Theft of skis and snowboards on the rise at Whiteface
Security cameras look into the ski and snowboard racks at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington, but they are not plugged in. Photo: Aaron Cerbone, Courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Feb 13, 2020 – Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks has witnessed a series of equipment thefts this winter, with people seeing their skis and snowboards disappear from the racks.
Brian Mann chats with Adirondack Daily Enterprise reporter Aaron Cerbone about the increase in ski thefts and the lack of options once the equipment is gone.
Brian mann: I’ve been skiing at Whiteface for 20 years and it’s a place where at least you could feel safe. You would put your skis in the rack and go to lunch and something, but it seems like it’s a little more sketchy than before.
Aaron Cerbone: It is known as a place where you can safely leave your skis or snowboard – nothing happens. And this year, precisely, that’s what I’m hearing from the traders I talk to: they’ve seen an increase in these thefts. I was able to talk to a few people who had skis stolen.
Brian: Do I understand that you got on with this story because someone called the newspaper and said “hey, that happened to me”?
Aaron: Yes. We asked the man to call the newspaper. He told us how his skis were stolen. I was back in Rochester this weekend. I told my father about it. His colleague had his skis stolen in Whiteface the week before and I got to speak with a few other people who had their skis stolen.
Brian: Is it possible to get real stats or is it just one of those anecdotal things where we hear this happening?
Aaron: State police don’t really follow things like that; ORDA doesn’t follow things like that, so it’s really word of mouth. The owners of the ski shops in Lake Placid are the most people to know because when people come in they usually say “yes my skis have been stolen and I am replacing them”.
Brian: What are people saying to do? If I go ski or snowboard there, how can I keep my equipment safe?
Aaron: Most of the people I spoke to didn’t really have any security expectations. They said they left their boards around, their skis like everyone else. Some people have recommended buying a lock for this; some people have recommended installing cameras at Whiteface. There is a camera that we know of. There are some that are disconnected and those do not film the racks.
Brian: Some of the cameras that seem to protect the area are not working?
Aaron: Yes, there are two of those letterbox type cameras pointing at the base pavilion racks and neither of these is actually plugged in. You can see that the threads have been cut. Another camera higher up on the lodge behind this – state police say the footage they take from it is not usable. My favorite solution is to simply have a pair of inexpensive skis that aren’t too tempting.
Brian: It’s a very Nordic solution. That’s great. I guess it’s kind of ‘beware of skiers’. Keep an eye on your gear when you’re at Whiteface.
Tri-Lakes Takes with the staff of Adirondack Daily Enterprise is a regular report on North Country Public Radio, highlighting news from Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.