Belleayre closes out season with Hall of Fame inductions
By Jay Braman Jr.
It wasn’t as well attended as Belleayre’s premier social event, known as the Snowball, but Saturday’s dinner honoring inductees to the ski center’s Hall of Fame was a good time had by all.
With cold temperatures outside, and hot Dixieland jazz inside, inductees Carl Lumbaca, Judy Shiner and Bill Hornbeck basked in the warmth of the region’s social set on the last weekend of the ski season.
It was the following day, in fact, that would be Belleayre’s last of the season despite the green light from Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) brass to stay open through the end of April.
On Monday Belleayre Superintendent Tony Lanza explained why the facility closed even though it was actually snowing outside the upper lodge Saturday night as the party raged on inside.
“It was great to have the support of DEC, but we just weren’t getting the visitors,” he said. “We have enough snow here to last until May, but the way the weather was shaping up for this week I couldn’t justify keeping open. It was my decision, and I hope I made the right one.”
On Saturday, however, no one was mourning the closure of the slopes for it was a time to celebrate three true friends of Belleayre.
Shiner is a Big Indian resident who has been a longtime Belleayre supporter. In addition to her work on the Board of Directors of the Belleayre Conservatory, Shiner has also been instrumental in producing the annual Snowball for the past 15 years. Joe Kelly, president of the Coalition to Save Belleayre, presented Shiner with her award.
Hornbeck, founder and executive director of the Amateur Ski Instructors Association, was presented his award by Tom Tar, Belleayre’s assistant superintendent.
Lumbaca, a Phoenicia resident, is a longtime employee of the DEC, which operates Belleayre. James McGrath, owner of Jimmy’s Ski Shop, presented Lumbaca with his award, noting that Lumbaca is not only a longtime friend of Belleayre but was also a championship skier in the 1960s, winning the Highmount Cup during that time.
“These honorees are being recognized for their contributions to Belleayre Mountain as well as the sport of skiing as a whole,” Lanza said. “Some of these honorees, as well as past honorees, have spent a lifetime devoted to making Belleayre Mountain as successful as it is today, while others enjoyed great success at Belleayre Mountain and went on to achieve great success in the sport of skiing.”
The Belleayre Conservatory now takes over the slopes, looking forward to its summer season featuring Bob Marley’s legendary band The Original Wailers, Abba the Tour with Mama Mia and more, and Mary Wilson of the Supremes and a 50th Anniversary of Motown celebration. Tickets for these acts and all others will go on sale April 15. Visit the Belleayre Music Festival’s Web site for a full concert listing and ticket purchasing info at www.belleayre music.org.