By DAN HEATH
---- — MALONE — Titus Mountain is set to unveil a number of upgrades for the upcoming season.
Bruce Monette, who owns the ski area with his brothers, Chris and Brian, said they have 15 new trails. That includes 11 glades, the first ones at the mountain.
"Many people in the North Country urged us to put in glades," he said. "There are glades on all three mountains now."
Three of the glades are rated for novices, four for intermediates, one for advanced skiers and two for expert skiers and riders. Monette said they started to mark the trees to be cut for the new trails last winter and started work on clearing them in May.
The other new trails include one for novices, two for intermediates and one for advanced skiers and riders.
The terrain parks have been moved. The intermediate and advanced one will be on Ridge Run and the novice one will be in front of the lodge, both within the night skiing area.
The base lodge has undergone an expansion and renovation. They have doubled the size of the upper level and installed new restrooms on that level.
The main area features an expanded bar, with plenty of room to socialize while enjoying the beverage of choice.
The cafeteria now features different food stations so guests can go directly to the cuisine of their choice rather than wait in a line through the entire operation.
The lower level remains more family oriented, with plenty of space to gather in front of the fireplace.
Monette said they will have about twice as many lockers as before. They have also expanded the outdoor deck space.
Monette said Malone-based IBC (International Border Company) plans to expand its presence at Titus Mountain. The expanded shop continues to feature ski and snowboard apparel.
"He (owner Jerry Jones) is the best partner we could have asked for," Monette said.
Titus features 42 trails and eight lifts, plus the tubing area. Monette said they upgraded the snowmaking and grooming system last year.
Snow making now covers between 80 and 90 percent of the mountain. There are lodges at the base area and on the upper mountain.
Titus Mountain is scheduled to be open seven days a week this season. That includes night skiing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Tubing park available
The tubing park is open Friday through Sunday or for private parties.
"We have added a warming station for parents so they can watch their children yet stay out of the elements," Monette said.
Despite all the improvements, the focus remains on families.
"If you have a couple little kids, this is the place to go," he said.
Titus Mountain will hold its annual Oktoberfest starting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 6. Tickets are $5 for adults with children 12 and under free.
The charity Adiorndacks for Kids is set to receive $1 from every admission.
The band Trench Town Oddities is scheduled to play from 2 to 6 p.m. and DJ Phat and Slim will perform from 6 to 10 p.m.
More than 60 local vendors are expected to be on hand. There will be a fireworks display at dusk.
There will be a number of games and attractions aimed at children. Chairlift rides and a chairlift emergency evacuation demonstration will be held.
There will also be a ski and snowboard equipment swap shop. Season passes will be on sale.
According to the Titus Mountain website, skiing on the property dates back to the late 1940s, when the John Johnson family installed a rope tow on the property. As their neighbors discovered the enjoyment of schussing down the slopes, it opened as Moon Valley in 1960.
The ski area was sold to Minnesota-based Paul Augustine in 1980. He was the one who changed the name to Titus Mountain, expanded and increased the infrastructure and and oversaw efforts that allowed the trail network to reach the summit of Mount Titus at 2,025 feet.
Augustine passed away on Jan. 1, 2011. That led the family to explore the sale of the mountain to the Monette family. They closed on the deal in November 2011.
"It was very close to closing under the old ownership," Monette said.
Ski packages popular
The Monettes made the decision to buy the ski area in part due to their partnership in the Holiday Inn Express and Suites and ownership of Mo's Pub and Grill in Malone. Both businesses are popular with those who visit the mountain.
"We do very well with ski packages," Monette said.
For more information about Titus Mountain, call 483-3740 or visit www.titusmountain.com.
Email Dan Heath: firstname.lastname@example.org