It’s December, a time when it turns cold in the North Country and it’s tempting to retreat indoors and wait for spring. But don’t do it! In this issue of Strictly Business we showcase some of the outdoor recreation opportunities that abound in our area.

We start with our cover story featuring the Olympic Regional Development Authority CEO Mike Pratt. ORDA oversees a variety of venues in our area including its newest, the Cliffside Coaster at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, the longest mountain coaster in the world. Check out the photos and then make your plans to visit.

High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid, one of the first multi-sport stores in the region, specializes in bikes and bike tours in the summer and skis in the winter. They also offer lodging for groups, coaching for anyone interested in learning their sports and a guide service.

One of the area’s out-of-the-way places that will take you back in time is the Lake Clear Lodge & Retreat which specializes in Discovery Events that will immerse you in the Adirondack Great Lodge experience. The Lodge is open for extended stays, an evening meal in their Adirondack Alps restaurant or a visit to their 1920’s Speakeasy.

If you are looking for an adrenalin-pumping adventure, you’ll want to check out The Mountaineer in Keene Valley that specializes in all thing back country— from winter hiking to ice climbing to back country skiing.

The development of the Titus Mountain Family Ski Center is an amazing story of how the ambition and hard work of three brothers and their extended families has helped transform the Malone area. Now with three mountains, 200 skiable acres with 50 trails, snowmaking over 85% of its terrain, a snowtubing slope, and night skiing, Titus has become a fun, must-visit for families of all ages and skill levels.

Stories about North Country natives who leave the area, build their skills elsewhere and then return are some of my favorites. In this issue of SB we introduce you to Paul and Corinna Maggy, who were successful bike shop owners, first in Plattsburgh, then in Florida. Early this year they “came home”, purchased Maui North in downtown Plattsburgh and are ready to share their expertise and enthusiasm for the sport.

And then there is our Insight article featuring retiring New York State Senator Betty Little, a true North Country treasure. I had the privilege of serving on the Glens Falls National and Arrow Bank Corp Boards of Directors with Betty for nearly 15 years. Her understanding of the issues, her dedication to the bank and the communities it serves, and her warmth and humor made her a pleasure to work with. I, along with all her constituents, wish Betty a long and pleasurable retirement.

Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, wraps up this issue with news about business support during the pandemic, cross border travel issues, hope for infrastructure support, and a look at the Chamber’s priorities for the new year.

2020 has been, at best, a difficult year and yet there has been a guiding light through all the problems – our Chamber of Commerce, Garry Douglas and his fantastic staff. In the first days of the shutdown, when we had no idea where we were going or what we needed to do, our Chamber didn’t close as many Chambers did. Instead, it ramped up its already considerable efforts and provided information and guidance on a daily basis. I don’t have the words to fully express what their efforts have meant to The Northeast Group. Let me just say a resounding “Thank You”

…and that’s good for business.