Happy Vernal Equinox 2014 from the Adirondacks

A Day Late and a Dollar Short 

Sunrise on Mt Marcy Adk last day of winter 2014

Sunrise on Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks on the last day of winter 2014. It was a cold one.

Today’s “Happy New Year!” greeting comes a day late because a busy first day of spring is a good one. It is a dollar short because although today is the first full day of spring 2014, it is cold and snowing in the Adirondacks. Some people actually consider this snowy gift a ripoff, and forget this is very normal weather for the Adirondack North Country. Indeed, a cold day on skis is the standard, delightful way to celebrate March 21 in Lake Placid.

Regular readers of Adirondack Lifestyle will recall I consider the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox, the actual beginning of a new year. This isn’t my fancy, Mother Nature calls it: the seeds of new life are planted in the spring. Even though it is snowing, it is clear the Adirondack part of earth is waking up, springing to life.  The sharp crack of frozen wood in the Adirondack night is replaced with gentle, almost warm breezes, and the randy birdsong of warm Adirondack days. Tiny new buds on the hardwoods soften the view.

Adirondack Purple Finch 03-20-14

Everything is looking rosey in the Adirondacks.

Birds are molting into their colorful breeding plumage and maple sap ran for a day. We’re still skiing in the Adirondacks but make no mistake, spring is well underway.

Happy New Year!

Winter Storm Vulcan in the Adirondacks – Better Late Than Never

Vulcan View from Home 03-13-14

The view from home, post winter storm Vulcan.

Skiers’ hearts are light in Lake Placid today thanks to Winter Storm Vulcan. Locations throughout the Adirondacks report snowfall in the 20+ inch range. Already excellent ski conditions throughout the North Country are even better now with the assurance of a longer ski season.

A typically rational and logical human reaction to 2014 Winter Storm Vulcan’s snowfall is:  ski it when you got it!

As usual, click on the photo for a larger vision of Winter in the Adirondacks

Winter Storm Vulcan Headed to the Adirondacks

Blizzard Party at Adirondack Lifestyle Because Vulcans Never Bluff!

Ski in Lake Placid tracks

Tuck’n go ski conditions have occupied the past few weeks in Lake Placid.

I know, it’s been almost two weeks since the lifestyle hound gave the last Adirondack ski report. Time sure flies when ski conditions are this fantastic.

The good news is, things are about to get better. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Adirondack North Country, and his name is Vulcan! The Trekkie in me is giddy with delight.  Perhaps Vulcan will live long and prosper in the Adirondacks, stick around for awhile, and leave behind a good pile of that fluffy white stuff.  That would be a logical outcome.

It sounds like this could happen since according to NOOA, the Adirondacks may receive up to 20 inches of snow from the pointy-eared storm. (Okay, I’ll stop, but where do they get this stuff?)

North Country predicted snowfall march 12-13 2014

Latest snowfall prediction from the National Weather Service as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The forecast calls for heavy snow tomorrow, Wednesday afternoon and through the night, with blizzard conditions. It is therefore logical and necessary to stay home Wednesday night, wax some skis, drink some Adirondack maple hot chocolate, and celebrate this visit from our rational Vulcan friend!

A Message from the Adirondack Lifestyle Ski Dog

Ziggy the ski dog ski report 02-27-14

Ziggy the ski dog is not amused.

I’m pretty tired from all the skiing today but mum said I have to let you know if you like romping in the snow and skiing downhill fast, now is the time to grab your human and high tail it on up to the Adirondacks.

As you can see in today’s distinguished featured photo of me, it was snowing hard today in Lake Placid. Three inches of soft fluffy new snow fell on that painful frozen hard stuff mum said was a good base but I hated. I heard that Polar Vortex thing is here which makes sense since my feet hurt unless I am running. It has been posited my feet don’t hurt when I’m skiing because running downhill fast is more fun than standing in front of the door waiting to get in the house when they take so long to open door that I have to pick up my feet so looks like I am dancing but I really just have cold feet.

I’ve been told to stay on topic but I also want to remind ski dogs to be on the lookout for things because there are things like the fox and coyote who live near me and always leave threatening messages on things. I don’t act scared or anything being distinguished and all but I admit I was a little nonplussed to find the freshly severed bunny head on the back porch last year.

Anyway take it from me, the lifestyle hound ski dog, skiing is great in the Adirondacks right now for all creatures distinguished or not.

Sweet Skiing in the Adirondacks – Quick Ski Report from Lake Placid

Ski Report and Rave

Mt Marcy icy frame

Cold and snowy Mt. Marcy.

