Smaller ski areas start to open for season

Northern New York’s bigger alpine ski areas have been open for weeks, and now, boosted by fantastic snow conditions, the smaller ones are starting to open, too.

Cold temperatures and one of the snowiest Novembers on record helped Beartown Ski Area in Beekmantown open Sunday, about three weeks ahead of schedule.

It was the second-earliest opening for the small family-oriented ski resort since it began operations in February 1958, missing the record date by just one day.

McCauley Mountain Ski Area in Old Forge, Oak Mountain Ski Center in Speculator, Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin and Dry Hill Ski Area in Watertown also opened for the season this past weekend.

McCauley is now open six days a week, closed Tuesdays. Oak Mountain and Snow Ridge are generally open weekends only for now. Dry Hill opened despite a major fire that burned down a snowmaking building last week; it’s open weekends and Wednesday through Friday evenings, plus holidays and school vacation days.

Upcoming openings

Royal Mountain in Caroga Lake, West Mountain Ski Resort in Glens Falls and Willard Mountain in Greenwich are scheduled to for the season this Saturday.

The village of Saranac Lake’s Mount Pisgah Recreation Center is scheduled to open on Friday, Dec. 21, the first day of local schools’ Christmas holidays.

The developers renovating Big Tupper Ski Area in Tupper Lake have, in the past, said it is expected to reopen this winter for the first time in several years, but there has been no news lately.

Opened in November

Titus Mountain Family Ski Center south of Malone opened for weekends on Nov. 23 and is scheduled to start seven-day-a-week operations this Saturday.

The state-run alpine ski areas in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington and Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek, opened for the season on Nov. 17.