About Darrin @ ilsnow.com

Darrin @ ilsnow.com has been a member since August 20th 2014, and has created 365 posts from scratch.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com's Bio

I have been snowmobiling in the Adirondacks for over thirty years. Since starting ilsnow.com in 1999, I average nearly 2000 miles on my snowmobile each winter. On most days that I’m not working to pay the bills, I can be found on my snowmobile enjoying winter’s greatest pastime.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com's Websites

This Author's Website is http://www.ilsnow.com

Darrin @ ilsnow.com's Recent Articles

Why you should renew your snowmobile registration ASAP

Snowmobile Registration

Receiving my snowmobile registration renewal form in the mail gets me pumped! It signals the countdown to winter and spells the beginning of summer’s demise. :)

Usually I receive the renewal form in August, but it arrived in mid-July this time around. Writing that check to Department of Motor Vehicles is my first financial commitment to the upcoming winter, something I’m happy to do shortly after I receive the form.

But many people will hold off renewing their snowmobile registration until the snow starts to fly. I’ve even heard of people waiting until January to renew.

The average snowmobile rider might not realize that holding off registration renewal significantly delays disbursement of much needed Trail Fund money to the volunteer snowmobile clubs and municipalities that maintain and groom the trails for our enjoyment. Read More…

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.

April Fool if you think its over…

Early spring snows are usually a tricky beast. Thankfully, Indian Lake ended up with about six inches of snow/sleet mash to grease the skids again.

Didn’t make it out until after work. Indian Lake village trails were tracked up by late afternoon, but still in pretty decent shape; some slush here and there.

S84 out to Blue Mountain was getting ground down to dirt in the usual spots before I got up over the top. Overall, it was a somewhat lumpy ride. The smoothest section was along Rock Lake. There were a few spots where the water is eating away at the trail, but nothing insurmountable.

538/Newcomb trail was soft and lumpy, but still a half-way decent ride. There were occasional thin spots, but the shady nooks were still holding quite a bit of snow:

Newcomb trail

Newcomb trail

At the Newcomb-T, I hooked a left onto C7B toward Long Lake for giggles. For about a mile in, this was one of the smoothest stretches I rode on Saturday. But then it turned thin and bumpy with water hazards, so I turned around.

One back to town, I was able to find enough snow on Benton Road to make the connection to S87/42nd and Broadway, which was really nice. Adirondack Lake was turning into a slush pit, so I just pinned it-to-win it across.

S86/Little Canada was nice and flat! Only one or two other tracks on it all day. Snow was nice and deep toward the Lone Birch, but thinner near the Route 30 One Stop.

Section between Route 30 One Stop and Crow Hill Road was a fun slush pit in places. S85/Ski Hut trail was great!

C8/Sabael trail was really nice riding, but there were several water hazards opening back up. A lot of it looked like this:

C8/Sabael trail

C8/Sabael trail

Then I spun back to the compound with about 65 miles under my belt.

For Sunday…

Wish I could have gotten out Saturday morning before S84 & Newcomb trails got bumped up a bit. But then again, it was good to see people taking advantage of Old Man Winter’s parting gift. I spotted a dozen or more sleds in the time I was out. Even if you didn’t make it up on Saturday, it will be around for Sunday.

If you have already called it a winter, that’s fine too. But when I live here and we get a fresh blanket of snow, I’m going riding…as long at there is a base underneath it! Even April…

Despite Old Forge/Inlet closing their trails for the season at the end of April 1st, Moose River Plains should remain open through the weekend. Perkins Clearing is a good play call if you take it from the north end from Mason Lake parking lot.


I think I’ve got one more ride in the tank this weekend before calling it quits myself. We could be in for a couple of significant rain events during the first week of April that will finally start the spring break up in earnest. So, grab it now…or forever hold your peace!

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.

Die hard special: Update 3/31/17

4/1/17 8AM Update: Snowing steady at Indian Lake this morning with a total of 5 inches snow/sleet. Snow will quit later Saturday morning as the storm pulls away.

Star Date 3.31.2017 19:00hours:

We have 2-3 inches of snow/sleet mash this evening and the sleet is pinging off my window pretty good right now. After a start of snow this morning, this event has become a true mixed bag.

As the storm system passes by, the atmospheric column will probably cool off a few degrees overnight and attempt a flip back to snow. This has happened with a number of similar events over the winter. If we’re fortunate, we get a few hours of heavy snow and have a nice treat for Saturday.

If not, at least we’ll have a decent covering of mash to keep the slides and heat exchangers quite happy. Temperatures will stay below 32*F tonight in the central Adirondacks, so we don’t have to worry about meltdown overnight.

Worth it this weekend?

Well, I snapped this picture at the start of S84/Blue Mountain trail. Doesn’t look bad and someone did ride in today:


Yeah, the exposed areas are getting thin, but we’ve still got 1-2+ feet of snow pack lurking in the woods. Grooming has stopped for the season, but the trails are certainly ride-able. Some of the riding is probably pretty smooth with the lack of traffic in recent days. I’ll certainly take a stab at it over the weekend.

