Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dewey Mountain XC, Saranac Lake: 02/25/2011

We had the chance for a quick overnight visit to the Lake Placid area, so after a semi-white knuckle drive through the tail end of Friday's snow storm, we arrived in time to head over to the Dewey Mountain cross-country ski center just outside of Saranac Lake for one of their Friday Night Ski Jams.

I had wanted to check out Dewey after reading that Olympic gold and silver medalist Billy Demong, who grew up skiing at Dewey, described it on his blog as "probably the most challenging ski area in the world as its narrow trails wind and dive through the woods in a manner that requires fierce concentration."

Our visit this weekend just happened to coincide with one of the five or six Friday Night Ski Jams that are scheduled for the winter. About 5K of trails are lit with incandescent bulbs strung through the trees, and there's live music in a log cabin warming hut at the base. The trails remain lit until about 9:30pm on Ski Jam nights, and we enjoyed superb conditions with the foot of snow that had fallen during the day. The trails themselves are narrow, woodsy and hilly, and we enjoyed the outermost lit loop, which includes "Killer Hill," so much that we skied it twice.

We left on the early side, around 7:30pm, so that we could make it over to another Saranac Lake institution, Casa Del Sol, in time for dinner. When we left, Dewey's small parking lot was full with what seemed like a mostly local crowd, a testament to the strong community support that has built around Dewey and a reflection of Saranac Lake's strong skiing heritage. We're looking forward to returning soon to check out the rest of the network in daylight.

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