Feb 10, 2012 — This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.
Winter conditions remain, but little snowfall means snow depths vary and trails are still generally icy around the region. Areas in the Eastern High Peaks into Eastern Essex County and Warren County have little to no snow, with two to six inches at most lower elevation elsewhere. There is five to seven inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks and 18 inches is being reported at Lake Colden Interior Cabin.
The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness wherever snow depth exceeds eight inches including beyond Avalanche Camp; beyond the junction of the Phelps Mountain and the VanHovenburg Trails; and beyond the junction of the Whales Tail and the Algonquin Mountain Trails.
Crampons will be helpful at lower elevations and required on steeper trails and other icy areas. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering just above to just below zero this weekend.
The region's rivers and streams have returned to normal or just above normal levels for this time of year. Ice thickness remains less than what is typical for this time of year, but there is six to 12 inches of ice on most lakes. Schroon Lake has finally frozen over and there is ice on the bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, but large portions of those lakes remain dangerously thin or open water. Always use extreme caution when traveling on ice.
With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region's downhill areas will be open this week. Good conditions are reported for Gore and Whiteface, but mountains relying on natural snow still have limited terrain and less than ideal conditions.
Cross-country and backcountry ski conditions have stabilized, but your best bet remains the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails. All of the of the region's cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on generally thin cover and limited trails. Recommended areas include Lapland Lake, Garnet Hill, and the Paul Smith's VIC. The Adirondack Interpretive Center (the former Newcomb VIC) has reasonable cover.
The Lake Placid area has about three to five inches of snow. The Jackrabbit Trail has cover on most sections except McKenzie Pond Road to Saranac Lake and from McKenzie Pond Road for the first mile toward McKenzie Pond. There are good conditions from Whiteface Inn Lane to the top of the pass, but icy conditions on the west side. The rest of the trail including the Old Mountain Road section is skiable with caution as there are still a few rocks to dodge.
There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Skiable routes (on crusty conditions) include the Marcy Dam Truck Trail (though it’s thin at the start), Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond (which has good cover), Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake, the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow. The Adk Loj Trailhead to Marcy Dam is skiable but still rocky in places. Avalanche Pass is passable with caution, but not generally recommended. The Wright Peak ski trail is reported skiable, but the hiking trail is very icy. The Marcy ski trail is reported not yet skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden is crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area.
Ice climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure with some ice more typical of early March conditions. If you stick to shaded climbs there is plenty of ice.
Some of the region's snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with some bare and boney spots. Riding conditions are fair in Southern Franklin County through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Some of the best riding can be found in the Moose River Plains and in the Perkins Clearing speculator Tree Farm easement lands. Trails in Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington Counties remain mostly closed.
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.