Ski trip to Avalanche Pass


Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake. Photo by Phil Brown.

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:

YouTube video

We may get rain this week, so the conditions could change, but for what it’s worth, here’s my report on snow conditions on various parts of the trip.

South Meadow Road. The ski from Adirondak Loj Road to the start of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail is sometimes icy, but on Tuesday, South Meadow Road was ideal for skiing: well-packed snow with a veneer of powder.

Marcy Dam Truck Trail. Thin cover near the start and bare sections near the trail register and Klondike Brook. But most of the trail had good cover.

Marcy Dam to Avalanche Camps. Still lots of rocks poking through the snow, but they are easily avoided.

Avalanche Pass Ski Trail. Not as much snow as we should have, but plenty enough for an enjoyable run. In three places, surveyor’s tape flags rocks or roots that might trip up a skier.

Avalanche Pass to Avalanche Lake.  Good cover. But on one of the descents, a signpost points left to a section of trail rerouted after Tropical Storm Irene. There is a big rock just as you make the turn. If you’re skiing, go straight on the old trail to avoid the rock.

Avalanche Lake was frozen solid. Most of the snow had been blown off, exposing bluish ice. I skied to the base of the Trap Dike and was startled by its lack of snow. When I climbed the dike last winter, its waterfalls were largely buried in snow. Yesterday they were exposed, revealing long columns of ice. Too difficult for me to climb, I thought.

Coincidentally, on my ski out I encountered Don Mellor, the author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide. He had just climbed the Trap Dike with a client, and he remarked that in its current condition the dike is “a real ice climb.”


Marcy Dam Truck Trail.
Snow cover on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail was thin at the start. Photo by Phil Brown.



About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jim Close says

    Great video, Phil – thanks for that virtual ride down Avalanche Pass (from someone who’s only been out skiing once so far this year)

  2. Steve says

    Love it! I climbed Tabletop last Friday and noting the lack of skiers on the trail, I was thinking of the video you posted last year of the ski back to Marcy dam from the Indian Falls area. Great stuff, Phil. Thanks!


  1. […] I skied to Avalanche Lake a week ago, the bottom of the Trap Dike in Mount Colden didn’t have much snow. Evidently, […]

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