This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.
Last week’s thaw is over with a vengeance. Arctic air will keep temperatures below freezing during the day and hovering near and below zero at night through the weekend. The summit forecast is calling for wind chill values in the high 30s below zero on Saturday.
A Flood Watch continues through this evening. Very cold temperatures have led to ice build-ups on local rivers and streams. A freeze-up jam on the Salmon River in Malone caused localized flooding and the threat of additional ice jams continues around the region.
Most trails received 3 to 5 inches of snow over the last week, but this week has been dry, and trail conditions are icy or crusted over on well-used trails. Crampons or other traction devices will be needed and snowshoes or skis will still be mostly needed at all elevations, but particularly on lesser used trails and at higher elevations.
Snow amounts vary with elevation. The lower elevations have 6 to 10 inches with several inches of solid base and lighter snow on top. Middle elevations have about 8 to 12 inches of mostly crusted over snow. There is about 28 inches of snow at Lake Colden and more at higher elevations.
The recent cold weather has solidified ice on lakes and ponds, but most ice remains thinner than usual for this time of year. Check the depth and quality of the ice and avoid ice over running water, and near outlets and inlets.
Downhill ski conditions remain good. Gore and Whiteface are reporting about 70 percent of their terrain open, the operations at smaller mountains was scaled back with the warming last week but still have between 40 and 50 percent of their terrain open. Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg remains closed waiting on more snow.
Cross country conditions remain good and all cross-country ski areas are open with 3 to 8 inches of base. Better conditions are going to be found at higher elevations facilities in the Central Adirondacks.
Backcountry ski conditions have improved, but are not yet ideal. The best opportunities continue to be the early season routes, including Connery Pond, the Whiteface Highway, Newcomb Lake, Fish Pond, and Hays Brook, Raquette Falls and Lake Lila.
In the High Peaks, the road to Lower Ausable Lake remains skiable but not the trail to Johns Brook Lodge, and skiers should continue to use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail rather than the hiking trail from Adirondak Loj. Avalanche Pass has improved beyond the top of the pass and there is enough ice to cross Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden. Mount Marcy is still skiable above the 50 meter bridge, and the Wright Peak Ski Trail is skiable above the junction with the hiking trail, but neither can be recommended below those points. There has been no recent report from the Calamity Brook Trail and the Flowed Lands but they should be skiable this weekend.