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Holiday ski tours

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I’ve done several ski trips in the Saranac Lake region with my daughter Martha over the past week. Conditions are excellent if you choose the right trail.

Two that I can recommend are the Hays Brook Truck Trail in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest and the Fish Pond Truck Trail in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Despite a few hills, both are suitable for novice skiers.

Martha and I skied the Hays Brook trail the day after Christmas. I also did this trip earlier in the month for an Explorer story, which will be posted online next week. I’m happy to report that the blowdown we encountered on the first trip has since been cleared. (Click here for a related blog on the use of chain saws in the Forest Preserve.)

We skied the Fish Pond Truck Trail a few days before Christmas, going as far as the outlet of St. Regis Pond (the start of the West Branch of the St. Regis River). The cover was excellent except for a thin patch on the hill before the pond.

On Christmas, we skied a loop at John Brown’s Farm in North Elba, just outside Lake Placid. Most of these trails are flat, but there is one trail that climbs through the woods behind the farm that requires intermediate skills on the descent. All of the trails were in good shape.

We also skied the Bloomingdale Bog Trail outside Saranac Lake one evening by the light of our headlamps. This trail requires very little snow. Be aware, though, that it is used by snowmobiles.

I haven’t tried the backcountry routes that require more cover, such as the Avalanche Pass Ski Trail, but Tony Goodwin of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council recommends skiers stick to gentler terrain until we get more snow.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much snow in the forecast this week. In fact, we may get rain on New Year’s Day. So get out while the getting’s good. If you’re looking for other suggestions for early-season ski trips, click here.

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