What's good about January in the Adirondacks?
- Excellent cross-country and downhill skiing conditions, aside from the occasional thaw.
- Deep snow makes for great snowshoeing. One beauty of this kind of recreation is that someone without skill or prior experience but in reasonable physical shape can do it nearly as well as an expert. Traveling by snowshoe is to step straight into the Adirondack history books.
- Animal tracking tends to be excellent this time of year. Discover their inner Sherlock Holmes! Animals are hard to see. Tracks are easy!
- Love trees? Adirondack forests are magnificent and inviting in winter. There's no better time to start learning plants than in mid-winter. With leaves down and fields and forests buried in snow, the candidates are whittled down to a charismatic few.
- The dead of winter is anything but moribund when it comes to birds. For birdwatchers, this is a time of year to get out and search for winter visitors from the far North, including white-winged crossbills, red crossbills, pine grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, Bohemian waxwings, and common redpolls. Bald eagles turn up sometimes, too.
- Fireside chats represent a venerable Adirondack tradition. If you don't have someone to talk to or you're hungry for fresh and illuminating conversation, hire a guide to regale you with tales of the good old days, the rotten old days, the wild and woolly present, and more. Hot cocoa or something stronger by the fire heightens the pleasure.
- Guests who have gotten away from it all to come to the Adirondacks may love nothing more than to relax indoors on a winter day and dive into a good book. The most famous novel set in the region is Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, and it's a humdinger. Lovers of nonfiction may enjoy the new (2008) biography of Samuel de Champlain by David Hackett Fischer, Champlain's Dream. These books and more are available from local booksellers.
Naturalist and Adirondack Guide
Experience the Adirondacks for Yourself
Want to take Ed up on his recommendations? Here's how!
Cross Country and Downhill Skiing
- Cascade Ski Center is the perfect place for everyone to enjoy a day full of snowshoe and cross-country skiing. Located just 11 minutes from High Peaks Resort and boasting instructors and rental shop right on premises you can plan a day full of adventure the whole family will love. And even better? Daily admission is included with your stay at High Peaks Resort!
- For something more Olympian, experience the solitude of exploring nature on over 30 miles of perfectly groomed trails and guaranteed snow at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
- Whiteface Mountain has long been known for the greatest vertical drop in the east, but this year the team at Whiteface Mountain are taking the experience to a whole new level with an enhanced learning center for kids and adults. The Whiteface Mountain Shuttle stops just outside High Peaks Resort on Saranac Avenue and drops you off at Whiteface Mountain so you can be on the slopes instead of looking for a parking spot.
- If you're looking for a smaller mountain in the center of town, Saranac Lake's Mt. Pisgah is a great option. A classic "small town" ski hill, Mt. Pisgah skiers enjoy green and blue level slopes and the dedicated staff and warm atmosphere make this ideal for families seeking a more mellow experience.
- Offering something for everyone, the Paul Smiths VIC boasts 14 different trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and skate skiing; a smorgasbord of outdoor adventure!
- For more of an "off-road adventure", there are lots of opportunities to snowshoe many Adirondack hiking trails. LakePlacid.com maintains a list of some of the most local.
- Still not sure if it's for you? Come along with us on our snowshoe adventure to Moose Pond with Ed Kanze in our blog, Adirondacks for Elephants.
Birdwatching, Animal Tracking and Adirondack Forestry
- Birdwatching is one of the most popular sports worldwide with more participants than basketball, baseball and football combined. We went birdwatching with Ed Kanze to see the draw for ourselves and walked away believing the hype. You can read about it in our blog, Birdwatching at Bloomingdale Bog.
- Would you like to be an amateur animal tracker? With 115-acres to explore outdoors, and indoor exhibits and wildlife demonstrations, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY is a great place to begin your education.
- For more specified insight into Adirondack flora and fauna, secure your spot on an Adirondack Naturalist tour of the Paul Smiths VIC, Saturdays this winter.
- The best resource for Adirondack wisdom are the keepers of Adirondack history themselves - the Adirondack guides. An Adirondack institution that goes back over 200 years, guides for hiking, climbing, hunting, and fishing have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Adirondack wilderness.
Catch Up on Winter Reading
- At High Peaks Resort and Lake House, your guest room extends beyond your door. Our lobby is chockablock with nooks to cozy up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee for a few hours of digital disconnection and self-reflection.
- Looking to explore the literary Adirondacks? The Bookstore Plus on Main Street has an entire section devoted to Adirondack titles and authors both online and in-store, including Ed Kanze's memoir Adirondack: Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East which may be of particular interest to nature lovers.