Limited Snowmobiling Options: Update 3/3/17

UPDATE 3/3/17 EVENING: The central Adirondacks picked up an inch or two of dry, powdery snow Friday afternoon.Ā 

It’s not enough to improve the base, but it’s enough to keep your slides and heat exchangers cool while you nick and shear your carbides to pieces. šŸ˜‰

Friday Morning Report

Wednesday’s thaw was bad enough with temperatures poking into the 50s. But the rainfall was fairly limited at under a half-inch.

Winds got really strong Wednesday night into early Thursday with lots of blow down. We had a mini-blizzard Thursday morning which dumped a quick inch that got promptly blown to smithereens. Much colder air Thursday and Thursday night turned the remaining snow pack into a brick.

The next result is that ilsnow land is essentially a frozen waste land for the weekend. Snow pack around Indian Lake ranges from thin to bare in the exposed roadside spots and south/east facing slopes to a foot-plus of frozen pack in the woods.

Here is the estimated snow pack this morning, showing the Swiss cheese pattern more typical for the end of March or early April:

Adirondack Snow Pack

Adirondack Snow Pack

Weekend Outlook

We’ll have the coldest air that we’re likely to see for the remainder of the season Saturday and especially Saturday night into Sunday morning. This stops the bleeding. However, based on what I saw during Tuesday’s ride and what has happened since, I can’t really recommend coming here from any real distance to ride.

If you are really hard up for a ride, my best recommendation would be to park at Mason Lake parking lot on Route 30 about 7 miles north of Speculator and attack Perkins Clearing from the north end, then work your way toward the back end via Old Military Road and hit Carpenter Hill Road while you’re back there. After that, explore around and see how far you can go before you get turned back.

Moose River Plains is not as good an option because the Plains don’t hold their snow as well as Perkins Clearing. And the road from Brown’s Farm parking lot to the trail head has virtually no hard pack underneath whatever feeble skiff of powder may be on the margins.

If you decide to ride, studs and ice-scratchers would be your best friends. Whatever smoothness or bumps that exist on the trails will be frozen in place for the weekend. There will be very little traffic to break up the surface.

LAKES: Just stay off! Area web cams showed ice starting to break apart at the shoreline yesterday.Ā 

Wish it was better for early March, but I can only report on what I see in front of me.

REMINDER:Ā Indian Lake Snowarriors meeting for Saturday, March 4th has been cancelled. Next scheduled meeting will be for Saturday, April 1st to wrap up the ā€œgrooming season.ā€

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 EastĀ 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 @ sent ya!

Short afternoon die-hard run: Update 2/27/17

After work, I had a bit of time to spare so I took a late afternoon & early evening stroll.

In the shady woods, the snow pack is still 12-18 inches. The exposed areas and southerly facing hillside hold much less.

With temperatures rising to into the lower-40s this afternoon, we switched back from winter to spring in just a few hours today.

If all trails were like S85/Ski Hut trail, life would be great:

Ski Hut trail (1)

But alas, life doesn’t work that way for the die-hard. TheĀ Indian Lake inner village trails were entirely ride-able, but the base is starting to get thin in spots. Bear Trap Swamp was passable, but water is eating away at that. Parks and Rec did cut away the trees that were knocked down by Saturday night’s wet snow storm.

I didn’t bother with C8/Sabael trail because half of that trail is on a swamp and was probably a big mess anyway.

So I ran S84 up toward the Newcomb trail. The part just prior to the Cedar River BridgeĀ hadĀ been flooded by the river, but still passable.

The sun-baked sharp corners on S84 were fairly skanky until I got over the top:

Blue Mountain trail turns

Once I got into the shady woods, the base was deeper, but still some thin spots and plenty of places where the water was eating away at the trail.

At Rock Lake Marsh, I encountered this nice brook crossing:

Rock Lake Marsh (2)

I saw that other sleds had crossed this today, so I gripped it and ripped it across. Thankfully, the submerged bridge had enough flotation to guide me to the other side.

The remainder of the ride on S84 was pretty good spring riding.

538/Newcomb trail was a nice spring ride for the most part. But there were some places where the base was getting pretty thin. Then I ran into this beautiful stream about a couple miles from the Essex Country Line:

Newcomb Trail (2)

Incidentally, 538/Newcomb trail became a bumpier ride after the stream crossing. I didn’t press past the Essex County line because I wanted to get back to town before dark with the hazards out there.

