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Sun., Oct. 4
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Skiers to return to Big Tupper this winter


TUPPER LAKE — Big Tupper Ski Area on Mount Morris will be open this coming ski season, the board of directors of the Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving our Economy announced after discussing the financial details of operation.

Jim M. LaValley, ARISE chairman, said he’s hoping for a snowy season since Big Tupper will be open Fridays through Sundays dependent on how much snow the area gets.

“We don’t have the ability to do snow making because we can’t afford to do it as a volunteer organization,” he said.

The ski hill was operated by ARISE for three years before closing last season because of financial problems, Mr. LaValley said.

The first season ARISE operated the ski slope was 2008. The slope had a good year and even made a little profit, but it was downhill from there. The group lost money the second year after being open less than 30 days and the third year they had an even greater loss and were open 11 days.

“We had lost money over the three seasons that we did operate” he said. “Even Big Tupper as a volunteer organization, it costs us $150,000 per season.”

Mr. LaValley said the cost adds up after several smaller-scale expenses combine with the cost of insurance, groomers, utilities and supplies.

“It’s a significant undertaking,” he said.

Kate Bencze, ARISE board member, said she will be one of the volunteer managers this season.

She said the board had a difficult time last year deciding Big Tupper would not open.

“We spent countless hours trying to figure out ways in which we could still open if only for a temporary amount of time, but there was no way to do it,” she said.

The board decided to reopen Big Tupper this season in an effort to boost the village’s economy and give younger generations the opportunity to ski.

“Prior to ARISE operating the skiing, the area was closed for 10 years,” Mr. LaValley said. “So, an entire generation was lost and we really focused on bringing the children of the region back to Big Tupper and skiing again.”

He said the family ski area draws people from a 90-mile radius and the gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and grocery stores all benefit from the operation.

“Our reopening has everything to do with trying to get the local economy in a better position this coming winter,” he said. “We saw people in the restaurants and grocery stores with ski boots on.”

Mr. LaValley said that upcoming fundraising events will help with the cost of insurance and grooming

Big Tupper is owned by the Adirondack Club but will be operated by approximately 200 volunteers from ARISE.

They still need operation approval from the Adirondack Park Agency and New York State Departments of Health and Labor.

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