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January, 2018

Skiing the Jackrabbit Trail to McKenzie Pond

Jackrabbit Ski Trail

On Saturday I set out to ski the two miles to McKenzie Pond on the popular Jackrabbit Trail. However, the sign at the trail warned that a bridge over McKenzie Brook was “flooded and impassable.” I knew that the bridge had been a few feet underwater after a recent thaw, but that was a week ago. I wanted to see for myself if the bridge was still impassable. So I stuck with my plan. Earlier in the week, I had skied a few times at Dewey Mountain and enjoyed down-mountain runs in dry powder. On Saturday, alas, the temperature had >>More


January, 2018

Backcountry-ski conditions about to deteriorate

backcountry skiing

I just got back from touring the Andalusia region of southern Spain with Carol Fox and my daughter Martha. On one day we took a wonderful hike into the Sierra Nevada where we saw goats roaming the treeless hills. Although the mountains are not far from the Mediterranean Sea, they are snow-capped. The highest top 10,000 feet. I wore a T-shirt on that hike. I felt a little guilty about soaking up the sun while friends back home, especially in the Adirondacks, were suffering through below-zero days. OK, so I didn’t feel guilty. However, as I perused posts on Facebook, >>More


November, 2017

Thaw thwarts Adirondack backcountry skier

McKenzie Range

How things changed in a day for backcountry skiers. On Monday, I enjoyed a cruise through fresh powder on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail. It was nice and cold. On Tuesday, it warmed considerably, so I figured I’d try the trail to Moose Pond, another early-season favorite. Because it’s in the woods, I hoped the trail would keep the snow from the day before. It proved to be a fool’s errand. The trail is an old woods road that doesn’t need a lot of snow to be skiable. But it does need more than the inch or two that survived the >>More


November, 2017

An early-season ski in the Adirondacks

Bloomingdale Bog Trail

We got three to four inches of snow Sunday night, just enough to lure me out of the office for a backcountry ski on my lunch hour on Monday afternoon. I went to the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, an old railroad bed that needs only a few inches to be skiable. The base was thin, but overall the skiing was quite good. The trail starts off Route 86 outside Saranac Lake and extends about eight miles to Onchiota. On Monday, I skied about two miles up the trail, just far enough to get a good view of the bog, and then >>More


November, 2017

Adirondack skiers hit Whiteface Mountain highway

Whiteface Mountain highway

The 5.5-mile Whiteface Mountain highway offers backcountry enthusiasts a chance to test their ski legs before the onset of winter in the Adirondacks.


May, 2017

Lots Of Adventure In ‘Explorer’ Outings Guide

Have you ever taken in the vista from Iroquois Peak? Paddled up the Opalescent? Skied across frozen ponds near Fish Creek? Followed Don Mellor on an ice climb above Chapel Pond? You can read about all those adventures and more in the forthcoming Adirondack Explorer’s Annual Outings Guide, an anthology of recreational stories from past issues of the magazine. The regular Explorer comes out every two months, but in between the May/June and July/August issues, we publish the outings guide. Each guide describes a variety of recreational outings—hikes, paddles, ski tours, rock climbs, raft trips. Subscribers who collect the guides >>More


April, 2017

Adirondack Ski Season Draws To A Close

On Sunday I spent the day skiing in the backcountry. On Monday I hiked up Baker Mountain looking for wildflowers. Yep, it’s mud season. Although I had two good ski days last weekend, my season is at an end. I skied the Whiteface Memorial Highway on Saturday and several trails in the High Peaks on Sunday. I found plenty of snow at higher elevations, and die-hard skiers know that it’s likely to remain for a while. I’d probably get out a few more times myself if my schedule allowed it. Overall, it was a pretty good winter. We had two >>More


April, 2017

Spring Skiing On Mount Marcy

The equinox occurred on March 20. The baseball season opened on April 2. Nevertheless, spring has not arrived on the top of Mount Marcy. I skied Marcy this past Monday and found good conditions from Adirondak Loj all the way to the summit (see videos below). With this week’s rain and warm weather, conditions won’t be as good this weekend, but the snow at higher elevations will be around for quite a while. The last signpost on Marcy, about a half-mile from the top, was mostly buried, with just a foot or so sticking out of the snow. Hikers and >>More


March, 2017

Adirondack Spring Skiing On Bloomingdale Bog Trail

We lost much our snow base around Saranac Lake in recent weeks. For my lunch-hour ski on Thursday, I was rattling my brain for a smooth trail or frozen pond, someplace where you can ski without a lot of snow. I settled on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, which starts a few miles north of the village. Because it follows an old railroad bed, the trail is wide and flat. In winter, the bog trail is used by snowmobilers, so the base that was left was well packed. Yet the top few inches had been softened by the warm sun, creating >>More


March, 2017

Adirondack Pond Skiing After A Bitter Cold Night

When I got up Thursday morning, my weather app claimed it was 18 degrees below zero in Saranac Lake. Though skeptical, I’ll concede that it was damn cold when I stepped outside. I had to drive to Malone to look over court documents filed in the lawsuit over the state’s plan to split the state-owned Adirondack Rail Corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment. As I approached Paul Smiths, I passed Church Pond—a beautiful sheet of white beneath a brilliant blue sky. I promised myself I’d stop on the way back and go for a ski. After a >>More


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