It’s on- but wear orange

The XC season has started, with a caveat for skiers

Snow cover in northeast US 2019-1115

State of the touring centers has been updated. Some decent coverage is around, but some places seem not quite ready for the season to start. A few places in the far north country and Tug Hill plateau are formally open, and a couple of others have seen some skiing informally.

Deer crossing sign with bullet holes

Public Service Announcement

Make sure the hunters can tell you’re a human!

Many ski touring areas have trails that go through or alongside private land, or through public lands that may allow hunting. Two of them (Craftsbury and Jackson Ski Touring) are cautioning skiers that hunting season is on.

Deer as well as some smaller animals and fowl are in season. It would be a really good idea to wear unnaturally bright colors and not look like a deer, pheasant, or wild turkey right now.

Regulations and dates vary by state. Some sites that can help skiers evaluate clothing and visibility options are below. There’s no guide or map demarcating all hunting-allowed lands.

Hunting Season HQ is probably the easiest to work with. It has a map where you can click on a state to get dates by species. In case you’d rather go to individual state DEPs, here’s a list of the hunting info from state environmental and wildlife management departments:

Ken Roberts, I hardly knew ye

The Internet is a funny non-place in which you get a huge amount of information regarding a sliver of someone’s interests and life. A person’s actual life is something of abstraction, until it isn’t.

Back in the early aughts of this century, I stumbled on the website of someone named Ken Roberts. He had posted a lot of stuff about cross-country skiing (as well as other sports he avidly pursued) on his website, using the domain name ‘‘.

The site had been in existence since the late nineties, and throughout the time I used it as a reference, it retained the same simple, now antiquated-looking design. Given the time period, Roberts made his site the old-fashioned way: with simple HTML and tables. The lack of UI and sophistication didn’t matter though, because the site was never really intended for commerce or clicks. It was always a personal project for him. It predated Livejournal by a couple of years, else he might have done it on that platform.

In addition to documenting travels he took with his wife, he also posted training tips, links and maps about cross-country skiing in the area. It was a nerdy and generous gesture of documentation for other skiers in the Hudson Valley and metro NYC area. Periodically I would wonder who Ken Roberts was that he would put so much effort into the content on his site, but he was careful to post about what he liked to do, not who he was.

Several years ago, Roberts stopped updating his site. Some of the links to other resources had gone dead by then, so its usefulness began to wane. I wondered what might pick up the slack, and eventually that thought became one of my reasons to try my hand at a site or blog.

Ken Roberts died last month in Europe, the result of some kind of hiking accident. I only learned about it from the Mid-Hudson XC skiers group. When his affairs are finally taken care of, the site will probably disappear. Before that happens, a last note of appreciation from me to the late Ken Roberts.

FWIW The site looks the same today as it did back when I came across it for the first time. A trip down Nostalgia lane. Screenshot follows:

Screenshot of Ken Roberts' personal website

First snow this week?

[Update Nov. 12]: Well what do you know- Osceola got enough snow to open up, but because it’s new snow on bare ground, rock skis are recommended. The clock on the season has officially started!

Trapp Family Lodge got about 6″ but they’re only allowing snowshoeing. Craftsbury’s season will start on Nov. 15. I guess it’s time for me to start tracking the weather and trails, so I’ve updated the conditions map (click ‘State of the touring centers’ above).

Word is that High Point is going to try out snowmaking, which would make it a viable option for us downstaters in a marginal snow year. More news as it comes. And because of that, I’m adding a new column of data to indicate whether an area has snow farming and/or snow making.

As to the majority of touring centers that rely on what Mother Nature puts down, a winter storm is approaching the region. Accumulation and whether it stays is the question. So far it looks like the Tug Hill region will get the greatest amount of snow, but it’s likely to be patchy across the rest of the state and New England. Daytime temps will be keeping the ground cool through to Sunday, and nighttime will be down into the teens.

NWS snowfall forecast for 2019-1112
Snowfall forecast for Tuesday Nov. 12 2019

Here’s the current snow depth map:

Snow depth in Northeast US 2019-1112
Current snow depth on Nov. 12

Will the snowfall result in coverage that lasts longer than the rush hour? Maybe there’s a little birdie that knows the answer:

titmouse on a snowy branch
Maybe the little blue titmouse knows