Belleayre ticket is priceless

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To The Editor:
This letter is a response to the lament, “Seniors Losing Free Skiing Privileges” in last week’s paper.
“Privileges,” such as free skiing and numerous other discounts, are welcome perks granted to senior citizens. They serve perhaps, as monetary compensations to mitigate the harsh reality of aging and its inevitable, ultimate consequences. An analysis of the “privileges”’ however, encompasses much more than the issue of ORDA’s newly imposed fee to ski.

Research findings attest to dismal statistics. An alarming proportion of the over 70s population are sedentary, morbidly obese, host to a multitude of mental and physical infirmities and incapacitations. More over, skiers trekking to their weekend mountain destinations often have to contend with hours of driving in heavy traffic, the not negligible cost of lodging, food and equipment, plus the uncertainties of weather and snow conditions. Thus exhaustion, expense, perhaps disappointment may be the currency that undercuts a projected joy of skiing experience, commitment without a guaranteed pleasurable outcome.

In contrast, local skiers can revel in their often taken for granted privileges: living within a enviably convenient proximity of Belleayre, the availability of its friendly, helpful support staff not feeling isolated or alone among strangers—there are always familiar faces to greet, ski or hang out with. Being an agent, in control, having the option to pick and choose—whether to ski for a few hours, all day, midweek, weekends, in a range of snow conditions or only in fair weather on fresh powder days. This freedom of choice is a true privilege. For seniors especially, the most therapeutic privilege is having the opportunity to be outdoors, physically and psychologically engaged in a health promoting life-prolonging activity. These “privileges” cannot and will not be revoked.

It would be appropriate at this juncture to be relieved that we will be under the auspices of ORDA. With their expertise and experience in operating successful ski facilities, they have the capability that the DEC lacked, to make Belleayre bigger, better, more viable and perhaps, profitable, As the promise of Belleayre’s always anticipated opening day draws closer, skier enthusiasm and community optimism, in tandem with purposeful, informed stewardship will, hopefully, bring the renewal and economic revitalization that is so desperately needed to this area. A nominal, reasonable fee represents a balanced tradeoff. It should be considered a necessary tariff to help underwrite our shared goals and vision for the future of the mountain.

My advice (perhaps presumptuous) from on senior skier to another—stop sniping and perceiving your glass half empty. In relation to Belleayre, your glass is more that half full—it is overflowing with bounty and benefits. Rejoice, your season pass is worth much more that $250—it is priceless.
To paraphrase an ideal mantra that should be adopted, and incorporated to guide one’s mission and agenda for life’s undertakings: ask not what the mountain (or family, friends, government) can do for you. Rather ask what you can do to contribute to family, friends, your community; and country—and yes, to Belleayre Mountain.

Sindy Becker Ph.D,
Fleischmanns