Belleayre Ski Center will get a new gondola, base lodge upgrades and more trails, said Gov. Cuomo in an announcement today.
Over the last few weeks, local officials had complained that Belleayre was being neglected as the state announced millions for other centers, such as Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek and Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid. All three are state-owned and operated through the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
“Belleayre Mountain is one of the crown jewels of the Catskills and a major driver of the region’s tourism economy,” Cuomo said. “With this investment, we are supporting vital upgrades at this mountain to ensure it remains an unparalleled year-round recreation destination and continues to leverage economic growth for the entire region for generations to come.”
The main upgrade is a new high-speed gondola. A gondola is basically an enclosed chairlift. The new one at Belleayre will include 65 eight-person cabins and will transport guests to the summit in under six minutes. According to a press release from the governor, such a gondola would open up new recreation possibilities beyond downhill skiing, including: Nordic and cross country skiing at the summit of the mountain; year-round scenic gondola rides as sold at Whiteface and Gore mountains; mountain biking from the summit; and wedding and private party rentals at the summit.
There will also be improvements to the center’s two lodges, Discovery and Overlook.
The Discovery Lodge contains a children’s learning area, ski school areas, cafeteria, bathrooms, and a small bar/café. Improvements will increase its current seating capacity, retail space, increased food/beverage locations, and addition of office space.
The Overlook Lodge currently provides guest access and gathering at the lift points reaching upper mountain, and contains a cafeteria area as well as a bar and restaurant with an attached deck. Improvements in this area will expand increase seating capacity, storage and locker areas, daycare facilities, and expansion of food and beverage offerings.