Tom Tar named GM at Belleayre

By Jay Braman Jr.
The former Assistant Superintendent at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center has been named acting general manager of the facility by its new operators.

The announcement was made earlier this week by Ted Blazer, President and Chief Executive officer of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).
ORDA has taken over the running of Belleayre from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Blazer, who was expected to address the crowd this Wednesday Morning at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce meeting in Kingston, took time from preparing his remarks beforehand to talk about Tar’s appointment.

“Tom has been working closely with ORDA throughout the transition,” Blazer said. “He has a nice feel for the mountain and the community. He’ll be serving the mountain as the acting General Manager this season and I’m very pleased with what we’ve seen from him so far.”

Thrilled with promotion
Tar said Tuesday that he was thrilled with being given the challenge of bringing Belleayre into a new era.

“It’s work that I love to do,” he said. “I’m very excited about it and I’m happy to be working with ORDA, who have been helping in this transition since the summer.”

Tar is no stranger to Belleayre. He began working there way back in 1978 as a ski instructor, then rising to director of the Ski School nine years later. He ran the school until 2002, when he was made assistant superintendent under Belleayre’s most recent top dog, Tony Lanza.

Lanza, however, had a fall from grace earlier this year just as the transition from DEC rule to ORDA rule began when Governor Cuomo announced that he wanted the facility handed over to the Authority.

Emily DeSantis, a spokesperson for the State Department of Environmental Conservation, explained Lanza’s departure.

“DEC is in possession of information that warrants Mr. Lanza’s dismissal,” she said. “As this is a personnel matter, we cannot provide more information.”
Lanza, who Senator John Bonacic once said “was the best thing to ever happen to Belleayre since snow,” was known for his marketing prowess.

Lanza was also known for keeping the State run facility closely connected to the communities in the region that surround Belleayre, most notably during the Tropical Storm Irene disaster last year, when he turned Belleayre into a temporary shelter for those displaced by the damage and also made the Mountain the local headquarters for FEMA as officials from that agency worked to sort out the aftermath of the flooding.

ORDA boss Blazer said that he will let Tar run Belleayre for the entire 2012-2013 ski season so ORDA decision makers can see what works at the ski center and what doesn’t. Then they will take things from there.