Skiing - - The Mix - By Joe Cutts

des­ti­na­tions Ski-film ca­reers took Robb and Scott Gaffney to some of the most spec­tac­u­lar places in the world. But if you want to see that far­away look in their eyes, ask them about Big Tup­per, the hum­ble slopes of their Adiron­dack child­hood in Tup­per Lake, New York.

Robb: “You’d just see th­ese packs of kids ski­ing around. We all had the hair and the mir­rored sunglasses. Jour­ney would be play­ing on the lodge speak­ers.”

Scott: “We were all over that place with shov­els, build­ing jumps wher­ever we wanted. There was just a real re­laxed at­ti­tude.”

So much has been writ­ten about the demise of town hills. Now there are signs that nos­tal­gic skiers, maybe old enough to have kids of their own, are ral­ly­ing to re­verse the trend, es­pe­cially in the East, where at least six for­merly de­funct town hills are in var­i­ous stages of res­ur­rec­tion.

Like so many lit­tle hills in the age of re­sort con­glom­er­a­tion, Tup­per failed in the late ’90s. A decade later, vol­un­teers re­vived it, and de­vel­op­ers have ob­tained per­mits to build a mas­sive re­sort com­pris­ing the ski area, a new ma­rina on ad­ja­cent Tup­per Lake, pri­vate homes, and a 40-unit inn—some 350 struc­tures in all. Adiron­dack en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists and the Sierra Club have chal­lenged and de­layed the project, but the de­vel­op­ers are con­fi­dent they’ll have a fa­vor­able rul­ing by spring. Mean­while, after tak­ing a sea­son off, vol­un­teers again plan to op­er­ate Tup­per this win­ter.

The Gaffneys have vivid Big Tup­per mem­o­ries: Kan­ga­roo Jump, Mouse Trail, hik­ing for il­licit pow­der turns when the sum­mit lift was closed, the time Robb bashed his teeth in. (Scott: “Blood ev­ery­where. The nerves were, like, dan­gling out of his teeth.”)

Both hope fu­ture Big Tup­per shred­ders have the same op­por­tu­nity they did as kids. “I was back there with my son [Noah] a cou­ple sum­mers ago,” says Robb. “He’s pretty spoiled from ski­ing Squaw all the time. But he got the vibe—I guess he felt it through me—and he def­i­nitely wanted to come back and ski it some­day.”

Both re­mem­ber early tan­gles with the T-bar. About half­way up, some­where around Tower 7, un­der­weight tykes try­ing to ride it alone would be lifted off the snow. Mak­ing it to the top was a rite of pas­sage.

“It would be so great to go back and ski it again,” Scott adds wist­fully. “Lots of good mem­o­ries.”

Mole­hill Bucket

List Get your warm fuzzies for com­mu­nity ski­ing at Cochran’s (Rich­mond, Ver­mont), Lyn­don (Ver­mont) Out­ing Club, Cam­den (Maine) Snow Bowl. All are alive and rip­ping.

The ski­ing Gaffneys at Big Tup­per. It may look idyl­lic, but Scott re­mem­bers his pa­troller/doc­tor

dad leav­ing him alone on the hill with a tib-fib frac­ture. (Dad was fetch­ing

a sled, of course.)

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