Winter Blast Weekend in Long Lake is cool

Long Lake and Raquette Lake offer an exciting Winter Blast Weekend Feb. 7 and 8, and it is the perfect time for a winter getaway. See mylonglake.com for more information on these events and Hot Deals lodging.

POKER RUN

The annual Moonlighter's Poker Run will be Feb. 7-8. This two-day event connects the communities of Long Lake, Raquette Lake and Newcomb via snowmobile trails and state routes 28, 28N and 30. For $10 game play starts either Friday or Saturday at the Raquette Lake Tap Room or Newcomb House.

Players travel by car or snowmobile to collect stamps from as many participating businesses they can get to in the time allotted. Turn in cards at the Long Lake Diner starting at 4 p.m. Saturday; all cards must be in by 5 p.m.

Players are dealt the number of cards corresponding to the number of stamps collected and the best hand wins. Plenty of great door prizes, cash prizes and live music.

A Poker Run Party at Long Lake Diner / Owls Head Pub begins when the dealing starts at 4 p.m. The eatery is at 1161 Main Street, Long Lake. Call (518) 624-3941 for more.

ICE FEST

Feb. 7 and 8 is also the return of Ice Fest, which was postponed in January. Don't miss this opportunity to see one of the best ice sculptors in the world, Stan Kolonko from The Ice Farm in Auburn, install nine sculptures.

Stan and his team won first place at Ice Alaska in 2013. Ice Alaska hosts the BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. It is the largest ice sculpting competition in the world.

The first sculpture will be installed Friday, Feb. 7, at Raquette Lake Library. After lunch at The Tap Room Stan will move to the Long Lake Town Offices to do an installation for Long Lake Historic Society, a replica of the historic Sagamore Hotel.

Look for additional sculpture installations at Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area, Shear Images, Shamrock Motel and Cottages, Hoss's Country Corner, Ali Baba's Liquors, Long Lake Diner / Owls Head Pub and the Adirondack Trading Post.

Businesses will be hosting a variety of events, from wine tastings to hot chocolate and coffee offerings to chili tastings and more. Check out the Calendar of Events at mylonglake.com for schedule updates.

ICE FISHING DERBY

On Feb. 8 the Long Lake Fish and Game Club will host its annual Lake Eaton Ice Fishing Derby for landlocked salmon and trout. There will be cash prizes. Registration begins at 6 a.m. at Long Lake Town Hall, 1204 Main Street, Long Lake.

The entry fee is $25 each. Door prizes include a portable CLAM Tamarack Ice Shelter 5x5 from Gander Mt. valued at $150. The weigh-in station opens at Lake Eaton Campground that morning. Call (518) 624-3077 for more information.

MORE TO DO

There are plenty of other things to keep one busy during a visit to Long Lake. For those looking for something more serene, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are always available.

Or enjoy a day trip to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake (it's open weekends) where Planet Adirondack is a do-not-miss exhibit.

Join in on Cabin Fever Sundays at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake or check out the New York Audubon walk at the Newcomb Visitors Center. Register by calling (518) 582-2000.

Don't forget Long Lake always has free ice-skating with free ice skates, popcorn and sledding at Mt. Sabattis / Geiger Arena.

FUTURE EVENTS

Feb. 15-16

Winter Carnival

Raquette Lake

Two days of small town tradition and big time fun. The library is open all day for warmth, but outdoors is where the action is. Look for events and games for ages 5-12. At noon RL hosts its own Ladies Frying Pan Toss and Men's Golf Drive. In the evening, enjoy a tug-of-war, bonfire and an outstanding fireworks display. The Cross-Cut & Chainsaw Competitions with Men’s, Women’s, Mixed & Family Divisions kicks off at noon Sunday. (315) 354-4581 or mylonglake.com.

Feb. 15-16

10 a.m.

Snowshoe Hikes

Great Camp Sagamore, Sagamore Rd., Raquette Lake

See the National Historic Landmark in winter. To reach the barn parking lot from which the hikes depart take the right fork about 3.5 miles down Sagamore Road and turn left after the bridge. Free. Bring snowshoes. (585) 285-3724.

Feb. 15

Skating Races & Snowman Birth

Mt. Sabattis Geiger Arena, 6 Pavilion Way, Long Lake

The Long Lake Skating Races are back. All ages, all levels of skill compete in a variety of events on the rink. Award Ceremony and reveal of the Adirondack's Largest Snowman. Snow sculpture-building and outdoor fun.

Feb. 22

Hike Sawyer & Little Sawyer

Town Offices, 1130 Deerland Rd., Long Lake

This two peak hike is a unique adventure in the backcountry near Indian Lake. Follow a well-developed trail to the summit of Sawyer Mountain before starting a short bushwhack to Little Sawyer Mountain. Both peaks have great views. This will be a loop trip back to the starting point. Breaking trail through an open forest without a trail will be part of the learning experience. $20 each includes guide and transportation. Pre-registration is required; call (518) 624-3077.