This past weekend, I encountered Tom O’Sullivan of Albany and his friend, Dave Richman of New Hampshire, near Fifty-Meter Bridge on the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mount Marcy. I had stopped to put climbing skins on my skis and engaged them in friendly conversation. We ended up introducing ourselves, and when Tom heard my name, he asked if I were the editor of the Explorer. I allowed that I was. “You guys do a great job,” he said. “I love that publication.” He’s not lying: Tom has been a subscriber for ten years. One of the most gratifying things about >>More
By Phil Brown Winter came late. We didn’t get our first decent snowstorm until the second week of December, maybe six inches over two days—enough to ski the new trail at Henry’s Woods outside Lake Placid. The 2.5-mile trail winds, climbs, and descends through a two-hundred-acre preserve on the outskirts of the village. Tony Goodwin, executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, designed the trail for hiking and skiing. It’s five feet wide, and most of its surface is smooth and covered with crushed gravel, making it a good bet whenever there isn’t much snow.
With snowshoes, you can go just about anywhere in the Adirondack Park. But with more than two thousand miles of trails, where do you start? Below are suggestions from four gung-ho Adirondack snowshoers. DEBAR MOUNTAIN By Tony Goodwin Although only 3,300 feet in elevation, Debar Mountain rises prominently from the flatter terrain to the north and west—the direction from which it is approached. Summertime views are unique but limited pretty much to Meacham Lake and the lower mountains to the west plus the expansive sweep of the St. Lawrence Valley to the north. A winter ascent, however, offers the possibility >>More
His lifelong quest: To protect wild nature By Dick Beamish When Clarence A. Petty died at 104 on November 30, the Adirondack Park lost one of its greatest champions, the woodsman who laid the groundwork for the protection of a million acres of wilderness and 1,200 miles of rivers inside the Blue Line. With his passing, the Park also lost what may be the last living link to an earlier era known mostly through history books and old-time photographs of guides, trappers, lumbermen, and grand lakeside hotels. Though he was born in 1905, Clarence’s early years more closely resembled a >>More
Last weekend I encountered Mark Meschinelli and Dave Hough, two members of the notorious Ski to Die Club, on the trail to Mount Marcy. Back in the seventies and eighties, Mark, Dave, and their crew set a standard in boldness by tackling difficult terrain–slides, frozen brooks, glades, you name it–in the gear of the day, namely lightweight leather boots and skinny skis. These guys still got it. After summiting, I skied down with them and took a short video of Mark making parallel turns on the ski trail below Indian Falls. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear he’s >>More
On Sunday, I skied to Whiteface Landing for the first time in a few years and was pleasantly surprised by the state of the trail. I’m not talking about the snow conditions, although they were superb. I’m referring to improvements made in recent years by Tony Goodwin and his volunteers at the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. The council removed boulders, built bridges over streamlets, and, perhaps most important, fixed the drainage problems that sometimes left the bottom of the trail’s biggest hill bare and/or icy. It so happens that we encountered Tony on the trail on Sunday afternoon. On the >>More
The trip to Avalanche Lake from Adirondak Loj is one of the most popular ski tours in the Adirondacks, and justifiably so. You’re treated to a variety of spectacular scenery along the way, culminating in the lake itself, a frozen sliver of white immured between the cliffs of Mount Colden and Avalanche Mountain. On the return, you enjoy a half-mile descent from the pass on one of the few trails in the High Peaks designed for skiing. A few weeks ago, I posted a video on Adirondack Almanack of my descent from Avalanche Pass. But I actually took several short >>More
The Jackrabbit Ski Trail offers lots of great skiing over its twenty-four miles, but the best part is the six-mile stretch from Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid to McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake. The highlight is a mile-and-a-half downhill run from McKenzie Pass to McKenzie Pond. On Sunday, I did a round trip to the top of the pass from McKenzie Pond Road. It took me nearly forty-five minutes to climb the hill (after skiing two miles to its base) and just five minutes to descend. That might seem like a lousy pain-to-pleasure ratio, but the schuss makes >>More
Last weekend, I saw a slide show in Keene Valley given by Steve House, one of the best mountaineers in the world. He’s an entertaining speaker, self-deprecating and down to earth despite his penchant for high places. Unfortunately, I missed the slide show given the the night before by Eric Weihenmayer, a blind climber who has ascended the highest summit on each of the seven continents–including, of course, Mount Everest. I heard it was a great show. Both men were guests of the Adirondack International Mountainfest, which is put on each year by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley. The Mountainfest, >>More
This YouTube link takes you to my second attempt at making a short backcountry ski video. For this one, I strapped my camera–an Olympus 1030SW–to my chest and skied down a small peak outside Saranac Lake. The clip is only a few minutes long. Unfortunately, when I converted it to QuickTime for the Web it lost a lot of resolution. That’s why the titles at the start are blurry. I’m still learning. I hope to post more in the future.