Black Mountain hosts hill climb

RUMFORD — Despite having a large chunk of this winter's operating costs tied up in a court case, Black Mountain Ski Resort snow-makers made enough snow for Saturday night's Snowmobile Hill Climb.

General Manager Jim Carter said it wasn't easy, because the weather didn't cooperate, and then tossed in a heavy rainstorm last Sunday night into Monday.

“We started making snow on Nov. 20, and then the weather turned warmer,” he said prior to the 6 p.m. start of racing.

“After the rain, it was prime snow-making temperatures again," he said. "We've been running straight around the clock and when conditions are right during the day.”

Snowmobile racers had a base of 16 to 24 inches of man-made snow on the 250- to 300-yard course up the mountain. They would ride one at a time on an expert trail across from the lodge.

By 5:45 p.m., racers were being turned away at the registration table because they hadn't pre-registered. Sledders from all over New England were participating in the resort's biggest and first climb of the season.

There wasn't much to see from the small fenced-in area for the large crowd, because it was several yards behind the starting area where sledders would open up throttles to zip up the mountain.

Brandon and Erica Robin of Rumford brought their children, Kyle, 6, and Konnor, 4, to check out the action.

“We came out to watch the races because Konnor is obsessed with sleds,” Brandon Robin said. “He's hoping for a green one for Christmas.”

“I don't think it will fit in Santa's bag,” Erica Robin said.

Brandon said it was the family's first foray out to watch a hill-climb event. He said they usually try to make it out to resort events.

After the hill climb venue was set for snow, Carter said snow-makers focused their activities on the Nordic trails to get ready for the U.S. Cross Country Championships on Jan. 1-8.

That event is expected to attract 500 of the nation's best Nordic skiers and an entourage of 100 coaches, support staff, families and spectators.

Were it not for volunteers and thousands of dollars of in-kind donations to get the resort ready for the Nordic event and the season, the resort likely wouldn't have opened, Black Mountain board President Roger Arsenault told selectmen Thursday night.

Five days before the resort is expected to open for the season, Black Mountain still hadn't received the $51,000 that voters agreed to donate to the resort. The Oct. 13 vote was 405-370.

The money is tied up in a lawsuit filed in August, challenging the resort's use of the petition process to circumvent the defeat of its initial funding request at town meeting in June.

Despite the court case, Arsenault said resort staff and volunteers went ahead and got the resort ready for the season as best they could without the money.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Fred Stone's picture

Excuses

Your excuse that voters didn't know what they were voting for has been used way too many times and it is a well known fact that the voters knew what they had done when they voted $0 funding regardless what the charter read.

Jack Kaubris's picture

Great job Black Mtn.

Kudos to the area folks at Black Mtn. for hosting this large event. Let the whining commence. You are damned if you don't host events (by the people who seem so eager to ruin the opportunities in this town) and damned if you do (by the same bunch of naysayers - go figure). As with the Community Center and Rec Park and all not for profit organizations, thank you for providing a venue for our youth (and us older folks who gladly support your efforts with our tax dollars and recreational spending). Thank you for investing in our community and adding value to life in this area. Your efforts are supported by a majority in this town. Hats off to all of the volunteers who make this mountain a nationally recogniized gem.

Jack Kaubris's picture

I get it.

I do get it armymom. I just don't agree with your point of view. I do believe that Libra/ME Winter Sports did invest quite a bit in our little mtn. I see a new lodge, new lift, new trails. I don't know if it will ever be self-sustaining financially, and I am OK with that. Small, community based ski areas such as Black, Titcomb, Spruce and others probably aren't, and will never be, money makers. I also understand that people, such as yourself, who probably don't use the facility or have children who don't use the facility are upset that a tiny portion of their tax dollars are used to sustain BMOM. But, I look at this mountain and this organization in a different way than you. I am OK with my tax dollars being used to help finance the Rumford Community Ctr, even though I have not visited the facility in years. It is a wise investment in our youth (as well as offering activities for adults). I am OK with my tax dollars being used to support the Parks and Recreation budget. Again I feel this is a wise investment for our youth and all citizens. I don't get upset when I walk along the trail along the Swift River and see the trail being used by my fellow citizens, many who are senior citizens. I don't get upset with the Parks dept for not charging them to use the trail or other facilities. It is a wise investment in our well being and recreational opportunities. These aren't money makers either. This is the way I look at Black Mtn. This is part of our heritage and I am thankful for all that these people have invested financially and volunteer-wise to our lives in this area. I am OK with my tax dollars going toward this enterprise...last year, this year and for many years to come. It is a wise investment.