I placed a call to DEC today, they told me that Moose River Plains will remain open through the weekend. I should have asked about Perkins Clearing, but I think that’s usually the Town of Lake Pleasant’s call. I would assume that Perkins Clearing Road would remain open, especially at the north end.


Well… I did ride on Indian Lake last Sunday. Since then, it hasn’t gotten very warm (only 2 days above 40*F) and we haven’t had any significant rain. But riding lakes this late in the season is clearly at your own risk, especially when the winter wasn’t tremendously cold to build up really thick ice.

Bottom line…

It won’t be mid-winter prime, but good enough to get around. You can do a whole lot worse for the first days of April. It’s there if you want it, and that’s NO April Fool’s joke. 😉

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Pilot Knob Marina in Lake George. Just get off Northway I-87 Exit 20, then follow NY Route 149 East until you hit the junction of NY Route 149 and Bay Road. Pilot Knob Marina features a wide selection of new and pre-owned Arctic Cat snowmobiles & ATVs. If you see Nick Barber, tell him that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent ya!

Perkins Clearing, One more time! Ride 3/26/17

Weekend snowmobile traffic was rather light and we didn’t get much rain, so I decided to take a Perkins Clearing run when I got off work Sunday afternoon.

Indian Lake village trails were in pretty good shape, aside from some bald spots. Trail surface was fairly hard and didn’t offer the best cooling today. C8/Sabael trail had a few spots where water is eating away at the trail. I didn’t venture into town, but people were making the connections to food and gas over the weekend.

Some slush was showing on Indian Lake and Lewey Lake, but nothing deep enough for much concern.

2-Miles-From-Hell was bumpy and rough all the way through, and getting seedy in spots. Perkins Clearing Road was loaded with small hard studder-rollers. Old Military Road was a bit better than Perkins Clearing Road, but nothing close to the delight it was last week. Carpenter Hill was still a nice ride, but some of the corners were studdery.

I got caught in a 15-20 minute ice storm in Perkins Clearing and looked like this by the time I got to Mossy Vly:

ilsnow.com on ice!

ilsnow.com on ice!

Thankfully, the freezing rain stopped shortly after I took this picture. :)

Then I hit LP9/Nichol Vly trail which was still in good shape, except for the several spots that are getting baked away. I looped down to Mud Lake Road, which was icy and thin with several stretches stripped down to dirt. After hitting LP9/Nichol Vly again, I turned north up Perkins Clearing Road to hit S82C/Old Indian Lake Road.

As often as I have ridden Perkins Clearing this year, it seems surprising that I hadn’t hit S82C yet. Besides from a few burnt spots and several funky hazards, it was a pretty good ride back up to Mason Lake parking lot.

Then I headed home and got back to the compound with about 65 miles. Didn’t see another sled during the time I was out. Probably the last time I’ll hit Perkins Clearing for this season. Maybe I’ll hit up the Newcomb trail if S84/Blue Mountain trail isn’t too far gone later this week.

Well, that 2 foot snow storm we got March 14th, sprung me loose for several more rides. Can’t complain about that. 😉

Midweek Outlook:

With no especially cold weather or meaningful snow in sight, we’re clearly in decay mode now. Snow cover is 6 inches or less in the exposed areas and 1-2+ feet in the woods. That’s enough for the die-hard to keep going a bit longer.

Next Weekend?

If you didn’t care to come up this weekend, don’t bother with next weekend. By then, we’ll be into April and DEC could be closing gates as snow cover dwindles.

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Progressive Motorsports, celebrating their 24th year. They live, eat and breathe snowmobiling. Stop in today and see for yourself! Be sure to tell Karen that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent ya.

Spring Fling III: Ride 3/23/17

Temperatures barely reaching above 10*F on Wednesday made it tough for even the March sun to soften the trails up, so I sat home.

On Thursday, with temperatures on their way to around 30*F, I let the sun be my friend to loosen things up a bit before hitting the trail Thursday afternoon.

Indian Lake village trails were freshly groomed. C8/Sabael out of town was in great spring riding shape! Aside from some bald spots, the base was nearly 100 percent intact and about as flat as can be. There was just enough loose material in the surface to keep the slides and heat exchangers happy.

Furnell’s Field was starting to get cooked down to ice and grass tufts in places, but the trail through the field was still intact. The section from Route 30 crossing down to Indian Lake had some bald stretches, but remained over two-thirds intact.

The main drag down Indian Lake was uneven and rough. But off the beaten path was about a fun as could be! Hardly any slush and just a real plush ride. So much of Indian Lake gets un-tracked, you could easily do this for an hour or more:

Indian Lake

Indian Lake

NOTE ON LAKES: Riding them are always at your own risk. My commentary on lake conditions are not an endorsement of how “safe” they are. If you have doubts, STAY OFF. Simple as that…

The campsites were the usual washboard junk. There was a large fallen tree in the way, but people make their way around it.

