Titus Mountain Focuses on Family for Success

Christopher Lenney/ NNY Business Titus Mountain is proud to be a family friendly mountain, small enough to find your way around easily but big enough that you can find the perfect terrain. 

BY: Tom Graser
You might think that asking three brothers one question would yield three different answers. That’s not so with the Monette brothers of Malone, especially when the question is, what makes your ski area such a success?
 

    Families, the brothers agree. It is all about families. 

    Attention to families is key to keeping skiers coming back year after year from all over the region. 

    Bruce A. Monette Jr., 55,  and his younger brothers Brian J., 52, and Chris P. 47, bought the mountain in November of 2011. 

    The Monettes own a number of businesses based in Malone and had, just three years before buying the ski center, built a Holiday Inn Express in the village. 

    The feasibility study for the hotel pointed to lodging for skiers as one of the main drivers for hotel rooms in the winter, Brian said. 

    “I’m pretty sure when we bought it, it was going to be closed,” Brian said. “It was one of those things that, at least in my opinion, was really good for the community, good for our families and good for our business sense. And even though we didn’t know what we were doing, we stepped in and purchased it.” 

    The brothers immediately set about improving the property. 

    “It was in a total state of disrepair, honestly. They (previous owners)hadn’t invested any money in it for a long, long time.” Bruce said. 

    When the Monettes bought Titus Mountain there were 27 trails. Now there are 50 trails and glades. There is a new lodge, new snowmaking, new lifts and carpets. They have newly refurbished and improved the tubing hill. They have built cabins and houses that offer slope side lodging and can be rented on Airbnb. 

    On top of improving the facilities the Monettes have built a family-friendly atmosphere. 

    “It’s a really cool safe place,” Bruce said. 

    “Kids just love it up here; they have freedom,” Brian said. “They get on the chair lift by themselves. You hear them cutting through the woods with their friends.” 

    “I think if you were to poll any of our customers or guests the number one thing they would tell you is it is such a great family spot,” Brian said. 

    “If you are at Whiteface or Gore, the parents probably never want the children out of their sight,” Bruce said. “They ski in a pack. They don’t have to do that here.” 

    “Parents can come in here (the lodge) for an adult beverage and let the kids take a few more runs. So it is great for everyone in the family,” Chris said. “Our biggest philosophy is to treat the people like they own the mountain. You can’t get voted number one family ski hill in North America if you are not treating all the guests good.” 

    Titus Mountain has won numerous awards from Liftopia, a web site that markets tickets for ski resorts nationwide. Titus Mountain was named the number two Best Overall Resort in North America in 2019, number two Family Friendly Resort in North America in 2019, number one Best Beginner Friendly Resort in North America in 2019 and number one Family Friendly Resort in North America in 2018. 

    “Everyone looks out for one another, be it the Ski Patrol, be it the lifties, be it the cooks. They are always looking out for, most importantly, the kids and the families. It has really got a great atmosphere and a really good feel,” Brian said. 

    To help grow the family atmosphere and build a base of future skiers Titus Mountain has instituted a program they call “411.” 

    The 411 program is coordinated through participating schools and allows for fourth graders (that’s the four) to get a one free lesson (that’s the first one) that once completed gets them a daily pass for the rest of that year with free ski rentals (the pass is the second one). 

    “The first year we did 300 students,” Brian said. “This year we are going to do 3,700.” 

    Schools come from as far away as Plattsburgh and Watertown take part in the 411 program. 

    Keeping the mountain skiable is important to keeping the business growing and the Monettes have made a big investment in snowmaking equipment to keep its snow base consistent despite any warm weather. 

    Snowmaking has been enhanced with new pumps, new larger pipes to increase capacity and state-of-the-art snow guns. 

    “The manmade snow is pretty bullet proof” Brian said. It will stick around long after the snow from Mother Nature disappears.” 

    “We make snow three to four feet deep on those trails.” Bruce said. 

    The snow making also helps extend the season. 

    “We try to open before Christmas and stay open through Easter school break,” Bruce said. 

    “One hundred days of skiing is what we try to do,” Brian said. 

    Skiing at Titus Mountain is fairly inexpensive. Prices vary, but weekday adult lift tickets run as low as $34 and weekend tickets are $44. There are numerous packages that involve multi-day tickets, season tickets and family pricing. An adult season’s pass is $549 and there are various discounts for people under 30 and over 64. 

    For non-skiers, Titus Mountain offers a tubing hill with the longest conveyor lift in New York state. 

    “That’s what the manufacturer told us,” Bruce said. The tubing hill is open Friday nights, all day on Saturday and Sunday and on holidays. 

    There are 300 tubes available for sliding and an all-day tubing pass is $25. 

    Christine McKane runs the ski school at Titus Mountain. Ms. McKane, a retired school teacher from Salmon River Central School, said skiing is not hard for most kids to learn. 

    “Most of them pick it up pretty fast. Usually within 1 ½ and 2 hours we have them either on the carpet skiing down by themselves or they’re one chair 3 skiing down by themselves or some of them go out on the big hill,” she said. 

    Modern equipment and the magic carpet, a conveyor belt that beginner skiers can ride up a small hill, make the task of learning to ski easier, she said. 

    Skiing with your family has perks beyond having fun and getting kids outside,the brothers said. 

    “From a father’s standpoint the best part of skiing is riding up that chairlift with a kid,” Brian said. “There’s no phone, you are able to talk with them and say, ‘What happened in school today, what’s going on with your boyfriend or girlfriend.’ You have their undivided attention for six or seven minutes riding up.”