Wild storms and wild skiers

The communities of Cranberry Lake, Clifton and Fine had the Clifton/ Fine Lions Club Ski Center that was located behind the Twin Lakes Hotel in Star Lake.

Long Lake retains its town ski center, as does Schroon Lake. Both communities continue to draw visitors from the nearby towns of Newcomb, Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake.

Further south, Hickory Hill still handles novices from places such as Bolton Landing, Warrensburg, Schroon Lake, Minerva and beyond. After several years of inactivity, this small center has been revived this year, much to the enjoyment of the local communities.

However, the rope tows no longer have mittens frozen to them in places like the Harvey Mountain/Garnet Mountain in North River, Lyon Mountain Ski Hill near Dannemora, Maple Ridge in Old Forge, The Redford Tow in Saranac, Baldpate Ski Club in Crown Point or the Silver Bells Ski Hill in Wells.

Most young skiers of my generation, in the 1970's, cut their teeth (or at least chipped a few), while practicing stem-turns and hot dogging on such smaller hills. Once we thought we were good enough, we attempted to tackle the larger mountains of Whiteface and Gore, which beckoned us with groomed trails, steep drops and even a gondola.

Located in Tupper Lake, the Big Tupper Ski Area once served as a proving ground for local kids from the surrounding communities of Piercefield, Long Lake, Cranberry Lake and beyond. However, as with most of the region's small, community operated ski centers the chairlifts stopped running at Big Tupper over a decade ago. The lifts and groomers at Big Tupper have remained silent ever since. Until this year!

Fortunately, for both the community and especially its youth, the lifts and rope tows at Big Tupper now run again! Through the concerted efforts of a community support group called ARISE, funding for the operation was raised through a combination of donations and fundraising events.

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