When Winter Comes A-Callin'

Dog Sledding, Ice Skating, and Snowmobiling
By Stefani Jackenthal
  |  Gorp.com
Ice skating in Central Park, New York City, at sunset
#5 Ice Skating in New York City (Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty)

6. Dog Sledding on Saranac Lake (The Adirondacks)
Put down the car keys and pick up the leather reins for a driving lesson like never before. Learn to maneuver a team of huskies as they pull a 300-pound sled across the frozen surface of Saranac Lake, then swoosh through secluded trails lined with maple pine trees. Just up for a ride? Wrap up in blankets and enjoy the exhilaration from the passenger's point of view while an expert driver does the rest. Dale and Debbie Vaughn at Sled Dog Adventures (518.891.0732) hosts training seminars, or sign up for guided tour.
Honorable Mention: Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours in Lake Placid (The Adirondacks).

5. Ice Skating in New York City
Manhattan boasts seven different ice-skating rinks (with others in the five boroughs and more slated to open next winter), so you've got plenty of options. For the most iconically urban, head to The Pond at Bryant Park (42nd St. @ 6th Ave), a quaint, 17,000-square-foot outdoor pond in the heart of midtown Manhattan wedged between towering skyscrapers and noisy, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lunchtime attracts the suit-clad work crew and evening skating makes a terrific pre-and après dinner treat.

For a slightly more natural feel, consider Central Park's Trump Wollman Rink (near 59th St. & 6th Ave entrance) or Lasker Rink in the north part of the park (near Lenox Ave & 110th St. entrance). Neighboring Central Park, the Polar Rink at the American Museum of Natural History (79th St. & Columbus Ave), is one of the city's newest. Its sassy recyclable synthetic surface gets mixed reviews from skate aficionados, but twirling under the guise of the radiant Rose Center for Earth and Space is an unforgettable experience. Spinning circles on the rink at Rockefeller Center rink (5th Ave @ 50th Street), home to the massive twinkly Christmas tree, is a must for NYC newbies. Expect crowds, but it's a true Manhattan experience. In Brooklyn, Prospect Park's Wolman Rink (Lincoln Rd @ Ocean Ave in Flatbush) sports a sumo-sized, 26,600-square-foot rectangular rink. Most rinks have daily public skating and rentals; check schedules and details online.
Honorable Mention: Lake Placid Olympic Park Speed Skating Oval (The Adirondacks)
New York City Vacation Guide

4. Snowmobiling in Inlet (The Adirondacks)
Throttle past frozen waterfalls and pungent pine forests, traverse vertiginous ridgelines, and climb steep, snowy slopes to pristine panoramic views on the Adirondacks' Inlet Trail System. Comprised of over 700 miles of groomed, marked snowmobiling trails, the Inlet Trail System coils through an eclectic collection of lakes, woodlands, and open snowfields. The town of Inlet, located at the head of Fourth Lake, also serves as the gateway to the Moose River Recreation Area, a 34-mile corridor, often dubbed a "snowmobile highway." The state-owned land connects with daily-groomed trails in Indian Lake, allowing smooth sledding from Inlet to surrounding towns like Eagle Bay, Big Moose, Stillwater, Old Forge, and Beaver River. Sledders can park free at the Inlet Town Hall on Route 28 and at the Inlet Transfer Station on Limekiln Road.

Rent single or double snowmobiles at Clark's Marina & Snowmobile Rentals, which is conveniently located on the trail extension and has a full fleet of new and late-model Arctic Cat sleds. (Rates: Mon-Thur: $185 per day; Fri-Sun: $230 per day, with a one-day minimum for weekdays and two-day minimum on weekends. Drivers must be 18 years or older.) Before going, pick up the Ultimate Trail, a laminated snowmobiling map of the surrounding trail system.

NOTE: New York state requires any out-of-state snowmobile to carry an NYS registration and insurance. The DMV office in Webb is open Wed-Fri from 9 to noon, and from 1 to 4 weekdays and some Saturdays and holidays. Trail permits are also required.
Honorable Mention: Letchworth State Park (Greater Niagara)

Published: 9 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 31 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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