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It ain't no ski resort!
June 9, 2011 - Jessica Collier
So yesterday, Ulasewicz argued that Norden's testimony — that Big Tupper is too small to draw enough customers to the resort — doesn't hold water because the resort is NOT a ski resort. It's a four-season resort WITH a ski area.
Here's my story in today's paper. Go read it: Is ACR primarily a ski resort?
OK, now come back and let's talk about it. I'm only successful half the time in getting people to comment on here, but I know there are at least a few people reading (Hi!), so what do you think?
The people of Tupper Lake, as Paul Van Cott said the other day, have made it clear that their biggest concern is getting the ski area running on a sustainable basis. And the real estate around the ski area is professed to be the only way to operate it sustainably. But the plans don't show any major investment in the ski area until the third year. Developers plan to get the marina up and running first, then start working on the ski area. (The justification for this is that the ski area is already running, thanks to ARISE, so they should get the other defunct amenity operational before putting any work into the ski slope.)
They also plan to install a used, fixed-grip chair lift. This has been criticized by I think two or three witnesses as old technology. David Norden told a story yesterday about how there's a fixed-grip lift right next to a detachable lift at the ski area in Stowe, where he lives, and there was a huge line of people waiting for the detachable and barely anyone on the fixed-grip. Detachables go quicker but slow down when the chair comes around the wheel, making it easier for families, beginners and snowboarders to get on and off. (I definitely prefer them! I'm no good at getting off the lift and fall every time!)
So! I guess it's clear that the ski area ISN'T the focus of the resort, but it IS the focus of Tupper Lakers. Are Tupper Lakers worried about that discrepancy? Is there worry that the ski area will fall by the wayside?
John Caffry played on this concern the other day when he asked someone in cross-examination whether there was anything barring developers from, once they get their permits, from selling off the great camp lots, then abandoning the rest of the project. Ulasewicz obviously objected, and O'Connell sustained the objection, so it wasn't answered, but he got that question out there and on the record.
And are locals more concerned with drawing ski patrons, and not so much about new seasonal residents? Who would patronize local businesses more?
Or is this not a problem at all? Should we just be glad that we're getting new people in town, one way or the other? Would even just building the great camps be an improvement? It's unlikely that ARISE would be able to sustain the nonprofit thing past next year. What would happen to the ski slope? Would someone else just come in and buy it and run it?
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