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. 

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. 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 some 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. 😉

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,


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Indian Lake Snowarriors Ride 2/22/17

Today was the Indian Lake Snowarriors ride to Newcomb. Eight of us met down at the end of Benton Road and set sail on S84/Blue Mountain trail.

The trails were all groomed this morning which started the ride off great. Aside from the usual spring riding corner scuff, it was terrific riding all the way through S84 to the junction with 538/Newcomb Trail.

We took a stop to pose with the Snowarriors banner that was located near their Tucker. Nick LaScala was missing from the picture…because he took it:


538/Newcomb trail was a nice mashed potato run. It got really warm while riding, seemed like the temperature was hitting every bit of 50 degrees or higher. There were spots where water is starting to eat away at the sides of the trail.

C8B to Newcomb House was a good ride too and freshly groomed. But dang, the sun was really starting to eat away at the trail. Very soft and mushy through there with some corners worn down to dirt. There were several places starting to get eaten away by the water underneath.

Lunch at the Newcomb House was good and we met up with other riders who rode to Newcomb from Indian Lake about the same time we did.

On the way back, C8B and 538 were a platter of mashed potatoes under the strong late-February sun and 50*F temperatures. S84 was still in fun riding shape heading back to Indian Lake. But we rode through some stretches of wet ice, especially passing by Rock Lake.

Got everyone back to their trucks late afternoon with almost 65 miles spun off. Just an awesome day of riding with great people. I couldn’t have been more happy with this ride, just about as perfect as you can get with the conditions.

Here are some various pictures from the day:

Cedar River Bridge

Cedar River Bridge

Rock Lake Marsh

Rock Lake Marsh

Newcomb trail

Newcomb trail

You can check out pictures shot by the SnoCade photographer here.

What can I tell you? It was a great ride. No reason to sit inside when the snow is still deep in the woods! Crazy Cal should have found a way to blow off work today. 😉

Weekend Outlook

Trails remain ride-able, but they took a definite hit this afternoon and that will continue the next few days. Rain on Friday and again Saturday afternoon will further hasten the snow-melt. Whatever is left will begin to freeze into a brick Sunday and Monday.

Bottom line: Sooner you get it, the better!

For the ilsnow nation,


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Grim Reaper is Coming! Update 2/20/17

grim reaper

UPDATE 2/21/17

Looks like Indian Lake Parks and Rec have been grooming the trails around town today and out through S84/Blue Mountain trail.

Indian Lake Snowarriors tour to Speculator for Wednesday, February 22nd has been changed to Newcomb due to safely concerns on lakes. The route to Newcomb will NOT cross lakes. Meet up at the Little League parking lot on Benton Road, next to the Indian Lake Highway Garage by 10am. Lunch stop at the Newcomb House. Gas is available in Newcomb with credit card only. Round trip is almost 70 miles.

Guided snowmobile tour to Newcomb for Thursday, February 23rd has been cancelled.

Take a Friend for a Ride, scheduled for Saturday, February 25th has been cancelled.

Report 2/20/17

Yes… Dr. Death himself will be reaping the harvest left behind by last weekend’s thaw. But before he does, I wanted to ride before the trails completely go to seed.

After work, I took a quick 20 mile swirl around town to gauge the conditions. The base remains solid with a loose/wet granular riding surface with ice corners and some corners scuffed down to dirt.

Far from being a disaster, the trails were firmly ride-able with slight to modest studders and looked mostly like this:

sabael trail

With the warmth, water is eating away at the base from underneath and C8/Sabael trail was developing water hazards that can ruin your day if you let them take you by surprise. In a bit of irony, I met Crazy Cal on this stretch of trail with the same idea that I had: Ride it while it’s still decent.

S85/Ski Hut trail, S86/Little Canada and S87/42nd and Broadway offered the best riding. Adirondack Lake was full of ruts and not fun to ride at all.

Took S84/Blue Mountain trail out for a couple of miles. It was bumpier than what I had found in town, but still quite ride-able with some corner scuff before I got over the top.

The worst stretch of icy trail I encountered was on C8 between the former Arctic Cat dealership and the sewer plant. Didn’t bother going out C8 toward Cedar River headquarters, but I’m certain that remains ride-able as well.

Midweek Outlook

Grim… Reaper… Cometh… When afternoon temperatures get into the 50s like it probably will 3-4 days from Tuesday through Saturday, the snow melts like ice cream on a summer’s day. If you have designs on riding this week, the sooner the better…simple as that. Forget about whether they’re grooming, because those opportunities will be limited, if there are any.

Weekend Outlook

Ugh… Rain Friday and Saturday will accelerate the snow melt. Trails will probably be nothing but mush, water and ice by the weekend. Busy corners and exposed areas around town could be showing a lot of dirt by then. It will turn colder Saturday night and Sunday, but any snows will be minor.


Don’t bother asking me because I can’t tell you whether ice is “safe” or not. Use your best judgement and stay away from any inlets, outlets and river channels. If in doubt, stay off the ice.

Is Winter Over?

Believe it or not, I don’t think so…for the heart of the Adirondacks anyway. There may be a couple of opportunities for snow events in the February 28th – March 2nd window. There is still cold air to play with and the jet stream remains very active. It’s just a matter of the storm track moving far enough south and east for us to get snow instead of wintry mix/rain. I have absolutely no faith in cold air staying around for weeks at a time in March, but at least ilsnow land still have a chance to extend the snowmobiling season at least a few more weeks after we get done with this meltdown.

For the ilsnow nation,


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