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This was the 'Adirondacks winter of 2007-2008 kickoff hike' for us - the first 'official' winter hike of the season. Today, we were going to work on Jenn's winter 46er list. And, given that we'd had a generous and early bout of good snow, we decided that today's agenda should be Whiteface and Esther via a cross-country ski / snowshoe approach via the toll road.
Morning Colors
Morning Backroads
Whiteface is close!
Although the forecast solidly proclaimed 'overcast' as the forecast for the Lake Placid region, we arrived at the toll-house of the Whiteface Memorial Highway to mostly blue skies with a few wisps here and there. The temperature was moderate and the snow was in excellent condition.
Toll Road Gate
Our first marker
Several snowmobiles had recently packed down the center of the toll road nicely, and it was relatively easy skiing up the road. We had excellent views at the lookouts. I experimented a little further with the technique of High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. It has excellent promise as a way to compensate for scenes that have a range of brightness beyond the capability of my digital SLR.
Beautiful morning
Roadside ice
Roadside ice
Makring tracks
A pause for the view
The view to the north
We slowly but surely skiied our way up the toll road. Our aim was to ski up to the second hairpin and switch to snowshoes. From there, we would snowshoe to both Esther and Whiteface, then return and ski back down the road. I was looking forward to a nice quick ski back down the long, long downhill road at the end of the day!
Summit in sight
Skiing below Esther
Above 3k now!
Long sunny straight
Framed summit
Esther and Road
Although the day had fortunately turned out mostly clear for us, there were wisps of clouds threatening to engulf the summit of Whiteface, which we could now clearly see above us. I suggested to Jenn that we tackle Whiteface's summit first, while it was still more likely to provide some good views.

The wind picked up as we came out into the open around the first hairpin, and we had to ski around windblown bare spots in the road above this point.
Almost at 4000
Winter wonderland up here
Rocky bend
Continuing to gain
Nearing the 2nd hairpin
Speed, meet speed
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