About Tom French

Tom French splits his time between the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands from his home in Potsdam. More information about his writing can be found at Tom-French.net.

Reader Interactions


  1. Charles Baudinet says

    At what elevation are the snowfall records from? Also, could you make a higher resolution image of the chart so you can read the number of inches?

    • Tom French says

      Hello Charles — Thank you for reading the piece and commenting. My apologies for not responding sooner.

      The snowfall records are from an ORDA website (https://whiteface.com/mountain/mountain-stats/). Attempts to discover where the measurements were taken were unsuccessful.

      That said, I did speak to people with the ASRC Whiteface Mountain Field Station. Meteorological measurements have been made at the summit since the 1930s, but measuring snow is, according to them, “fraught with complications and not an exact science.” They point out that snow depth at any one location is impacted by trees, wind, drifting snow, rain, and measuring equipment – to name just a few variables. Plus any measurements near a ski slope can be influenced by manmade snow wafting through the trees.

      Many people are familiar with snow gauges on poles, but “snow stations” measure Snow Water Equivalent by “detecting gamma rays” and will yield different results. Snow measurements (both snowdepth and SWE) by ASRC have been automated for the last five years and they are compiling records from previous years.

      According to one person I spoke to at ASRC, the ten-year average of 138 inches per year stated by ORDA “sounds about right.”

  2. Joe Kozlina says

    My goodness. When will it stop. The amount of technology and energy and man power to make snow is unbelievable. Read this article for what it is. Madness. None of this is good for the future of the natural world or the Adirondacks. True It makes money for some and provides fun for others. It in reality is passing the destruction of the planet down to our descendants. This is not new to any of you. You just choose to ignore the fact, the climate has changed, and you refuse to change with it. Making artificial snow is harmful to the environment. Allow mother nature and the mountain to dictate when and how long people will have to sky or participate in winter sport. Stop patting man on the back when he is destroying what we all want, that is longevity. This wont get us there.

  3. Joel Rosenbaum says

    Thanks for a very interesting article on snow-making on Whiteface, Tom French! I
    lived in Massena, and we used to ski 4 (?) narrow trails, reached from the end of the
    road, from the top of Whiteface. They were serviced by two inline rope tows and
    there was a warming cabin. This was in the late 1940’s. There wasn’t much room to maneuver on those narrow trails, but they were banked and the snow was good.
    It was great fun!

    • Tom French says

      Hello Joel — Thanks for reading and commenting. I believe you are referring to when the ski area was known as Marble Mountain — its original iteration. The lodge was off the steep road to the Whiteface Memorial Highway and roughly across the street from Santa’s Workshop. That lodge is now part of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center. I also think the warming cabin is till present at the top of Whiteface’s Lookout Mountain Lift. This area is where the Marble Mountain rope tow was located. It is my understanding they renovated the cabin. I’ve been in it recently. It’s heated and a nice place to have lunch.

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