An evening snowboard session at Mt. Pisgah
Feb
16
2015

I grew up in Tupper Lake and have lived in Saranac Lake for a while now, so it’s probably quite strange that I had never been to Mt. Pisgah. But finally last week, I was assigned to write a blog post about the Saranac Lake ski slope, so I headed on over one afternoon after work.

The lodge

That’s one of the best things about Mt. Pisgah: It's open most weekday evenings, and there's great lighting so you can ride well past sunset. It’s very oriented toward being a place for local youth to hang out, so it’s not running during the day on weekdays, but it usually opens at 3 p.m. and generally closes around 8 p.m. Then it’s open during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. The hours do vary based on weather conditions, though, so call 518-891-5970 ahead of time to make sure the ski slope will be open.

You can also check out conditions at Pisgah using their webcam online. Their Facebook page also has a lot of good information. 

The mountain is also super affordable. Fifteen dollars will get you an evening of skiing, and $20 will get you a full weekend day’s worth.

I grabbed my snowboard and headed up to find a ticket. The ticket booth is on the lower level, but I walked right up the stairs past it without seeing it, had to ask at the concession booth upstairs, and went back down to buy a ticket from the friendly woman at the ticket booth.

Ticket window

Then I went back up to the lodge. There were children throughout the lodge warming up, and parents watching their kids ski through the windows. There was a kids’ racing series finishing up as I got there. I put my boarding boots on, suited up and headed out to the lift.

There’s one lift, a T-bar. It was a lot more advanced than the one I grew up using at Big Tupper years ago. A Friends of Mount Pisgah group spent a few years raising money, and they were able to buy a new lift in 2012, and it still works great.

Getting on

An attendant waits at the bottom and pulls the T-shaped bar down and puts it under skiers and boarders, and they are off. I rode with one of the ends of the T between my legs, and it was a little difficult to stay balanced on the bar. A few times, I thought I might lose my balance and fall off, but I managed to make it all the way to the top. It’s probably easier to balance when you have a person on either side of it, so next time I’ll have to bring a buddy.

The top

The sun was setting as I reached the top, and I sat down to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view.

The view

For the most part, Pisgah has a wide-open downhill area, so there’s plenty of room for everyone on the slopes. There are also a few areas where you can check out smaller wooded trails here and there along the side, which look fun, but I wasn’t quite ready to explore them yet.

The main part of the hill has some parts that are light, gentle slopes, and other, steeper sections where I could speed up a bit. 

It was a chilly evening, so pulling into the warmly lit lodge was awfully inviting. I headed in to warm up after a great ride! 

Warm lodge
In addition to the downhill ski area, Pisgah also has snowshoe trails, cross-country trails, and tubing — something for everyone!

Jackrabbit Trail: Paul Smiths to McKenzie Pond Road
Winter Birding: Saranac Lake and Paul Smiths

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