The Battle of the Seasons
The past few weeks have seen the sun and winter battle for supremacy across our region. The sun’s rays on longer days have been beautifully warm, and yet our skiing base has stayed strong thanks to consistently chilly temps and cold nights. The result has been great cross-country skiing. While trail skiing comes and goes and has been icy and largely un-skiable of late, the variety of cross-country ski centers in the area gives us some great options to get out and kick and glide. Places like the Paul Smiths College VIC, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and Cascade Welcome Center are all good options.
Skiing on April Fool’s Day
I ushered in April with an April Fool’s ski at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. It was phenomenal – mid winter conditions! No joke. No hoax. No foolin’. Some folks think that they shouldn’t hope for or plan on April skiing. Perhaps they just want spring to begin. They are correct that conditions can vary greatly from day to day, and location to location, as we turn the calendar to spring and our thoughts towards the beach. But with such sunny skies and warmer weather, skiing is amazingly comfortable right now and not to be missed. Not only that, but we’ve been getting little touches of fresh snow here and there which have covered our icy base and make for great skiing. An inch or two really makes a big difference.
And so as the weather at the end of last week took a strong turn towards spring and the snow piles on my deck and along the driveway melted beneath the warm sun, I was not concerned. More cold weather and snow were coming and I knew I would be out enjoying them.
An Easter Ski in Lake Clear
I woke up Easter morning to the sound of plows going down the street and to the sun streaming through the window. Snow showers tapered off through the morning, and soon cleared through to splendid blue skies. I had told Wren that if we received enough snow on the weekend to ski on the local trails (which had become icy with the melt), we would go skiing. She had looked betrayed each time I had grabbed my skis and headed to a ski center without her. And so we went to one of our favorite places to ski – the trails in Lake Clear off Fish Hatchery Road.
The three inches of snow we had received over night were perfect – just enough to cover the icy base. The only icy spots were beneath the heavy conifers where the trees kept the snow from reaching the ground. Wren and I negotiated these thin places slowly and bounced along here and there where hidden icy ridges lay beneath the fresh snow. But, although slow, the skiing was decent for early April and we wound around Little Green Pond and Little Clear Pond. To my surprise there appeared to have been only one or two other people out and they turned around eventually, leaving me and Wren to set our own tracks. The unevenly melting snow occasionally compressed beneath us and I sunk into it, trying to avoid a slow-motion fall. I checked the depth of the snow off trail with my poles and it was still a few feet – our woods will be holding snow for quite a while yet.
The trail to Fish Pond was completely un-skied as well and we enjoyed the sunshine as we plied the packed trail and fresh snow. I saw very few animal tracks – most of them had been covered by the early morning snow – except for a lone set of Coyote tracks and a few sets of Snowshoe Hare tracks, which seemed appropriate since it was, in fact, Easter. Unfortunately, the hare didn’t leave us any jelly beans or chocolate.
We eventually turned around and retraced our steps until we reached the railroad track which took us back to the car. There were no snowmobiles out either – I supposed everyone was eating their Easter ham with family. We headed back for dinner too – I had a turkey breast all ready for the oven.
It's not too late to come to the Adirondacks for some spring skiing, and it isn't too early to start thinking about next winter either. Check out the dining, lodging, and cross-country skiing pages for more information.