This past weekend the family and I headed out to The Adirondacks in Upstate New York to check out an interesting story about a community that has done some amazing things for itself.
I recently wrote about how in 1999 the Big Tupper ski resort was forced to close due to shifts in demand which led to the inability to financially sustain the mountain for skiers. It is clear, even still, that the town began to suffer, businesses close, houses on the market as people left town, and so forth. However, those who remained, many of them members of the community for generations, decided to come together and re-open the resort. From retirees to high schoolers, this town joined forces, volunteered their time, and donated their money to clear about 30 slopes on Mount Morris, about 3130 feet in elevation. In a 4-month period in 2009, they managed to make the mountain re-usuable.
I decided to check it out and talk to some of the locals to hear more of their story.
We stayed at Shaheen’s Motel, where Robin and Terry greeted us and were gracious hosts, offering us a complimentary stay in one of their Family Room ($89 – $112 depending on season) which came with complimentary Wi-Fi, two queen size beds and a sofa bed, among other ammenities, and fit our family comfortably. The rooms were clean and the area quiet and relaxing.
The location of the motel is central to many of the activities in the area, and the price for traveling families especially, can not be beat!
On our first day there before we headed out to Big Tupper. Robin from Shaheen’s had informed us that there was a fundraiser going on for an injured soldier that had just returned and had needed to have her leg amputated. Again, even here, the community came together to not only welcome her, but help her and her family with the expenses for her care.
We stopped at a local diner (Swiss Kitchen) where the waitress greeted us with a smile and was excited to hear that we were heading to the mountain. The diner itself is in need of some TLC, but the service and the food are great.
Once we got to Big Tupper, after crossing a bit of a rough and bumpy road, the parking lot was packed. We headed over to the rentals where the two volunteers there seemed a bit overwhelmed by the crowd, tending to those waiting in no particular order of arrival. By the time we were helped the rentals had run out.
The day was gorgeous, and the mountain was busy, and everyone kept telling us how it never got this way. We were happy to at least know if was all in support of the injured soldier.
The next day, I didn’t return to the mountain, but instead sent my husband and my 12 year old. I didn’t return because there really aren’t many options for beginner skiers like my little ones and myself. The tow rope that helps bring beginner skiers up to the bunny hill wasn’t on (not sure if it was broken or just not on).
My husband said that in order to access the “green runs”, normally assigned for beginner skiers, one has to ski through the “blue runs” first which are for intermediate skiers. He also noted that some of the chair lifts were not running. There was only only one chair lift running, and this broke down three times while they were there.
Despite these issues, one must keep in mind that it is a community run mountain, managed by volunteers, and much of what is lacking is due to lack of funds.
Even still, they are trying to make it so that skiers will come and enjoy their mountain, and they do this mainly through pricing. They offer lessons at $15 for an hour and a half. Rentals, whether they be snowboard or ski, are $20 for the day, and lift tickets are $15.
In short, the mountain is great for more advanced skiers and is not ideal for families with little kids who can’t really ski or are at a beginner’s level.
My hope for this wonderful community is that they succeed in their efforts, attract more skiers, and find the necessary funding to make this ski area one that can accommodate all levels and needs.
The sights were beautiful, the people gracious and happy to see you (well, except for one overly grumpy guy at the rentals office…and that was just a fluke in comparison to how everyone else was), and the mountain’s functioning is a tremendous symbol of commitment and affection to community. I wish them much success.
If you feel so inclined to donate to help support the efforts at Big Tupper please visit their website for more information.
Stay tune while I review more of the fun had during our visit to The Adirondacks, NY.
Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary stay offered at Shaheen’s Motel as well as two complimentary lift tickets offered at Big Tupper. I received no other compensation and no requirements that I express a particular point of view.