More than just a summer destination
When you picture a vacation in the Adirondacks, you probably imagine warm summer evenings camping under the stars, early morning fishing trips, and paddling for miles in the fresh water lakes, ponds and streams. While all of that is great, and we - just like you - sometimes dream about the warmer months & the activities that go along with them, we really understand the true beauty of what winter has to offer. With winter comes ice, and with ice comes a whole new dimension of fun!
From ice fishing to ice festivals...
Tupper Lake sure knows how to embrace the ice!
As the lakes and ponds begin to freeze over, Tupper Lake boasts a fresh roster of activities to drive us outdoors. And while they may not be the activities you traditionally associate with an Adirondack getaway, if you have never experienced Tupper Lake in the winter, here is a little glimpse as to what you are missing.
In the summer months, softball, basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts keep people active at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park. But in the dead of winter, it is an outdoor skating rink that summons families. Skaters of all varieties can enjoy free skating under the lights of the outdoor skating rink. In addition to the rink at the park, skaters can also find free public skating indoors at the Tupper Lake Memorial Civic Center, as well as the outdoor rink in the nearby village of Piercefield.
But what really gets things moving are the hockey tournaments. This weekend (Jan 8-10), The Phil Edwards Memorial Hockey Tournament hits the ice at the Tupper Lake Memorial Civic Center for what is one of the largest tournaments of the year. With two divisions and eight teams, if you want to catch some fast action hockey for free, this is your opportunity to check it out. As for women's hockey, their big showcase in Tupper Lake is during the Empire State Winter Games when some of the best female hockey players from around the state battle it out for gold, silver, and bronze. The Empire State Winter Games take over the Tupper Lake Memorial Civic Center from February 5-7, 2016.
As we watch the temperatures drop, and the frozen cap start to form on the lakes and ponds where we were recently paddling, you can see the anglers getting antsy. See, much like true Tupper Lake residents, the fish in our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams do not hibernate either. So, if you enjoy fishing in the warmer months, ice fishing may very well surprise you with one of the best days you've had all winter. In fact, I know people that prefer ice fishing over warm weather fishing any day.
Tupper Lake is home to waters that beckon anglers to fish year-round, but in the winter months it is Simon Pond, Raquette Pond, and Horseshoe Lake that truly become some of the most popular fishing destinations. Whether you are a first time winter angler or a seasoned ice fishing pro, these bodies of water have a great chance of providing you with some flag-popping action. But whether you catch a fish or not, doesn't the old saying go, "a bad day of fishing, is better than a good day at work."
New to ice fishing? Ice fishing is accessible to anybody with an ice auger, jig pole, and a New York State fishing license. While many carry much more gear than that, to get started that is really all you need - well that, and some good cold weather gear to keep you warm! But if you really want to see what all the fuss is about, then you need to check out the Northern Challenge Fishing Derby held every year on the first Saturday of February. This is when the big money, big prizes, and big fish all come together as Simon Pond transforms into a fishing village on ice. So whether you are a ice angler or not, if you are at least a little curious about the sport, mark your calendars for February 6.
Raquette Pond is a popular destination for boating in the summer, and well-known for being the swim course for the Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon each June. However, in the winter, a completely different form of racing takes place here as the Adirondack Motor Enthusiast Club (AMEC) hosts their annual car ice races. This year's race is tentatively scheduled for January 30-31 (weather dependent) and includes six classes of car racing competition. Entries range from stock economy cars to winged, 500-horsepower sprint cars reaching 100 miles per hour on the frozen surface of Raquette Pond. (Yes, I'll admit that some of the racing jargon is a little over my head, but if you are looking for an out-of-the-ordinary Adirondack event, this high-speed ice event is one to check out!)
The Fire & Ice Festival
So, while we are on the topic of ice activities, we have to mention the Fire & Ice Festival coming up on February 20-21. Quickly becoming the cornerstone of the winter season, The Tupper Lake Fire & Ice Festival is truly a showcase of all things fun about winter in the Adirondacks. Including everything from a winter golf tournament to ice skating, skiing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, dog sled rides, fireworks, fire dancers, live music, and more, this event will not disappoint. If you're looking for one weekend to come see for yourself what winter in Tupper Lake is all about, then my suggestion is come up during the Fire and Ice Festival for a crash course on all things winter.
Come enjoy some winter bliss!
Now, have I mentioned that this is only a quick run-down of some of the fun we have on ice? We are from the Adirondacks and that makes us very resourceful. In the winter the Golf Course transitions into a beautiful, groomed Cross Country Ski Center. The biking trails morph into snowmobile trails, while the mountain peaks and scenic trails that make for great scenic hikes double as snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. Even The Wild Center transitions from offering guided paddling trips to complementary snowshoes for exploring their nature trails.
So, if you have only had the chance to see the Adirondacks when our lakes are wide open and inviting you to take a dip, then you have only seen a portion of the fun we have to offer. Don't miss out on what the rest of the year has to offer! Book a room, grab your winter gear, and come experience the ice, snow, and fun this winter has in store. Then after a day on the ice, retreat back indoors to warm up with some great food and maybe even your favorite drink to wash it down (served over ice, of course)!
* Header image courtesy of Jim "Cookie" Lanthier
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