Nov 29, 2013 — This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.
This past week has been an excellent reminder of how unsettled and unpredictable the weather is at this time year – remember, always check the weather forecast before heading into the backcountry and always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Expect temperatures below normal this weekend and occasional snow showers on Sunday (especially along north facing slopes). Summits will be windy today with wind chills forecast in the lower teens below zero - the wind should lessen on Saturday.
Snow and ice are present at all elevations. Expect from 2 to 4 inches of snow in most lower elevation areas, with 4 to 8 in mid-elevations, and more on summits. Snow tends to be deeper toward the Northwest corner of the park, with little snow in the Lake George and Lake Champlain valleys.
If you’re headed into the High Peaks, carry snowshoes or skis and use them wherever the snow depth is 8 inches or more to prevent "post-holing," avoid injury, and ease your travel. "Post-holing" ruins the trails for others and makes them more dangerous.
Rivers and streams are running just above normal levels for this time of year and thin ice has formed on most smaller lakes and backwaters. The bays on Great Sacandaga Lake are beginning to freeze but larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open water. No ice should be considered safe, however, some early season skating has been taking place on smaller ponds and ice fishing will likely begin on some small lakes this weekend, more than a month earlier than last year. Always check the depth of ice before and during crossings and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. This is a very dangerous time to be on ice, so use extreme caution.
Whiteface and Gore Mountain are opening on a daily basis beginning today. All resorts with snowmaking are currently making snow. McCauley Mountain is hoping to open Saturday and Sunday, but you’ll want to call ahead there to be sure. Oak Mountain near Speculator is hoping to open next weekend, weather permitting. Titus has not yet announced an opening date.
No cross-country ski areas are open yet, and although the cold weather and snow are helping to build a good base, only the die-hards will be venturing out on some of the smoother terrain in the Central and Northwestern Adirondacks, including the Whiteface Highway. The groomer was out in Tupper Lake and the golf course loop may be skiable this weekend.
Finally this week, a reminder that the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands, including the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail into the High Peaks Wilderness and the Dix-Hunter Pass Trail into the Dix Mountain Wilderness, are closed to the public access through the big game hunting season.
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.