Snow Sports

Pharaoh Lake on skis

Of the deer, there was little left. We were first humans to find it, a fact evident by the lack of ski trails or snowshoe prints. There was no warning of the carnage ahead—just an open clearing in the woods, and then the shouts of awe from my friend Jim, who was in the lead.

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Double dose of adventure

When the Explorer asked me to write about two of my favorite ski trips, I didn’t have to rattle my brain long before I hit on the two gems below. Both should be great skiing in late winter, when there is (or should be) lots of snow. If you love the winter wilderness and enjoy backcountry skiing, you won’t be disappointed with either of these trips.

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Snowshoe trips to get you through

Carl Heilman knows snowshoes. He made and sold them for 15 years, always out of hand-split ash, and he’s used them for much longer. Although he got out of the business a few years ago to devote his energies to photography, he still goes out on snowshoes two or three times a week when conditions permit.

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Joys of the Jackrabbit

This is how it was meant to be. The wax is holding firm as we ascend the mild uphill behind Pitchoff Mountain and settle into a comfortable kick and glide through the still woods, slow enough to maintain conversation but fast enough to know we’re getting somewhere. By Rick Karlin

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Owl Head Lookout

If you’re looking for a challenging backcountry ski, you might want to go to Owl Head Lookout in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. It’s an ideal trip for late winter, because the trail needs 1½ to 2 feet of snow to be skiable. By Phil Brown

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Peavine ski trail

The Peavine Swamp Ski Trail is a long ways from the High Peaks. When I visited the trail one Sunday in mid-January, in the midst of a snowy winter, I had it all to myself. Judging by the scarcity of names in the trailhead register, solitude is the norm here. By Phil Brown

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Nippletop hike offers new vista

The Dial-Nippletop loop overlooking the Ausable Lakes valley has always been one of the most spectacular—albeit arduous—day hikes in the Adirondacks, but now it’s even better, thanks to a fire that raged out of control for more than a week last September.

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Jackrabbit chases blues away

When I decided to move to Saranac Lake last year, a friend joked, “Yeah, Saranac Lake is a great place to live—for two months of the year.”

He meant summer. I saw the humor, but I didn’t agree. Every season in the Adirondacks has something to recommend it. Spring has its wildflowers; fall has its foliage, and winter has its digit-numbing cold.

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