Although the bright March sun is waking up the trees and sucking up the backcountry snow, there is still plenty of winter in the mountains.
Unfortunately, work and weather has kept me pinned down in Plattsburgh. Yeah, it’s not much of an excuse. I’m sure my bias against spring snow is part of it. You see, I’m a waxer who hates the challenge of the crazy snow conditions this time of year brings.
Because I am someone who loves the Adirondack outdoors, I also love the Winter Olympics. Why?
Skiing, skating, sledding … these are the most Adirondack of organized sports. Our mountains, lakes and valleys are ready made for downhill, skating and cross-country.
Heck, we’ve had two Olympics in Lake Placid, near the heart of the High Peaks.
Look around the Adirondacks and you find plenty of peaks and other natural features named for panthers, cougars, catamounts and lions. Are there big cats behind every tree and rock?
No, in fact the federal government last week moved the mythical Eastern Mountain Lion from protected status to extinct.
The last mountain lion in the Northeast was shot in Maine 80 years ago. You need to look decades earlier to find a time when the region last sustained a significant breeding population.
Two short videos from a recent ski near one of my favorite spots, Chateaugay Lake in the northern Adirondacks.
Our January thaw, followed by ice and sleet, has put a stop to most backcountry gliding for now. But with luck we’ll have a storm soon and I’ll get a bit more skiing in.
Right now I’m off to find some skateable ice. Here’s hoping the winter gives you some outdoor fun.
Watching winter storm “Hunter” — thank you Weather Channel, like winter storms needed names — drop a dense snowy blanket outside my dining room window, should I be glad this isn’t a “bombogenesis,” “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon?”
We love to be afraid of the weather, maybe in the same way we love horror films. We all like a good scare. But bombarded with media messages of weather fear, that occasional scare has become a constant drone of weather worry. We’re inured to it; our children are basted in it.
What’s the problem? Fear leads to bad decisions. Worry wears us down and inures us to real dangers.
And there are dangers out there to judge, to weigh, to consider.
Take a quiet ski on your own first, then have some noisy fun with the kids.
Cross-country and kids aren’t a natural match … but that’s usually because we want to turn out kids into little adults, making them ski the way we do.
Cross-country also lacks the “cool” factor of downhill skiing. It’s like trying to get your kids to kayak when there is a jet-ski tied to the dock.
But if we focus on the fun instead of the destination, skiing can be a great family activity, a fit for 5-year-olds, 15-year-olds and 55-year-olds.
A couple of small snowstorms, sandwiching a minor ice event and followed by plenty of cold, have left our woods skiable, sparkling and frosty.
With hopes that this base will carry us through the ski season, I’ve again sought out secret, quiet spots for my first skis of the season. Continue reading