Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in Benson, NY, one of the Adirondacks’ premier cross country ski resorts for more than 36 years, has new owners. Kathryn and Paul Zahray, formerly of Matawan, NJ, and Lapland Lake customers for more than 17 years, have purchased the resort.
The new owners say they will seek to increase partnerships with local businesses and plan to continue the resort’s support of cross country ski racing at the secondary level. “Emphasis will be placed on enhancements such as the recently added Reindeer Rally program geared to introduce more youth to the sport of cross country skiing,” they said in an announcement to the press.
“We are thrilled to assume ownership of this very unique property which has been such an integral part of our lives for so many years,” said Paul Zahray. “Kathy and I plan to maintain the high standards for which the resort has become known. Lapland Lake will continue as a cross country ski center and family friendly year round resort.” Zahray added: “We will strive to enhance the resort’s offerings in years to come. New offerings in the first year of our ownership will include Autumn trail runs and a Fall Harvest Festival.”
Resort founder, Olavi Hirvonen, and his wife Ann are expected to assist the Zahrays during the transition.
“My wife, Ann, and I are so pleased to have the Zahrays assume the reins here at Lapland Lake,” said resort founder and US Olympian Olavi Hirvonen. “Paul and Kathy have been our customers for many years and have now become good friends. We look forward to assisting them in all areas of resort operations for an extended period of time.”
Financing for the resort purchase and working capital was facilitated by three entities: Adirondack Bank, Hamilton County Industrial Development Agency, and Development Authority of the North Country.
Midwesterners by birth, the Zahrays enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits including cross country skiing and bicycling. Paul is a competitive athlete who has completed two American Birkebeiner races and who has 15 marathons and many shorter races to his credit.
Paul is transitioning from a 25-year career with a major telecommunications provider. He holds his BS in metallurgical engineering from the University of Illinois and his PhD in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Kathy holds her BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and her Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Her experience includes work in individual and group therapy settings with mental health clients.
The couple has three daughters who all learned to ski at Lapland Lake: Karen, Amy, and Lisa.
A complete cross country ski and snowshoe facility, Lapland Lake offers rental and retail shops, a warming lodge with snack bar, a trailside restaurant, and overnight accommodations in private housekeeping cottages.
The trail system has 50km of trails for all ability levels. 38km are marked, mapped and snowcat groomed with trackset and skating lanes; 12km are ungroomed, marked, mapped snowshoe trails. Cross country ski lessons are offered daily by the resort certified instructors. Other activities include ice-skating, tubing, sledding, kick sledding and wilderness ski touring. A full winter Calendar of Special Events is also offered.