About Darrin @ ilsnow.com

Darrin @ ilsnow.com has been a member since August 20th 2014, and has created 400 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.

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It’s Over! For Now: Update 2/21/18

We didn’t get much rain. But when temperatures get into the 60s like they did on Wednesday after a couple mild days to soften the snow pack, it didn’t really matter.

I went to take a short sunglasses and tee-shirt ride around the trails Wednesday morning. But there was far too much mud to make it from the garage to the trails for my liking so I bagged that idea and found this mess at the Cedar River Golf Course:

It was a surreal experience for sure!

Trails closed!

I’ll let this speak for itself:

If you are absolutely hard-up for a ride, you can try parking at Mason Lake Parking Lot about 7 miles north of Speculator and work your way into Perkins Clearing Road from the north end. That tactic would be at your own risk…

I’d say that the rest of February is essentially shot with nothing better than Swiss-cheese snow pack more typical of early April:

Any hope at all for March?

For some people, the snowmobiling season is already over and their minds are onto other things. For others, we’re looking to salvage the Back 9 of Winter.

Let’s dive into some snow climatology first. Over the past 25 years, March snowfall has averaged 22.0 inches for Indian Lake, NY. March is legendary for big snows around here with a maximum of 62.9 inches in 2001. But it can be very lean for snow with a minimum of 4.1 inches in 2006 and a smattering of other single-digit snowfalls. There is a TON of variability to March snowfall as you can see on my snowfall chart.

What needs to change?

This death-grip needs to disappear:

The Pacific (PNA-) and Atlantic (NAO+) tele-connections are stacked against us, yielding a massive Southeastern United States heat ridge. Absolutely horrible…

But a seismic change to the hemispheric pattern is expected, especially in the Atlantic region as we head into March:

The NAO+ regime should be replaced by a full-throated Greenland block (NAO-) and the southeastern United States heat ridge will have been squashed flat into a zonal flow.

The Pacific side of things won’t have changed as much with the ridge axis remaining between Hawaii and Alaska. But the PNA- regime should have significantly weakened by early March.

This pattern shift should cause weather systems to tunnel underneath the Greenland Block and PERHAPS give us opportunities for significant snow events into the first half of March.


By no means does a Greenland Block guarantee big snows! If the block becomes too strong and settles into eastern Canada, it would suppress the storm track too far southward. You can also have the Greenland block in the right place, but with no significant weather systems to interact with it.

Also, I don’t foresee this as an especially cold pattern either. With the lack of cross-polar flow, there is no Siberian connection. The high-latitude blocking would merely force stale Continental Polar (CP) air-masses into the northeastern United States instead of true Arctic air-masses.

Hey, if we get a ton of snow, that would work out just fine. But if we don’t get storms, we could be in for boring, slow-death March with near seasonal temperatures. Get it? Slow-death March. 😉  Read More…

Sunday Afternoon Stroll: Ride 2/18/18

Presidents’ Weekend is probably one of the last times you’d expect to see me out snowmobiling. But sometimes you get flushed out of the pocket and have to make a play that you weren’t planning on.

The upcoming weather this week flushed me out of my pocket. So, after work I took a run down to Speculator and back…

Down to Perkins Clearing

When I rolled out of the compound before 4PM, the Indian Lake village trails were studdery, but not a terribly awful ride. Icy turns and hills were the norm. C8/Sabael trails offered the only real hazards with a couple of chuckholes where the water was eating the base from underneath.

Indian Lake and Lewey Lake were a bit of a chore with minimal snow coverage on top of fairly rough ice. The wind had even blown some bald spots onto the ice. With no studs, I didn’t feel safe going much past 40 mph and the back end was fishtailing from time to time. The Campsites were…the usual “fun” ride through the washboard moguls.

2 Miles of Hell was snirty, but was actually a half-way decent ride…especially for a late Sunday afternoon.

Perkins Clearing was heavily attacked by weekend traffic. But I’d say that most of it was C+/B- riding with stretches of solid B conditions. I ventured down C4/C8 Big Brook trail section off the back side of Perkings Clearing for a half mile after it narrowed for the sake of a trail report. Unsurprisingly, it was rough so I turned tail back into Perkins Clearing.

Over to Speculator Tree Farm

I ran though the Pig Rock/Whittaker Lake trail into Speculator Tree Farm, which was decent riding. I did see a Lake Pleasant Piston Bully with a blown track off to the side of the trail. Wolf Hill Road was a pretty good ride up to intersection HM125.

