Today was a cold one, but it's warmer than it was a couple days ago. I was all set to climb a high peak or two in the Adirondacks, but Leesa wasn't up for a cold start. Most of the hikes I've got left for my winter 46 are pretty long full day hikes and she just couldn't wrap her head around the idea today. She told me to go ahead and climb some peaks, but I wanted to spend the day with her, so we decided to go cross country skiing.
The snow has been pretty good in the woods for most of this winter, and today was no exception. Since I wasn't doing a long hike today, we slept in a little bit. The ski trip we chose was Connery Pond in Lake Placid to Whiteface Landing and on to Whiteface Leanto.
The route to Whiteface Landing is an old truck road and is an easy ski. It has a relatively flat first 1.25 miles leading to a long gentle incline for a mile, then a slight downhill for a mile to the junction with the Whiteface Brook trail. There is no place where the incline feels like work, and the gentle incline on the way in gives a nice glide on the way out.
With a nice day like we had today, and with the leaves down, you can get nice views of Whiteface from Connery Pond and from Whiteface Landing (if you can go out on the ice on Lake Placid).
We could tell the Connery Pond trail gets a lot of use from XC skiers, and with good reason. It is a trail that all abilities can enjoy. Advance skiers can ski for speed and training, while beginners and intermediate skiers can enjoy the woods and gentle grade without having to concentrate on difficult terrain.
We reached Whiteface Landing in about an hour and 15 minutes. We decided to continue on and ski to Whitface Leanto on the Whiteface Brook trail. The terrain remains gentle until the leanto with only one creek crossing and one creek embankment that I had to sidestep down. The creek was frozen over so I was able to cross it on skis.
The leanto sits aways from the brook, but is in a nice clearing. This was our turn around point. From the leanto, it is a steep climb of about 2800' in 2.4 miles. It would be fun to ski to the leanto, then snowshoe to the summit, return to the leanto and ski out. The total trip in that case would be about 13 miles. On this day, our 9 mile ski trip would be enough for us.
It was 12 degrees Fahrenheit when we started out, and it warmed to 20 by the time we got back to the car. Winds were light and the sky was blue. I was warm enough with just 2 techwick shirts on my upper body and a pair of ski pants. I had my coat in case I needed it, but it didn't come out of the pack.
We saw 5 other groups out during the day, but we were the only ones who went past Whiteface Landing to the Whiteface Brook Leanto.
|heading towards the leanto|
If you are looking for a nice novice level ski trail, this is a good one to consider. It is perhaps an intermediate level once beyond Whiteface Landing on the trail to the leanto. I missed not climbing a peak today, but XC skiing in good snow conditions is always a good alternate.
|Whiteface Mountain from Whiteface Landing on Lake Placid|
|Leesa and Rev on Lake Placid|
Distance: 9.1 miles
Skiing Time: 3-4 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 800'
|Our route shown in blue (click image to enlarge)|
|A look from Google Earth|
|and a Topo|