Happy Thanksgiving from snowy Lake Placid!
Everyone is feeling pretty grateful these days here at Adirondack Lifestyle. In addition to the enormously long list of things for which I am grateful, I am thankful for the fresh snow.
I’ve surprised no one.
These finches are grateful the lazy humans finally put up their bird feeder.
The big Thanksgiving blizzard of 2013 did not dump twelve inches of snow in the Adirondacks, but we did get snow, rain, ice, sleet, a blast of cold air, and then six inches of nice fresh powder. A crusty base with six inches of fresh powder snow on top is a great way to start the Nordic ski season.
The neighborhood gnomes are thankful the lifestyle hound has lost interest in them.
I like to think of Thanksgiving as a verb. This works particularly well with fresh snow on the ground in Lake Placid. I also abide the saying ‘count your blessings,’ and I make my blessings count. This is all to say I will honor the fresh snow and show my gratitude by going for a ski.
The lifestyle hound is thankful for flying bits of under-construction pie crust on Thanksgiving Day.
Thank you to all my readers for your interest in the Adirondack Lifestyle, and to all my clients, past, present, and future: I hope you are having as much fun as I am.
Make your blessings count!
Which Makes This a Very Happy Telemark Tuesday!
There is currently just enough snow on the ground in the Adirondacks for sledding and skiing.
Last week’s cold and snowy weekend, when temperatures dropped to below zero after a 4 inch snowfall, was just a prelude for the next winter storm predicted to hit the Adirondacks tonight. The experts promise a foot of snow!
Okay, the meteorologists did not ‘promise’ 12 inches of snow will fall in the Adirondacks, but they said it could happen.
Skiers of all genres are delighted. Whiteface Mountain opens for the season this Friday and cross-country skiers are already enjoying themselves on the Whiteface Mountain Toll Road. There is just enough natural snow on the ground for sledding, but conditions should be fantastic after this week’s Thanksgiving snow storm.
The winter storm will cause difficult travel conditions throughout the Adirondacks and east coast. If you were planning to visit Lake Placid this Thanksgiving weekend, good idea. But you’d better get on the road immediately, and don’t forget your snowsuit.
This young buck is on auto-pilot this time of year.
Late fall in the Adirondacks sometimes brings cold and snow, but it always brings a single minded focus to the deer population: each other. This time sensitive amorous behavior, sometimes called “the rut,” does not last long, but it can be disruptive. During the rut, white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are so preoccupied with nature’s thoughts of love, they pay less attention to cars, roads, and noise. This is the time of year, the second and third weeks of November, when loved crazed ungulates are prone to leap in the road, the chaser or the chased, oblivious to dangerous cars and trucks.
It wouldn’t hurt to slow down and pay close attention when driving in the Adirondacks for the next few weeks. Let’s give the youngster in today’s featured photo a chance to have some fun.
The Lifestyle hound and I were headed home after a neighborhood trail run when the excitement started. At this stage of the outing Ziggy is normally on the subdued side of exuberance, so I noticed when he dashed off trail and into the woods. I attributed his loud sniffing and snuffling to the possible fresh scent of a grouse undetectable by my inferior olfactory abilities.
It wasn’t until I heard frantic claws scurrying up a dead tree that I noticed Ziggy’s new friend, the Fisher, (Martes pennanti). This cute little mammal, a relative of the weasel and just one step less vicious than a wolverine, wasn’t in the mood for family hugs with Ziggy.
The Fisher’s loud vocalizations: serious growls and hisses, reminded me it would not be a pretty sight should Ziggy persist with his friendly overtures. I recalled the resident biologists’ Fisher stories and called the hound to my side. As usual, Ziggy obeyed, just in time apparently, for we were treated to a whiff of the Fisher’s musky scent as it bid us good riddance.
Fisher are quite nasty creatures. As a matter of fact, Fishers are one of the few predators that seek out and kill porcupines.
“There are stories in popular literature that fishers can flip a porcupine onto its back and “scoop out its belly like a ripe melon.”
This was identified as an exaggerated misconception as early as 1966. Observational studies show that fishers will make repeated biting attacks on the face of a porcupine and kill it after about 25–30 minutes.”
And then it scoops out its belly like a ripe melon?
Pondering this question, my mind spun into gear as we hurried home. I know some nice doggies who have suffered a fair amount of hurt thanks to a resident porcupine. And now I know a Fisher. Nature’s solution? Does anyone know a reputable Fisher relocation service?
October 29, 2013
On the climb; the pause that refreshes.
Yesterday was a great day to kick off the 2013-2014 ski season.
Clear, cold, and frosty = perfect day for a stroll up Whiteface Mountain.
The lifestyle hound was very excited:
The lift-served trails on Little Whiteface are almost ready.
Who knows what is seen from this spot?!
Why Lake Placid, the lake, of course.
It is not so cozy in the stone castle these days.
First ride of the season.
Gliding is for skiers.
As usual, click on the images for a larger view of a stunning October ski day, on natural snow in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.
Thanks and photo credit to Sharon Tabor for the shot of Ziggy and me.
October Snow highlights Lucky 7 Slide on Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks.
It was a cold and snowy weekend in the Adirondacks. Although it is still October, the freezing temperatures and accumulating snow made it feel like mid-November in a good ski year. I’ll have a more involved report concerning the weekend in a bit, but I had to share this promising photograph of Lucky 7 Slide, on Cascade Mountain. Formerly the “T Slide,” Hurricane Irene turned the sideways “T” into a perfect Euro 7. It is especially attractive covered in October snow because snowy Octobers have, in the past, led to good winters. Maybe the Adirondacks will get lucky this year.
