ORDA seeks input on mountain operation

By Jay Braman Jr.
With the ski season all but over, the staff at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center is already looking ahead to the 2013-14 season and they want your input.

Belleayre, which was run by New York State from the time it was built in 1949, underwent a management change last fall when that responsibility was handed to the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) which runs the state’s two other ski centers in the Adirondacks.
In November, ORDA officials made it clear that they wanted to let Belleayre run the way it had always been for the first season before considering any changes.

Now, according to Belleayre’s Alexandra Jarrette-Sines, it’s time to mull those changes over and ORDA needs the help of skiers and the local business community to do it.

Learning season
“This season has been a learning season for all of us and we would like to get your feedback,” she said in a prepared statement on Monday. “Once the season comes to a close we will be requesting that you participate in a brief survey and send us all of your feedback both positive and negative.”
ORDA and Belleayre will also be getting a little help from the New York State Comptroller. Last month State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced he will launch a full financial audit of ORDA after a report by his office found that financial issues persist at a time when its operations have been expanded to include Belleayre Mountain Ski Center.

Regardless of its various issues, skiing continues, at least through this coming weekend. Warm temperatures closed the mountain Monday through Wednesday, April 10, Jarrette-Sines said, but promised that skiing will resume on Thursday and run at least through Sunday. But with days getting warmer it remains unclear how much longer visitors can enjoy spring skiing.
“We have not yet decided on a closing date but will reevaluate next weekend,” she said.
As an added incentive, Belleayre has changed the rates for April 13 and 14 to a $29 special ticket.

“We will also be honoring midweek passes for the weekend,” Jarrette-Sines said.
If this coming weekend ends the season, Belleayre will go out with a splash. The mountain will hold its first-ever Pond Skimming, Slush Cup contest on Saturday. Costumes are recommended but not required. Also on tap is an 80s retro weekend the 13th and 14th and everyone is encouraged to come out for the weekend with big hair, rock and roll outfits and straight skis.