
A new snowmobile trail has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington with the Wilmington Wild Forest and the Cooper Kiln Pond trail creating a more than 12 mile round trip opportunity.
Finally this week a reminder to play it safe and be on the look out for those thin snow cover areas, hidden obstacles, and thin ice.
Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.