Last weekend’s snow largely restored our base snow-pack around the region, although snow amounts from the Southeast Adirondacks through Keene Valley and into the High Peaks were somewhat disappointing. Nonetheless, there is plenty of snow for most activities and the weather forecast should make for a great holiday weekend outdoors.
Temperatures are starting their springtime rise, maple sugar operations, in the Southern Adirondacks especially, are tapping trees and gearing up for warmer weather in the coming weeks.
Lower elevation trails may be hard and icy and mid-elevation trails crusty, but there is deep snow at higher elevations. Snow amounts vary around the region. The Northern and Central Adirondacks has 10-15 inches, but snow amounts in the southern Adirondacks are generally in the 4 to 8 inch range. There is 32 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin, and more at higher elevations.
Downhill skiing will be very good this weekend with local ski resorts reporting 80-90 percent of their terrain open with packed powder and loose granular conditions. The continued exception is Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, which did not get enough snow from last week’s storm to open and has yet to open this season.
All cross-country ski areas have reopened with a 4 to 6 inch packed-powder conditions on a frozen base.
Backcountry ski conditions are generally good. Snow cover is thin between the Adirondack Loj Trailhead and Marcy Dam so skiers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from the South Meadow Trailhead. There are still some obstacles to avoid to the top of Avalanche Pass but conditions have improved from the top of the pass to Lake Colden and beyond. Use caution everywhere as there are some thin and icy areas and obstacles to dodge, especially along the Johns Brook and Calamity Brook trails. All other smoother spots such as Connery Pond, Hays Brook, Raquette Falls, Fish Pond, Newcomb Lake, and Moose Pond are in good shape. Whiteface Highway is reported to be wind-blown and very thin for about half its length, especially above the Lake Placid Turn. The entire Jackrabbit Trail is skiable, with caution on steeper downhills which are thinner and somewhat icy.
Looking at snowmobiling conditions, the best riding this weekend will be in Hamilton and Franklin counties. Groomers in those areas are out, but trails are a mixed bag of rollers and bumps with some very good riding on lesser used trails. Unfortunately, Warren, Washington, and South-Eastern Essex County are still suffering from a lack of snow – clubs in those areas have closed trails, or are cancelling club events due to lack of snow. DEC has closed the gates to Prospect Mountain; the gates to the Warren County Bike trail are also closed.
Elsewhere around the region, the Corey’s Road into the Western high peaks is plowed to the end of the pavement before the Axton Landing road. A private landowner at the end of the road plows the road on an irregular basis, so don’t expect it to be plowed after snow storms. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended there, at least until early March when the gate will be closed for mud season.
Finally this week, the new Moose River Plains Community Connector Trail, a 12.8-mile multi-use trail connecting the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in Hamilton County, is complete and open for public use.
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.