Don’t get me wrong: I like powder skiing and lots of natural snowfall as much as the next skier. Maybe more. I really, REALLY want to get this season jump-started with a nice foot-or-more storm. But we have had a nice stretch of consistently cold temperatures with favorable snowmaking conditions, and it appears that pattern will stay in place for the remainder of the month and beyond. I’ll hold out hope for a significant storm, but I’m happy that the ski season is underway and base depths and trail counts are building: the glass is half full. Here’s how things look around the region heading into the Christmas holiday week.
Whiteface and the Lake Placid area have had snow. Jon Lundin, ORDA Public Relations Coordinator reported yesterday: “Mother Nature has been kind with over two feet of natural snow the past few days. Combine that with great snowmaking conditions and it’s a recipe for some great skiing and riding for the holiday weekend. In fact, last weekend Whiteface, in Wilmington, N.Y., opened the Whiteface summit and the quad lift to Riva Ridge, Paron’s Run, the Follies, John’s By-Pass and Victoria. There will be even more summit skiing and riding this weekend with the openings of Skyward and Niagara.” Whiteface also reports that snowmaking is expected to begin tomorrow (Thursday) on Lookout Mountain. Photo credit: Whiteface/ORDA.
Cross country ski conditions in the Lake Placid area have also benefited from the natural snowfall. Mount Van Hoevenberg is open with 35K of trails. Most of the Jackrabbit Trail is reported as now being skiable, along with some of the gentler backcountry trails in the region, including one of my favorite early-season tours, Camp Santanoni in Newcomb.
Gore has missed most of the snow that has fallen in the Lake Placid area, but snowmaking crews have been making steady progress in expanding available terrain. Gore is reporting that they expect to add Twister and Wild Air on the lower mountain, Lower Darby, Hullaballoo and Lower Stielhang in the High Peaks area, plus Pete Gay and Sleeping Bear on the North Side by the weekend.
West Mountain reported this afternoon “We will have 8 trails open on Thursday, 12/23 from 10 am - 9 pm and Friday, 12/24 from 10am - 3pm. Special lift ticket pricing: any 5 hours is only $17. We will be closed on Christmas day, and then re-open on Sun., 12/26 at 8:30am with 11 trails open! Snowmaking continues 24/7.....” Photo credit: West Mountain.
Snowmaking operations are also continuing at Willard Mountain, and the mountain will be open with 8 trails Thursday 10am till 9pm, Christmas Eve 10am till 3pm, and then Dec. 26th through January 2nd 9am until 6pm. Tubing will open Dec. 26th from noon till 6, and then run though Jan. 2nd 10 am till 6pm.
Lapland Lake and Garnet Hill Lodge cross country touring centers are both open but with limited skiing due to the lack of natural snowfall in the southern Adirondacks. Lapland has some skiing directly on Woods Lake, and just a few inches of natural snowfall will allow at least some trail openings. Garnet Hill is reporting 15K of beginner and intermediate trails on a 2 to 5 inch base with firm early season conditions. Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg needs a 6-inch or more snowfall to open.
As of this writing, there is talk of a coastal system impacting the region with potentially significant snowfall Sunday and Monday, however the models are very uncertain about the track of this system and are favoring the likelihood that the system will track too far to the south and east to benefit our region. Maybe I am a glass-half-full kind of guy, but it sure would be nice to have that glass overflowing.