by Mike Rogge
Tupper Lake is beautiful. If you’re reading this on a chilly day in September, here is a free tip—don’t drive to Vermont to see fall foliage. Go to the Adirondacks and stop by Tupper Lake.
I drove through the small mountain town many times in college, taking the route from southern Lake George up to Potsdam. Every time, I passed the remnants of Big Tupper, a little area that rocks 25-plus trails. Four winters ago, through the help of ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), Big Tupper triumphantly returned after years of lifts standing still.
Last winter, due to financial constraints, the mountain was forced to close for the season. No one said reopening the mountain would be easy. You see, ARISE and Big Tupper’s plan is to open a “no frills, affordable ski/snowboarding experience for individuals and families.” For expensive condos and $12 cheeseburgers, please look elsewhere.
Thankfully, this winter, Big Tupper is back again, offering $25 lift tickets and access to the trails that ski luminaries like Scott and Dr. Robb Gaffney grew up on. The ski area is planning on offering discount packs as well for those seeking to go five to ten times. Operation of the mountain will be handled entirely by volunteers and fundraising efforts will be a large part of the keeping the mountain’s finances in order. The first of many such events is OkTUPPERfest on September 28, which will feature craft beer and food vendors, free chairlift rides, and much more. Tickets are $5, or $20 per vehicle.
This type of community-supported initiative is rare in the ski world, and, along with the fall leaves, is one of the many reasons you should check out this gem in Adirondacks this winter.