Big Tupper back in business - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Big Tupper back in business

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Big Tupper is back and opening for business.

"Big Tupper is part of the village and it means a lot to the people around here," Mark Jesse said.

Jesse is a lifelong Tupper Lake resident now opening his own brewery. He says the mountain can help get his business off the ground.

"It can do nothing but help, that's for sure," Jesse said. "I mean, the mountain will bring people to town. And we're helping; the brewery brings people to town. So, they can help each other."

"It's a huge economic boost, especially in the winter. In the summer we have quite a bit of tourism, but in the winter we definitely need the economic push. Not only does it have people coming to town, spending money in town while they're skiing, it creates a whole energy amongst residents that's great," said Michelle Clement of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce.

The Big Tupper Ski Area opened in the 1960s. It closed down in 1998 as a commercial resort. It stood idle for a decade until a group of residents working to improve the area economy came up with a plan.

"We missed a generation of kids having it shuttered for 10 years. It really became important to get the kids back skiing and help the economy in Tupper Lake," said Jim LaValley, the chair of Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy (ARISE).

ARISE stepped in with 200 volunteers to operate the mountain for three ski seasons.

"The community identifies with Big Tupper in a big way. It really has become a part of many of the families that were born and raised here," LaValley said. "There's tremendous passion; they identify with Big Tupper."

But last year, Big Tupper had to close for lack of finances.

"In the interim we sold our groomer, the one asset that we really had. It gave us a little bit of seed money to allow us to go in and do our inspections, get our insurance taken care of, get the trails mowed, and now we are 100 percent reliant on Mother Nature to make this a bountiful winter," LaValley said.

"The buzz was definitely really excited and getting the phone calls. People are already wondering where they can stay this winter," Clement said.

And with the news around town, we took a trip up the mountain to see what the buzz is all about. A sight to enjoy this season from the top of Big Tupper.

Officials say the mountain will operate Fridays through Sundays depending on snow. Day passes cost $25.

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