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Big Tupper may miss a big ski week because of not enough snow

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TUPPER LAKE — Big Tupper Ski Area on Mount Morris is still not open for skiers despite the 8 to 12 inches of snow it’s gotten so far. Managers say they need at least another foot of snow soon, or they could miss one of the biggest weeks of the season.

“We would love to be open next week when the kids are off of school,” said James M. LaValley, chairman of the Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving our Economy. “Every ski area hopes to do a good amount of its business at Christmastime. It could be 30 to 40 percent of their year’s revenue.”

Bill E. Mozdzier, Big Tupper’s trails manager, said that although it’s unfortunate, he doesn’t think the ski area will get the snow it needs in time for the upcoming holiday.

“I don’t think we’ll be open for Christmas,” he said. “We had to stop selling season passes because we don’t do snowmaking anymore and we just couldn’t guarantee a full season for people.”

Since Big Tupper is run by ARISE volunteers, Mr. LaValley said, they’re not as concerned about making money as they are about bringing more people to area businesses, restaurants and hotels.

“If we break even it’s a huge success,” he said. “For us, it’s more about stimulating the local economy.”

After deciding to reopen this season, the group held several fundraisers to help with the cost of insurance, grooming, utilities, supplies and other smaller expenses. Mr. Mozdzier said it is always looking for more volunteers to help during the ski season. Mr. LaValley said ARISE has more than 200 volunteers signed up so far to help run the skiing on weekends and holiday Mondays. When it gets enough snow, it would like to be open Fridays through Sundays and follow the school vacation schedule, he said.

“We’re still just a tad shy,” he said. “But the snow’s falling now, so we’ll see.”

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