Let’s hear it for the little guy!

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 09/24/13 •  4 min read

I love hearing stuff like this:


SAM Magazine—Littleton, N.H., Sept. 12, 2013—After being shuttered for more than 20 years, the Mt. Eustis Ski Tow will reopen to skiers and local school ski programs after Jan. 1. The town is planning to offer the non-profit Mt. Eustis Ski Hill Group a three-year lease for $1 a year. Voters approved the plan at a town meeting last March.The Group plans to run the area, with its one rope tow and two trails (one lighted) and a gladed area, with volunteers, with costs handled mostly
through donations. The Group is suggesting a $5 donation for each visit, but it’s not required. The aim is to offer affordable skiing and riding to all, and to provide a venue for school and local youth ski/ride programs.

As part of the community-wide effort, the automotive technologies students at Littleton High are resurrecting the rope tow’s gas-powered engine. Home Depot is donating a building to serve as the warming hut. Five volunteers will split the duties of running the tow and slopes, and will be trained in operations, safety, and first aid. The area will be open in the afternoon Tuesday through Friday and on weekends.

And this:


Adirondack Daily Enterprise -Tupper Lake, NY, September 17, 2013 – As long as
there’s snow in the forecast, people will be able to ski Big Tupper this winter. Jim LaValley, chairman of ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), announced Monday that Big Tupper Ski Area, which was closed last winter, will be open for the 2013-14 season. “One of the challenges we looked at last year that made us decide not to go forward with operating after three seasons was, what if we sold preseason tickets and we didn’t get the snow?” LaValley said. “It’s really hard to explain to people that we wouldn’t have the capability of paying them back. We have enough money in the bank now to mow the trails and wait for the snow.”

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to take to the slopes of Big Tupper Ski Area this winter, Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy announced Monday. Last year, ARISE sold one of the the ski center’s groomers, which gave the group a little extra cash. Now, LaValley said, with a little luck and a lot of snow, Big Tupper could turn a corner financially. To help maximize revenue, the ski center will be completely volunteer-run this winter. Day passes will cost $25. In the past, there have been up to four paid employees manning the center’s 25-plus trails. Although he wouldn’t get into specifics, LaValley said this is just the beginning of Big Tupper’s role in Tupper Lake.

Why does this warm the cockles of my little heart? And why does it matter to anyone at all?

Once upon a time there were hundreds of small ski areas like this all over the place. Any farmer who had a hilly back pasture could hook a rope up to a tractor motor during the winter, call it a ski run, and be good to go. Yes, agreed, those were simpler times. People’s expectations were lower. Air travel wasn’t as common as it is today. And snowmaking was practically unheard of.

But even in a world with mega-resorts and super-sonic snow guns, there’s still a place for areas like Mt. Eustis and Big Tupper. Little ski hills like these aren’t a Business Venture or Investment Opportunity. They’re not around to sell condos or even ski-and-stay packages. Instead, they’re perfect for newbies who want to learn, for school programs, and for families who want to have some affordable fun. They’re no-frills, know-everyone, no-lift-line kind of places where you don’t have to pay a fortune for a lift ticket. You can send your kids off on their own without any worry. Or you can drop them off after school to take some runs instead of sitting home playing video games.

Sure, you don’t get the terrain and amenities of the big resorts. If you want a high speed lift, restaurants, or trail-side lodging, fuggedaboutit. And if there’s no snow, well, you’re pretty much out of luck. But with lift tickets at some resorts well into nosebleed territory, these places bring them back down to earth.

Power to the people.

I know the economic realities of running a ski area are daunting. But when communities come together to support places like Mt. Eustis and Big Tupper, everyone comes out ahead.

Let’s hope for more of this in the future.


Related Posts