Belleayre, Well Done.

My seasonal ski resume always seems to have a hole in it until I can check off a box next to each Catskill resort, and I finally made it around the horn with a trip to Belleayre this past weekend.


I wasn’t sure what to expect, as we haven’t been hit by a storm in weeks. The outlook seemed good based on the snow report showing 90 percent of the mountain open.

I wondered, with the transition to the new ORDA team, could I expect an Olympic performance from a humble Catskills ski hill?


Belleayre, like Plattekill, often gets the benefit of lake effect. This bonus snow can go unreported if it’s an inch or less. I’ve always felt those micro-snows, plus the extra few inches when real storms come through, add up. The Western Catskills can push 200 inches by the end of the season, as locals know, from brushing off their cars each morning.

Scouting all-natural areas I found a pretty solid base, but the proof of quality was in the pudding’s manmade surface. There had to have been some natural mixed in as surfaces were sweet.


The day was characterized by edgeable snow and a full house with buses and cars filling up the parking lots.

We spent the morning cranking out wide arcs on Peekamoose and Seneca, kicking up plumes on each turn. Not content with a single trail or technique, we decided to check out some moguls. Tongora and Onteora were both serving up some Vdub sized options, but more important than size was the fact that they were edgeable.


Keeping with the Olympic theme, there was coaching and racing going on just about everywhere I looked. In the park, a coach took notes about the tricks his freestylers threw off the berm, there were two slalom set-ups on Yahoo, and a very official looking race on Dot Nebel. Watching talented racers is a thrill, but it can be a mixed blessing when your favorite trail is occupied all day.

We stuck around on Tomahawk skiing the normally overlooked terrain on that side. Because of a hiccup with the Superchief, even normally deserted spots were getting some traffic.

I have never been a big fan of the hand-held scanners that lifties use to check passes, but Belleayre was able to redeem the devices by directing traffic better than the ATC at JFK.  They managed the crowd and held cheaters and cutters accountable. If this came from ORDA, I wish they’d open a school for a line management. Lines never got too bad and you could always tell that your turn was coming up.


The final plum may have been poaching the old poma line. There were quite a few skiers hitting it, and the snow was nice cut pow. The day couldn’t have been any better, as I scored a Ski3 trifecta: wicked fast groomers, big soft moguls, and even a little bit of pow.

Well done, Belleayre.

9 comments on “Belleayre, Well Done.

  1. Great read. Glad to hear you had a good time and I’m impressed with your comment about the hand held scanners! Can’t wait for my trip down to the Catskills this season, either!

  2. Heard Dot Nebel was closed for racing, Sorry Belle but big mistake, Dot is the one trail that is consistent from top to bottom. Most Belle skiers I go with lap it for 4-5 runs. Everything else starts with a decent head wall and then levels. Good stuff but don’t block the Dot.

  3. I think the Dot has got some of the same mystique that Twister has at Gore. Seems like people always want what is out of reach. I’ve skied Gore for ten years an got maybe 20-30 runs on Twister, primarily because they use it for racing.

    IMO racing is a fact of life at ski hills. Think about it this way: all those visitors and skiers driving mountain revenue but hardly using any terrain.

    Love that pic of the monster snowmaking whale. It’s a new sport.

  4. Uh, where’s the Poma line? I’ve skied there about 10-12 times and have never heard of it until now.

  5. Chris H – The Poma line is also known as “Big T” glade, its towards the bottom of the hill accessible from the Tomahawk lift.

  6. Great post-what do you consider to be your circuit for the catskills (Platte, Belle, Hunter and Windham)? I am curious because those places are all day-tripable for me, so I’d be interested in the list.

    I was at Belleayre on Monday, 2-3 (took off from work!). There were about 20-30 cars on the entire mountain, 3 inches of powder came down, and to top it off, the sky cleared up to showcase the great views. At lunch at overlook, me and my friend chatted up the very nice employee (his name is Sage), as we were the only ones eating there.

    Only Tomahawk and Superchief were running outside of the learning area, but it was a great day. I ran Dot Nebel 6-7 times, and on most runs there was no one else on the trail. (BTW – is pronounced “D O T” or “dot” (like polka-dot?).

    I haven’t skied double blacks at Belle primarily because those all seem to have the same pitch as the blacks, but with HUGE moguls. As I am very much learning and have little experience with them, I try to avoid moguls on steeps. I accidentally went down a black with huge moguls and had to make a few turns and then sidestep (sorry for damaging the bumps, but it was Monday, so I am sure it is already fixed by mother nature).

  7. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Dom – I don’t have a default circuit, I always play it by ear for the day. They all have their various plusses, I hope you can ski them all this season as well.

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