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.
Tuesday Nov 19
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.
Friday Nov 15
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.