“Let’s be careful out there”

Fahnestock closed until they get more snow. Minnewaska and Mohonk are open, and at Prospect Mountain it’s snowing right now, as is High Point.

Road conditions are another thing however. There’s wintry mix and freezing rain coming down, so the driving is worse than the waxing today, and hitting the wax will be plenty tough.

A bit further north and east, and things are… interesting. Pineridge is open with some new snow, as are Maple Corner farm and Canterbury farm. Mountain Trails in Tannersville is open. However, Notchview is closed due to high winds, and Northfield Mountain is closed due to the unfavorable precipitation mix.

A brief moment of bliss to salute yesterday’s absolutely fantastic weather courtesy of Prospect Mountain:

Prospect mtn sunset 2019-0309
The sun goes down on a fine day

The question for the coming week is what will survive of the snow base, how long will the spring skiing last, and where might you go to get some?

Last aria coming up?

titmouse on a snowy branch
If we can ski it’s still winter

3/9 update

Saturday was the last day for skiing at Fahnestock until/unless more snow comes. Forecast for the coming week doesn’t hold out much hope (just sayin’).

But I have to add that if you managed to get out anywhere today, especially in the morning, the skiing was glorious.

3/8 update

Hang on- the opera for cross-country skiing in our area isn’t quite over yet! Two things are clear in reports from several touring centers within day-trip distance: 1) “conditions Friday are fantastic, but expect trails to get softer and wetter on the weekend”; and 2) “Thin cover. Some bare spots”.

I think some of the downstate areas are repeating their reports from midweek so as not to discourage weekenders. Given that it’s March and in anticipation of warmer weather for the weekend, I’m discounting some of the southerly area status reports a bit for hyperbole.

However, north of Albany and the MA border, skiing’s terrific today and should hold up well for tomorrow too. It’ll be spring skiing going forward.

‘State of the touring centers’ is updated as of 3/8, with the caveat that conditions will change for ones within day-trip distance by end of day tomorrow. Snow depth map (below) will look a lot different by Monday:

Snow depth in Northeast US Mar 8
Snow depth in Northeast US Mar 8

Rain forecast for all downstate and southern New England on Sunday, while the north country of the Adirondacks, Green and White Mtns will see wintry mix or snow. A dip in daytime temp on Tuesday may allow a window for regrooming in areas that still have a base to work with before springtime resumes for later in the week.

Ski Saturday-

[3/7]: If you can’t get out today or tomorrow, Saturday is the day to go. Fahnestock cover is thin, but Minnewaska and Mohonk should hold up. Sunday early to mid-day will be OK in western MA at Notchview and Canterbury with grooming. Pineridge might hang in there. North of Albany and MA, conditions in touring centers like Prospect Mountain and Lapland Lake should easily hold up all the way into the early part of next week, when daytime temps there will drop back to low- to mid- 30s.

On the other hand, if you can get out there, here’s some quotes from the groomers on conditions as of Thursday 3/7:

Wow Just Wow! Incredible packed powder skiing

Northfield Mountain

We have the best skiing all winter, and it looks like it will last through the weekend

High Point

Solid base with 6 inches of fresh packed powder will be the best skiing yet this season

Canterbury farm

I’ll update this post on conditions and state of touring centers across the Northeast late today or on 3/8 to get accurate updates ahead the weekend.

Outlook for the weekend and beyond-

In our region there’s a chance of light snow Friday into early Saturday. Daytime temps for downstate NY and lower Hudson Valley: low 30s on Friday, low 40s on Saturday.

Rain arrives on Sunday- in the Hudson Highlands and Shawangunks the precipitation could start as snow/sleet with some accumulation before changing over by mid-day. North of the Gunks and in northern New England, it may continue as snow all through Sunday, with a late-day changeover to rain in western MA.

In the first half of next week, temps fall somewhat- by Tuesday we will see daytime highs of mid-40s in the NYC area, and low 30s in the Catskills and northward.

För framtids segrar

Photograph by Nisse Schmidt / Vasaloppet

All winter recreations owe their glory to the absence of friction

Bill McKibben

Back in February I pointed to an NPR story about Mora Minnesota and people helping to save their local Vasaloppet. This week comes an article in the New Yorker by Bill McKibben, who participated in the actual Vasaloppet in Sweden. McKibben is a lifelong cross-country skier, and he’s also an environmentalist. As we all know, cross-country skiing depends on hitting the wax, which is a lot harder when weather becomes unpredictable.

Not only is winter affected. You may have heard multiple areas in Scandinavia had a drier and hotter summer in 2018, contributing to a remarkable series of forest fires:

As temperatures warm and winters shorten, traditions like the Vasaloppet (or the Iditarod) become ever more tenuous; friction tries relentlessly to reassert its claims

Bill McKibben

McKibben writes that the Vasaloppet, “like everything to do with ice and cold, is now under existential threat.” But he sees glimmers of hope.

He points out that funds and institutions are divesting from fossil fuel companies because their primary value is projected to decline. We know the US military regards climate change as a serious threat to operations and national security. Acknowledgement, acceptance, and action by big players with economic and political clout is crucial.

As is activism at the literal ground level. Masha Gessen, writing in the New Yorker last year, described a Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg and her protest to demand stronger efforts by the Swedish government in response to climate change. Thunberg’s steadfastness has generated a groundswell of support among students globally.

Yet even progressive governments shy away from acting with urgency. The stakes of climate change are much greater than merely the risk to the status quo or a recreational activity. We are already inducing an unnaturally rapid shift in the climate that all living things have called ‘normal’ for over 100,000 years. We don’t want to think we’re pushing Mother Nature toward a cliff, but we’d be wise not to wait and see how hard she pushes back.