Wild storms and wild skiers

Earlier in the week, the first major thaw of the season roared through the region, delivering wind gusts in excess of 50 mph and horizontal rains.

With up to two inches of rain reported in some areas, the storm provided a natural Zamboni that refreshed ice surfaces to a polished gleam. However, with forecasts indicating that a snowstorm was soon to follow, lakes will likely be sloppy for a while, with a slushy mix of standing water and snow.

Skiing has gone Wild In Tupper

Many area residents have fond memories of learning how to ski at a local ski center. At one time, these small, community ski centers could be found in nearly every township in the Adirondacks.

At one time, the Empire State served as host to more ski centers than any other state in the nation. But, since the late 1960's, New York state has lost an estimated 350 historic, ski centers.

The small hills provided beginners with a safe, easy and relatively inexpensive introduction to the sport. Most of the centers featured rope tows, a J-bar or a T-bar to haul prospective daredevils up the slopes. Chairlifts were primarily reserved for ski centers that were built on mountains, not hills.

The small, community ski centers were places where parents could drop off the kids, with few worries. They were considered an extension of the village, where you knew everybody and everybody knew you. Our parents seemed to like it that way.

In Lake Placid, the ski hills where local kids flocked were places like Fawn Ridge, Scotts Cobble and Mt. Whitney.

In Saranac Lake novices took to Mt. Pisgah, and fortunately, they still do. Otis Mountain was the favored hill for residents of Elizabethtown, Lewis, Westport and Moriah, while Paleface Mountain served the locals from nearby Jay, Keene, Ausable Forks and Keeseville.

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