By Mike Lynch
One of the good things about backcountry skiing in the Adirondacks is that it’s usually easier have the woods to yourself. Ski trails are much quieter than summer and fall hiking trails.
That means if you spend some time studying the different winter trail options, you’ll likely be able to come up with some trip options where you’re likely to see hardly anyone else. Below, I highlight five places we’ve previously written about that you’ll want to consider for future adventures.
Of course, before you head out, keep in mind that winter conditions are much less forgiving than those in the warmer months, so you’ll have to make sure you’re prepared for the cold conditions. Bring extra layers, the 10 essentials, and plenty of food and water.
One thing I remember about working with former Explorer Editor Phil Brown is that he loved to ski, and he was willing to go to extremes – or deal with them — to do so. I was reminded of these facts as I sifted through our website archives recently looking for old skiing articles. I came across this trip story from January 2014 about a ski Brown did to High Rock in the Five Ponds Wilderness. The article starts with Brown waking up with the temperature being 24 degrees below zero, but that didn’t deter him from heading out into the woods. Read this entertaining article to learn more about this trip in a little visited place in the park.
Tony Goodwin has written guidebooks on hiking and skiing and knows his way around the Forest Preserve as well as anyone. In this article, he lays out options for skiing to state lands in the central Adirondacks there were once Finch Pruyn Lands. That includes skiing on the roads and lakes that are part of the Essex Chain of Lake and heading into Boreas Ponds. READ MORE
Skiing a road doesn’t exactly sound like fun, but it’s not an uncommon practice. There are places in the Adirondacks where it makes sense to hit the road with skis – as long as there’s enough powder on the ground. In this article, Brown heads up Prospect Mountain in Lake George via the seasonal paved road. Because the road grade is gradual, you’ll only need crosscountry skis for the uphill or gliding down. The incentive for taking this trip is to get a view of the Lake George watershed in winter. READ MORE
This trail is known to locals as a place that often holds snow earlier and later than many other trails. In addition to giving you a feel for the terrain, this story will give you a sense of the past work culture at the Explorer. Apparently, it used to take most of the staff to do a ski article. The editor, publisher, office manager, and designer were all on this fun trip. Read it to find out who thought it was a good idea to somehow attach a spoon to a ski pole and who thought it might be a good idea to add vodka to a water bottle to keep it from freezing. READ MORE
In this article, you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to ski to Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb. I had to add this story because the road to Santanoni is one of the first places that is skiable in the winter. This is a good trip for people who aren’t expert backcountry skiers because most of the trip is pretty flat. In the article, Editor Brandon Loomis took advantage of the open house at the former Great Camp to warm up and get some cocoa. However, the building won’t be open at all this year due to COVID restrictions. But don’t let that stop you from making it a destination. It’s closed most of the time anyway. READ MORE