The slide on Big Slide in the Adirondack High Peaks was a snowy surprise this morning.
It was a frosty 25 degrees here at Adirondack Lifestyle HQ this morning, so when the clouds lifted I should not have been surprised to spot a coating of snow on the slide across the way. It was a pleasant surprise. A snow covered slide was a good start to what is shaping up to be a great day in Lake Placid. Right off the bat I was treated to a stunning pink sunrise that illuminated the snowy tops of the High Peaks as I headed down the hill to yoga. Later, the snow flurries hitting my face during neighborhood intervals were a sweet reminder of good things to come.
Although the weather forecast is not calling for accumulating snow, the line up of little snowy icons is a lovely sight to behold!
In honor of Telemark Tuesday and the current weather forecast, let’s reprise a classic.
The view toward Lake Placid from the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway in New York.
One of my favorite fall Adirondack activities is cross-country ski up and then down the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway, aka the Whiteface Toll Road. This trip usually serves as the kick-off of my ski season. It starts with a familiar routine: obsessively read every online weather report available until I find one that says we can expect a measurable snow accumulation above a specific elevation. Then the extrapolations begin to determine how much snow might fall on the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway. Some years it takes a leap of faith to trust that the thin layer of ice on asphalt at the start of the ski will eventually turn to snow as I climb. Science has a way of being consistent in this area, so I usually go for it even when conditions are thin. I have been consistently rewarded for my faith, frequently with great powder skiing for most of the excursion.
Even though the twenty-something-year routine is familiar, it is never the same. Mother Nature takes care of that. The snow is always different and so are the sky, mountain and lake views. A ski up and down the Toll Road, as it is called in local parlance, remains one of my favorite Autumn-in-the-Adirondacks pastimes.
At 4,867 feet, Whiteface Mountain ranks fifth on the list of NewYork State’s 46 High Peaks. Whiteface is one of the few High Peaks that offers a number of varied recreational uses. Hikers looking to bag a 46er can climb the mountain starting from the Wilmington reservoir or from a trail head originating on the shore of Lake Placid.
Perhaps the most well known and profitable use of this famous Adirondack peak involves the lift-served ski area where the alpine events for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games were held. With the largest vertical drop in the East, Whiteface Mountain also boasts a developed summit with seasonal road access. The Whiteface Castle was built from granite excavated during the building of the seasonal use toll road and today’s blog star, the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway. The top of the mountain is a tourist destination in the summer months and features the granite castle and a 424-foot long tunnel into the core of the mountain. From the end of the tunnel, visitors take an elevator to the summit. Both the castle and the road were Depression Era public works projects and may have been a test case for the New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects that followed.
Although not for everyone, the Toll Road ski is one of the best bets for early season skiing because the toll highway is closed to vehicular traffic starting in mid-October, and the asphalt creates a ski-able surface even with minimal snow coverage.
A short drive from Lake Placid, the Highway starts at the four corners in Wilmington, New York. The toll house and start of the ski is about three miles from Wilmington,a short distance past North Pole, New York and Santa’s workshop. As you can see, the fun starts before you even get to the start of the ski; how often do you get to drive through the North Pole where Santa lives?
If you go:
This is an outing designed for your older or more used skis. My rock skis and therefore Toll Road skis, are 27-year-old, metal-edged, Karhu XCDGTs. Comfortable three-pin leather boots are perfectly adequate for the descent and make the 5-mile, 9% climb a non-issue, although in recent days I notice more and more people in huge, plastic, lift-serve boots. If you won’t be cross-country or telemark skiing, it is polite to use climbing skins or snow shoes for the climb so you don’t post-hole the ski track.
Although I shirk the added weight of plastic boots, I would not go without the weight of lunch, water, and a thermos of hot tea for the top. The pack also includes a change of base-layer clothing, an extra mid-weight layer, a heavier hat and mittens, and an alpine shell for the ski down. It may seem like a lot of extra clothing, but I have skied in the 40-mile per hour wind frequently encountered at the top of the mountain. Depending on your pace, it takes 2 or 3 hours to ski the 5 miles to the top, with plenty of photography, water, and gawking stops. The going can be slow; you’ll climb nearly 2,300 feet, so a good story teller is a welcome companion. After a restorative lunch in the tunnel the ski down is an easy, fun 45-minute ride. In thin snow conditions, one should be prepared to walk in some sections, avoid edging, and ride a flat ski.
Falling on asphalt is not recommended.
The first snow of the 2013-2014 ski season on Mount Marcy, the highest mountain in New York State.
Sunday lunch time at Adirondack Lifestyle HQ is not usually this exciting. Gazing out the front window, between bites of his grilled cheese sandwich, the resident biologist alerted me to what he believed to be snow on Mt. Marcy. Today’s gray, low cloud cover, wind, and chilly temperature are par for late October in the Adirondacks and I was busy shoveling a version of fruit gruel into my mouth, so I had not noticed the snow. I ran for the camera but kept my eye on those dreary clouds as they swept across the dome of Marcy’s rocky peak, revealing brief glimpses of the glorious white stuff. Fortunately for fellow fans of snow and skiing, I managed to catch today’s featured photograph before more snow clouds covered the goods. Feel free to click on the photo for a full size version of the first snow of the season on Mount Marcy!
Follow this trail to exhilarating fun, peace, quiet, and the good life in the Adirondacks.
We have reached the time of year in the Adirondacks when some of us dream of snow and wait. We dig the ski gear out of storage, wait for snow, tune the skis, check the weather forecast, and wait for snow. I tell myself, any day now, any day.