By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — MALONE — A ski-free day at Titus Mountain is set to honor Big Tupper Ski Area skiers, volunteers and the spirit of cooperation.
The “10-to-1” event at Titus on Saturday will allow people with Big Tupper passes from last year to spend the day skiing or riding at the Malone ski center without charge.
The event was planned by local businesses in conjunction with the organization Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving our Economy (ARISE) to recall the Adirondack Park Agency Board vote just about a year ago that approved Adirondack Club and Resort development plans in Tupper Lake.
The 10-to-1 refers to the majority vote that granted permits for resort development, including upgrades to Big Tupper ski lodge and the mountain resort.
Jim LaValley, ARISE chairman, said they had been working with the Monette family, who own Titus, to plan cooperative events and shared passes this season. But then Big Tupper, which had been operated by volunteers for three consecutive years, didn’t open for 2012-13.
It just couldn’t do so, officials said when announcing the cancellation of the season, without restoration of the lodge there.
That construction project had been slated to begin last spring. But work on the Club and Resort stalled as litigation was brought against APA and project developers by environmentalists with Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club, in conjunction with several Tupper Lake property owners.
The Article 78 lawsuit is in Supreme Court pending motions filed earlier this month for renewed discovery. It is expected by Protect the Adirondacks to be settled within a few months’ time, according to a recent news release from that organization.
In an interview, LaValley said the open ski day for Big Tupper 2011-12 season’s passholders will bring to fruition at least part of what they had hoped to achieve in collaboration this winter.
“The Monettes are very community-conscious people. I met them when we opened our real estate office in Malone,” he said. “They are very well aware of the Adirondack Club and Resort project and ARISE. We had begun looking to do reciprocal ticket promotions through last summer.
“And it’s certainly something we would look to do in the future,” he continued. “They did a major capital improvement at Titus, and we both saw the effort to get that traffic back and forth as a win-win.”
FOR VOLUNTEERS, TOO
In a statement issued by ARISE and the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, Titus’s owners, Brian Monette Jr. and his brothers Bruce and Chris, said they saw how hard ARISE members worked at making Big Tupper an ongoing operation.
“And then to see it pulled out from under them by a select few was unfortunate,” the statement said. “Because Titus Mountain and Big Tupper have had a strong working relationship in the past, we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring everyone together in celebration of the one-year anniversary (of APA approval).”
“They also saw a number of Big Tupper volunteers without a mountain, so they said, ‘Why don’t we create a day for them’?” LaValley said.
The planned day of ski events begins when the lifts open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
People with Big Tupper passes from last year can sign up for free skiing at one of several area locations: at the Tupper Lake Free Press, KB’s Country Store, The Well Dressed Food Co. and Larkin’s Deli.
Sign-up ends Friday afternoon so the names can be turned into Titus.
Planned festivities include an Ugly Sweater Contest, a Rossignol Demo Day and a toast of the 10-to-1 vote at 4 p.m. in the ski lodge at Titus.
Area hotels, including the Holiday Inn Express are offering overnight stay specials for any of ARISE/Big Tupper members who would like to spend the night, LaValley said.
More information about the ski party and 10-to-1 celebration are on the Tupper Chamber website at www.tupper-lake.com
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