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Snow Lover’s Trivia: Adirondacks offer unique backcountry skiing


Backcountry skiing in the Adirondacks is a decidedly natural experience with natural terrain, natural snow and natural conditions.

While the Adirondacks are better known for ice climbing, by mid-winter the extensive backcountry terrain and snowpack typically come into shape and offer a variety of objectives. Ski tours in the High Peaks provide a well-rounded experience, requiring an even mix of cross-country, uphill, downhill skiing and mountaineering techniques.

The Adirondack Park includes more than six million acres. If you look at a night satellite view of the Northeast, it is the huge dark spot and one of the East’s greatest wilderness areas.

The Park is located in the northeastern corner of New York State, four hours north of Manhattan, two hours south of Montreal, Quebec and just across Lake Champlain from Burlington, Vermont.

The Keene Valley region is near the two-time Winter Olympic village of Lake Placid, NY and is one of the most accessible communities in the country for traditional rock and ice climbing, yet still maintains a uniquely rural North Country character. The Adirondacks were one of the first regions of the country to be preserved for its wild and rugged natural resources.

The High Peaks offer climbing and mountaineering objectives for all abilities and interests. Combined with alpine style village and resort accommodations in the local communities around Keene Valley, Lake Placid and Wilmington/Whiteface, the Adirondacks remain a unique and rewarding adventure destination for visiting climbers and backcountry skiers.

The native Algonquin word for Mt. Marcy (5344’), the highest summit in New York’s High Peaks region, is Tahawus or ‘Cloudsplitter.’

Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC has their base camp operations in Keene Valley, NY, the heart of the High Peaks. They work closely with the folks at The Mountaineer, a legendary community mountain shop and the region‘s leading outdoor retailer since 1975.

Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC is co-owned and operated by Jesse Williams and Emilie Drinkwater. They offer guided backcountry ski tours by reservation through their private guiding program. Actual itineraries are dependent upon conditions, and Cloudsplitter’s experienced local guides will suggest routes that make the best use of terrain and conditions.

Cloudsplitter believes that a good mountain guide has the skill and fitness of a pro athlete, the knowledge of an engineer, the judgment of a doctor, the patience of a teacher and the companionship and inspiration of a familiar partner. Cloudsplitter’s combination of professionalism and personality ensures an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Cloudsplitter employs only AMGA Certified and NYSDEC Licensed guides and instructors who have invested in the pursuit of professional training and certification, have demonstrated the minimum standards of experience, skill and competency, and share an equal measure of personable attitude and friendly demeanor.

Jesse Williams is founding owner/member of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC. After graduating from nearby Middlebury College (B.A. Environmental Studies) in 1994, Jesse started a professional mountain guiding career as a rock and ice climbing guide in the Adirondacks, a ski patroller at Jay Peak in Vermont, and an itinerant carpenter.

For more info on the region, check out and keene-keene

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