Snow Conditions: Update 1/30/18

Update 2/2/18

We picked up 2+ inches of snow in Indian Lake, NY last night. From reports for the western Adirondacks, Moose River Plains may have picked up several inches of fresh snow.

If you come up to ride here this weekend, you’ll find surprisingly good conditions in some places and just plain awfulness in some others.

Be very careful because we essentially have frozen, icy late-March marginal trail conditions with a fresh application of white paint. Track studs are your friends.

Here is a sample of what the trails looked like before the new snow, taken on Wednesday, January 31st:

Take it or leave it, I guess… But we do have more snow on the docket for Sunday. 🙂

For the ilsnow nation, 


Report 1/30/18

Well, there isn’t really a whole bunch to report on the trail conditions front, except to say that we are down to the icy, hard-pack base around here. Lakes are glare ice.

If you choose to ride here this week, studs and ice scratchers would be definite assets. You will need to beware of ice, bare spots, rocks and frozen washout areas.

Snow pack is 6-12+ inches throughout most of the Central Adirondacks, but the exposed areas around town hold less snow cover with growing icy and bald spots.

Some of the deep woods spots in the central-western Adirondack snow bowls probably hold a foot-and-a-half of snow or more, but that would be the exception rather than the rule:

Midweek Outlook

Let’s start with this, then play it forward:

January 30, 2018 AM

Not pretty, right? But at least the cupboard isn’t completely bare.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a significant snow event in the cards for this week.

Instead, we’ll have a parade of minor snows, with the meso-NAM painting modest amounts by Friday afternoon:

These amounts wouldn’t do much for the immediate Indian Lake & Speculator areas, but they could breathe life back into places like Moose River Plains and into the western Adirondacks with the seasonal roads.

Weekend Outlook?

At this bleak point in time, I almost wish that I can make the easy call, telling you to forget about this weekend and keep the money in your pocket for a better time. But the truth is that we’ll be in that fuzzy gray area this weekend with marginal riding conditions.

On top of that, a light to modest snow event may be approaching us for Saturday night:

For some people, the decision will be to skip this weekend and play another day. For some others, they are coming up no matter what. For many, it will be a game of wait and see…

By the way, Indian Lake Snowarriors will have their monthly meeting on Saturday, February 3rd starting 7pm at Byron Park in Indian Lake. If you’re in town, stop in! Read More…

Indian Lake Recon: Update 1/25/18

Update 1/28/18 AM

Report 1/25/18

Although I knew I wasn’t going to pull big miles this week, I didn’t want to get skunked either. So, I did some recon Thursday afternoon.

Ended up being only 3.5 miles. It wasn’t because the trails were shot, but it was because the trails were as hard as a brick with nearly no loose granular for cooling, lube and steering.

The inch of snow we got Wednesday morning was nothing more than air-fluff which got blown off the trails by the wind and light snowmobile traffic.

Bear Trap Swamp was mainly rough ice:

Bear Trap Swamp

And, believe it or not, I saw fresh groomer tracks originating at S85/Ski Hut trail pressing down to Bear Trap Swamp, crossing Route 28/30 then continuing on C8 toward the former Arctic Cat Dealership.

I didn’t press further than the junction of C8 and S84 because I wasn’t in the mood to smoke my slides or trip the overheat lamp. When I stopped, I did smell the sled getting a bit warm under the collar, so I turned tail and headed back to the compound.

Looking at the glass half-full, the base is well-intact and pretty flat where the groomer did go through:

Trail C8 in Indian Lake

Bottom line

You can glide your snowmobile over what we got here, with studs and ice-scratchers being definite assets on the trail. Snow pack is generally 6-12+ inches around Indian Lake, although the exposed areas hold less snow cover.

Lakes are a patchwork of glare ice and meager snow cover.

As you work your way through Moose River Plains past Cedar River Headquarters toward Inlet, the may be some actual snow on top of the hard base.

Weekend Outlook

If you have a second home or camp here and spinning off relatively few miles would be a bonus, then you could do OK as weekend traffic and milder temperatures loosen up the trails a bit.

You need to know how and where to pick your battles. If you expect prime mid-winter conditions, you won’t find them here. If you’re alright with finding a mixed-bag of treats, you might be somewhat pleasantly surprised how well the trails have held up against two brutal rains over the past couple of weeks.

My recon was limited, but it should give you somewhat of an idea of what to expect if you choose to make it here this weekend.

Trail C8 Cam

I’m very pleased to unveil my new trail cam on Trail C8 at Mountain Fitness Gym. A big thanks goes to Joanne Gray for hosting the webcam at her gym!

You can see a shot from Thursday afternoon:

Trail C8 Cam at

Here’s the link to the webcam:

I have wanted to put the camera up since December. But up until this week, I’ve been snowmobile riding every day off since Christmas.

With a break in the action for me, it was the perfect time to get the camera up.

I hope you enjoy it! It’s another way for me to help you see the snow conditions here in Indian Lake. 🙂

So long for now…

That’s all I got at this point! Whether you come here or stay home this weekend is up to you. I can only give you some recon to help you make the right decision for YOU.

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Prospect Point Cottages on Blue Mountain Lake. If you are looking for a quiet and scenic winter getaway, this place is for you with fireplaces, free hot brunch and snowshoes provided. The wintry view of Blue Mountain from across the lake is nothing short of amazing with a fresh mantle of snow!

Getting Worse Before It Gets Better: Update 1/21/2018

Since the January 11-12 thaw and heavy rain event, we’ve been engaged in an up-and-down weather pattern which likely will continue into early February.

Over the next 7-10 days, there appears to be little hope for significant snow.

Not that I trust model-ology to accurately pinpoint snow events a week or more away, but the GFS snow forecast for the remainder of January appears quite bleak:

Tuesday will feature another thaw and rain, followed by a good cold shot for mid-week. But I’m quite worried about a stronger thaw and rain around next Sunday, January 28th as a high amplitude plows eastward from the central United States:

With absolutely no high latitude blocking to keep cold air in locked in place ahead of this system, we’re left wide open to the probability of a game-wrecking thaw and rain, similar in scope to January 11-12 or perhaps even worse.

Then what?

I’m going to jump into mid-February, then work backwards. The long range CFSv2 ensembles have long been insisting on a strong EPO- pattern to develop by mid-February.

Remember: The negative phase of the East Pacific Oscillation (EPO-) is marked by ridging over Alaska, which drives cold air into the eastern United States. 

The time around Presidents Week 2018 may be especially cold with extreme EPO- tapping into a brutally cold-cross polar flow. 

The transition

It appears the next 1-2 weeks will be bad for us AND we could be back into hard-core winter by mid-February.

So, what happens in between? Well, the transitions are always the fuzzy part. As per GEFS ensembles, mighty cold air should overspread Canada and start to spill into the north-central United States in early February:

With that kind of cold waiting in the wings, pressing south and east, it would make sense to be in the running for significant snow events some time during the first half of February as strong weather systems move along the boundary ahead of the bitter cold air-mass.

But, I couldn’t set my watch by it, much less mark it on a calendar. So we’ll have to watch for details to come into place as time grows closer.

Bottom line

Winter has shown me a lot already, so I believe that a transition back to a nearly bottomless cold weather regime for mid-late February could have serious teeth. But we’re probably in for a couple weeks of tough sledding before we can get excited again.

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 @ sent ya!