Even after dark the Adirondack woods, glades and slopes are worth exploring this winter. White snow beautifully reflects light, whether it comes from the full moon or a head lamp. Some ski areas have illuminated trails too. Here’s a roundup of places where you can explore to your heart’s content on skis and snowshoes once the sun goes down. This year’s Snow Moon falls on Valentine’s Day, by the way, with moonrise about 7:00 p.m.
- Saranac Lake’s Dewey Mountain opens up for live music, skiing and food twice a month at the Friday Night Ski Jams. The first of 2014 is January 10, starting at 6:30 p.m., with acoustic tunes from the Back Porch Society, based in Keene Valley. Trails stay lit until 9:00 p.m., and this family-friendly event is free.
- Also in Saranac Lake, Mount Pisgah Ski Area is open from 3:00-8:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. You can downhill, snowboard, telemark, tube, snowshoe or cross-country ski when the sun goes down on this village-owned multipurpose center.
- On January 11 and February 15 Lapland Lake, near Northville, offers dinner, guided hikes and a bonfire during Snowshoe by the Light of the Moon programs. Bring your own head lamp; reservations are required for this package deal that includes snowshoe rental, dinner, dessert, guide service and s’mores. Dinner begins at 5:00 p.m. and snowshoeing at 7:00 p.m. For ages 18 and older.
- The grandaddy of moonlight festivities for the skinny-ski crowd is Cascade Ski Center, on Route 73 near Lake Placid. With bands, beer, bonfires, hearty food and several kilometers of illuminated trails these monthly parties attract scores of devotees. Dates are January 18, February 15 and March 15.
- Overlooking Thirteenth Lake in North River, Garnet Hill Lodge is in a real snow basket, and its groomed trails are open for full-moon skiing on January 16 and February 14. On March 16, you can play your cards right at an evening poker run on skis and snowshoes.
- There’s night riding and downhilling on January 18 and February 22 at Speculator’s Oak Mountain. When the lifts close at 7:00 p.m. the live music begins.
- Old Forge’s McCauley Mountain opens the Playmate run and cross-country trails for night skiing on January 19. The party begins with live music at 3:00 p.m. and goes until closing at 7:00 p.m.
- The Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center holds the Friends of the VIC Valentine’s Day full-moon ski party on February 14. It’s the Bunny Boot Ball and full-moon skiing on March 16, a chance to dance and ski before the vernal equinox.