As of Friday, we have finally cooled down to more "normal" December temperatures with some light snow that has stuck around to make the Whiteface Highway skiable, although most will choose to walk the first mile or so. Above the pump house at just short of two miles, there is 4-6" of cover. Otherwise, we may get some more snow Friday night and into Saturday, but only enough to perhaps make the Highway skiable all the way to the toll house. Some forecasts do indicate that we will receive more snow, but the National Weather Service describes the approaching weather as a "compact coastal storm" with significant snow only coming as far inland as eastern Vermont.
Higher elevation hiking trails are very icy, so good traction aids should be considered essential for any travel above 3,000 feet, and helpful above 2,000 feet.
We'll update as the weekend progresses. Cold start to next week, but warming the mid-30s during the day by mid week. Some flurries, but no significant new snow in the forecast.
Friday evening update: Despite the warmer weather on Thursday, there is still "slideable" snow at the Toll House. After a mile, there is an inch or so until reaching the usual windblown turn. (See Photo). Past this problem area, the conditions continue to slowly improve. This afternoon it was rain up to just past Santa's Village, but then light snow, which should continue into the night. Not the conditions we might expect for early December, but at least it's skiing.
We did receive a few inches of snow on Tuesday night, but it started melting by noon on Wednesday. Thanksgiving Day will be in the 40s with some rain possible, followed by above freezing temperatures through the weekend. The Whiteface Highway and the golf courses will be just barely skiable on Thanksgiving Day. After that, pretty much no golf course skiing and a steadily shrinking length of the Highway that remain skiable. Unfortunately, continued warm into the first part of next week. We'll have an update when things again look hopeful for skiing.
Meanwhile, still much ice from 3,000 and above, with some even lower down. Bring traction on any hike.
First of all, Josh and I want to thank all the enthusiastic volunteers who have turned out this fall to work on the Jackrabbit Trail and the other ski trails BETA maintains. We can only hope that it snows this winter so that all that good work doesn't go to waste.
As for the skiing, we've had a few brief moments, but for now there is nothing but the upper reaches of the Whiteface Highway. Tomorrow, Wednesday (11/18) will be quite cold, but then it warms up to the 50s by Friday. Somewhat cooler with rain or snow over the coming weekend. Traction aids will be needed above 3,500 feet for any hiking, but we're a long way from needing skis or snowshoes at that elevation.
In the ideal world (if such a thing exists), we would hope for some extended cold weather before we get any snow so that he ground freezes and the lake ice thickens before an insulating layer of snow keeps the little water courses coursing in the ski trails and the ice subject to slush. As always, however, we'll just have to see what actually happens.
Snow has been falling for much of today, Monday, but no significant accumulation just yet. Tonight's forecast calls for 4-6 inches, which would make more than just the Whiteface Highway skiable - at least for a day or so. There is no frost in the ground, so the snow will be melting from the bottom almost as soon as it falls; and then from the top starting Wednesday when temperatures begin to rise to the 60s predicted for the weekend. We'll update tomorrow after we see what we actually get and them maybe a better idea on how warm it will get. UPDATE 11/3: Yes, we did get the 4-6"pretty much everywhere, but it is definitely wet powder on no base and unfrozen ground. And with temperatures warming to 50 tomorrow, this snow won't last long. It may survive on the upper part of the Whiteface Highway into the weekend, but some forecasts have it as warm as 65 degrees by Sunday.
Yes, we picked up a few more inches of snow on Monday night - more to the south and east, but now rain is in the forecast for Thursday night, part of Saturday and pretty much all day Sunday. So I guess the real reason for this post is to let you know that while staying home, as you are supposed to be doing, you aren't missing any good skiing.
Stay safe, be well, and there's always next year.
The snow conditions are changing about as fast as the reports/recommendations regarding the Corona virus. This week has seen several warm days, and Friday will be in the 60s. It will immediately cool down, but with no new snow the surfaces won't be conducive for anything except hiking with traction aids. In general, there is no snow on south-facing slopes at elevations below 2,500 feet, and not much snow left below 1,500 feet. Next week will again see temperatures in the 40s with only a chance of some snow showers while it is still below freezing each day.
So, not much specific can be reported at this moment. If you are local, you can probably figure out something to do with these conditions - we've been here before. If you are not local, you likely live south of here where the snow may have been gone for a while. Consider just staying local and exploring some of your local terrain to stay sane while we all endure this unprecedented change in our daily lives. Perhaps by exploring locally you'll discover some new place you can go back to even after this virus scare is history.
Just in case this site is where you go to check on the conditions at the groomed centers,here's the update. Otherwise, refer to the previous report.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg: 12 km open with a "machine-groomed" surface. There may be some shallow track set on the flatter terrain. Ungroomed trails do have cover, but also have intermittent ice bulges.
Cascade: 5km open and groomed
Paul Smiths VIC: 30 km open with some grooming on a good base.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg has continued grooming and now has 12 km of terrain groomed for skating- the flats plus East Mountain Loop. Cascade remains open (skiing not the restaurant) with 15 km open.
The coming week offers more "spring" conditions, but not much loss of base -soft above freezing, hard below freezing. Still no sign of winter's return as we've seen in a few recent years, but we're not giving up just yet. We could still get a few more weeks with the "right" (at least for us) weather.
