After a week of daytime temperatures above freezing, today, Monday, the high was about 20, and tomorrow won't be all that much warmer. After that, temperatures warm to the 50s on Thursday before falling back to the 40s for the remainder of the forecast period.
Some areas of Lake Placid picked up as much as 5" of new snow, and local die-hards will know where to find it before it mostly all melts on Thursday. This would have put a nice surface on the base left on the road to Newcomb Lake, but again that will be gone by the weekend.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg is again open for recreational skiing after being closed most of last week due to training and racing for the National Biathlon Championships and the Continental Cup Nordic Combined. Van Ho reports 3" of new snow, which puts a nice surface on their 5km of competition trails. All Legacy trails remain closed.
Paul Smith's VIC is still just reporting three "caution" trails with the rest closed.
Cascade X-C Center is closed for skiing, but their "going out of business sale" (now owned by the Adirondack Mountain Club) has 50% off on anything still left in the ski shop.
UPDATE 3/24/22: While we had no major "heat wave" this week, daytime temperatures were generally in the 40s, so the melting continued. For the coming weekend, only die-hards will be able to find skiable snow, which is still available past Marcy Dam. Paul Smith's VIC now only reports three "caution" trails with the rest closed. Mt. Van Hoevenberg is down to the man-made snow on the competition trails, and those are closed for the weekend's competitions. Cascade is closed for the season. If we somehow end up with a big new dump, we'll report on it, but this could be this season's last report. Let us know if you have appreciated these reports.
UPDATE 3/20/22: Looks like a week of "spring conditions" but without much sunshine and intermittent chances for either rain or some wet snow. Hard and fast each morning if the temperature is below freezing, but softening during the day. Mt. Van Hoevenberg is down to just the competition trails. Legacy trails are closed. Paul Smith's VIC still has approximately 15 km noted in green (=good), and another 15 km noted as yellow (=caution).
Temperatures today, Thursday, will easily hit 60 in the Lake Placid area, so most of last week's snow will be gone. There is still a base that will survive, but not on any south-facing slopes or open areas. Friday will be cloudy and not quite as warm, but Saturday could see as much as 1/2" of rain. Cooler again on Sunday, but still a high near 40. Then it's spring conditions heading into next week with temperatures below freezing at night and above during the day. Hard to predict exactly what will remain skiable a week from now, but another good snowstorm would not be unprecedented. There's always hope.
Entire trail no longer skiable. Old Mt. Road section and McKenzie Pass section up from Whiteface Inn Lane are the only longer sections that remain skiable, but just barely; and may not be by the end of the week. McKenzie Pass section above Whiteface Inn Lane will remain good once one is on the flats leading to the lean-to, but the approach is narrow in spots due to runoff, and there are sections of gray ice on the climb up.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI CENTERS
CASCADE X-C SKI CENTER: No report on the skiing. Ski shop open
Km Open and Groomed: Track Set:
New snow: Base Depth: Off Track
Surface Conditions: Packed powder
MOUNT VAN HOEVENBERG:
Km Open and Groomed: 4 km Track Set: 4 km
New snow: Base Depth: 15" on man-made snow trails. 0-?" on "Legacy"/natural snow trails. Off Track: 0-?
Surface Conditions: Wet granular
Remarks: CLOSED TO PUBLIC SKIING 3/21 - 3/27 DUE TO CONTINENTAL CUP NORDIC COMBINED COMPETITION AND NATIONAL BIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS. All Legacy (non-competition trails) are closed due to lack of snow.
PAUL SMITHS VISITOR INTERPRETIVE CENTER:
Km Open: 30 km. Track set: ??
New Snow: Base Depth: 10" Off Track: 12"
Surface Conditions: Wet granular
Remarks: Website shows 15km as good, 15km as needing caution. Some grooming has been done.
30" at Lake Colden (estimate)
5-6 feet above 4,000 feet
Skis or snowshoes still required by regulation in the High Peaks and still needed on other higher terrain. Many hiking trails were pure ice before the new snow, and that ice will still be an issue for any travel on mountain trails.
WRIGHT PEAK SKI TRAIL: No report, but hiking trail portion likely again not skiable.
MARCY TRAIL: Phelps Brook above Marcy Dam and Marcy Brook at Indian Falls definitely "went out", in the last thaw and has not refrozen. Both crossings are difficult. Still some rocks showing going up as far as 5-meter bridge
WHITEFACE HIGHWAY: Cover all the way to the Castle, but some bare spots on the windy corners.
MARCY DAM TRUCK TRAIL: Skiable, but hardly ideal. Scant snow on any south-facing hill, some intermittent gray ice , and there are tire tracks from last week's search operation. GENERAL NOTE: At the trailhead on Adirondak Loj Rd., DEC Rangers do not want any parking on the right side of the plowed turnout. Good parking on the left side, and then there's the road.
