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‘Great new ski center proposed at Tupper’

April 3, 2010

This was the 8-column headline on page one of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise dated Feb. 16, 1960.

You are reading this column in April of 2010 and fifty years ago, in April 1960, the town board of Altamont was preparing to present to the voters of the town, for their approval, a bond issue of $480,000 to be paid off over 20 years.

Big Tupper reopening this year after being closed for 10 years has been the biggest success story in the North Country in 10 years. News of the reopening was everywhere, but I was blown away when I hit the Google button after typing in Big Tupper Ski Center the little response box that comes up in the top right hand corner of the screen read: "1-10 of about 46,000 for Big Tupper Ski Area."

Article Photos

Before we review more of the news from 60 years ago here is just one comment from the Web:

"Ski Cheap at Big Tupper Ski Center - A ski trip seems a little more affordable with $15 lift tickets and $20 ski rentals. And this isn't some rink-dink speed bump where someone set up a rope tow, it is the heart of the Adirondacks only a few miles from Lake Placid. And the lift tickets are also good for admission to The Wild Center (The Natural Museum History of the Adirondacks) and vice versa. The lift tickets were free for kids under six, senior citizens and active military."

I have said this before. If you want to accomplish the impossible, find someone from Tupper Lake and put them in charge.


How it all started

The actual lead sentence on the story, written by Enterprise Publisher Roger Tubby, read: "A great new ski center, second only to Whiteface in the Adirondacks, will be built on Mt. Morris south of Tupper Lake "

Don Adams, president of the Winter Sports club, made the chief presentation assisted by engineer Guy Sylvester, past chamber of commerce President George Gedney and the Chamber president, John Stock.

Members of the town board at that time were Supervisor Jack Vaillancourt and town board members Albert J. vom Scheidt, Raymond Villeneuve, Patrick Quinn and Attorney William Perry and Clerk Amadeo Zande.


The costs

The proposal presented to the board was to purchase 1400 acres of land from the Oval Wood Dish Company for $35,000 and clearing and grading the lift lines, slopes and trails was estimated at $72,000. Installation of the chairlift was $120,000 and of the T-Bar $57,700. Lights for night skiing on the T-Bar slopes would be about $4,100; cost of the lodge $54,300; the 1.7-mile access road $54,300; the two-acre parking area, $6,700; the three-phase electric power line $8,700; slope maintenance, $19,900; maintenance shop equipment, $1,500, and the sign cost was set at $2,000.

The story went on to say that these estimates may be somewhat high and that they were obtained after lengthy studies of installations at many other ski slopes.


Operational costs

The total operational expenses were presented at $80,425. Those costs included a year-round manager at $8,000, one full-time employee at $85 a week and two others at $70 a week. There would be two summer employees (for 12 weeks) at a combined total salary of $1,680. Other operational expenses listed included telephone, insurance, power, fuel, etc., and a bond payment of $45,220 at 4.5 percent interest.


Estimated income

I am going to quote these two paragraphs in there entirety:

"Adams and Sylvester said they figured the first year's income on a conservative basis at $75,300. In later years it would be expected to be considerably above this.

"It was figured, for instance, that the winter chairlift operation would last ten weeks with 60 patrons a day during the week at $4 each, for $12,000, and that there would be 11 weekends plus three holidays, or 25 days, with 200 patrons each (considered far too low a figure compared to the 3000 a weekend at Old Forge, North Creek and other lift sites), for an income of $20,000.

"It is expected that the summer chairlift would take in at least $12,000. The winter T-Bar is expected to net $22,800 during the days and $4,500 during the evenings. Concessions and rentals were estimated at $4,500."


The above is only a small piece of a long story now, if those employees could be found at the salaries listed above.



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