Yesterday's report promised more details today. Unfortunately, there's not much good news - at least in the short term.
Today, Friday, the temperatures are in the low to mid 40s with heavy rain falling for most of the morning. The cumulative effect of this rain and the warm days earlier mean that the snow cover has shrunk considerably - especially in open areas and south-facing slopes. It will cool off tonight, but only eventually get to the upper 30s, so surfaces will be hard and fast for most of the day. Probably a better weekend to get the microspikes back out again and go for a hike.
Winter, however, can still make a comeback as it has in several of the past few years. In the backcountry, there is still 41" of snow at the stake at Lake Colden and 5-6 feet at 4,000 feet. Approaches to the High Peaks will need several inches of snow to cover up the ice that remains on the start of either the hiking trail or the truck trail, and at the moment there is no significant snow in the forecast. So, we'll just wait it out and see what happens. Next report when there is a change worth reporting.
For now, Mt. Van hoevenberg reports only 1 km open, but they do have 3" of base left that won't need too much new snow to again be skiable. Cascade X-C Ski Center is closed. Paul Smiths VIC has the best base, and should again offer good skiing with just a few inches of new snow.
Today, Monday, will be the warmest day of the week with temperatures in the 50s. Only cooling off to the 40s tonight, but then staying in the 40s Tuesday. Tuesday night and every night for the rest of the week will be below freezing, so we will have the "spring conditions" as predicted last week. And given the cold temperatures at night, there won't be any significant loss of snow cover except in exposed areas at lower elevations.
For the coming weekend the highs are now predicted to be right around freezing. Absent any new snow, surfaces will be somewhat hard and fast except at the groomed centers. Lake Placid Loppet now cancelled. Cascade will be in full operation. More complete update Friday, 3/13.
Looks like a great weekend for skiing. An inch of new snow Wednesday night on top of a foot or more of solid base means everything is skiable. Cold Friday night and a high in the upper 20s on Saturday will be followed by temps in the 40s on Sunday. Next week will see a continuation of "spring" conditions - above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. Some chance of new snow, but so far next week will have firm surfaces each morning before the snow softens later in the day. So, don't miss your chance this weekend.
Good cover from end to end, and all sections are well broken out. Section in from McKenzie Pond Rd. is thin at the start, but improves as one skis toward the pond.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI CENTERS
CASCADE X-C SKI CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 15 Km Track Set: 15
New snow: Base Depth: 10" Off Track 20"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder and hardpack
Remarks: Final Full Moon Party tonight - 8 PM
MOUNT VAN HOEVENBERG:
Km Open and Groomed: 45 Km Track Set: 45
New snow: Base Depth: 12" off Track 20"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder and hardpack
Remarks: All groomed and tracked, except the outer loop of the Ladies 5 km.
PAUL SMITHS VISITOR INTERPRETIVE CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 37
New Snow: Base Depth: 25"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder and hardpack
Remarks: All trails groomed. Most track-set
Snowshoes or skis are now required in the High Peaks. There is 47" at Lake Colden and 6-7 feet at 4,000 feet. See introduction for a discussion of how surface conditions will "evolve" during the coming week.
WHITEFACE HIGHWAY: Skiable all the way to the Castle.
MARCY DAM TRUCK TRAIL: Finally enough snow to truly cover all the rocks.
HIKING TRAIL FROM ADK LOJ: Definitely skiable. Old Marcy Dam trail is the better start as there are no problems with any brook crossings.
AVALANCHE PASS: No rocks to dodge above Marcy Dam. Pass is in good shape. Lake ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is being crossed. Be cautious around all inlets and outlets.
CONNERY POND TO WHITEFACE LANDING: Fully covered and broken out. Pond can be crossed to avoid the hills at the beginning.
HAYS BROOK TRUCK TRAIL: Definitely skiable to both Grass Pond and the Sheep Meadow, Blowdown past the crossing of Hays Brook now cleared, but parking is not plowed.
FISH POND TRUCK TRAIL: Fully covered and broken out to the pond. Several trees down on the long descent when heading toward Fish Pond, but none that come as too much of a "surprise". Return option via St. Regis and Little Clear ponds also broken out. Some slush on Little Clear Pond, but no danger of falling through.
RAQUETTE FALLS: A bit thin under some of the hemlocks, and there is a tree at the bottom of a hill about three miles in, but otherwise very skiable. Road is plowed to the parking area past the bridge over Stony Creek with a few spaces plowed at the parking area.
GULF BROOK ROAD TO BOREAS PONDS: Parking area has been plowed. Tracks broken to the ponds. Second washed out culvert that required a detour has now been shoveled (thank you Jim Brundage?) and is no longer an obstacle. First culvert is now just a "speed bump".
NEWCOMB LAKE ROAD TO CAMP SANTANONI: Good skiing as always. Moose Pond Trail also has good cover, but there is an undetermined amount of uncleared blowdown.
AUSABLE LAKE ROAD: Plenty of cover. Snowmobile and hiker traffic makes the surface less than ideal for skiing, but still acceptable.
Trail Conditions 101
Trail condition reports are posted frequently during the ski season. The Adirondack backcountry can be a hard place to predict with weather and trail conditions that often change rapidly. We can't offer the same detailed descriptions of trail conditions as groomed nordic centers.