Big Tupper skiing is trespassing

TUPPER LAKE – The Big Tupper Ski Area won’t open this year, and skiing there now is trespassing.

The ski slope was run on a mostly volunteer basis the last three years by the nonprofit group Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy, but this year it didn’t open due to finances.

In October, a month after announcing that the ski area wouldn’t open, ARISE Chairman Jim LaValley had said there was a slim chance he and his group would find a way to get it going for this ski season.

They continued to work toward getting a permit from the state Adirondack Park Agency to run the slopes this season, and it was granted in November.

But LaValley said Wednesday there’s no chance they’ll have enough money to operate this year.

“I just don’t see it at all this year,” LaValley said. “Finances just weren’t there.”

ARISE has already gone so far as to sell to Titus Mountain a groomer it bought last year.

Last year, ARISE was only able to operate the ski area 11 days. Without snowmaking capabilities, it must run entirely on natural snow, and last winter was unseasonably warm.

There wasn’t much money left over after that, and even with ticket sales, LaValley said ARISE wouldn’t have been able to operate past the first week of January.

The group’s leaders didn’t anticipate having a Christmas ski week, since there hasn’t been one with enough snow the last few years. But snow has dumped on the region since Christmas, and LaValley said he regrets Big Tupper skiers can’t use it.

“Of course, this weather has just been killing me,” he said.

In the absence of operating lifts, people have been hiking the mountain and skiing or snowboarding back down, but LaValley said that shouldn’t happen.

“It would be trespassing,” LaValley said. “We’ve got insurance liability issues that people need to be aware of.”

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or