RUMFORD — There really is nothing angry about the Angry Beavers. If anything, the opposite is true of this happy band of wood-cutting skiers.

They are the volunteers who create the glades – or tree-skiing areas – at Black Mountain. The Angry Beavers have about a dozen members who show up in the heat of August and early winter cold of December to create places for skiers and snowboarders to play in the trees.

Mostly they are from Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield and surrounding towns in Oxford County. But the Angry Beavers have a way of recruiting other tree-skiing followers.

“I kind of floated around and skied other mountains in Maine. Then I skied here with some friends, and the people at Black Mountain became like family,” said Karla Brannen, 31, of South Portland who was helping to cut glades at the mountain last weekend.

“I would come up and run into them, and they started skiing with me in the trees. They’re new friendships. It’s like a ski family.”

Black Mountain, which looks out on the Androscoggin River and western Maine foothills, has faced an uncertain future – like so many small New England ski areas.

Last summer, the nonprofit Maine Winter Sports Center announced it could no longer subsidize Black Mountain and other small ski areas after its own funding from the Libra Foundation ended.

MWSC had invested $6 million for upgrades in a renovated lodge, new lifts and snow-making equipment at Black Mountain, but the plan from the start was to build up the ski area so that one day it could be self-sufficient.

Within months, local residents and merchants banded together and raised $195,000 to help save the ski area. A new board of governors voted to increase lift tickets from the eye-catching $15 ticket price the Sports Center had rolled out to a more profitable $25 in order to give the mountain hope of breaking even.

Through it all – the upheaval and uncertainty – generations of skiers at Black Mountain have stepped forward to volunteer and help. The Angry Beavers may be the best example.

Founded in 2010, this corps of rugged backcountry skiers has worked rigorously to keep the ski area alive by cutting trees, hauling brush and covering boulders.

They come with chainsaws, loppers, and the desire to open up the trees. Sometimes they even camp out.

“The sunrise was beautiful,” said Chris Bartlett, 31, of Portland, who slept in his tent on the mountain recently.

“It’s prettier than some other glades. It’s got a lot of hard woods. And it’s not a joke of a mountain. It’s got good variety.”

In the past four years, the Angry Beavers have created 10 glades on the mountain and fashioned these tree-lined avenues so they are passable with just a foot of snow. By piling birch limbs over rocks and cutting thin trees down to eliminate “ground spears,” the Beavers have created manicured glades.

Where they lack the acreage of bigger ski mountains, the Beavers proudly point out they’ve got nearly 1,300 feet of tree skiing.

Not bad for a community-backed ski area.

“Our motto is we’re doing it for the kids. But I’m almost 70 and I ski it,” said Jerry Marcoux, 67, with a wink.

“We’re kind of trying to put the mountain on the map. Now, on a powder day, people are coming here.”

Marcoux is not only passionate about Black Mountain, he has gusto for the glades, as do all the Angry Beavers.

Jeff Marcoux, 42, travels two hours every weekend from his home in Wakefield, New Hampshire, during the winter months to ski the mountain with his father and his two young children.

Then in the summer, he comes every other weekend to help his father and others cut the glades. The Angry Beavers’ work crew puts in about 250 to 300 volunteer hours a year, he said.

The effort is all-consuming with no guarantee of saving the mountain, Jeff Marcoux said.

The Angry Beavers still say it’s worth it.

“I think one of the biggest assets the mountain has is the people,” said Pete LeCours, 53, of Mexico.

LeCours learned to ski glades just a few years ago with Jerry Marcoux. Now he’s an Angry Beaver.

“A lot of people want to ski groomed terrain, but this offers another challenge,” LeCours said.

“And it’s very safe here. Since we opened the glades, nobody has gotten hurt. We’re trying to add something special to the mountain.”