Doing the Doggie Paddle: Paddling the Adirondacks with your pet!
New fun at Titus Mountain Ski Area

Comments

Every year I bring a group of Boy Scouts up to this region on Martin Luther King weekend for winter snow sports.    The boys have a blast.   In past years we have spent Monday morning tubing at Mt. P,  It was always great fun.  However, the last few years the tubing has not been open.  Does anyone know if they intend to have it open this year on the Monday of Martin Luther King holiday?

Pamela Merritt's picture

Everything is weather permitting but it should be and historically has been.

Mt Pisgah: Local and Loved Ski Hill
Oct
24
2014

Home on the Range - or the  local Ski Slope to be more specific!

Like many Adirondack towns, Saranac Lake has a hometown ski hill. Here is where local children have learned to ski for generations. Now Mount Pisgah offers family fun with alpine, glade, and cross country skiing, along with tubing and snowshoeing.

Saranac Lake started skiing in 1892 when the first pair of skis came to town, courtesy of John R. Booth of Ottawa. (Yes, it was news.) A local mill off Depot Street began making skis under the supervision of local carpenter, Napoleon Bailey.

Ski jumping became popular, using a ramp set up on Blood Hill - it’s claimed the name came from a family of early settlers. It is a pretty big hill that overlooks the village from the south end of Main Street. Enthusiasts held weekly contests and ultimately formed the U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Association.

So it was only a matter of time before townsfolk looked around for more skiable slopes, and their gaze fell upon Preacher Smith's Hill. This had been the site of a short-lived gold rush around 1900. Two sampling tunnels were dug into the north side of the hill running over twenty feet, one of which still lingers as a ruin.

1938: first rope tow (courtesy of Historic Saranac Lake wiki website)

In the fevered dreams of the gold seekers, the vein ran for two miles: through the hill, crossing the Bloomingdale Road, and extending into a dairy farm across from it. But, as they say, the mining "didn't pan out."

The first rope tow appeared in 1938, but at a more distant slope. People wanted to be able to walk to their ski center, and Preacher Smith's Hill was both generously sloped and more local. The tow was moved over, trails were cleared, and a dedication ceremony in 1950 declared 100 acres as a living memorial in honor of Saranac Lake's Veterans. The ski center kept growing as Saranac Lake explored the abundant recreational possibilities in this generously sized location.

Now renamed Mount Pisgah, after the peak which revealed the promised land in the Bible, management added snowmaking, expanded trails, a faster t-bar lift, and built a lodge where skiiers could warm up and enjoy snacks and drinks.

First snowgun on Mt. Pisgah, 1952 (courtesy of Historic Saranac Lake wiki website)

Grooming the Slopes - and Our Future Olympians 

With such added attractions Pisgah began developing a reputation as a great place to bring the family. They were on the cutting edge with the snow-making in 1952. That same year Grossinger's in the Catskills installed the first commercial snowmaking setup. It was a sign of how skiing itself had evolved from an ancient, practical, form of transport in snowy conditions to a fun activity.

With a large segment of the town’s population looking for winter recreation, Saranac Lake joined the many Adirondack towns managing local skiing facilities, just as they supported a town beach in the summer. This is how Pisgah developed into such a relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable skiing hill.

The original work was done by Mother Nature with Pisgah's gentle slopes. The t-bar lift added flexibility. This type of lift lets skiiers of all skill levels choose how high up the mountain they want to start their run.

t-bar system replaced the old rope tow

The lodge design, recently revamped, is also a family-friendly one. Large windows give great views of the ski slopes, letting parents or grandparents keep an eye on the children. The large, native stone, fireplace has seating all around. This makes for easy conversation and quick warm-ups before setting out again.

Mount Pisgah has been the ideal learning center for many ski students. In the 1950's and '60's, learning to ski was part of the local school curriculum. Some of these youngsters went on to become one of the eighteen Winter Olympic athletes born in Saranac Lake.

It's an ideal setting for beginners and children, or just folks looking for an unpressured environment. Ski like a kid again! Whether you are one, or not.

updated lodge with fireplace and refreshments

Ski, Ride, Slide - All Ages, All Abilities

Mount Pisgah is an ideal spot for those looking for a place the whole family can enjoy. Even if some of the family does not ski, there's snowshoeing with 3.5 kilometers of trails and a beginner snowboarding slope.

Nature lovers can enjoy 30 acres of forested glade skiing, while devotees of skate skiing have their own trails, too. And for the easiest fun of all, try Pisgah's rope-towed tubing slides, which require only the ability to stay seated while gliding over the snow.

In all, there's a bit over 100 acres of winter fun, all carefully tended by staff who ski there, too.

two tubing runs, great for races!

The fun does not stop when the sun goes down. Mount Pisgah has night skiing and tubing. This allows for a full day of fun, or an easy evening before or after dinner.

Pisgah hosts many Saranac Lake Winter Carnival events like the White Stag Downhill Ski Races, which are two runs of giant slalom for prizes. There are age groups ranging from five-and-under to seventy-and-over. Warm up with some Arctic Bar-B-Que and stay for the Torchlight Skiing and Fireworks. 

But the most popular Carnival event is the Innertube Races, down Pisgah's twin tubing tracks. This usually has the highest entry numbers of any of the Carnival's sporting events. Age-grouped contenders, many in costume, vie for the fastest times in their head to head sliding races. 

fully lighted runs for night skiing!

Expect a Mount Pisgah adventure to be welcoming, relaxed, and kid-friendly. There are so many kinds of winter fun, the whole family can find an activity to their liking -  even if it's not the same activity! It's great to meet in the lodge and share stories by the roaring fire.

There's plenty more skiing in the area. Book some great lodging. Explore our after-ski dining options.

Doing the Doggie Paddle: Paddling the Adirondacks with your pet!
New fun at Titus Mountain Ski Area

E-Newsletter Signup Form

About The Author

Blog Topics...

Upcoming Events

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
Thursday, August 16th, 2018
One of the most popular events of the Adirondack Plein Air Festival is "Paint the Town" Day.   The 50 participating artists will all gather in the village of Saranac Lake and spend...

Recent Blog Posts...

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
I thought I was moving to Saranac Lake for the mountains. I wanted easy access to trails, and to be able to find precious solitude at a moment’s notice. I dreamed of spending my free time exploring...
Friday, August 3rd, 2018
An early morning walk My dog, Wren, and I travel to lots of cool places in the North Country, and the other day we had the chance to explore Dexter Bog. Dexter is a small area of...
Win a fantastic getaway! It's free! Enter now.
Fly to Saranac Lake via Cape Air The Adirondack Regional Airport, your "Gateway to the Adirondacks," provides quick and convenient access to and from Logan International in Boston, MA. Daily flights are provided...
Woods and Water Defined by nature, recreation, heritage, learning, creativity, and cuisine, we invite you to explore our historic routes and waterway connections.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Interested In
Sign Me Up!