Lewey Lake was another velvety crossing away from the beaten path. 2-Miles-of-Hell was some bump and grind with several dirt spots along the way. But for now, it remains a serviceable passageway.

Perkins Clearing Road was in good riding shape from the north end down to the Perkins-T intersection. Old Military Road was fantastic all the way to the back side of Perkins Clearing. Carpenter Hill Road was its usual mind-blowing awesomeness. There were maybe one or two dirt spots, the rest looked like this:

Carpenter Hill Road in Perkins Clearing

Carpenter Hill Road in Perkins Clearing

LP9/Nichol Vly trail was ground down to dirt in some of the exposed hillsides, but a lot of it was as good as Carpenter Hill Road.

Perkins Clearing Road from Mud Lake Road intersection, southward to Route 30 was in amazingly good shape, considering it was plowed for the first half of winter due to logging. But there were corners and exposed hills that were burnt down to dirt. And those areas will only grow as we press into spring.

The north end of C4/Melody Lodge trail and S41C/Hatchery Brook trail were closed due to logging operations near Route 30. This was the case last week as well, but I did hear the trail was open last weekend. Not sure what the snow conditions are like in there, but I’m sure the southerly exposures and whatever is plowed for logging is getting baked.

I doubled back up Perkins Clearing Road to hit LP10/Whittaker Lake trail to Wolf Hill Road. For the most part, that was half-way decent. But the exposed sections are getting burnt down to dirt.

S41/Silver Hill trail had large swaths of dirt heading down to Elm Lake Road. The snow coverage was much better once I got back into the shade, but the trail was bumps all the way down.

Once I got down into the Speculator Tree Farm, I ventured down C4/Cave Hill Road which was frozen hard bumps and some dirt spots. I only stuck with it about a mile before I decided not to waste any more time on it.

I did not want to run Silver Hill back up to Perkins Clearing and I knew that Fawn Lake/Big Brook would be in good riding shape based on Tuesday’s ride, so I plotted a course that way to make my return trip home. C4 from Tree Farm to the River trail was a sea of hard rollers, which made the riding more like work than fun.

My 4-TEC ended up working a bit too hard and tripped the overheat lamp. So, I just shut her down for 20 minutes and stuffed as much snow as I could into the skid and tunnel so the heat exchangers would have ample cooling upon take off.

Upon my passage through Speculator village, the 4-TEC didn’t overheat again, but it was pretty skanky through the Ball Field Parking lot and LP1/Page Street trail. Fortunately, Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake offered more ample material for cooling, even though the drag strips were fairly rough and uneven.

Thankfully, Fawn Lake and Big Brook trails had not degraded much since my Tuesday ride through there. Next thing I know, I was back up into Perkins Clearing! I was sure to repeat my earlier jaunt through Carpenter Hill Road and LP9/Nichol Vly trail.

Then it was back home via Perkins Clearing, 2-Miles-of-Hell and Lewey/Indian Lakes. Once I got back home, I spun around the Indian Lake village trails, which were in pretty darn good riding shape for late March! The Crow Hill Road shelf was still intact. Even though S86 going into town was getting burned bald by Crow Hill Road, the other side across the highway from Route 30 One Stop was still nearly 100% covered:

Trail S86 by One Stop

For giggles, I tried C8 out to Cedar River Headquarters for a few miles. I gotta say that it was actually in shockingly good shape! Nearly 100 percent coverage and mainly flat. It was probably like that most of the way out to Headquarters. I didn’t press much further because I could tell the trail surface was getting hard again with the setting sun. So, I turned back and made it back to the compound with 103 miles on the afternoon.

All in all, a great day of spring riding under a cobalt blue sky. Doesn’t get much better for March 23rd, unless we get a fresh half-foot of snow on top. Of course, roads are bare. But for now, you can make the connections into Indian Lake for food and gas.

Is it worth coming up this weekend?

I guess that depends on your definition of worthwhile riding. If you’ve been riding the couch all winter when conditions were better, then you might as well keep your sleds in storage and pine for next winter.

If you don’t live terribly far from here and want that “last ride”, we have it here for you! For some reason, the trail conditions around Indian Lake are light years better than the immediate Speculator area (excluding Perkins Clearing and Fawn Lake/Big Brook).

Unless they took a bulldozer to Moose River Plains, I would expect those hideous rollers from Cedar River Headquarters to Silver Run. But I’m sure it’s all ride-able.

After getting some snow Friday morning and mixed precipitation Friday afternoon, the weekend is not expected to get that warm. So if you’re willing to ride in whatever rain or mixed precipitation we get over the weekend, I think you’ll do OK. It’s all about picking your spots.

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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