To the edge of oblivion, but… Update 3/9/17

3/10/17 Update: An arctic front dropped an inch-plus of snow Friday evening, ready to be blown to smithereens. 

3/9/17 Report

Winter’s remnant snow pack took yet another hit this week. We didn’t get a ton of rain, but two days of mild temperatures and strong winds ate some more cover away.

Around Indian Lake, snow pack ranges from thin to bare in the exposed hillsides and fields to 6 inches to a foot-plus in the shady woods. The snow-bowls of southwestern Adirondacks appear to still hold 12-18+ inches of pack:

Adirondack Snow Pack

Adirondack Snow Pack

Weekend Outlook:

Well, people were able to ride Perkins Clearing last weekend. Most people told me they managed 50 miles or more. I suspect you could attack Perkins Clearing this weekend from the north end by parking at the Mason Lake parking lot on Route 30 about 7 miles of Speculator. Heck, you might be able to attack the Speculator Tree Farm by parking at the south end of Old Route 30 near Wells. But keep in mind that base conditions will be even more marginal than they were last weekend….and ice scratchers/studs will be your best friends.

I can’t really recommend trying Moose River Plains at this point because it doesn’t keep snow as well as Perkins Clearing does.

Another thing to keep in mind would be brutal cold over the weekend. Saturday may be especially nasty with strong gusty winds and temperatures hard pressed to reach 10*F in the afternoon.

Also, beware of blow-down if you decide to take a chance here…

Next Week?

All eyes are on the possible major snow storm for Tuesday into perhaps Wednesday. At this point, I think the bigger question is WHERE it will happen as opposed to IF it will happen.

Nearly all the modeling have clustered on a massive eastern United States storm. I’ll show you the GFS as an example:


It’s an impressive storm setup, for sure. But the projected “flat” PNA+ ridge has me somewhat concerned whether the east coast storm achieves the necessary downstream amplitude necessary for this storm to take it to the house for ilsnow land.

This event is still several days away, so it’s just watch and wait for now. To be sure, we’d need a significant or major dump of snow to really get things going again. If we catch white lighting in a bottle on Tuesday, we could keep the season going for at least another week.

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 If you’re looking for a new truck, give Steet Ponte a good look.

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. 

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. 😉

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. 

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

REMINDER: 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 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!

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. The 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 Bridge had 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 & 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 grab a copy of their snowmobile trail map. Be sure to tell them that Darrin @ sent you.




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