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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thinking snow again

Whiteface's summit from the Lake Placid Turn. Photo by Phil Brown.

Whiteface’s summit from the Lake Placid Turn. Photo by Phil Brown.

I took advantage of this week’s snowstorm to get in one  last (?) ski. After work Wednesday, I met Ron Konowitz at the Whiteface Mountain toll road, and we skied  up the highway 3.5 miles, as far as the Lake Placid Turn.

Ascending the highway, with summit in distance. Photo by Phil Brown.

Ascending the highway, with summit in distance. Photo by Phil Brown.

We were surprised to see that one side of the road had been plowed by the state. Ron was ticked off not only as a skier, but also as a taxpayer. The road is closed to vehicles this time of year, so why expend time and money plowing it if the snow is going to melt soon anyway?

As it turned out, the plow got only a half-mile or so up the road before turning around. After that, the only tracks we saw were those of a lone skier and an occasional hare. Otherwise, the road was blanketed by a foot or more of fresh, unbroken snow.

It was almost too much snow, really. We expected that it would be slow on the descent, but as we approached the Lake Placid Turn, two snowmobilers passed us. Ordinarily, I don’t like to see snowmobiles when I’m skiing, but this time I didn’t mind: the machines provided a packed trail that would facilitate a swift descent.

By the time we reached the turnaround, the sun was starting to set, and the snowy summit was bathed in a soft, yellow light. It was a gorgeous moment, inadequately captured in the top photograph.

Starting today, the snow will be melting fast. I imagine the snow at the bottom of the road will be gone soon, but if you’re desperate you might be able to find snow at higher elevations this weekend if you’re willing to walk a ways.

And if you can’t make it to the toll road before the snow melts, there’s always next year. Or–who knows?–next week.

Sunset is fast approaching. Photo by Phil Brown.

Sunset is fast approaching. Photo by Phil Brown.

Phil Brown

Contributor Phil Brown was editor of the Adirondack Explorer from 1999-2018. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important.

3 Responses

  1. pam says:

    Nice view! I’m one of those who wasn’t ready to see the snow go. I enjoyed the easy, quick decent with butt sliding. Will look forward to the fall hiking with all of the colors, though. Take care!

  2. Harvey44 says:

    I’m with Pam. I’d like 8 months of winter, 2 months of spring and 2 months of fall.

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