The Adirondack Powder Skier Association strongly believes that human-powered, back-country skiing is a healthy activity that fits squarely within the beneficial recreational uses for the Forest Preserve. We are working with the state agencies to recognize that maintenance of back-country ski glades can be permitted under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Essentially, we are promoting a recreational activity that has minimal adverse environmental impacts and immense eco-tourism benefits.
Glade skiing requires good snow but not necessarily a summit. Many times glades top out on a ridge or on a shelf on a ridge. Glade zones would be limited to existing naturally occurring openings in mature forests.
The initial decision on where to locate glade zones and connecting ski trails would be in collaboration between the APSA and Department of Environmental Conservation foresters. Skier input is critical in making sure that these glade zones and connecting trails utilize natural openings and have the appropriate aspect, terrain, and abundance of natural snowpack needed to provide an enjoyable recreational pursuit with minimal maintenance. The final decision as to the approval of these glades and trails would be made by DEC foresters.
Maintenance of glades and connecting trails would be done by trained volunteers working under DEC supervision. DEC staff would ensure that the proper maintenance guidelines are being followed. Unlike hiking trails, there would be no erosion or surface water issues, and glade maintenance would not require the movement of rocks nor the removal of nutrient-rich soil. All maintenance in these ski zones would be performed between September 1 and April 30 as these trails and glades would be closed to foot traffic between May 1 and August 31.
Appropriate signage with DEC approval would be created by the APSA as well as educational outreach programs targeting the various summer use groups to ensure the protection of this resource.
Ron Konowitz, Keene
Konowitz is president of the Adirondack Powder Skier Association.