Monthly Archives: September 2010
After inspecting the base area and touring the lower mountain with David Tomberlin, I finally connected with local legend Cliff Levers. Originally from Tupper Lake, Cliff has worked in oil fields, as an ironworker, and as an electrician. He came back to Tupper Lake in 2002, and has been there steadily since.
Cliff was understandably very focused on reaching the top of Lift 3 and the 3136-foot summit, as was I. Up we went. The road was steep and slick. At times, Cliff would stand up on the ATV. I assumed he was trying to get more weight on the front wheels, so, when ever he stood up — I threw all my weight forward into the space he’d vacated.
Now that ORDA has instituted a $210 season-pass fee at Gore and Whiteface for senior skiers, Belleayre is currently the only state-owned mountain to offer free skiing for the 70-and-above set. New York State Senator Joseph Bonacic ― whose district covers Ulster, Delaware, and Sullivan counties in the Catskills ― has publicly requested that the DEC not rescind this privilege at Belleayre Mountain.
In a recent press release, Bonacic underscored the economic benefits of free senior passes to the region, “when families decide where to go, they price activities as a family. If grandparents can ski for free, that is one more reason why their children and grandchildren will stay and ski in New York, as opposed to going to Vermont.” Ward Todd, President of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce added, “We don’t want to see those seniors simply ski at Belleayre, and instead of stopping for dinner, or spending the night, just leave our region and go home.”
After getting the lowdown on ARISE and the Adirondack Club Resort from Jim LaValley, David Tomberlin offered to drive me over to the hill. The plan was to connect with Cliff Levers for a site tour. We chatted in the car on the way over.
Harv: David, who are the key players at Big Tupper?
David: Last year, Jim functioned as Chairman of ARISE and the General Manager of Big Tupper. This year, Jim will continue to chair ARISE, but Zach White, who has worked at Titus and Whiteface, will step in as GM.
In addition to Zach, there will be three other paid employees on the hill. Bill Mozdzier will be our Mountain Manager. He’s a bit of a grooming legend. Cliff Levers, whom you’ll meet today, is already acting as our Lift Manager, and Don Dew Jr. is our Administrator.
When I connected with David Tomberlin about visiting Big Tupper, I fully intended to do a piece on the ski area. While I knew that the ski area, Adirondack Club Resort (ACR), and ARISE were linked together, I thought to myself, “I won’t let those real estate guys push the conversation too far away from skiing.”
But it’s just not possible to separate the three entities: Big Tupper, Adirondack Club Resort and ARISE. ARISE — which stands for Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy — is the overarching organization. Based in Tupper Lake, the primary goal of ARISE is to promote private economic development like the Adirondack Club Resort. And actually, it seems that while the ARISE mission is to promote all private enterprise in northern New York, the ACR project is the flagship project: a test case for the group.