Still not much good skiing to report, but at least the rain earlier predicted for Thursday and Friday has been "moved back" to Saturday. There is again just enough snow for golf course skiing in Lake Placid (except for Whiteface Club which is now restricted to members). The Paul Smith's VIC reports 4-6" of new snow, while noting that the cover under thick conifers is still very thin. A comment on the previous report indicate about 5" on the Fish Pond Truck Trail, with that trail skiable to Fish Pond - albeit with some thin areas.
No recent report about the Whiteface Highway, but that should again be skiable, if thin at the start.
Going forward, there does not appear to be any "game changing" snowstorm on the way, so we'll just have to take these few opportunities to ski, continue to hike with our spikes, or seek out the smaller bodies of water that have safe ice.
UPDATE 12/31 Still no major snow in sight, but as of this morning the "R" word is no longer in the forecast - just some sleet mixing with the snow on Saturday. Total accumulation of 1-3" predicted, and sounds like pretty dense stuff, so it will be a good, if minimal, base. Then more snow showers Sunday and Monday, which will make at least golf courses and the smoother, easier terrain skiable.
Newcomb Lake Road is just barely skiable with 1-2" of base with some fluff on top.
The report from Lake Colden as of today is still only 4" as of Thursday with 4-6" up higher. Not enough to ski to Lake Colden, and snowshoes are still not required in the High Peaks. Trails are very icy, so good traction is essential.
Farther to the west, the Cranberry Lake area apparently has skiable snow, and that probably means the Old Forge area also has skiable snow.
The DEC Outdoor Recreation Bulletin this week announced that the Town of North Hudson will not be plowing the parking area for Gulf Brook Road leading to Boreas Ponds. Also no plowing for the Ragged Mt./Hoffman Notch parking.
Christmas eve and day saw significant rain, high winds, and temperatures soaring to near 60 in the area. So no snow on the ground here in the Lake Placid area. Very little left even above 4,000 feet. Temperatures have cooled down, so all that water has turned to ice, making good traction (Microspikes or better) required right from the trailhead.
Lapland Lake did retain some cover and is reporting that, with some work, they will be able to offer some skiing starting Sunday. No report as of this morning from Garnet Hill, Also, no report as to whether the man-made snow at Mount Van Hoevenberg survived the thaw.
The coming week unfortunately doesn't look very good for skiing. 1-3" of new snow are possible today, Saturday, but that's about it. Monday will again rise above freezing, but Tuesday and Wednesday will be cold with highs in the 20s. Then a repeat of sorts for this past week with temperatures in the mid-40s Thursday and Friday and a 70% chance of more rain, followed by cooler temperatures on Saturday. Given the severity of yesterday's thaw, no lake ice can be assumed to be safe - even if it was a few days ago.
UPDATE 12/27 Garnet Hill is closed, Lapland Lake is very limited, so it doesn't appear that there is any skiing to be found if these two areas didn't survive the Christmas rain. Still only a few flurries predicted early this week, and then again rain on Thursday into Friday. Sorry. 2021 has to get better, doesn't it?
Temperatures have already reached the mid 40s as of mid-morning with even warmer temperatures this evening and tomorrow. Rain, heavy at times, is predicted for this evening, so no chance of any snow surviving here in the Keene-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake area. Reports from those hiking above 3,500 feet this past week indicated only 4-6", so even that may disappear before it turns colder. Christmas night and into Saturday will see temperatures cooling to more normal levels for late December, but unfortunately only a few snow showers are predicted. Monday will again be in the 30s, but it will again be a bit colder than normal Tuesday and Wednesday. But still no significant snow in the forecast.
So, with the cool down, all the water will turn to ice on the trails, and good traction (Microspikes at a minimum) will be needed - sometimes right from the trailhead. Areas to the south of here that received two or more feet of snow, should still have some cover; but only the groomed centers will be able to provide decent surfaces for skiing. We'll check as of Saturday what Garnet Hill and Lapland Lake will be able to offer as well as whether the man-made snow at Mt. Van Hoevenberg has held up to the thaw.
So skiers, I guess all we can hope for is that Christmas 2020 is the last bad thing to happen in this otherwise not so good year. Here's to better 2021!
Milder temperatures in the 30s will continue Monday and Tuesday with perhaps a bit of new snow to fall on top of the 2-3" we already have here in the Lake Placid area. As reported elsewhere. areas to the east and south have more, with 5-6" just a few miles east in Elizabethtown. The remote weather station in SUNY ESF's Huntington Forest showed 6" as of Thursday, but those skiing on the Newcomb Lake Road said it was more like 3" with definitely marginal conditions.
The Lake Placid and Craig Wood golf courses are definitely skiable for now, but the Whiteface Club is operated as a groomed center, so only skiers with a trail pass are permitted there. And on the other courses, especially the Lake Placid Club courses, remember that you are an "uninvited guest" and should respect the owners who are kind enough to permit public use when the courses are closed.