HIKING TRAIL FROM ADK LOJ: Covered and marginally skiable past the Algonquin junction. The first mile of the hiking trail is not skiable. .
AVALANCHE PASS: Skiable. As of Monday, 3/21, both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden were still crossable, but avoid the outlets of both lakes. Avalanche Pass is still skiable from Marcy Dam up, but the caretaker who came out today indicated he probably wouldn't ski back in the next time. GENERAL NOTE: If skied from the Meadows Lane/Marcy Dam Truck Trail trailhead, DEC Rangers do not want any parking on the right side of the plowed turnout. Good parking on the left side, and then there's the road.)
CONNERY POND TO WHITEFACE LANDING: Given that the hills face south, not recommended.
HAYS BROOK TRUCK TRAIL: Skiable to both Grass Pond and the Sheep Meadow. So far this season, the parking area continues to be plowed even after the recent storms.
FISH POND TRUCK TRAIL: Skiable, but no report on the ponds.
RAQUETTE FALLS: Not really skiable.
GULF BROOK ROAD TO BOREAS PONDS: Needs to be checked as the first hill, which faces south, is probably pretty bare. May be skiable after that.
NEWCOMB LAKE ROAD TO CAMP SANTANONI: Skiable to Camp Santanoni. Moose Pond trail has some blowdown that may not be removed this winter.
AUSABLE LAKE ROAD: Probably still skiable, but likely very thin at the start.
POST STORM UPDATE 3/13/22:
As of noon on Sunday, the storm has ended and the winds are beginning to die down. Actual snowfall totals ranged from 4-5" at the Keene end of the Jackrabbit Trail to as much as 12" in parts of Lake Placid. This is enough to make for good skiing on the entire Jackrabbit Trail and most popular backcountry routes. Given the reports on th Wright Peak Ski Trail as of Thursday, even 12" of snow might not be sufficient to cover the rocks on the hiking trail. Above that, it will be good powder conditions. Likewise for the Marcy Trail, it may be a bit rocky for the first 1.5 miles above Marcy Dam, but good once on the separate ski trail up to and beyond Indian Falls. Groomed centers now have enough to groom, but given the temperatures in the 50s by the en d of the week and rain now predicted for Saturday, this will be a brief "reprieve" from the previous week's meltdown.
As currently predicted, snow will start on Friday evening and continue through Saturday evening. Heaviest snow will be Saturday afternoon and will be accompanied by high winds. Sunday will be cold with highs only in the low 20s. After that, temperatures rise to around 50 by Thursday.
The National Weather Service predicts 7-15" of total accumulation. Weather Underground says only 4-8" total with AccuWeather in between the two. Given that it is a coastal 'nor'easter', the exact track will influence exactly what and how much we receive. Stay tuned....
Since Sunday's major thaw, temperatures have returned to normal for March, but not much remains skiable. Nearly all open areas are now bare, and most wooded sections only have a few inches of crust left. Some snow fell on Monday night, but in most placed it was only enough to produce our "famous" "dust on crust". Some snow predicted for Friday night into Saturday, but so far no reliable prediction of how much.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg is only reporting 3 km of their competition trails open. No report for Cascade. The Paul Smith's VIC is the best bet as they report an inch or so of new snow on an icy base. They are grooming about 10 km of their easier terrain with light equipment, but noting that a fall on the icy base is to be avoided.
Jackrabbit Trail up from Whiteface Inn Lane has about 1/2" on a frozen granular base and is actually skiable - just not great. McKenzie Pond Rd. end just has a dusting of new snow on a base that alternated between frozen granular and glare ice. Not recommended except with traction.
Old Mt. Road section still has cover, but only a dusting on again a base that alternates between frozen granular and glare ice. Again, not recommended except with traction aids rather than skis.
Given the report from the Paul Smith's VIC, the Hays Brook truck trail is likely skiable as is the flat start of the Fish Pond trail. Other than that, we just need more snow.
Next update Friday morning when we have a better idea of how much snow might fall on Friday night.
After a Saturday of beautiful skiing (or just about any other outdoor activity), Sunday started off with some heavy rain showers, followed by sunshine and temperatures that neared 60. Coupled with a strong south wind, we have lost considerable snow - especially on south-facing slopes. Otherwise, we have preserved a decent base, and shouldn't lose too much more during the week.
Monday will maybe see some more rain, but then cooler on Tuesday. Wednesday - Friday will be good sugaring weather with daytime highs above freezing and nighttime temps below freezing. This will make for hard and fast surfaces for skiing most of each day. All we will really need is a few inches of new snow to make at least the easier routes good skiing; but so far nothing in sight through the week. Perhaps it's time to get the Microspikes back out while we wait.
We'll check what we can as far as remaining snow depth, and wait to see what the groomed centers can produce for good skiing surfaces with the base they have left. Next update on Thursday, 3/10, when the weekend weather is better known.
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.