Tuesday, February 10, 2009

XC Skiing, Snowshoeing - Rockwood State Forest

No new snow lately, and some warm temperatures and rain instead, so we decided to brave the "40% chance of light rain" forecast and head back to Rockwood in hopes of some decent skiing. We didn't have high hopes, and even took snowshoes along just in case, but were somewhat pleasantly surprised. The trails in the western half of the forest had been "groomed", in a manner of speaking, presumably by Fulton County, who used to do this pretty regularly. Their grooming involves dragging a sled behind a snowmobile and breaking up the surface, but not setting any tracks. At least it leaves the forest roads about 8' wide and fairly skiable, despite the recent crustiness.

A fairly new sign at the trail register indicates that some trails are groomed and others offer backcountry skiing. We stayed on the groomed trails today, skiing for about an hour on the outermost loop. The downhills on that loop are normally somewhat challenging, but today they were downright fast. There was just enough loose snow to provide some feeling of control, but it was loose granular and very slick.

When we got back to the car, we decided to snowshoe for a bit on the north side of NY29, just across from the parking area. The map shows marked ski trails in that area as well, though we'd never explored them before. They don't offer any loop opportunites, and leave the skier stranded somewhere down the road on either NY29 or NY10A where they emerge. After about another half hour of snowshoeing, we'd had enough for one day and headed home.

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