Another warm day on Saturday with some rain, then cooling off into next week, but so far not much new snow. Tuesday is the best chance for snow, and we'll update if it looks like the forecast changes with an increased amount.
Monday warmed up into the 40s and those temperatures prevailed through the night with some wind and rain to further damage the snow we had. Cooling off as of Tuesday evening, but at most an inch of new snow tonight and Wednesday. Quite cold on Thursday, warmer on Friday, and the a high near 40 with rain on Saturday.
So, most of the snow in the Lake Placid area is gone for now. Paul Smiths and Newcomb will have retained a base, but surfaces will, at best, be "dust on crust". So, it looks like we're back to microspikes and hiking for the rest of the week and coming weekend.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg is back to a 1 km loop and reports the weather conditions as "clousy"- spell checker doesn't like that word, but I don't think it is a typo. Cascade hasn't updated, but their well-sheltered trails may have held enough base that they can groom at least a few trails once we get the inch or so predicted on Wednesday.
Update, Friday evening: The snow continued to fall today, so at least 3" of additional light snow. This is good news, but without any significant base on the rougher trails one must recognize that the rocks are merely "disguised", not actually "covered".
Some light snow Thursday and Friday has made more terrain skiable, but the rougher trails are still not recommended. The forecast calls for temperatures only in the low 20's for a high on Saturday, but warming up into the low 30s on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday will see some rain and temperatures near 40, but it cools down later in the week.
Only the smoother sections are really skiable just yet. Specifically, the Craig Wood to River Rd. and River Rd. to the Lake Placid Club can be recommended. Old Mt. Rd. up from Keene to the top of the pass definitely skiable with some care as not all the rocks are covered. Lake Placid side of the old Mt. Road has some rough going including wet areas. The Peninsula section is also skiable with care. The rest needs more snow.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI CENTERS
CASCADE X-C SKI CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 15 Km Track Set: 15
New snow: 4". Base Depth: 3"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder
Remarks: Restaurant and ski shop open
MOUNT VAN HOEVENBERG:
Km Open and Groomed: 40 Km Track Set: 30
New snow: 3". Base Depth: 3-4"
Surface Conditions: Packed Powder
Remarks: Ladies 5km not open due to construction.
PAUL SMITHS VISITOR INTERPRETIVE CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 30 (report says "light" grooming)
New Snow: 4". Base Depth: 4-5"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder
Snowshoes not yet required to be used in the High Peaks, but there is enough snow that they should be used if there is 6" or more. The regulatory requirement for snowshoes is now 12". Full winter conditions on any of the higher summits, and traction just about mandatory for any steeper trail due to thaw earlier this week followed by a freeze.
WHITEFACE HIGHWAY: Skiable all the way to the Castle.
MARCY DAM TRUCK TRAIL: Skiable with caution as not all rocks are fully covered.
HIKING TRAIL FROM ADK LOJ: Not yet skiable.
AVALANCHE PASS: Not yet skiable past Marcy Dam. Lake ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is being crossed. Be cautious around all inlets and outlets - especially the outlet to Avalanche Lake where the safest course is to exit on the western shore and cross the outlet on the bridge.
CONNERY POND TO WHITEFACE LANDING: Not yet skiable
HAYS BROOK TRUCK TRAIL: Definitely skiable to both Grass Pond and the Sheep Meadow with 15"at the Sheep Meadow. Some blowdown past the crossing of Hays Brook. Two are a bit of an effort to get around, but they don't detract from the overall experience. Use caution on the steep hill that descends to Hays Brook.
FISH POND TRUCK TRAIL: Definitely skiable from the parking area. No report on the condition of the big hill two miles in from the register.
GULF BROOK ROAD TO BOREAS PONDS: Definitely skiable, although the parking area has yet to be plowed. Some culverts washed out in the Halloween storm, but they are crossable and will be more easily negotiated as we get ore snow.
NEWCOMB LAKE ROAD TO CAMP SANTANONI: Definitely skiable. Moose Pond Trail also has good cover, but there may be uncleared blowdown.
AUSABLE LAKE ROAD: Skiable. No vehicular traffic, and so far no snowmobile traffic; but that could change next week.
While much of New York received significant snow from Sunday's storm, that snow stayed south of the High Peaks. The Lake Placid area only received 2-3 inches of snow overnight. Enough to significantly improve skiing on the Marcy Dam, Fish Pond and Hays Brook truck trails, but initial indications are that the steeper sections of the Jackrabbit Trail and Avalanche Pass are still not quite ready to be skied. The Newcomb Lake Road will be in good shape as the Newcomb area did receive more snow, and that road is very smooth and gentle.
Cascade X-C Ski Center reports 5 km of trail open as of Monday morning. Mt, Van Hoevenberg reports just 1 km open, but may be able to open more terrain by tomorrow.
There is a possibility of more snow this afternoon and evening, and we'll update this report as we learn more.
The 11/25 report predicted "dust on crust" for the weekend, and that's pretty much what we have with just a bit of freezing drizzle Friday morning to add to the mix. In addition to the smoother, flatter truck trails, the Whiteface Highway is skiable all the way to the Castle. The freezing drizzle makes for faster conditions than usual on the descent, but there is complete cover even on all of the turns that are often blown clean. Surfaces on those turns (one at 2,800 feet, Lake Placid Turn and Wilmington Turn) are rime ice and some powder, and the lower mile is icy in the center.
