NEW YORK (WWTI) — Visitors to the Adirondacks are being advised of extreme winter conditions in backcountry areas.

On Thursday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation urged visitors in the Adirondacks and Catskill regions to prepare ahead as current snow and cold weather provide opportunities for winter recreation.

However, winter conditions can create many challenges. Common issues outdoor recreationists face include snow squalls, frostbite and thin ice. Avalanches are also possible in backcountry areas.

“Winter conditions have arrived and it’s a great time to take advantage of all of the winter recreation opportunities New York has to offer,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a press release. “While enjoying the outdoors this winter, remember that conditions can be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared. Visitors exploring the outdoors should dress for the cold and use proper traction devices and skis to navigate trails.”

According to the DEC, snow depths greatly range throughout the Adirondacks. The deepest snow is typically at elevations in the High Peaks region and on mountains over 3,000 feet. Ice is also currently present on both high elevation and low-lying trails.

Addressing these conditions, the DEC is recommending visitors to the backcountry to carry snowshoes and trekking poles. This can ease travel on snow and prevent “post-holing,” which can ruin trails or result in injuries.

Crampons or other traction devices are also recommended when on icy portions of the trails, including summits or other exposed areas. DEC Forest Rangers strongly advised that current trail conditions will make travel without properly fitting traction devices extremely difficult.

Additionally, although some seasonal access roads remain open, the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle is strongly recommended and many seasonal roads have transitioned to snowmobile use. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and State webpages.

The DEC also recommends backcountry visitors to follow the guidelines listed below:

  • Check weather before entering the woods
  • Postpone trips if extreme cold is predicted or weather is poor
  • Dress properly in layers of clothing made of wool, fleexe and other mateirals that wick moisture
  • Carry plenty of wood and water
  • Know the terrain and physical capabilities
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of the intended route and return time

Visitors are also urged to carry a day pack that includes an ice ax, food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight or headlamp, sunglasses, sunblock protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel and bivy sack or space blankets.

This weekend, the National Weather Service issued a wind chill watch for the North Country, with dangerously cold wind chills as low as 30 to 40 below zero possible. These temperatures have the potential to create frostbite or hypothermia.

In an emergency call 911. To request Forest Ranger assistance, call 1-833-NYS-RANGERS.