Friends of Bobcat seek revival of popular Andes ski mountain

Public input welcome at Feb. 9 meeting
By Brian Sweeney
A community meeting seeking input on a proposed “redevelopment” of Bobcat Ski Center will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9 beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the ski area’s lodge.
Bobcat has not operated for the past two seasons. However, management is hoping to get the community involved to bring back the family-oriented ski mountain with an eye on year-round use.
The Margaretville-based M-ARK Project is initiating the plans to once again make Bobcat a viable facility.
“Our ultimate goal is to redevelopment on a small, family-friendly scale,” explained M-ARK Executive Director Joan Lawrence-Bauer. “None of us is naïve enough to believe that we can bring back Bobcat to the way it was.”
She added, “We don’t know what the Bobcat of the 21st century will look like, but we do know that we want small scale and family friendly.”
Because Bobcat has always enjoyed the loyal support of a core group of skiers, community input is being sought from these folks and local business representatives.
The February 9 session will be “a visioning meeting for what people would like to see Bobcat be,” Ms. Lawrence-Bauer explained.
The supporters of the project have been dubbed “Friends of Bobcat.”
The resort, which traces its origins to 1963 as Catskill Ski Area, was owned and operated for many years by the McIntosh family of Bovina Center. In the late 1980s, the property was sold to Seymour Schuman, a Long Island-based entrepreneur whose family has a home in Bovina.
Mr. Schuman’s son-in-law, Jack Brennan was very active in helping operate the mountain but he passed away several years ago. Mr. Schuman also recently died and his daughter, Marian, is primarily responsible for the mountain. Chuck and Roger McIntosh have provided management duties for the Schumans since the ownership change. The McIntosh family and the Schumans have indicated that they are willing to assist in any manner in the redevelopment project.
“The visioning meeting will be open to anyone who cares about Bobcat and Andes,” Ms. Lawrence-Bauer invited.
She said that from 1:30-3 p.m. the meeting will start with music, refreshment, activities for kids and the sharing of Bobcat memorabilia.
The formal visioning session, in which the community provides input and ideas, will run from 3-4:30 p.m. a potluck supper will begin at 4:30 p.m. Anyone attending the dinner is invited to bring a dish to pass.
Visitors are welcome to arrive for all or any portion of the meeting.
Abby Brannen-Wilson, a member of the McIntosh family, will serve as the official spokesperson for the Friends of Bobcat.
“I am excited about the possibility of redeveloping Bobcat. I would love to see Bobcat become a thriving part of our community again. I grew up at Bobcat, I celebrated my wedding day there, and I want to teach my kids how to ski there. The meeting on February 9 will give Friends of Bobcat a chance to share their memories, what they miss, and what they hope Bobcat can offer in the future,” she stated.
Another family member, Chuck McIntosh said he’s also very enthusiastic about the possibility of Bobcat returning as a ski center.
It’s something that our family had always done. We think that Bobcat is a very important to our local communities and the economy. It’s important to me to see the kids get back to skiing there,” he noted.
Ms. Lawrence-Bauer said that M-ARK will assist in getting the planning underway and then hopes to spin in off to whatever type of organization evolves from the planning sessions.
She said that M-ARK will likely apply for a grant to assist with a feasibility study to help determine a possible business model for Bobcat’s revamped operation.