Belleayre Mountain set to open

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By Jay Braman Jr.
Belleayre Mountain Ski center has taken advantage of the chilly temperatures of late and spread enough man-made snow on its slopes to set an opening date of this Friday, Nov. 29.
And, according to General Manager Tom Tar, it will be different than in previous years.
“We’re having the biggest opening we’ve ever had,” said the Belleayre veteran.
Tar said Monday that not only has the recent big freeze been a stroke of luck, but it was compounded by the fact that this year Belleayre has a more effective snow making system.
As a result, several slopes will be open Friday as opposed to previous years when it was only one, and that one being open only halfway up to the top of the mountain.

Hoping for more
Plus, Tar is crossing his fingers and ski poles to bring more luck this week in the form of natural snow, but at press time it was too soon to tell what Mother Nature may bring with nightfall into Wednesday, Nov. 27, when a major storm was set to hit the northeast. It could be rain, but it could also be snow, perhaps even a bit of both.
Regardless, Belleayre will boast an impressive list of seven trails in use come Friday including Ashokan, Horseshoe Pass, Mohawk, Onondaga, Wanatuska, Onteora, and Iroquois.
Since the close of last season, Belleayre has begun to upgrade more of the snowmaking on mountain. Four submersible pumps that supply the mountain’s water were replaced along with 9,000 feet of air and water lines that will allow it to increase water pressure and further improve snowmaking efficiencies. Twenty-five low-energy guns, including 10 new SMI Polecat Fan Guns, have been added to the mountain’s arsenal and will further increase snowmaking capabilities and energy efficiency for the upcoming season. A Winch Cat Groomer has been added to the Belleayre grooming fleet, which will enhance the grooming especially on the steeper trails.
Plus renovations to The Discovery Lodge are currently underway. The cafeteria-style food service will be replaced with a more modern food court, and an enhanced menu. Tar said this would make a large impact on the overall flow for customers in the lodge and alleviate some of the lines/bottlenecking at the cash registers.

Hoping for more
Along with the changes to the cafeteria and upgrades in food and food services, the mountain will boast a new fleet of rental equipment. As part of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), the rental fleet will more than likely be similar to those of ORDA’s other ski areas, Gore and Whiteface in the Adirondacks. A new plus this year, along with the improved rental fleet, will be the addition of helmets to the rental packages.
And that’s not all.
“A lift improvement that our beginners are sure to appreciate is the replacement of the handle tow (Lift #5) on Running Bear, to a state-of-the-art magic carpet,” Tar added.
For more information call Belleayre at 254-5600 or 800-942-6904.