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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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Each Friday, John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack takes a look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.

The weather remains unsettled and unpredictable.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

Remember, always check the weather forecast before heading into the backcountry and always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods

It will be a very cold weekend, with daytime windchills on summits expected to be in the teens and 20s below zero.  Remember to carry plenty of food and water and eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.

Snow and ice are present at all elevations, with the exception of the northeast corner of the Adirondack Park where there is no snow cover. The deepest snows in the Adirondacks are the result of powdery lake effect snows this week. One to two foot deep snows can be found west of Route 30, including northern Herkimer County, Raquette Lake, Old Forge and Inlet – with less toward Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake where there is about 6-10 inches.

In the High Peaks, the Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 5 to 10 inches of snow at lower elevations with a foot or more at higher elevations. Carry traction devices and snowshoes and use them when necessary.

Other areas of the park have lesser amounts of snow. There is 2 to 4 inches of snow in the Keene Valley through Lake Placid and Saranac Lake and also along the Eastern third of the Adirondacks.  There is 2 to 4 inches around Lake George and toward Great Sacandaga Lake, 6 to 8 inches in Newcomb, but little accumulation, if any, along the eastern slopes and Champlain Valley.

In general, four to six inches of ice has formed on most waters. Schroon Lake and Lake Sacandaga are expected to be iced-in this weekend. Ice fishing is already underway from the Northville Bridge to the spillway on Sacandaga, and on South Bay of Lake Champlain. The larger lakes still have plenty of open water and thin ice, so use extra caution there.

Whiteface and Gore Mountain will have 30-40% of their terrain open this weekend. Oak Mountain and McCauley will also be open. Mount Pisgah, Hickory Mountain, and Big Tupper have yet to open.

There is only enough snow for some smoother backcountry. The Newcomb roads are skiable, but the Jackrabbit Trail can not yet be recommended. The Whiteface highway is being plowed to survey needed reconstruction work. Ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is safe to cross but the Marcy Truck Trail and Avalanche Pass are not yet skiable.

Golf courses, and smoother trails from Lake Placid to Paul Smiths are skiable. Mount Van Hovenberg, Lapland Lake, and Garnet Hill will all be open with a few inches of base, and Cascade may open, but you’ll want to call ahead. There is skiing at the Paul Smiths VIC, and they expect to begin grooming this weekend. Older skis are recommended on the few wooded trails that are skiable at the cross-country centers.

Snowmobiling kicked off this week.  The trails in the Old Forge-Inlet corridor have about a 6-inch base and are being groomed, though they should be improving throughout this weekend’s Snowdeo event.

Gates are open to snowmobile trails in the Moose River Plains, except for a portion of the Seventh Lake Mountain Trail between the Moose River Plains Road and Eighth Lake, which is closed until ramps can be built on a bridge there. Trails in the Perkins Clearing easement lands are open, but only the North end can be recommended.

Woodland trails from Blue Mountain Lake to Indian Lake, Northern Warren county, and toward Speculator are not recommended and there is no snowmobiling to speak of elsewhere. The gates are closed on Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands.

The Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands have reopened to all public access, but the Clear Pond Gate remains closed through mud season. And in the Whitney Wilderness, the Lake Lila Road gate has been locked, but visitors there can still use the road, which should be skiable this weekend.

At the former Finch Lands, the Deer Pond and Essex Chain Road gates have been closed through mud season. The Town of Newcomb will be plowing the Goodnow Road, including marked parking areas which will be the only public parking allowed there.

Finally this week, a reminder that skiers and snowshoers using snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow the safe passage of snowmobiles, and snowmobilers should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

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

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