How bad was this winter for backcountry skiers? It ranks as one of the worst, according to the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, which maintains the twenty-four-mile Jackrabbit Trail between Saranac Lake and Keene.
Tony Goodwin, the group’s executive director, says the entire Jackrabbit was skiable for only twenty-five days this winter—by far the worst season since the trail was created in the 1980s.
Previously, the worst season was 1989, when the full Jackrabbit was skiable for forty-eight days.
“Our best season was 1998 when the Jackrabbit Trail was covered for 132 days,” Goodwin writes in the ASTC’s spring newsletter.
But Goodwin recalls worse winters before the Jackrabbit came into being.
“As recently as 1982-83 there was even less snow,” he says. “A lot of shoveling eked out about twenty-five days of skiing at Van Ho [the state-owned Nordic center], but I doubt the Jackrabbit Trail would have ever been skiable that season.”
Goodwin also points out that in 1932 and 1980—when the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid—“there was literally no snow.” And in 1950 the World Nordic Championships had to be moved from Lake Placid to Maine for lack of snow.
It’s not much of an upside, but the dearth of snow meant little blowdown along the Jackrabbit this winter and few washouts this spring.