Cascade X-C Ski Center reports 10km of trail groomed and open with a big sale in the ski shop.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg reports that skiing is reduced to the Mini Loop.
Otherwise, a chance of some additional light snow Monday and into Tuesday, but at least no warm-up in sight.
As of Wednesday evening, it is raining on the Adirondacks. While there won't be a lot of additional snow melt, the temperatures will fall without much hope of any new snow. So, according to the latest forecasts, it will be at best "dust on crust" for the coming weekend. Hiking with microspikes is probably the best outdoor activity for the weekend. Hays Brook Truck and Fish Pond truck trails still have a thin base as of Wednesday, but will need several inches of new snow to again be skiable. Hays Brook in particular may have blowdown from the Halloween storm that has yet to be cleared.. Marcy Dam truck trail has better cover, but will still need an inch or so to be truly skiable.
ORIGINAL 11/25/19 POST
No new snow and temperatures have been above freezing most days since the last report. The snow is therefore thinning out, but it's not gone yet. We are in the mode of "spring conditions" in November where the surfaces will be rock hard and fast in the morning, but softer in the afternoon.
Cascade X-C Ski Center reports 10 km of trails open
Mt. Van Hoevenberg reports 40 km of trails open
Both distancescould shrink with the warm temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday.
The rougher trails like most of the Jackrabbit Trail can no longer be recommended, but the smoother trails such a Hays Brook, Fish Pond, and the Newcomb Lake Road are still quite skiable. The Ausable Lake road still has good cover, but the vehicular traffic has encroached on the separate ski tracks.
Warm daytime temperatures through Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, will slowly reduce what snow we have, but colder temperatures return as of Friday and Saturday. Therefore, weekend hikers will need traction aids for almost any trail hiking, and need to be prepared for winter conditions on any of the higher summits.
Temperatures have been above freezing since Thursday afternoon and remain well above freezing as of 11 AM Friday with moderately heavy rain. It will cool down by evening, but not before we lose even more snow with not much new snow currently predicted. So, not much skiing to report for the coming weekend, but the hiking trail will be icy. Cold temperatures and wind will make for winter conditions on any exposed summit. Be prepared.
Next week does not at the moment look all that promising to have any good skiing for Thanksgiving, but stay tuned. Just a slight dip in the currently predicted temperatures for next week could produce some more snow. We'll update as conditions change.
Monday night saw a mix of sleet and freezing rain and even some rain before changing over to wet snow. Therefore, no definitive report on ski conditions for today or for the next few days as temperatures will fluctuate above and below the freezing mark. There won't be any significant melting of the 4-6"base that we have on the ground. Likewise, the lake ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden will remain crossable as long as one stays away from the inlets and outlets. The outlet to Avalanche Lake especially should be given a wide berth. We'll update later in the week when we have a better idea of what the weather has done and what it will do for the weekend.
Tuesday's big storm did not dump quite as much snow as predicted on the Jackrabbit Trail or the High Peaks in general. 4" in Saranac Lake, 6" in Lake Placid and Keene. The north end of the Park and up to the St. Lawrence River did get nearly a foot. Nevertheless, there is enough snow to ski the golf courses and the truck trails and no danger that this will melt before the weekend. In fact, it will be more like mid-winter temperatures through the weekend before it warms up into the 40s to start next week.
Friday has been just above freezing with some light mist, but no significant melting of any of the snow. Tonight will again cool down to the single digits, with wind and temperatures not rising much above 20 on Saturday. Warmer and calmer on Sunday.
In the High Peaks, the snow does not yet reach the 12" threshold where regulations require snowshoes, but travel is generally easier with snowshoes if there is more than 6". And as noted above, it will be full-on winter on the higher summits with goggles, face mask, and of course traction for any of the higher, steeper trails. No report from Lake Colden, and no lake ice is anywhere close to safe.
For skiers, here is my current research and speculation about possibilities. No idea how much blowdown might still be down after the Halloween storm.
Whiteface Highway: Skiable even before Tuesday's storm, and now even better cover. However, Saturday looks to be cold and windy, so maybe wait for more temperate conditions on Sunday.
Jackrabbit Trail: Easily skiable for two miles from the Keene end to a beaver pond. Possible to get around the pond and on to the top of the pass, but still rocky and wet on the Lake Placid end, and not enough ice on the one large beaver pond. Craig Wood to River Road skiable with caution as is the case from River Road to the Lake Placid Club golf course. Fawn Ridge not quite ready, and some rocks still showing between Saranac Ave. and Whiteface Inn. First hill above Whiteface Inn Lane is a bit rough, but it gets better as one approaches the lean-to. Skiable on to the top of the pass. Not recommended past the top and down to McKenzie Pond, but there are ski tracks going in from McKenzie Pond Rd.
Marcy Dam Truck Trail: Skiable to Marcy Dam. Be aware that there are rocks that, while covered, present a hazard.
Hays Brook Truck Trail: Enough snow to be skiable, but there may be blowdown.
Fish Pond Truck Trail: Same as Hays Brook.
Raquette Falls: First few miles skiable, but not enough to ski to the falls.
Ausable Lake Road: Still being driven, but enough of a "shoulder" for a ski track; and the walkers will stay in the tire tracks and out of the ski tracks.
Newcomb Lake Road: Likely skiable, but the remote monitoring equipment at the Huntington Forest is not updated. Reports of conditions welcome.
Gulf Brook Road: See Newcomb Lake Road
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.