Saturday, January 19, 2013

XC Skiing - Rockwood State Forest

After the paltry snowfall of a few days ago, grass is showing through again here in Schenectady, but Holly and I still had hopes of finding some skiable snow nearby.  Rockwood State Forest, less than an hour away west of Johnstown, has surprised us in the past, and from the latest snow depth map, it looked like it was worth a look, with potentially 6-8" on the ground:

But what kind of snow would this be?  Was it old crusty junk from the storm we had Christmas week, before the big thaw?  Each dot on that map is a snow monitoring station, so I checked the snow density graph for the nearest one, in Ephratah:

It looked like there was about 3" left of that earlier base, but a fresh 2" on top of it!  This could be excellent!  Almost all of the trails at Rockwood are on old roads, so it doesn't need deep cover to be skiable.  So off we went to Rockwood, also taking along snowshoes just in case the skiing was terrible.

It wasn't terrible.  It was less than "excellent", and probably not even "good", but the computer model for the graph above was pretty close to right on.  We found about 6" of old base, and 1" on top of it.  The trails were lumpy and crunchy underneath from a whole lot of bare-booted walkers over the past several weeks, but with the fresh snow, it was certainly at least "fair" skiing.

We stayed off the bigger steeper hills on the southwest corner, both because of time constraints and concerns that they might be a bit too "adventurous" under these conditions.  But we got in a couple of loops with some smaller hills before we called it a day, skiing back downhill to the car along NY-29 in the untouched snow.

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