Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Mountain Club, 2003 Softcover, 160 pages, $12.95
Adirondack Mountain Club, 2003
Softcover, 160 pages, $12.95

Not every classic stands the test of time—not when the public’s tastes keep changing.

For nearly a decade, cross-country enthusiasts have relied on Tony Goodwin’s Classic Adirondack Ski Tours for advice on where to ski in the Adirondack Park. The book is a minor classic in itself, with its spare descriptions of the author’s favorite ski routes and its attractive, easy-to- follow maps.

This winter, the Adirondack Mountain Club has reissued the book as Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks and included a bunch of trips to summits that will appeal primarily to snowshoers (and daredevil skiers). Since snowshoeing has grown in popularity in recent years, the change is understandable.

Goodwin said one aim of the book is to introduce novice snowshoers to the Park’s great variety of scenic routes and destinations. “This is a way of getting them off the golf courses and groomed trails,” he said.

But should skiers feel slighted? At first glance, it might appear so. Both books contain 50 trip ideas. Since 14 of the trips in Ski and Snowshoe Trails are new and most of them were chosen with snowshoers in mind, it follows that the book offers fewer trips for the average skier. Goodwin, however, said the 14 ski routes removed from the book are not such a great loss. In most cases, he said, they were trails that saw little use by skiers or had become overrun by snowmobilers. “The ones that I dropped deserved to be dropped,” he said.

There was one trip he agonized over cutting: the ski across a mile of Lake Champlain to Valcour Island. “It was a unique experience when the skiing was good,” he said, but in recent years, the lake has not frozen. “It was a victim of global warming,” Goodwin said of the island circuit.

Of the 14 new trips, nine go up peaks, including such hikers’ favorites as Blue, Bald, Hadley and St. Regis mountains. The original book included trips to just three summits: Mount Marcy, Whiteface Mountain and Frederica Mountain (overlooking Lake Lila). All three are retained in the new book.

Photo by Carl Heilman A young snowshoer enjoys time on the trail.
Photo by Carl Heilman
A young snowshoer enjoys time on the trail.

Despite the greater emphasis on high terrain, novice cross-country skiers will find four new destinations in Ski and Snowshoe Trails, including Bum Pond in the Whitney Wilderness, purchased by the state in 1998. The others are High Rock on the Oswegatchie River, Moss Lake near the hamlet of Eagle Bay and Moose Pond near the village of Saranac Lake. In addition, the book offers one new suggestion for intermediate skiers: the trail to Owen, Copperas and Winch ponds near Wilmington Notch. Better intermediate skiers may also be able to handle a few of the summit trails added to the book.

The bottom line: If you’re an average skier, you still can enjoy most of the trips in Ski and Snowshoe Trails. And who knows? Perhaps by the time you’ve done all the novice and intermediate excursions, you’ll be ready for some peak skiing. Following are four of the new trips in Goodwin’s book (the quotations are from an interview with the author):


drops 14
trips in favor
of 14 new
Routes AddedRoutes Dropped
Bald Mt.
Black Mt.
Blue Mt.
Bum Pond
Copperas Pond
Goodnow Mt.
Hadley Mt.
High Rock
Moose Pond
Moss Lake
Mount Arab
St. Regis Mt.
Snowy Mt.
Split Rock Mt.
Brandy Brook Flow
Crowfoot Pond
Gull Lake
Lampson Falls
Limekiln Lake
Mr.Van Ski Trail
Panther Pond
Pillsbury Lake
Safford Pond
Shanty Brook
Streeter Lake
Valcour Island
Wanika Falls
Wilcox Lake