S41C/Hatchery Brook was the star of Speculator this evening, offering the longest stretches of fine riding:

S41C/Hatchery Brook Trail

At the north end of S41C, I tried C4 down to Speculator for about a mile. It was fairly whooped with studders and moguls. The bumps were soft, so I could have made it down to Speculator without much pain if I had wanted to press the issue.

Back to Indian Lake

But I was satisfied with the riding I got in before dark, so I headed back home via the Southern Perkins Clearing bypass which was worn and bumpy. But the trail softness did allow for a half-way comfortable ride through. I did encounter this double-chuckhole, soon to become a crater:

The 2 Miles From Hell had become loaded with soft studders from the traffic that had passed through in between my runs through there.

After I got back to Indian Lake, I ran the usual victory lap with S85/Ski Hut trail, S86 between Sawmill Road and Lone Birch, S87/42nd and Broadway being the best riding:

S85/Ski Hut trail

After that, I rolled back into the compound by 7:30pm with 78 miles clicked off. Read More…

Childwold & Cranberry Lake: Ride 2/15/18

Update 2/18/18

There was decent snowmobile traffic around Indian Lake village on Saturday and I saw the groomer making a pass in town Saturday afternoon.

Then we got a fresh 2 inches of snow Saturday Night.

Asking for trail conditions of individual trails is the wrong question. Just get up here and ride either Sunday or Monday before we get hit with the Presidents’ Week meltdown. There is no need to over think this…

Report 2/15/18

Crazy Cal and I wanted to hit the Childwold and Cranberry Lake area, even if we couldn’t get some friends to go with us. 😉

So we trucked up to Horseshoe Lake Thursday morning. Route 421 was absolutely brutal! Potholes, frost heaves everywhere. Only 6 miles on Route 421 to park at Horseshoe Lake, but it felt like 16 miles. OK…I know this is nothing new for Route 421. But I’ll never conceive how a state highway can be so neglected over so many years. At least the road wasn’t icy to make matters even worse.

Ride to Childwold

After unloading at Horseshoe Lake, the first 10 miles of C-7A was magnificent riding! A lot of it was near-perfect. Even C-7/Railroad looked like it had great snow coverage when we went through the intersection.

Here is how it looked to start our ride:

We then hit S-79 thence C-7C up to Thirsty Moose. Most of that was good riding, but the trails got thin to icy, especially under the thick evergreens through Massawepe Road. 

At Thirsty Moose, we continued along C-7C and hit S-77. That ranged from fairly smooth to slight studders. Some places were pretty thin and icy.

On to Cranberry Lake

Once we got reunited with C-7A, we decided to make a run to Cranberry Lake. At least two trails that had signs pointing to Cranberry Lake were closed. Along the way, C-7A from intersection 5, crossing Route 3, until the junction with S-88 alternated from excellent riding to sheets of ice on corners and hills.

S-88 was decent, but had a really nasty chuckhole where a creek was cutting under the trail. Trail 712 really sucked, just low, hard-studders through most of it. I’m guessing it’s so rough because that has become the main link to Cranberry Lake with converging traffic due to the other trail closures.

At the intersection with Trails 712 and S-88 , we saw that C-8 was plowed and closed for snowmobiling in both directions.

After we got through the Trail 712 torture chamber, we hit a fairly brutal stretch of C-8. Then we took S-89 down to Cranberry Lake, which was a good ride down to the village, but got thin and quite icy before we entered the village here:

We couldn’t find the alleged S-81 to loop out of the village, so we doubled back to C-8. After a stretch of skanky road riding, we followed a freshly groomed stretch of C-8 for several miles. That appeared to be a good ride down to Wanakena, but after we encountered the logging caution signs, the trail quickly devolved into a rough sheet of ice with rocks thrown in for good measure. So we turned tail and headed back.

We had considered making a run toward “Little Blue Mountain” from there, but ultimately decided against it because it appeared there would be a lot of skanky road riding from our vantage point.

To Seveys Point

So we arched back from where we came to hit Seveys Point for gas top-off and for lunch. The last stretch of C-7A to Seveys Point was a weird combination of smoothness, studders and wet spots. There is a good variety of food at Seveys Point there if you are looking for a quick lunch stop with a nice seating area. Not a bad place for the middle of no-where. 🙂 Read More…

Wednesday Afternoon Stroll: Update 2/14/18

I couldn’t get out to ride until mid-Wednesday afternoon. But that certainly was not the end of the world for me.