Looking ahead, we unfortunately don't see anything but lumps of slush in our stockings. After a bit cooler temperatures on Wednesday, temperatures will warm to the 40s Thursday and Friday with a near 100% chance of rain. Cooler on the weekend, but no current forecast for any new snow. Sounds like microspikes will be the "wax of the day" for the weekend and beyond. Mount Van Hoevenberg's 3 km of man-made snow should survive the thaw, and their groomers will be able to produce suitable surfaces for skiing after the temperature drops.
Next update on Thursday when we have a better idea of just what we're looking at for weather.
Still quite cold on Saturday morning, but warming to mid-20s this afternoon and low 30s on Sunday. No chance of any significant snow until later this week, so what we see is what we have for the coming week.
In addition to the earlier reports, those who skied the Newcomb Lake Road said it was skiable, but marginal. Stay south where there is snow.
Although the track of the storm has changed enough to bring snow to most of Vermont, it still appears that the Adirondacks will not receive much snow. The National Weather Service says only a 50% chance of some light snow Wednesday night and into Thursday. We'll see if we wake up tomorrow morning to a surprise amount of snow; but for now don't plan on skiing anywhere but the Whiteface Highway this weekend.
Looking further ahead, the weekend will see temperatures climb to the low 30s, followed by mid-30s on Tuesday. There is a chance of snow on Tuesday, but the "R" word is also in Tuesday's forecast.
UPDATE 12/17AT 1PM In the end, we received a bit more snow than initially predicted. The snow has pretty much ended in the Keene- Lake Placid - Saranac Lake area with two, maybe three inches of light snow falling up to this time. If anything, Paul Smiths would have received less than that amount. Definitely way more snow south and east of here, but Newcomb only received 5-6". That should, however, be enough for the Newcomb Lake Road to be skiable this weekend. By tomorrow, we should have a more complete report, so stay tuned.
UPDATE 12/17 AT 5 PM: Whiteface Highway very skiable, but only 2-3". at the Toll House, and not much more higher up. DEC also reports only 2-3" at Lake Colden, but we would have to believe more at 4,000 feet. Newcomb remains at 5-6" as there was no new snow there this afternoon.
UPDATE 10:30 AM:
Apparently it was warmer than expected in Lake Placid Saturday night. All the snow that made the golf courses skiable as of Saturday afternoon melted. So, no base left as it cools down - except on most of the Whiteface Highway.
As of Sunday, 12/13, the warm weekend weather has not totally melted the snow on the Lake Placid golf courses or the Whiteface Highway, so there is still skiing despite temperatures around 40. Monday will be cooler, then mid-winter cold Tuesday through Friday (highs only low 20s), followed by 30 on Saturday. No major snow with this cold, so the ground should freeze and the lake ice may become thick enough early so that there is less slush after we have some snow on top.
Absent any chance for any significant new snow, the next update will be Thursday or Friday when the weekend forecast is clearer.
After a week of slightly lower than normal temperatures, Friday-Sunday will see a warming into the mid-forties by Sunday. Chance of some some light snow, grading to light rain by Sunday, and not much sun on any day.
Currently, it is still the Lake Placid golf courses, the Whiteface Highway, or the 1.4 km man-made loop at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Given that the snow we have came mostly from a coastal storm, areas to the west such as Paul Smiths don't have (as they usually have) more snow. The Hays Brook Truck Trail to Grass Pond and the Sheep Meadow has two+ inches in the open sections, but less snow where the overstory is thicker. There are those who would consider this "skiable", but it's definitely marginal. And the short, steep hill just after the crossing of Hays Brook should definitely be walked as that is the only short section where there are any rocks in the trail.
Going into next week,temperatures will again fall to normal or slightly below normal, but so far no major snowfall that would really start the season.
And while I've perhaps still got your attention, please thank the volunteers who did such great work to mow and clip the Hays Brook Truck Trail, as that is often the first backcountry ski tour that is skiable.
Also, if you are not already a member of BETA, please consider joining to support both our trail maintenance efforts and these reports.
As of Tuesday, there is a dusting of snow in the region with the chance of enough snow Wednesday to make the golf courses skiable. The Whiteface Highway remains mostly skiable, but depends on ones tolerance of thin cover for the first mile or so.
As of Thursday, temperatures warm with the National Weather Service (NWS) predicting highs around 40 Friday through Sunday, followed by some cooling. AccuWeather, however, is predicting much warmer temperatures during that period. We'll see how the two forecasts eventually converge.
Otherwise, Mount Van Hoevenberg reports 1.8 km of groomed skiing on their man-made snow loop. The loop is not flat and suitable for beginners, but one experienced die-hard reportedly logged 70 laps on this loop over Thanksgiving weekend.
Hiking trails are quite icy above 2,500-3,000 feet with good traction pretty much mandatory. Snowshoes not yet required even above 4,000 feet, but there are drifts deep enough where they would be helpful.
Next update on Friday when we see whether it's the NWS or Accuweather that has the forecast right.
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.
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.