 's picture

Excellent points on the other

Excellent points on the other small ski area and funding. Got me to do some checking. They are not getting taxpayer funding according to the Annual Reports for Jay (Spruce) or Farmington (Titcomb) found online. Only BMOM is demanding taxpayers bail them out year after year. The Town of Farmington owns and operates their own community center which they fund. They do not fund a private club like GRCC. Jay does not fund a private club either.

Jack Kaubris's picture

The Doom and Gloom crowd unite!

Good pts, Chuckster. If BMOM and the GRCC did not exist, then I am quite sure Rumford's leaders would create more opportunities and venues for our youth through the Parks and Rec dept. That would lead to higher taxes (probably similar to what the town's contribution to these two organizations is right now) and quite possibly more employees on the town payroll to run these venues ( I'm sure that you naysayers would love that!). What exactly would you folks like to see for activities for our youth is this area? Who would provide it for a profit? Would it then be affordable for the children/parents to pay to play? I hear plenty of whining and very few solutions from you folks...other than to stop contributing our tax dollars to these organizations. I know that your overriding concern is to keep more $$ in your own pockets...I do get it. Come up with some ideas and we can mull it over on this site. Armymom, you seem to think it is so simple to run BMOM your way? Why don't you buy it so we can see the profits that you pull in. You can hire watchdog, commonsense/candiceanne, and get some other people off the dole while you are at it. That would be a real treat.

Jack Kaubris's picture

One of us is confused..or possibly both.

Now, let me see if I understand what you are saying here...You aren't upset that the taxpayers of Rumford are paying $51,000 in support of Black Mtn, you are upset that skiing isn't free for everyone? Or every child in Rumford? And have the taxpayers pay how much for this? Let's use your hero Les(s) Otten's former business as an example of what you are proposing...Sunday River charges about $75/day to ski there. For $51,000 you could have 680 skier visits...or in other words, 100 kids could ski for 6.8 days, or 680 kids could ski for 1 day. And that doesn't include rentals (which Les didn't give away for free). That won't cover many of Rumford's youths will it. So how much do you propose the taxpayers should spend? Would you propose doubling the $51,000 amount? That would give 680 kids two days of skiing. Not much is it? How about giving 680 kids 10 days of skiing...that would be $510,000. I'm not sure what you are proposing to spend on this free recreation for all kids/all the time, but I don't think the taxpayers will jump at the gun to do this. And you either want to abolish the GRCC or at least have the taxpayers pay more so that all programs are free for all? I am not sure what the dollar amount will be with what you are proposing? Do you care to give some estimates? I'm not saying that BMOM and GRCC are perfect. However, they do a good job for what little funding they do receive. You do seem eager to paint the BMOM board as corrupt/incompetent. Care to share what you would do differently (and the costs associated with that)? I do know that BMOM/RSU 10 did offer free skiing - I believe it was once a week last year, with discounted rentals, and that this year there are free ski lessons for K-grade 2 I believe. I don't for a minute believe that parents can't afford for their children to participate in either the GRCC or BMOM. Both offer reasonable rates. It is a matter of priority for the parents. Even section 8 households can 'afford' cell phones, cable TV, cigarettes,liquor etc...If the parents want to make this happen for their children - they will. So you confuse me...are you proposing that the taxpayers of Rumford make all recreational opportunities free for all? And, more importantly, what are you proposing for a tax bill?

Jack Kaubris's picture

Yet you choose to have it both ways?

