Family Fun: A cross-country ski to Connery Pond
A quick and easy ski that fits all of our needs is found between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Though the more popular route to Whiteface Landing is longer, we are taking it one glide at a time and head toward Connery Pond.
In the summer the area is a popular route to get to Whiteface Mountain but during the winter the road is unplowed allowing for a nice level ski to a beautiful Adirondack pond.
Parking and getting across the highway is the most complicated part of the whole process. Since the Connery Pond road is not cleared that leaves parking available at the nearby plowed turnabout, just past the road entrance on the opposite side of the highway.
Since cars and trucks are driving at full speed we take a mad dash across a busy Route 86 and deliver the kids over the berm created by the snowplow. Another dash across brings skis, poles and backpacks. We put on our skis near the road but with the secure knowledge that a wide bank is between any passing vehicles and us.
We are skiing on the unplowed road so the path is wide. With the recent melt and snow, the groundcover is icy underneath. We find it easier to break new trail rather than sticking to the someone else's frozen tracks.
We come to a Y and bear left as the other direction is clearly marked as a private road. Small bridges are covered with snow and a slight trickle from a stream can be heard deep beneath the snow. Quickly we reach a gate to access the Whiteface Landing trail.
There are easements through private property and signs pleading for respect. We honor that and stick to the trail marked and take a peek at Connery Pond. As we stop for a snack we debate whether to continue on the next 2.5-miles to reach Whiteface Landing.
My kids are more interested in playing than skiing, which is fine. Connery Pond is only 0.6-mile from Route 86. For us, it isn't about the distance but the time we spend together, though I could do with a few less "family bonding" snowballs down my back.
From the Route 73/86 intersection in Lake Placid drive about 3 miles east on Route 86. The brown sign that marks the Connery Pond/Whiteface Landing entrance will be on the left. Parking in the winter can be found on the right, at the plowed turnabout about 500 yards from the road entrance, just before the Ausable River bridge. Cross Route 86 and start skiing on the path that parallels the highway. The trail can be reached by the main entrance or via the ski trail marked with the yellow NYS Environmental Conservation markers.
Diane Chase's Adirondack Family Time tip: Even a "short ski" can turn into a long event with children. We always bring enough flashlights/headlamps for everyone, in case it starts getting dark while we are still on the trail.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.