With all of this talk about does it ski big or small reminds me that I've never not had fun at belle. Or pretty much any other time I've skiied for that matter. And lots of the daily visitors to belle are not comparing it to Whiteface or a bigger mtn. They are happy they can ski a Catskill mountain with a homey family vibe. The millions NY state is dumping into Belle is a drop in the bucket compared to the money the state waste on failing programs as it is. At least this one is skiing related.
From my perspective, Belleayre and Plattekill both feel like almost like "mid-size" ski areas in comparison to my home mountain, Massanutten, and places in PA. Only skied Belle and Platty one day each so far. The vertical at Mnut is 1100, but only 75 acres total, 4 lifts with 2 from the base for beginners. There are two blacks with about 825 vert off the lift to the summit that take 2-3 min to finish for an advanced skier, maybe 5 min for an intermediate. Platty also has 75 acres but skis way bigger, plus there are skiable trees.
Most places in PA are under 1000 vert but can have several lifts that make a place look relatively big . . . to beginners/intermediates who have never skied at a big mountain. Essentially no ungroomed terrain. Can imagine that some of those PA/NJ skiers would think the chance to ride up a gondola at Belleayre would make it worth the drive.
With all of this talk about does it ski big or small reminds me that I've never not had fun at belle. Or pretty much any other time I've skiied for that matter.
I've never skied belle, and I'm pretty sure I never will. But I agree with Louie on this. I ski a small vert hill and love it when the snow is good. And when the snow is shit I'm glad I'm on a small hill
Some of the best skiers I've ever skied with came from small mountains. I'm talking about ranked racers and competition level bumpers and freestylers. It's not the vert, the acreage or the reputation of a mountain that makes a good skier. It's not the terrain you ski but how you ski it. Even a beginner slope can be skied in an expert fashion. PSIA candidates sometimes fail examinations because a required task could not be satisfactorily completed at slow speed on easier terrain. By the way, a lot of PSIA instructors (and examiners) come from smaller mountains. Every mountain has its strong points and weak points. The best mountain is usually the one where you spend most of your time because that's mountain where you develop and hone your skills to become a better skier.
I think they read my post because the webcam is now fixed. Appears the pit they are digging for the base terminal is mostly done and they're preparing to set tower 3 (the first support tower). Towers 1 and 2 will be the initial hold downs out of the bottom terminal.
I also noticed that they cut down an area of trees behind there to make more space for skiers due to the gondola terminal taking up much of the width in that location. The terminal appears to be about the same place as the first tower on the double double is.
Sno, are you excited to ride the Catskill Thunder?
As any lift geek would be, I am looking forward to being the one of the first to ride one the gondola at Belleayre. It is the first gondola built in NY since 1999 and the first built in the east since 2006.
According to liftblog, Belleayre will be the smallest resort in the country to have a gondola at only 170 acres.