These are the days for long backcountry ski excursions, mixed up, two-a-days; ski center in the a.m., backcountry with the dog p.m.,  or many runs at the lift-serve mountain. The Adirondacks received more than 24 inches of new snow in the last two weeks. That may not sound like a big deal to my western readers, but after a dry January in the Adirondacks, those stats are sweet. Please consider this an up to the minute report on ski conditions in the Adirondacks.

Skiing of all genres is fantastic in the Adirondacks right now.

The trails at MVH nordic ski center are all groomed to perfection with track set by the some of the best in the world. The same can be said for Whiteface, home to the latest local Olympic medalist in Super-G. The backcountry finally has enough snow to fill in around rocks and heaves. In no way referring to my stature, there you have it, a short and sweet ski report.  Carpe Adirondack diem and go skiing!

St. Valentine’s Day Storm Avalanche Warning issued in the Adirondacks

Lake Placid St Valentines Day Snow 2014

Avalanche conditions prevail at elevation and on bird feeders in the Adirondacks.

Although the recent snow has backcounty skiers psyched, we are advised to be aware of the increased risk for avalanches in the Adirondacks.

Unsafe conditions were noted last week and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has just issued the following warning based on today’s snow.

Snowstorm Creates Excellent Skiing Conditions

Increases Risk of Backcountry Avalanches

February 14, 2014

 Plenty of new snow has made for excellent skiing and snowshoeing conditions in the backountry. Skiers planning to ski backcountry glades and slides should be aware of the increase risk in avalanche.

 The recent storm left 10 to 16 inches of new denser powder snow on top of the 2 feet or more of less dense snow already on the ground. Due to the winds from the storm expect wind loading on the leeward side of mountain slopes. Strong temperature gradient snows were already present in the snow pack. Be aware of the risk of avalanches.

Know Before You Go

  • Have a basic knowledge of avalanche risk, prediction, avoidance and rescue.
  • Carry beacons, shovels & probes
  • Check for avalanche conditions before skiing.
  • Obtain your own data. The presence of ski tracks on a slope doesn’t eliminate the risk of avalanche.
  • Remember safe travel techniques.
  • Know how to self-rescue and have a rescue plan.
  • Skiing, snowshoeing and other travel is prohibited on Avalanche Pass Slide. 

There is more information on avalanche awareness and preparedness on the DEC web site at www.dec.ny.gov/public/950.html

  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Ski Season Has Arrived in Lake Placid – a Ski Report Poem

Fresh snow on Mt Marcy from Adk Lifestyle 02-06-14

Fresh snow blankets the Adirondacks and Mt. Marcy this morning.

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the ski season that year:
It was a cold, dry January, and fans’ hearts burned with fear.
And when the weather people called for snow, and skiers wished the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the Adirondacks when the snow never really came.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only one big Nor’easter would come up the coast -
We’d put up even money, now, with a big storm about which to boast.

But rain preceded cold, as did also warmth and mud,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a dud;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy came,
For there seemed but little chance of seeing snow, and more likely only rain.

But a quick clipper storm brought 3 inches, to the wonderment of all,
And weathermen, the much despised, said 6-8 inches more is the call;
And when the dark had lifted, and the skiers realized snow was there,
There were 10 inches of freshies on the ground, which was considered more than fair.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For snow, mighty snow, had made the skiing phat.

Oh, everywhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing in Lake Placid, and Adirondack hearts are light,
And on the ski hill men are laughing, and in the lounge drink beer;
There is tons of joy in Lake Placid – ski season at last is here.

With humble apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Down Hill Fast: an Essential Element of the Adirondack Lifestyle Wellness Theory

Sunlight on a snowy Adirondack Trail

Sunlight breaks through the balsam canopy, beneath which is especially thin snow cover  in the Adirondacks.

We finally skied down hill fast again on Wednesday. A quick moving snow storm dumped about 6 inches of snow on Lake Placid on Tuesday.  After too many days of skiing in bitter cold, sub-zero wind chill temperatures on hard pack snow, in gerbil circles around and around a short, flat, man-made course, there was enough snow on the ground to cut it loose during Wednesday’s neighborhood ski. That fun little ski was rejuvenating and reminded me why the rush of skiing down hill fast is an important part of the Adirondack Lifestyle Wellness Theory (ALWT).

