The village-operated Mount Pisgah ski center will be adjusting its operations through the rest of the winter in order to save money, as management tries to recover from losses due to the mild winter.
In a Feb. 21 memo to the Saranac Lake Village Board, Mountain Manager Charles Martin outlined the financial realities of the 2011-12 ski season and made recommendations to cut expenses. In short, revenue is down and expenses are flat to slightly up.
“We have had some seriously bad luck this year due to mother nature not delivering the snow necessary to operate the mountain at peak efficiency,” Martin wrote. “We missed one of our most critical parts of the season, Christmas break. This year we were unable to open until January 12.”
Season passes were down about 175 from the previous year, equating to a $19,500 loss. Private parties are down about 80 percent. The ski school had to cut its season from six to four weeks. And Northwood School did not train at Pisgah this year, meaning a $3,000 loss. And, because of the lack of snow at the beginning of the season, it was just plain slow.
“Our day pass skiers were all but missing,” Martin wrote.
Meanwhile, Martin continues to promote the ski hill in a variety of ways because conditions are optimal. He has updated the information on the website, called the local motels and hotels to inform them of the good skiing conditions, and networked on the Mount Pisgah Facebook page.
In order to deal with the shortfalls, Martin made the following recommendations:
•Reduce Saturday hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to noon to 6 p.m. (saving 18 man hours at $7.75/hour, totaling $139.50)
•Reducing tubing hours by eliminating Thursdays (saving 30 man hours at $7.75/hour, totaling $232.50)
•Consider closing the mountain early this year
Mount Pisgah has one more obligation to meet this year: the Top of the Mountain race on March 11, which brings in around 150 skiers for the day.
Saranac Lake Village Manager John Sweeney said March 6 that he’s not sure when the ski center will close for the season, but village officials are currently discussing their options, including closing early. It depends on the weather and finances.
For more information, call Mount Pisgah at (518) 891-0970 or visit online at www.saranaclakeny.gov.