Skip Navigation
Regional News
I climbed as high as this shoulder of rock with a view of the fire tower.  It was a weirdly Gothic scene.  Felt lonely up there. Photo: Brian Mann
I climbed as high as this shoulder of rock with a view of the fire tower. It was a weirdly Gothic scene. Felt lonely up there. Photo: Brian Mann

Skiing Hurricane Mountain in the Adirondacks

Listen to this story
It's been a tough winter so far in the North Country. In many areas there's been thin snow-cover combined with bitterly cold temperatures. That's made it tough to get outdoors.

But over the weekend our Adirondack bureau chief, Brian Mann, explored a ski trail near Elizabethtown that snakes up the backside of Hurricane Mountain. He found a gorgeous mix of snow, ice and briliant sunshine.

Hear this

Download audio

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

At times the forest was so thick that I felt like I was burrowing through a snow tunnel. It was nearly still whenever the wind died away. Occasionally, flocks of chickadees chattered through the trees.
Brian's trail notes:

I'm not sure how I overlooked this trail on the Elizabethtown side of Hurricane for so long.  Because the approach is on an old truck trail, the snow cover is better than in many parts of the Adirondack backcountry.

In fact, the skiing conditions were perfect in a season when good snow has been hard to find.

Much of the ski trail looked like this, a classic Adirondack truck trail.  A manageable grade up and an easy ride down. Photo: Brian Mann
Much of the ski trail looked like this, a classic Adirondack truck trail. A manageable grade up and an easy ride down. Photo: Brian Mann

After a long, easy ascent, I switched over to my climbing boots an crampons for a long trek up a ridge through dense, snowy stands of hemlock.

At times the forest was so thick that I felt like I was burrowing through a snow tunnel.  It was nearly still whenever the wind died away.  Occasionally, flocks of chickadees chattered through the trees.

This snippet of video is so short because the cold killed my batteries, but it gives you a taste of the view near the summit of Hurricane.

By mid-afternoon, I'd reached a shoulder of rock just below the summit with an epic view of the fire tower and of the valleys stretched out below.  Lake Champlain shimmered white and grey in the distance.

It was a joy being up on Hurricane alone, in the stillness and solitude.  But a reminder that solo treking in winter can be risky. 

You should always be careful to take necessary precautions and leave information about your route and return time with someone you trust.

The day offered an intoxicating mix of bitter cold, sunshine and smoky clouds, with mountains in the distance in every direction. Photo: Brian Mann
The day offered an intoxicating mix of bitter cold, sunshine and smoky clouds, with mountains in the distance in every direction. Photo: Brian Mann
After an easy descent, I made it back to the spot where I'd stashed my skis and ski boots.  Within a few minutes, I was gliding down the flank of Hurricane, passing in and out of pools of brilliant sun.

All too soon, I was back to the truck and back to the real world.  In a year when great backcountry treks can be hard to find, this one was first rate. 

In November, the state of New York finalized a plan to restore the fire tower on Hurricane and the tower on St. Regis Mountain.

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.