Going “down hill fast” is also one of Ziggy, the lifestyle hound’s favorite things . It has been a tough winter for fans of back country skiing ‘down hill fast’ in the Adirondacks. The lack of snow has kept nordic skiers on the flats and lakes since any trails with incline inevitably have dangerous rocks poking through the snow. I felt the loss: I look forward to steep, narrow ski trails with as much enthusiasm as my canine ski companion. The words, “here we go, down hill fast” turn us both into hyper fools, flying through the woods with silly grins. Ziggy grins with his ears, they flap as he runs, staying ahead, out of my way and just out of tag-you’re-it reach.

Fortunately, Tuesday’s snowy surprise provided just enough cover to let the skis ride on Wednesday’s  local, low-elevation back country ski excursion. And that was just enough ALWT medicine to make me think we might salvage this ski season in the Adirondacks after all. Hope springs eternal!

Adirondack Snowy Stream Crossing

Back on Snow and in the Freezer in Lake Placid

A Big Tip of the Tuque to the Crew at Mount Van Hoevenberg

Lake Placid Olympic xc trails flags Mt Van Hoevenberg

The Olympic Ski Trails at nearby Mt. Van Hoevenberg have a few kilometers of track-set trails constructed of man made snow.

At the risk of repeating myself, it has been a winter of extreme weather in the Adirondacks. In a not so ironic twist, the Southern Jet Stream took my advice and went home, but his slightly less annoying cousin, the Polar Vortex is back in town. By this point however, after enduring a few freeze – thaw cycles, most Adirondackers will agree, both of these extreme weather visitors have become very annoying.

Adirondacks minus 29 degrees

Is anyone else getting tired of seeing screen shots like this one posted on Facebook? I am.

After the warm rain washed away all the snow and ice, (ski base) the big freeze descended on Lake Placid and the Adirondacks. We received six inches of snow since the temperatures dropped, but that is not enough to put back country skiing back in business. The sub-zero temperatures and wind chills are the story this week, so skiing at Whiteface Mountain takes a strong constitution.

In what can only be described as a heroic effort, the trail crew at Mt. Van Hoevenberg spread and groomed a few kilometers of man made snow. This provides a nice, although flat, loop course with two tracks set and a firm skate lane for those of us who must get outside.

The only thing to do in a situation like this is make the best of it. Seeking downhills, I conducted a short assessment of the steeper trails covered in only natural snow. Frozen cheeks on the downhills weren’t worth the poor conditions, but a couple of loops around the perfectly track-set course was surprisingly fun despite the minus-five-degree temperature.

Poor snow conditions aside, late afternoon skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg is a treat on a clear, cold day. The setting sun on Cascade Mountain creates an Alpenglühen to complement the inevitable post-ski glow.

Alpenglühen on Cascade  from Mt Van Hoevenberg

Alpenglühen on Cascade Mountain from Mt. Van Hoevenberg ski center.

 

Go Home, Southern Jet Stream, You’re Drunk

And You Are More Annoying Than Your Cousin, Polar Vortex

Adirondack Snow Rock in January Rain

Snow Rock looks a little forlorn riding out today’s rainy weather. It also looks a little too green for January.

It is a balmy 47 degrees  and raining here in Lake Placid. The warm, southerly wind makes the air smell like a moist Adirondack spring evening.
On January 11th, at 9:00 at night.

It was warm and rained, “heavy at times,” all day, so the ground is mostly bare of snow. Rushing rivulets force their way through frozen mud and grass.  Roads are closed throughout the Adirondacks because of ice dams and flooding, and flash flood warnings remain posted through tonight. And let’s not forget the possible thunder storm.

Adirondack Snow and Debris Covered Trail

Sticks and forest tidbits from this year’s ice and wind storms clutter the trails.

The warm breezes and rain rode the Southern Jet Stream that ambled too far north last night, and they’ve all settled in for a visit. This is not your normal Adirondack  January thaw; the unusual warmth comes on the heels of record breaking cold. Wind chill values were minus forty here in Lake Placid just a few days ago. The extreme fluctuations are bizarre and make outdoor recreation planning difficult and skiing impossible. Today’s walk turned into a morose assessment of the damage done and was cut short by torrential rain. But at least the lifestyle hound obeyed instructions and did not fall through the melting ice.

Ziggy + Adirondack Frozen Stream

Ziggy considers ignoring instructions to stay off the ice…

Ziggy + Adirondack Frozen Stream no thanks

…but chooses wisely.

We are all ready for these extreme characters, those wandering trouble makers, Southern Jet Stream and Polar Vortex, to stay where they belong and let us enjoy winter in the Adirondacks.