TUPPER LAKE - Despite the recent snowfall, this is the last weekend the Big Tupper Ski Area will be open.
ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy) Chairman Jim LaValley said the slow start to the season, brought on by a lack of snow, hurt the ski center financially. It opened Feb. 8.
"I think the snow is going to run off a bit this weekend, so that's it," LaValley said. "Because we're running on a volunteer base, the resources are also getting a little tired, and even with that volunteer base, we've been met with some challenging financial issues this year."
Big Tupper is part of the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort project, and LaValley said infrastructure at the mountain will improve in coming years.
"When the Adirondack Club and Resort gets the litigation squared away, that is the plan," LaValley said. "Actually, we've been recently discussing snowmaking efforts, and had we had snowmaking, it would have been nice to be open during the holiday season. When you open mid-February, you lose so much momentum, and the opportunity for skiers' visits and income is hard to make up."
LaValley said discussions are currently underway to seek out grants for bringing snowmaking to Big Tupper, possibly through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Snowmaking equipment would enable the ski center to open as soon as temperatures in the region drop, reducing the mountain's reliance on the weather.
The Big Tupper Ski Area will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. LaValley said he expects about 90 percent of the trails to be open.
To recognize the ski center's patrons, and to thank the volunteers who helped keep the mountain running this winter, lift tickets will be $10 on Sunday. There will also be a performance by musician Ron Jones in the lodge at 1 p.m.