Category Archives: Plattekill
In April of this year the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) unveiled the most recent unit management plan (UMP) for Belleayre Ski Center. It included a recommendation for $74M in upgrades over the next several years. At the same time they released a revision of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Belleayre Resort development.
The UMP for the Belleayre Ski Center calls for the construction of three new lifts, refurbishing two others, cutting 16 new ski trails (primarily at Highmount) and upgrading the ski center’s snowmaking infrastructure. The plan also includes a new lodge, expansion of both the Discovery and Sunset Lodges and several parking lots.
In its current form, the Belleayre Resort project includes plans for two hotels, 270 hotel rooms, 250 fractional units and an 18-hole golf course. The most recent proposal is about half the size of the original and would be privately funded.
The EIS estimates that the Belleayre Resort would create 771 full-time and seasonal jobs with $25M in annual payroll. It’s also estimated that an additional 264 jobs would be created from the economic impact of the resort. Precise numbers aside, no one would argue the point: this public and private investment is going to produce economic development along the “Onteora Trail.”
No two ski seasons are ever the same, even if the locations remain a constant. I spent another closing day at Plattekill this year, but I didn’t wear my Yankees hat, or even ski in a t-shirt like so many other times.
On our first ride up, the trees were encased in thick ice, evidence of a freezing mist that had blown through a couple of days earlier. Conditions started relatively fast but were quick to soften. There was no White Ribbon of Death, the snow was simply too forgiving.
Beyond the unseasonable weather, it was classic Plattekill. We were practically alone on the hill. The other cars in the lot certainly didn’t add up to lift lines or entangled skiers on the slopes.
Spring was sure to make an appearance at some point this month, but it was hard to believe that hot on the heels of one of the biggest dumps of the season we’d be skiing without our shells.
After devouring the pow harvest from my desk on Friday, my brother and I were champing at the bit to ski. Our enthusiasm spread, and we ended up back at Plattekill with several others who came to the mountain for the first time.
I didn’t have to look in the rearview mirror to see the quizzical looks as we drove past Belleayre. I could feel the lasers bouncing off of my neck and quickly pointed out that when skiing, going the extra mile is often worth the effort.
Ski Day 12: In the early days, ski areas were high elevation places, where snow accumulated and trees were cleared to create an open slope where people climbed up, and skied down.
In the mid-1930′s, enterprising individuals — like Carl Schaefer — pushed the ski area concept to the next level. By using an automobile drivetrain attached to a pulley and rope system, they towed skiers up the slopes. Not limited to the amount of vert they could sidestep, skiers could get several runs in a day.
Later in the decade another noted New Yorker, Averell Harriman, pioneered the first chairlift at Sun Valley Idaho. Skiers traveled uphill in relaxed comfort. As time went on, skiing remained the core attraction, but became surrounded by hot cocoa, warming huts, ski school, parking lots, nightlife and slopeside condos.