It is you who have chosen to confuse the issues. You are against the non-profit BMOM (is GRCC also non-prof?)because they don't offer free skiing for all and say that you would hope that the town would take over the recreational opportunities on one hand and lower the astronomical costs for the unemployed...yet you are also against taxes going up because of the senior citizens/unemployed. Which are you advocating for? Are you proposing that the town offer what BMOM and GRCC offer for free (i.e. with tax dollars)? If you think that the GRCC or BMOM programs are only for the affluent, I would suggest that you go live in other areas to see what these programs cost in tax dollars and out of pocket costs. You complain about the library hours being cut - and I agree with you on this - but fail to see that it would take more tax dollars to increase the library hours of operation. Which is it?I don't think that your Doom and Gloom crowd would go for that. I feel that what we pay in tax dollars to BMOM/GRCC is a good deal. It helps to provide affordable (not free) recreational opportunities for a fraction of what it would cost the town to provide on their own. Your idea of the Rec dept. taking over these programs would add to the town payroll and increase taxes dramatically. I think this town/non-prof situation is a good deal for all citizens. I believe that Maine Winter Sports is an advocate for affordable winter activities - not free. Correct me if I am wrong. Then you throw in this absurd notion, a favorite of the Doom and Gloom crowd ... that cutting the education budget would really help the offerings for our students. I love that one! Easily knock 25% off our tax bill in your mind? Really. With your moniker, I assume you have some connection with a serviceman or woman. Your absurd education scenario is like someone saying we should cut 25% of our military budget so that we can 'help' our servicemen. Really! (With Dick Cheney's corrupt Halliburton company screwing the American people by overbilling and incompetence - we may help our servicemen by cutting out Halliburton) Our children have left this area for better opportunities long before the population decline. The mill employment numbers dictate that fact, not BMOM/GRCC etc. I find your concern for the unemployed folks commendable, but your solution to offer free recreational opportunities doesn't jibe with your desire to cut taxes. There is no 'Free Lunch' - somebody has to pay for it...and I think this town's collaborative effort with BMOM and GRCC is a frugal compromise. You, the other hand, appear to want it both ways...offer more - but not pay for it. Which is it?

 's picture

According to the Farmington

According to the Farmington annual reports for 2009 and 2010 available online, Titcomb did not ask for and did not recieve any money from the taxpayers. According to the Jay annual reports for 2009 and 2010 available online Spruce Mountain didn't ask for or receive any money from Jay. It looks like only BMOM is the only ski resort asking for or getting taxpayer money. All the others are self-supporting.

 's picture

Frank

Frank you just need to go away, why do you think you have any clout at all. You made a fool of yourself and the town when you where selectman. Why is it you feel the need to open that uneducated trap of yours. If you had any idea how embarrassing you are. Please just go cash your tax payer funded check and go away.

? Clout

Sorry Rumforddude I'm not looking for clout. I 'm still interested in the voters of Rumford and protecting them from people like you.The real embarressment is you. A person who is the real uneducated one. Who continually wants to hide behind a wall and slam people who are truly watching out for the town. You surely are not one of those.

Veronica Child's picture

Speaking of whiners. Shame on

Speaking of whiners. Shame on you Mr. Grumpy.
Good job BMOM for making due with what you have. It would be nice for people to do a little math of their own. Everyone cries that 'we need to attract comsumers to the area' yet here we have a place that attracts 100's for winter events and they have to grovel and play court games to get assistance from the town it's adding value to. The sheer history of Black Mountain is staggering. To lose it would be a shame.

Threats

were made that if monies were not received then the mountain could not open. The voters have been duped again into believing these poor me whining threats. IT OPENED! The tax payers are tired of giving to an organization that sits back and does nothing in fund raising to help themselves. That's the bottom line. They should have seen that from the previous years election that was very close to getting voted down. But this board at BMOM lacked insight to say they best think about fund raising campaigns other than always coming to the town. Oh and the town did give additional assistance to their opening with having to call in the police for some type of unrulely disturbance. The bar must have been open.

Shame ,Shame

The people voted down the moneys initially and BMOM started whiningt about it. They weren't the only ones that got voted no monies. The Selectboard vcoted that it wasn't a critical circumstance and voted not to have a special town meeting twice. By process BMOM got 500 signatures for over-ride to get their special town meeting to get another vote for it being a critical circumstance and to get a special election. The board could have made the motion once again not to give a revote but they buckled once again to the whiners 4 to 1. $51000 is not a big junk of an opperating budget. When defeated at the polls they should have immediately started fund raising but they chose not to. Instaed they , BMOM, are the ones that have cost the town extra legal fees because they couldn't except the vote of the people like other organizations who got voted $0 amounts. The others that got $0 didn't whine and they weren't assisted with circumventing the vote like BMOM was. They got off their butts and look at other avenues for getting the monies.

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