Created on “forever wild” lands by New York State in 1949, Belleayre Mountain opened its doors with just five trails and a rope tow. Now, more than 65 years later, they are a state-of-the-art skiing facility, having just added some exciting new improvements, and a year-round host for
festivals and summer biking, hiking, skyriding, and swimming. Belleayre is loved by the Catskill community and beyond, and their commitment to providing a fun time for real mountain lovers is evident in all of the services that they have to offer.
Marketing manager Joe McCracken, a Catskills native, has worked at the resort since 1999. “I’ve done all kinds of things from digging ditches to ticket sales and IT,” he says. “It’s been the time of my life. I love this mountain.”
He’s excited about Belleayre’s new Catskill Thunder Gondola. “We started it in early summer and it will be all done by mid-December,” he says. “You’ll be able to take your skis off and ride up the mountain in an enclosed cabin. It’s an eight-passenger gondola that gets you to the top of the mountain in seven minutes.”
The high-speed gondola will feature 60 of these cabins, taking passengers from the bottom of the mountain near Discovery Lodge all the way up to the summit. In addition to transporting skiers to the peak in a more efficient and comfortable way, the gondola will also allow cross-country skiers to access the summit for some incredible views and trails along the top of the mountain, and will provide gorgeous scenic rides in the summer.
Improvements at Belleyare have been steady over the last couple of years. There’s a new extension of the Deer Run trail, connecting the upper and lower
“We are truly a family mountain, and we have anything for everyone. For beginners, we have our Parallel From the Start program—by your third day, we’ll get you to the top of the mountain.”
mountains. The renovated cafeteria minimizes lines with a grab-n-go setup. The Tiger Den daycare has been moved next to the kidscamp, where youngsters can get four hours of instruction, lift tickets, and friendly supervision.
“We’ve also got a redesigned rental shop that helps the flow of activity,” says Joe. “And there are going to be a lot of improvements and extensions going forward—we’re in a planning phase.” Beginners will love the learning area, where over 100 qualified instructors teach all skill levels:
there are offerings for kids, teens, and adults ranging from beginner packages to private one-on-one clinics with pros. Slopes for beginners have been widened this past summer, almost doubling the space for skiers-in-training. There are a total of 171 skiable acres on the mountain: 50 trails, five glades, an Area 51 terrain park, two progression parks, and an X-course. There’s ample snowboarding, of course, and there are over nine kilometers of cross-country trails that are open when there’s natural snow, free of charge, covering breathtakingly beautiful territory.
Laid-back, casual, and friendly—a ski experience that’s all about the love of the sport and the great outdoors.
There are three lodges, located at the base, mid-mountain, and summit, so you’re never far from a place to grab a snack or rest for a bit. You’ll find barbecue at the Maple Smoke House, gourmet burgers and kettle chips at the Sunset Grill, and pub grub at the Groomer’s Pub and the Stone and Copper. And there’s the Belleayre vibe: laid-back, casual, and friendly—a ski experience that’s all about the love of the sport and the great outdoors. In 1995, 70,000 skiers and snowboarders came to play on the slopes; last year, the number was over 175,000, with visitors hailing from all over the world
“We take pride in going out of our way and helping customers, and we have the kind of great customers who make it all worth it,” says Joe. “It’s more about the experience than anything. We are truly a family mountain, and we have anything for everyone. For beginners, we have our Parallel From the Start program—by your third day, we’ll get you to the top of the mountain.
In reader polls from Ski magazine, we win for best grooming and best snow—that’s what we’re known for. That and moguls—we have a plethora of mogul terrain to go have fun on.”
belleayre mountain ski center
181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount