Outdoor winter adventures are virtually endless, but the shorter days, deep snow, and colder temperatures require some extra preparation. Whether snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, or just getting out in the woods, it pays to be prepared - because getting out of the woods happy and healthy is much more fun.
What to pack
Most people are aware of the 10 Essentials, and the importance of carrying them on every adventure. Some things to keep in mind during the winter are that sun protection - especially sunglasses or goggles - are vital, even if your adventure starts before the sun comes up.
On top of that, the cold and wind of the Adirondacks can wreak havoc on batteries that are essential for GPS units, headlamps, and phones. Bring extra batteries, and more importantly, don’t rely on your phone for necessary functions like a flashlight and navigation.
In the High Peaks, it is legally required that backcountry visitors wear snowshoes or skis when the snow is 8 inches or deeper, but it’s also important to follow this rule in other places as well. Post holing - when footprints sink into the snow and leave deep holes - not only makes the trails harder to use for everyone, but actually increases the chances of other people getting hurt in the backcountry. Everyone should also carry traction devices like Microspikes, as most Adirondack mountains can get quite icy in some spots.
One should also be sure to carry some extra clothes, and don’t be afraid to use the additional layers as conditions change. Remember that wet+cold=bad, so bring an extra hat, shirt, and socks and change as needed.
It’s also important to have a jacket that offers protection from the wind, and a neck gaiter or balaclava can really help seal in body heat. One additional thing to carry is a small foam pad, like the ones used to kneel on when gardening. These pads are cheap and lightweight, and can help provide several benefits such as additional paddling against your back and a dry, insulated place to sit rather than plopping down on the snow or a cold rock.
Get the gear
Luckily for people visiting and living in the Lake Placid region, there are a bunch of great places to stock up on winter essentials, and those stores also have knowledgeable and experienced staff to help guide you.
Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and High Peaks Cyclery are located right in town, with each offering a wide selection of outdoor clothing and gear. The Mountaineer in Keene Valley is a well-known destination for outdoor gear as well.
Each store has all the basics, but the employees also have a ton of experience in the woods around Lake Placid. From hiking boots to skis, mittens to maps, the outdoor shops can help you be prepared for winter adventures.