A mix of wintry weather and high winds are forecast for Friday and Saturday and could provide the most widespread and deepest snowfall of the season so far and some damaging winds at higher elevations. Wind chill temperatures on summits will be in the single digits above zero to the low teens. Check current forecasts before heading into the backcountry, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Trails are hard and icy at all elevations, with some snow cover already present, and more above 3,000 feet. Snowshoes may be necessary in the higher elevations depending on what happens with the weather. Carry snowshoes and traction devices and use them if conditions warrant.
Also, with the expected winds, there will likely be some blowdown, especially on lesser used trails.
Due to continued daytime snow-melt from high elevations this week, rivers and streams remain mostly at or just above normal levels for this time of year. Some waters that drain the western Adirondacks are running well above normal, including the Independence and Black rivers. Some low-water crossings may not be accessible in those areas.
There is ice on all waters, but generally not yet safe to cross. Some Lake George and Lake Champlain bays have begun icing over.
DEC has completed its work and is no longer plowing or salting the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway and the forecast should provide enough snow to ski there. There is no backcountry skiing elsewhere and not enough snow yet for cross country skiing, but that could change with the weather and we may see some golf course skiing, and a few early smoother routes.
Conditions are improving at downhill resorts, especially those with snow making. Whiteface and Gore are reporting about 25% of their terrain open and Oak Mountain, McCauley, and Titus have opened for the season.
With this snow there may be enough base for snowmobiles in the Tug Hill and Western Adirondacks, but call ahead to confirm.
There have been a few reports of some early ice climbing on the backside of Pitchoff.
Finally this week, expect high winds, especially at higher elevations, across the northern Adirondacks and in the Lake Champlain valley. Wind chill temperatures will be cold and there could be some damaging winds.
Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Explorer’s Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.