Mar 29, 2013 — John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack brings this weekly look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for the weekend.
The weather turned milder this week, but nighttime temperatures remain below freezing at all elevations and daytime temperatures continue to hover near freezing at higher elevations. Snow and ice remain throughout the region, although snow is becoming patchy at lower elevations, especially in exposed areas, and along south facing slopes. The weather is forecast to turn warming this weekend, but remember that conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen so backcountry visitors should always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Most lower elevations at the periphery of the Adirondack Park have less than 8 inches. Mid-elevations have about 6-10 inches of snow, with one to two feet throughout most of the High Peaks. There is about three feet of snow at the Lake Colden interior cabin and the potential for avalanches remain. If you are planning on traveling in avalanche terrain, be aware of the dangers, carry appropriate safety gear, and know how to use it.
The region’s rivers and streams are currently running at or below normal levels for this time of year, however, waters will rise with warmer temperatures this weekend. Snow and ice bridges have been washed from most drainages and not all low water crossings will be available by Sunday afternoon when waters are expected to be higher.
Most lakes and ponds are covered with water and slush and ice conditions have deteriorated. No ice should be considered completely safe; check ice depth frequently when crossing and avoid inlets and outlets.
With the exception of Roaring Brook Falls and the Palisades on Lake Champlain, all popular routes have climbable ice and good conditions.
Skiing and snowboarding continues on spring conditions at some downhill resorts including Gore, Titus and Whiteface, which still have more than 80% of their terrain open. McCauley Mountain has about 75% of their terrain open; they hope to remain open through next weekend, weather permitting. Mt. Pisgah and Oak Mountain have closed for the season.
Cross country skiers will find spring conditions, some thin areas, hard pack, and some ice. Facilities around the region are reporting 6 to 8 inches of base. There are a several more inches at Garnet Hill and Lapland Lake, which are touting some of the best spring skiing in years.
The approaches to backcountry ski areas are deteriorating. The trail between Adirondack Loj and Marcy Dam is not recommended, although the Marcy Dam Truck Trail is still skiable. The skiing above Marcy Dam is better, but the Marcy Trail for the first mile above the dam is rough and the hiking trail part of the Wright Peak Ski Trail is not recommended. There has been some skiing into the flowed lands, but there will likely be water on top of ice by Sunday afternoon. The South outlet of Avalanche Lake has weak ice which should be avoided. Smoother routes around the region should remain in good condition through the weekend, although the River Road and golf course sections of the Jackrabbit Trail are no longer recommended. The wooded sections of the trail should remain skiable through the weekend, however.
What remains of snowmobile trails in Northern Herkimer and Hamilton are in Fair to Poor condition with bare spots, snirt, and bumps; some drainages may be hazardous - so use caution. Trails elsewhere are closed or too thin to recommend. This will likely be the last chance for any riding for this year.
Finally this week, a reminder that Adirondak Loj will be closed beginning Monday for renovations.
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.