WITH UPDATE TUESDAY EVENING 12/24
Temperatures near 50 on Monday and only slightly cooler today, Tuesday, have unfortunately reduced the amount of snow and skiable terrain. Furthermore, once the temperature has dropped below freezing, surfaces are hard and icy- i.e. "Spring Conditions" without the base we would usually have built up by spring. The rest of the week will see either normal or above normal temperatures with a mix of precipitation Friday and Saturday. The exact ratio of snow, to sleet, to rain is hard to predict at the moment. So look for an update at the end of the week, but in the meantime we hope you have a Merry Christmas. So, for now it will be the groomed centers that can at least loosen the surface a bit that will be the best skiing.
For alternatives, there is nice skating on Lower Cascade Lake with several dozen out there this afternoon. Additionally, with proper traction aids (read Microspikes) the popular hiking trails will be easily ascended.
Only the smoother sections were really skiable before the thaw, but those sections will again be good skiing with just a few inches of new snow as so far they have held onto some base.. Specifically, the Craig Wood to River Rd. and River Rd. to the Lake Placid Club can probably still be recommended, but better to wait until it gets a bit above freezing to soften the surface. Old Mt. Rd. up from Keene to the top of the pass was definitely skiable with some care as not all the rocks are covered, but now it is not recommended due to a few more rocks showing and the firm surfaces. Lake Placid side of the Old Mt. Road has some rough going including wet areas. The Peninsula section is not really skiable as foot traffic plus the thaw has made several stretches quite icy. McKenzie section to the pond now not really recommended. From Whiteface Inn Lane the first half-mile is rough, but after that it is good to the top of the pass - provided that warmer temperatures have softened the surface.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI CENTERS -Best bets for this week
CASCADE X-C SKI CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 10 Km Track Set: 10
New snow: 0". Base Depth: 4"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder with icy spots
Remarks: Restaurant and ski shop open
MOUNT VAN HOEVENBERG:
Km Open and Groomed: 30 Km Track Set: 20
New snow: 0". Base Depth: 4"
Surface Conditions: Packed Powder with icy spots
Remarks: Most of the Biathlon side and some on the X-C side, but not Porter Mt.
PAUL SMITHS VISITOR INTERPRETIVE CENTER:
Km Open and Groomed: 25
New Snow: 0". Base Depth: 6"
Surface Conditions: Packed powder
Remarks: Cover holding well as of Tuesday morning
Snowshoes or skis are required in the High Peaks when there is 12" or more of snow on the ground. There is now 12" at Lake Colden and 2-3 feet at 4,000 feet. Full winter conditions on any of the higher summits - be prepared. Traction required on any of the exposed summits and on some of the steeper trail sections at lower elevations due to repeated thaw-freeze cycles the past few weeks.
WHITEFACE HIGHWAY: Skiable all the way to the Castle, but there may be windblown stretches.
MARCY DAM TRUCK TRAIL: Still complete cover except that 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 10"at the Sheep Meadow, and the mostly gentle grades mean that the skiing is not too fast when icy. Some blowdown past the crossing of Hays Brook. Two of the trees 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, and the gentle grades for the first two miles make that skiable even when firm. The big hill two miles in from the register is not really recommended, especially because there is a report of some downed trees that require caution..
GULF BROOK ROAD TO BOREAS PONDS: Definitely good cover, but the final descent back to the parking lot will be fast if surfaces are firm. Parking area had yet to be plowed as of last week. Some culverts washed out in the Halloween storm, but they are crossable and will be more easily negotiated as we get more snow.
NEWCOMB LAKE ROAD TO CAMP SANTANONI: Definitely skiable and perhaps the best choice for this week. Moose Pond Trail also has good cover, but there may be uncleared blowdown.
AUSABLE LAKE ROAD: Mostly still good cover, (except better to walk at the start under the thick trees), but hills will be perhaps a bit too fast for comfort if still firm.
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.