Belleayre officially opens for 60th season

By Jay Braman Jr.
It’s official. Belleayre Ski Center is open for the season. Mother Nature finally sent the needed cold weather to the Northeast last week, along with five inches of natural snow over the weekend enabling Belleayre to open for its 60th season.
And so far, Belleayre remains the only ski center in the region to be open for business. Windham plans to open on Thursday, Dec. 10. At press time; Hunter Mountain was hoping to be open later in the week. Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury is shooting for an opening on Saturday, Dec. 12.
“Due to the earlier unseasonably warm weather, we’ve chosen to spend a few extra days making snow, spreading out and developing a base, and plan to open Thursday or Friday of next week,” said Hunter spokeswoman Jessica Pezak.
“In the grand scheme of things, it seems wiser to us to use this weather to the best of our ability — and that, for Hunter, is using it for snowmaking, grooming, and to give our customers deeper base and more terrain.”
Last weekend there were only three ski areas in New York State that were open and all are owned and operated by the state. Gore and Whiteface, both in the Adirondacks, were open as was Belleayre.
Also, only three ski areas in Vermont reported being open last weekend.
The old adage in the Catskill Mountains is that winter cannot start until the streams are full. Torrential rainfall last week filled the streams and the cold air poured in immediately after. Since then, the snow guns have been firing around the clock, blanketing the trails with an abundance of new snow.
“And each night, enough snow will be made to open more trails and varying terrain to skiers and riders so check in every day to find out what’s available for your winter enjoyment,” said Belleayre spokesman J. Blake Killin.
In a telephone interview Saturday, Killin said that once Belleayre opened it didn’t take very long for the word to spread.
“We’re going full blazes up here,” he said. “The parking lot is full.”