Never Bored at Titus
A Mountain of Experiences with a Family Friendly Feel
Three ecstatic children stand in the chairlift line, covered head-to-toe in snow gear to keep out the cold. A parent tells the leftmost child that their downhill adventure is almost over for the day. The little girl mumbles in protest but the mother seems not to hear, as she turns back toward the ski lift ahead of the snow-covered mountain: just another family moment at Titus Mountain in Malone.
“I love the family atmosphere. We brought our granddaughters for the first time skiing and my son-in-law,” said Margaret Murphy. “It’s a nice family-friendly area and it’s less intimidating and not super crowded.” Murphy is a Malone local, and although her family has visited Titus only once before to learn how to ski, they will continue to come back.
These family-friendly slopes, which cut through the thick maple and pine trees on the mountain side, include 53 ski trails and glades ranging from beginner to expert, among which are 15 lit trails for night skiing, a tubing hill, ski school and cross-country skiing.
The previous owner of the mountain, Paul Augustine, bought Titus Mountain in 1980 while it bore the name Moon Valley. According to the Republican Eagle, a Minnesotan newspaper, Augustine grew up on a farm in Minnesota where he fell in love with skiing. Augustine’s health began to decline in 2004 and he died seven years later.
Living near the Rocky mountains, Augustine’s family decided Moon Valley was too far away. In 2011, they sold the mountain to the Monette family who gave it a new identity: Titus Mountain.
Bruce Monette III, brand ambassador at Titus Mountain and son of the current owners, explained the transition to their ownership. “His kids, obviously Titus being all the way up in New York and them being out in Minnesota and Colorado, they wanted nothing to do with the mountain, so we saw an opportunity and jumped on it.” The Monettes have since put millions of dollars into expanding and enhancing the mountain’s facilities: adding more trails and hillside skibanas to the mountain, as well as building more base lodges and upgrading the tubing hill.
Among the many improvements, the Monettes drew inspiration from the mountain’s original name, Moon Valley, for their new terrain parks and maple syrup business. Moon Valley Terrain Parks, which includes Little Tikes Park, Live Mas Park and Mo’s Stash Park, are each tailored to a different level of skier.
The Little Tikes Park is geared toward novice skiers, offering beginner level jumps and ride-on rails that have ramps at the start to allow an easy transition. The Live Mas Park is designed for intermediate to expert level skiers. This park provides jumps several feet tall for more air along with jibs, which are like horizontal poles popping out of the snow. Mo’s Stash Park, however, is completely different. This park is all natural, with peeled logs as rails and 2 foot high jumps made entirely from snow. Trees in the middle of pathways provide obstacles and spots where skiers and snowboarders have made their own jumps.
Another feature paying homage to the mountain’s history is Moon Valley Maple, the family owned maple syrup company opened in 2012. Titus Mountain is home to a maple forest that the Monette family decided to turn into a business. In the first season, they had close to 6,400 maple taps running through the forest to produce more than 2,000 gallons of maple syrup. Now they have more than 14,000 taps and made 6,300 gallons of syrup in 2022. These lines run throughout the woods alongside the cross country ski trails.
“When we started going around, we noticed a lot of maple trees,” Monette said, “The trees are just sitting there anyway so why not use them.”
Cross-country trails that intertwine with the downhill runs allow for every kind of skiing. Titus offers cross-country ski tickets so skiers can enjoy the multitude of local cross-country trails that run through their property. On top of that, there is an uphill ski ticket that is sold at a reduced cost, allowing those with the proper equipment to ski not only down the mountain but back up it as well.
The Monettes have found ways to give back to their community through the use of after-school programs. They give children the opportunity to learn how to ski and provide a place for children to go after school to learn alongside their friends. Monette said, “Last year we taught over 5,000 kids how to ski from the local areas.” These programs are offered for ages ranging from grade four to high school seniors.
All of these are the reasons that Syracuse local Alana Hirt continues to make the four hour trek to Malone with her husband. “We like the mountain a lot and there’s way more snow here than there is at home.” They love skiing the resort’s highest peak, which has an elevation of 2,025 feet.
Titus Mountain has worked to implement services and activities that make them stand out from several other ski mountains in the North Country. The mountain has passed from owner to owner, but over the years the idea of family has remained the heart of the business.
Story and Photos by Jess Landman.