Winter in the Adirondack Frontier


Winter brings us together as we recreate, celebrate, and congregate. Our coldest season is also the longest. Snow can fly as early as October and persist well into May. The days are short and cold; the nights are long and even colder. Winter temperatures can range from a relatively mild 30 degrees to digits that dip well below zero. Backcountry travel requires skis or snowshoes, and traction devices are recommended for steeper terrain. Always dress appropriately, and be ready for heavy snowfall.

When you're here, "snowed in" means "time to hit the trail." Let's explore.


Dewey Mt crop


Stand in a forest after a fresh snowfall. Bathed in white, the woods are silent save for the occasional chirp of a chickadee or chipmunk. Soft piles of snow coat tree branches like frosting, burdening evergreen branches with their weight. Sunlight strikes sparks on icy crystals and imbues frozen waterfalls with a magical glow.

Lakes and ponds are completely still — the wind picks up swirls of powder instead of pushing white caps to shore. Fellow travelers have left their mark. Snowshoe, ski, and snowmobile tracks crisscross animal paths across the otherwise unbroken blanket of white.




Snowmobiling crop


Winter travel through the Adirondack Frontier takes many forms. Long, scenic drives provide selfie-worthy vistas of snow-capped mountains and expansive lakes. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing take explorers into the quiet solitude of our forests, while downhill skiing and snowboarding offer panoramic views coupled with pulse-pounding thrills.

Snowmobiling is more fun than driving a car—imagine sledding from town to town, stopping at trailside restaurants to laugh over lunch with your fellow winter enthusiasts before jetting off to the next destination. Do you see those little tents out on our lakes and ponds? Ice fishing shanties form communities of their own as they dot the surface of our most popular waterbodies.


The best way to get through winter is to celebrate the season. In Saranac Lake, as soon as the holidays pass talk turns to Winter Carnival, the longest event of its kind in the U.S. It’s 10 days of live music, art, winter-themed activities, and a magnificent ice palace, all capped by a glorious parade that brings a dance party straight through downtown. The packed streets are lined with families bundled up in their best bomber hats, revelers dressed in costumes, and musicians moving to the beat of the festive spirit.

In Tupper Lake, craft beer, cross-country skiing, and golf collide for the annual Brew-Ski and Fire and Ice Golf Tournament. The groomed trails wind through the Tupper Lake Golf Course, where mountain views are plentiful, and bonfires, cold beer, and hot cocoa await at the beginning of the course. Not-to-be missed is the Northern Challenge Ice Fishing Derby, which draws more than 1,000 competitors to the frozen surface of Simon Pond for a day of ice fishing action.


KickSled copy


Dress for the occasion


Whether they’re getting decked out for Winter Carnival or hitting Titus Mountain for a day of downhill skiing, the people of the Adirondack Frontier know that winter is best enjoyed in comfort. Wear layers to trap body heat and stay warm—layers can also be removed if you’re too warm—and always have a hat and mittens or gloves. When heading into the woods, always wear non-cotton clothing, which repels body moisture instead of absorbing it, and bring extra layers, especially if you’re going up in elevation.