Northeast Backcountry Pt. 2 | February 6th, 2017

The snowfall in the northeast, especially the northern regions of New York and Vermont have been superb recently. Light snow had been falling for the past two weeks creating some phenomenal powder skiing in the region. Combine that with seeing rain in the forecast within the next two days and we were quickly on our way to ski some steep terrain before the weather ruined our beautiful snowpack.

Our adventure started in the Adirondack Loj and we off for Marcy Dam. Before I go any further, I'm going to follow Adirondack backcountry etiquette and not make this a detailed trip report of where we skied with a route to get there and GPS coordinates and whatever else. If you can figure out which slide this is, you probably already know the route.

The sun was shining through the trees and reflecting on the fresh snow in the early hours of the day as we approached Marcy Dam (or is it now Marcy Meadows now). We got into the open and were welcomed by blue skies and light breeze. The temperature was well below freezing but warm enough to be bearable whenever we stopped. We were able to see our destination off in the distance and it was looking promising. 


We found the gully and followed it in the woods up to the base of the slide. Now that we were up close and personal with the slide we felt excitement as well as our nerves kicking in. Along the way I jumped on a few test slopes to see what would happen. Nothing slid but we knew better than to rely on that. We skinned up a little farther and dug a pit. The results from the pit left us feeling a little more confident but still nervous. Then I'm not sure anything would entirely calm our nerves. While we were digging another group of three skiers came up and observed the results with us. We determined it was safe to ski, but to ski it with caution.

Everything past the pit we dug was a steep skin track with tons of switchbacks. Our fellow skiers were kind enough to break trail for us as a thanks for digging the pit. We began gaining elevation very quickly as we made our up along the side of the slide.

We didn't stop to measure the gradient of the slide but if I was to spitball the steepness I'd say somewhere around 38 to 40 degrees. Soon, after a some photos and delegation on the route, we found ourselves at the top of the slide.

Finally it was time to descend. We decided to ski the right side to avoid any potential wind loaded snow that would slide easier. I was the guinea pig and said I would ski first (sorry mom). After picking a good spot to stop I skied down a fair distance and parked myself in the woods to shoot some photos of everyone descending. The snow was light, perfect blower pow, and most importantly stable.

Lucky for me, the perfect light we had on the way up went away right as we started our ski and it began to snow. While this made me happy as a skier, it was a little disappointing as a photographer. Regardless, the skiing was absolutely amazing and I'm definitely hooked on slides. Now we can only hope that the snow stays powdery and safe for us.