Your guide to snowshoeing, Nordic skating, and cross-country skiing the ADK.
Snow, Ice, and Your Favorite Apres
Up, up and away
Remember that over-excited feeling you would get as a kid, the feeling that always resulted in not a wink of sleep that night? Place that feeling into an adult woman — an endurance enthusiast and passionate triathlete who lives and breathes anything that pushes the limits in strength and endurance — getting ready to skin up a mountain for her first time. That was me!
A Nordic adventure
In the photos it looks like they’re gliding across the water’s surface, the clouds reflected in an enormous, aqueous mirror. The Nordic skates on their feet look a little too big, a little too cumbersome, striking an odd juxtaposition with the skater’s elegant movements.
“On a good day, visually, your senses are on overload,” said Nordic skater Kevin Boyle. “There’s this amazing color spectrum. With the jet black ice, if you catch it when it’s new, there won’t even be a hairline crack and it’s like you’re floating. You keep going and it turns somewhere between a dark blue and black, and on a bluebird day it evolves into a clear blue sky. I get this feeling of, "Is this real? Am I really here?’”
Fire and ice
A day in the Whiteface Region means being busy with outdoor adventure. Everything from skiing at Whiteface Mountain, hiking on a beautiful wintry trail, to snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the woods. Busy, cold days make warm aprés a must. You need to thaw out and where you do this is an important decision. If you are like me, you will be looking for a warm, cozy environment. What does that mean to you? Well, to me it means candles, a fireplace, maybe a couch to chill out and warm up on, warm service, and, of course, drinks. I am on a quest to find this for you. Now that we know exactly what we are looking for, let's find the places that meet our standards. Cozy aprés on the way.
As I approached the Debar Mountain lean-to and stared up at the peak, it became clear to me that I wouldn't make it before dark. I sat down and contemplated my next move. Had I really come all this way just to turn around now, less than a mile from the summit? It was hard to accept the reality of the day, but I decided to head back down on the condition that I would return within the month and finish what I started.
As we pull into the quiet lot next to the ice skating rink, I can hear the swish of fresh snow under my tires. I step out and take a deep breath. The air is crisp and cold. It feels like it might even start to snow again today. We are the first of the group to arrive. Taking a look around, I notice the wide groomed path in the field in front of the pavilion. The beautiful fresh groomed tracks beckon to me. I can’t wait to get moving!
I open the back door of my car and my two dogs bound out, immediately wanting to check out all the new smells here. That’s right! I brought my dogs because Fern Park in Inlet is dog friendly! (In fact, the whole town of Inlet is pet friendly!)
A wild tour
As many times as I've been to The Wild Center, an 115-acre indoor and outdoor immersive wilderness museum, I had never taken their Behind the Scenes Tour. This tour, offered every weekend, provides a lens into how The Wild Center balances conservation and cares for its wildlife -- from employing eco-friendly energy systems to rescuing endangered animals. I had a wonderful time seeing how they manage it all. This up-close-and-personal view is great for all ages.
Snow much fun
The Adirondacks is home to all sorts of outdoor adventure like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but it takes some preparation to do it right, especially in winter. But don’t feel intimidated! The Schroon Lake Region is the perfect basecamp for trying something new, and our gear shops have everything you need to get started.
Picture this: In no time at all, you and your family can be walking past beautiful ice-covered ponds and walking through snow-draped pine forests. Come try something new today, it’s easier than you think!
Ski the Jackrabbit
It’s December 21 in the Adirondacks, the sun rises at 7:30 a.m. and sets at 4:30 p.m.; it seems it wouldn’t leave much of a window for anything to be done. Don’t let those short winter solstice hours fool you — they assuredly will not put a halt to adventure in the Adirondacks.
A few years ago, on this same day, my family set out on an adventure that would start a tradition for years to come. Now, many years later, we have skied on winter solstice from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake via the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. (Full disclosure: this year’s ski had to be put off for a few days due to the sudden tropical heat wave of 50-degree weather and rain)
This all came about one year when I decided my gift to my brother for his birthday was a cross-country ski adventure from Lake Placid to a birthday dinner at Casa Del Sol in the next town over, Saranac Lake. A tradition was born.