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Adirondack Explorer

February, 2012

Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend

The Mountaineer in Keene Valley will host the tenth annual Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend. Most of the ski tours are full, but you can try out gear for free at the rope-tow hill at North Country School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. That night, skiing legend Glen Plake will show slides and videos of his backcountry adventures. The presentation starts at 7:30 at Keene Central School. Admission is $10. Click here for more details.


February, 2012

Video of skiing the Trap Dike

When I skied to Avalanche Lake a week ago, the bottom of the Trap Dike in Mount Colden didn’t have much snow. Evidently, there is enough snow higher up to ski the dike and the upper slide. The video below is from Drew Haas’s website Adirondack Backcountry Skiing. The site has a number of other videos worth checking out. 2/20/2012 from ADKBCSKI on Vimeo.


February, 2012

Ski trip to Avalanche Pass

Avalanche Lake

  We sent files for the March/April Explorer to the print shop Monday, so I took the next day off to ski to Avalanche Pass and, given the dearth of snow this winter, was surprised at the quality of the skiing. I also tried out our new Go Pro video camera during the descent of Avalanche Pass. It worked much better than my old system of strapping a point-and-shoot to my chest during my downhill schusses. You can check it out here: We may get rain this week, so the conditions could change, but for what it’s worth, here’s my >>More


January, 2012

Finally, snow in the Adirondacks

We finally got a bit of snow in Saranac Lake. Not enough for backcountry skiing, but enough to get you thinking about it. On my lunch hour yesterday, I hiked Baker Mountain and took the photo above. The few inches we got might be enough to ski on golf courses, the Whiteface highway, and a few of the easier trails in the region. I hope to check out the trail to Moose Pond later in the week. This is a good time to remind people that the Adirondack Ski Touring Council regularly updates cross-country-ski conditions online. It reports that Nordic >>More


December, 2011

Help the world; watch a ski film

Want to do something good for the world? Then watch the new Teton Gravity Research ski film at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts this Friday night. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Adirondack Ski Touring Council and the Barkeater Trails Alliance, two nonprofit organizations that maintain trails for cross-country skiing and mountain biking in and around Lake Placid. The film, One for the Road, follows some of the world’s best skiers on the road and on the slopes, whether in Jackson Hole, Japan, Iceland, or Alaska. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the movie starts >>More


November, 2011

The harbinger of winter

We had a brief snow squall in Saranac Lake this afternoon. No accumulation, but the cedars outside the office window got a nice dusting. So I wasn’t too surprised when Ron Konowitz called to say he had just skied the toll road on Whiteface Mountain. As the robin is to spring, Ron Kon is to winter. He is usually the first, or among the first, to hit the toll road in the fall and the last to put his skis away in the spring. Last season, he went skiing more than 160 times, mostly in the backcountry. This season, he >>More


November, 2011

Skier’s Backcountry Bible

In 1987, David Goodman got a dream job for a ski bum trying to survive as a freelance writer: the Appalachian Mountain Club hired him to write a guidebook for backcountry skiing in New England. The following year the club published Classic Backcountry Skiing: A Guide to the Best Ski Tours in New England. Unlike most ski-touring guidebooks, this one focused on down-mountain runs rather than rolling terrain, and it came out just as telemark skiing was enjoying a rebirth. Goodman later expanded his horizons westward, and in 1999, AMC split the book into two volumes, one covering New Hampshire >>More


April, 2011

Winter is hanging on

Winter hasn’t ended yet. It has been snowing off and on since early Tuesday. Driving from Plattsburgh to Saranac Lake last night, I found myself in a blinding snowstorm. The new accumulation has amounted to only a few inches, but it was enough to inspire me go for a short ski through a pine forest in Saranac Lake on my lunch hour. The forest is at the start of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. It’s a beautiful place after a fresh snowfall. If you like snow, enjoy it while it lasts. The temperatures are supposed to climb into the fifties this >>More


March, 2011

Ski festival this weekend

The Mountaineer in Keene Valley will host the ninth-annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend. As in the past, skiers can sign up for a variety of intermediate and expert tours. The most difficult outings entail skiing slides in the High Peaks. As of today, there were still three openings for the High Peaks Traverse on Saturday, an end-to-end trip through Avalanche Pass. Cost: $90. All the other tours are full, but if you’re interested, you can get on a waiting list. In addition, the public can demo gear and take part in free clinics for telemark skiing, skinning, and >>More


February, 2011

Sliding off the Kilburn Slide

The March/April issue of the Explorer contains an article about skiing the Kilburn Slide outside Lake Placid. I went with Josh Wilson, a backcountry snowboarder, shortly after a big snowfall that prompted an avalanche warning for the region. One purpose of the trip was to test the avalanche conditions on the slide. The greater purpose, though, was to ski (or snowboard) the thing. Josh went down in superb fashion, carving big curves in the snow and at one point gliding off a small cliff. I skied badly, however. I’m just not used to skiing slides. Most of my backcountry skiing >>More