It gave the February sun a chance to soften up the trail surface to keep the slides and heat-exchangers happy. And it doesn’t get really dark until after 6pm now.

First order of business was to take a stroll around Indian Lake village. In this video, I ran C8 down through Bear Trap Swamp, crossed Route 28/30, went by Mountain Fitness Gym, split right onto S84, then another right onto Benton Road, then S87/42nd and Broadway, Adirondack Lake, S86/Little Canada to Lone Birch, then back to One Stop, to Crow Hill Road, then down to C8/Sabael trail.

You can see some thin spots and a few corners scuffed to dirt, but the trails are entirely ride-able and enjoyable to ride:

Onto Perkins Clearing

I thought the easiest way to get some nice miles in would be to run the lakes and do a Perkins Clearing/Speculator run.

There was a fairly big ice heave, just where the C8/Sabael trail dumps onto the lake. Indian Lake and Lewey Lake were a bit rough, but had perfectly good snow coverage. The campgrounds were a particularly brutal mixture of washboard bumps and sno-cross moguls, yuk!

2 Miles from Hell was a nice ride. Perkins Clearing had been heavily groomed, but faint low studders were still embedded through the majority of it, as a reminder of how rough things got last weekend. But Carpenter Hill Road through LP9/Nichol Vly Road was excellent riding!

Here is my favorite spot on LP9 with a scenic view of the mountains through the logged woods. When I ride solo, I stop here almost every single time:

Down to Speculator

“Whittaker Lake” trail down to Wolf Hill Road was a good ride. S41C/Hatchery Brook was simply AWESOME: Freshly groomed, flat as a board and almost nobody touched it today.

C4/LP3 down to Speculator was a pretty good ride with some snirt on the corners. LP4 to Mountain Market and Business-Access-Trail were good rides.

River Trail was in decent shape. C4 from the River into the Tree Farm was a pretty good ride. Cave Hill Road had been groomed, but still retained near constant studder-rollers. That wasn’t much fun so I turned tail only a mile or so past the bridge.

S41/Silver Hill was a really nice ride back up to….

S41C/Hatchery Brook which I was sure to run again! Read More…

Read ’em and Weep: Update 2/12/18

Damage Assessment

Afternoon temperatures were in the 30s over the weekend, but temperatures did spike to 40*F Sunday Night before falling below freezing.

As annoying as the rain and freezing drizzle was to ride in, it didn’t cause much more damage than heavy weekend traffic and mild temperatures did by themselves.

As you can see, we still have significant snow pack in ilsnow land with the green-shaded areas holding over 2 feet of snow:

I walked some of the snowmobile trails on Monday. They were hard-pack with stretches of loose frozen granular snow and I did see some snowmobiles out Monday afternoon.

For now, the lakes still hold a good snow pack.

Weather Outlook

First, I’m going to throw this out there: The notion of near-bottomless cold for the second half of February that I had laid out in my 1/21/18 report is pure rubbish.

I probably could have said this over a week ago. But I was tracking snowstorms and snowmobile riding when we got the snow, thus didn’t get around to doing the write-up.

So, I’m not running away and hiding from what I said. In fact, I’m waving my dirty laundry in your face. But I gotta say that I was right about the possibility for significant snows in early February. 😉

What went wrong?

Instead of the anticipated PNA+/EPO- ridging over western North America, the mean ridge axis will be located through the Gulf of Alaska this week. This configuration does not allow the arctic cold to drop-and-drive into the eastern United States. The resulting zonal flow under the Polar Vortex causes alternating warm ups and freezes, although not quite as dramatic with the temperature swings that we had for mid and late January.

But wait, it gets WORSE!

I’ll be very blunt here: An outright AWFUL pattern will set up for Presidents’ Week Vacation as a PNA- troughing sets up over the western United States:

Temperatures will run well above normal with any significant storms tracking to our west, making rain the most likely form of precipitation.

Bottom line

Sooner you can get up here, the better. If we get blessed with some snow Friday, you better ride it like you robbed it. You should be able to ride this weekend. After that? You’re rolling the dice with up-and-down temperatures at best, or full meltdown mode at worst… Read More…