Sunday, January 5, 2014

Adirondack Backcountry Skiing - 1/4/14

After the most recent snowstorm, Ace and I had been itching to get out into the backcountry. We started the day at Gore, sat in a gondola full of a-holes, and met a -20 degree windchill at the top of Bear Mountain. After one run down Twister, we had had enough. The day that followed was way better.

We dropped a car at the Ski Bowl and headed to the Garnet Hill Lodge. Some friends of ours rented some tele equipment, and we were on our way. Originally, we were just going to take the Raymond Brook Ski Trail from Barton Mines road, but we decided to lengthen the trip. Here's a good description of the trails around the area. And here's a map (available at Garnet Hill, or in town at the Hudson River Trading Company):

We started out in high spirits on the Halfway Brook Trail towards William Blake Pond and The Vly:

After a few rolling hills, we reached William Blake Pond (remember, you can click on the pictures to enbiggen them):

There was a little bit of uphill to get to the next wetland:

We kept hiking for a while, a gradual up, then a gradual down towards the Vly:

Fishscaled, metal edged backcountry skis are the tool of choice. The tele setup does take a little getting used to, though, for the uninitiated (look out below!):

After climbing up from the Vly, crossing Barton Mines Road, and climbing up about 200 vertical feet from the start of the Raymond Brook Trail, we finally got some legitimate downhills in:

There was some history:

And a pretty nice downhill/traversing exit (with a couple of small uphills, too):

We started at Garnet Hill around 12:15 or so and came out at the Ski Bowl at 4:15. It took a little longer than anticipated (lots of photo breaks and a relaxed pace), but we still had a good amount of daylight to work with. This picture was taken as we left to begin the drive back up to Garnet Hill:

So, it was a pretty great day. Definitely a lot better than braving the crowds at the mountain. These are the kind of days that make me want to break out of the ski instructing grind and recapture winter weekends for myself - Good friends, great snow, empty trails, and freedom. Recipe for fun.


  1. I had been wondering if the new snow was enough snow to make Raymond Brook skiable, sure looks like it. Beautiful snow... it's almost criminal that we're getting r**n 2 days later.

  2. Yep. That's skiing in the Northeast. Feast or Famine.

  3. Been misssing the posts - good one!

  4. We were on the same trail on the same day. This is one of the great adk xc skis imo. Nice!

  5. Hi Matt - I was Googling Raymond Brook Trail and happened upon your blog. A few of us skied in this area yesterday with amazingly good conditions. We started at Old Farm Clearing and skied to Ive's Dam via Botheration Pond, Halfway Brook, Raymond Brook and Ive's Hill trails. We dropped down a hundred feet of so on the RB trail just to get some turns in some nice powder and then climbed back up. It was a full day with over 12 miles of skiing. Pretty darn good for March 26th. I'd like to try the RB trail down to route 28 sometime. I don't think I'll be following your M+D down south for the winter !