Bottom line:

This would have been a good March 27th ride, but not so much for February 27th. Hey, it is what it is…

With the increasingly marginal conditions and the next big warm-up &Ā rain for Wednesday, this is probably my last ride until (or if) we get a significant dose of snow. My skis were occasionally clipping rock tops that I hadn’t seen since early January.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any significant snow before the weekend. But at least it will get cold again by Thursday. I’m sure the intrepid snowmobile rider can find something to ride this weekend in Perkins Clearing or something else, but most people aren’t gonna give a crap enough to find out.

Unless we can muster a significant or major snowstorm within the next 7-10 days, we may be playing out the string…

NOTE: Indian Lake Snowarriors meeting for Saturday, March 4th has been cancelled. Next scheduled meeting will be for Saturday, April 1st to wrap up the “grooming season.”

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 grabĀ a copy of their snowmobile trail map. Be sure to tell them that Darrin @ sent you.



Trail conditions going downhill! Update 2/24/17

UPDATE 2/27/17

After our severe bout with spring thunderstorms on Saturday, it got colder quick and we got almost 3 inches of cement mixture Saturday evening that froze overnight.

As to be expected, many trees got bent or knocked down with the heavy snow/ice load.

If you have any designs on riding, better do it today or Tuesday before the next warm rains roll in for Wednesday.

Best bet is to hit Moose River Plains or Perkins Clearing and see what you can do from there.Ā 

Please, stay off the lakes. We don’t need any more drownings this winter.

Weekend Outlook: Colder, but we’ll be needing snow!

2/24/17 Report

The Presidents’ Week meltdown is in full swing! Afternoon temperatures in the 50s have really taken their toll. Rainfall today and again Saturday afternoon will speed up the snow melt even more.

We still have decent snow “in the woods” of about a foot-and-a-half as of early Friday afternoon, but the exposed areas are starting to get bald.

Weekend Outlook:

Well…far be it from me to tell any one what to do. But the connections into Indian Lake inner village are getting eaten away by the sun, warmth and now…rain:

Crow Hill Road Shelf

Crow Hill Road Shelf

Going into Indian Lake

Going into Indian Lake from Crow Hill Road

Keep in mind that it only gets WORSE though Saturday.Ā On top of that, there is a high risk of strong thunderstorms Saturday afternoon with gusty winds and heavy rain.

Colder air will rush in late Saturday afternoon with a changeover to snow good for maybe a quick inch or two, followed by some minor lake-effect snows Saturday night into Sunday morning. Best case scenario would be a covering of wet paint to freshen things up a bit for Sunday.

If you’re hard up for some riding, probably the best plan would be to park at Mason Lake parking lot about 7 miles north of Speculator, then work your way into Perkins Clearing from the north end.

Moose River Plains would still have snow, but the road between Brown’s Farm and the trail head will be bare, unless we get someĀ real snow Saturday night.

If you decide to stay on the couch this weekend, you’ll have no worries about me showing off what you missed. šŸ˜‰

Long Range

For a lot of people, this meltdown has finished winter. Adirondack business owners can take solace in that the “commercial” snowmobiling season from Snodeo to Presidents’ Week was light years better than last winter, despite all the ups-and-downs.

Well, I live here and I’m not ready for fuel stablizer runs yet!

GFS ensembles are telegraphing a very active pattern as we get into March:

Early March Outlook

There are two features that are very interesting:

  • NAO- Greenland High, which has been absent most of the winter
  • 50/50 or Newfoundland Low

This set up can be a pre-cursor to snowy/stormy patterns over the northeastern United States. Most of the mid-long range models show a seemingly endless parade of weather systems for the first half of March.

With such a fast flow (nearly zonal) across the United States, it’s a fool’s errand to try to latch onto certain dates for storms any more more than a few days away.

Assuming we can get decent snows from at least two or three of these “opportunities” I think that we’ll be able to ride snowmobiles in ilsnow land for at least a few more weeks, even if the best has passed. However, I don’t believe that it will turn tremendously cold for several days at a time. And, unless there is a mega-March snowstorm lurking in the weeds, I think the snowmobiling season is essentially done for most places outside the higher elevation regions of Tug Hill and Adirondacks.

We’ll see what happens…

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 @ sent ya.


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