What I am not liking about October!

We gradually switched from a cool, rainy spring and early-summer into a warmer, drier late-summer and early autumn. In and of itself, that wasn’t a big deal in September.

But now that we are getting deep into October, we need to step back and take a look at the big picture. At this stage of the game, it’s a near certainty that October 2017 will end up being a warm month.

This GEFS ensemble panel for October 19-24 is particularly damning if you’re looking for cold weather around here:

Having a strong Polar Vortex over Alaska is the KISS OF DEATH if you’re gunning for snow and cold here in ilsnow land or almost anywhere in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. If you have followed me for a while, you know this setup as the Alaskan Assassin! There is simply no way for the cold air to penetrate into the eastern United States in the face of that brutally strong Pacific Jet.

Taking a look further back, I’m impressed with the lack of truly cold air that we’ll find over the northern hemisphere October 19-24:

Aside from northeastern Siberia into Alaska and northwestern Canada, there won’t be any especially cold air anywhere!

The Winter Outlook? Or not…

Instead of tapping into some voodoo analogues and attempting a useless 3-5 month outlook into how this winter may turn out, I’ll state the painfully obvious: The northern hemisphere has to cool down a lot & the strong Polar Vortex over Alaska needs to break down before we can start thinking about winter. 

Barring some unforeseen seismic shift over the next 1-2 months, it’s logical to assume that cold and snow will be tough to come by through the remainder of meteorological autumn and perhaps well into December.

At this point nearing mid-October, I can’t tell you what will happen as the winter wears on. Looking back at my previous winter outlooks over the past several years, I can’t say that I’ve developed a demonstrative, useful skill at issuing consistently accurate seasonal outlooks.

So, I am not issuing a winter outlook. My approach will be to start with where the weather is now, then try to hit 2-3 week trends.

Wish I had better news right now, but I always call it the way I see it.

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Adirondacks Speculator Region Chamber of Commerce. Speculator has long been one of my favorite places to ride! There are lots of options, whether you want to ride around Speculator for the day, or launch a 250 mile mega-miler. Speculator is loaded with businesses eager to cater to snowmobilers. Look them up at the Speculator Chamber and grab a copy of their snowmobile trail map. Be sure to tell them that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent you.

NYSSA Safe Trails Education Program (STEP) Class


In an effort to help NYSSA Member clubs better manage risks as they maintain snowmobile trails, the NYSSA Board of Directors approved a Risk Management Plan called the Safe Trails Education Program (STEP) back in 2009.  STEP is designed to provide education to club representatives on issues arising from legal wordings in New York State snowmobile law, local sponsor agreements, and NYS OPRHP trail grant applications. Trail signage guidelines and groomer operator safety guidelines are the current two main components of the NYSSA STEP plan.



The education of the OPRHP snowmobile trail signing guideline handbook can serve to reduce risks facing snowmobile clubs in maintaining and signing their trails by providing uniform, consistent, safe trail signage all across the state. A goal of all clubs should be to provide the most enjoyable riding experience to everyone out enjoying the fruits of the clubs’ volunteers. Having uniformity all across the state helps meet that goal.

DRAG of Speculator, Inc. Snowmobile Club has set up a NYSSA Safe Trails Education Program (STEP) class for Saturday, October 14, 2017, from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM at Zeiser’s in Speculator, NY.  This class is being presented by James Rolf, NYSSA Trails Coordinator.  If you are interested in attending, please call Mike “BIG Mike” Walenczyk at 914-523-5468 or send him email at address:  mwalenczyk@snet.net  and he’ll make sure you are on the list.

For the ilsnow nation,


Farewell to Winter! Update 4/2/17

The snow was melting quickly Sunday under the strong April sun, but I did sneak in a 20 mile ride after work. Lakes were slush pits, so I stayed off them.

I took the opportunity to ride some of the local “side trails” that I seem to miss all winter. Looks like nobody had run this one in quite a while before I tracked it:


Besides that, I ran S85/Ski Hut trail a few times and C8/Sabael Trail out to Furnells Field.

Much of the Sabael trail was good riding like this:


But, there were places where flowing water was destroying the trail from underneath. Here was the worst spot today:


The big holes don’t surprise you. The smaller holes where the trail begins to collapse are the ones that can get you; there were several spots on the Ski Hut trail and Sabael trail that could surprise you.

Once you get out into the open, the trail is totally at the “mercy” of the relentless sun. The Crow Hill Road shelf was still holding up Sunday afternoon, but the trail leading into town from there is getting skunked:


I made my way out C8 about a mile past the former Arctic Cat dealer. It was still in pretty good shape, but I didn’t venture out much further only because I just wanted to bop around town.

Then I found this spot on the banks of the Cedar River and hung out for a while in the 50*F warmth. Just a great place to hear the birds, see the deer dance and hear (and see through the trees) a few other sleds passing in the distance:


Not a high miler by any means, but this ride hit the spot perfectly for April 2nd. My last ride? Well, I’ve learned never to say never until ALL of the snow is gone. But if I’m done, I went out on a great note!

With deep snow remaining in the woods, the die-hards can get their fix this week. With a couple of significant rain events on the horizon for this week, I think the Fat Lady is warming up her vocal cords.

Summing up this winter

Except for the 3 week doughnut hole from late February until mid-March, I gotta say it was a pretty good year for snowmobiling in ilsnow land. I know some people have a different view because they had to trailer a lot to hit the places that had snow. But I live here, so I get to call it the way I see it. I logged nearly 2250 miles for the winter, which is on the plus side of par for me.

Lack of snowfall was certainly not a problem. March 14th brought the biggest snowstorm (23 inches) we had since the legendary Valentine’s Day Blizzard of 2007 dumped around 3 feet.  Our seasonal snowfall total of 127.5 inches to date is the biggest since the 132.9 inches set back in 2007-08. With the vast majority of April left, we could catch it.

Our biggest problem was that it never stayed cold for weeks at a time and a warm-up was almost always around the corner. But I can’t recall a winter that bounced back so many times and so quickly after warm spells like it did this winter.

Parting words

There are 3 reasons why ilsnow.com works:

1. I have something to say
2. You listen to what I say
3. Terrific businesses supporters who believe in ilsnow.com

Thank YOU for trusting my information to plan your snowmobile trips. My goal is always to maximize your ride time, because let’s face it: none of us snowmobile as much as we’d like to.

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Steet Ponte Auto Group. Many of the vehicles here in Indian Lake are bought from the Steet Ponte. Co-owner Joe Steet is a huge fan and booster of ilsnow.com. If you’re looking for a new truck, give Steet Ponte a good look.


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