Morrissey’s ‘Trail Skier’ covers wide range

Spencer Morrissey’s most recent book, “Adirondack Trail Skier,” hit the shelves this month.

This is Morrissey’s third book. His first one, “The Other 54,” provides route descriptions for hiking mountains that rank below the 46 High Peaks in elevation. His second book was “Adirondack Trail Runner,” which gives route descriptions for trail runners.

Morrissey is also a licensed guide and a graduate of the Ranger School in Wanakena. He grew up in Long Lake, lived in Lake Placid for several years and now lives in the Cranberry Lake region. He is also the owner of Inca-Pah-Cho Guides, a guiding service.

This most recent book may be the most comprehensive of his three. It is 357 pages and covers a substantial amount of the Adirondack Park. It is broken down by region: northern, eastern, southern, central and western.

The book is mainly geared toward cross-country skiers who are comfortable with easy to intermediate terrain. It doesn’t get into backcountry adventures in the mountains – such as on the slides or glades – that require telemark or alpine touring skis. The one exception is the Bennies Brook Slide in the Keene Valley region.

For the most part, the hardest routes are places such as the Avalanche Pass ski trail in the High Peaks, which is difficult but can be done with the proper cross-country ski gear.

Prior to the route descriptions, there is an introduction that provides some very useful tips and other information, including how to be best prepared for winter conditions.

The book includes terrain that is privately and publicly owned. It includes descriptions for places such as the Paul Smith’s College VIC and Cascade Cross Country Ski Center in Lake Placid.

For the public routes, each chapter contains directions to the trailhead, the name of the quadrant for relevant United States Geographical Survey’s topographical map, a small topographical map inset on the pages and a route description. Some chapters are accompanied by photographs.

The route descriptions are generally very basic, but do display Morrissey’s signature colloquial style. He’s definitely less formal at times than your average guidebook writer.

“While skiing along the railroad tracks, you will first have amazing views out over Rat Pond, then over Little Rainbow Pond,” Morrissey writes in the “Turtle Pond” chapter. “Hoel Pond comes third, but only a small part. What you will see is a rather large bay of Hoel Pond. Once you get to Turtle Pond, you are actually skiing over a bridge that separates Turtle and Hoel Pond. At this point, you’ll get an idea of just how large Hoel Pond is in size.

“This is a good place to turn around and head back, or you could do a little off-roading if you want. There is a finger pond located NW of Turtle Pond that is a moderate bushwack ski through semi-friendly forest that would be inter… Yeah, we’ll hold off on that – that’s another story altogether.”

The book can be found in area bookstores and outfitters, including EMS and High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid and The Mountaineer in Keene Valley. It sells for $18.95.

(Disclaimer: Mike Lynch provided some copy editing for “Adirondack Trail Skier”)