After reports of a 50-degree Saturday followed by an overcast and cold Sunday morning, we were expecting things to take a while to soften up on Easter Sunday, so my wife, son, and I showed up at 10:30 to an absolutely desolate Belleayre. There couldn't have been 20 cars in the lower parking lot and maybe 30 in the upper one. Here's the Overlook Lodge side room, which is usually filled with people on a typical weekend:
With the wife deciding to stay in the lodge and finish our taxes, my son and I found the upper mountain mostly locked up and scratchy except on trails that had a bit of traffic, so we did a handful of laps on the perfectly soft lower-mountain beginner's terrain. I'm the last person to complain about the speed of lifts but wow, that old double down there is SLOW.
My son had never seen or been on a gondola before so he was excited to check it out. We got on with a few other people and heard from them as well as several others later how much they loved it. Like many others on NYSB, I couldn't figure out the reason for an expensive lift like that to cover 1,400 vertical feet (and I'm not a fan of gondolas in general), but based on anecdotal evidence, it seems to have made a lot of veteran customers happy -- people who ski Belle a lot but aren't the type to post on a ski forum -- and attracted a bunch of new ones.
We were getting a bit tired of the loud snow on the upper mountain (even on flat trails like Deer Run) and gray skies, and were even contemplating packing it in for the day, but after finishing lunch at 1:15, the sunshine had come out, softened the snow, and brightened our mood. A shame that we couldn't have had the previous day's weather and the party on the patio, but better late than never.
The trail right under the HSQ, Belleayre Run, was in perfect shape, did it five times in a row.
Especially fun was taking advantage of a nice market differentiator for Belle: lots of low-angle bumps. Always great to see skiers of all skill levels and ages enjoying themselves here and making noise as if they were skiing through a foot of fresh powder.
Kids as young as five were out slaying them, often with impressive technique:
So while the first half of the day was forgettable, the afternoon rallied and put us in the right frame of mind for our favorite Catskills restaurant, the Peekamoose on Route 28 featuring Manhattan-level cuisine, service, and decor with none of the attitude.
Especially noteworthy are the fantastic beer selection in the tap room and the desserts -- we went for the pumpkin caramel pudding and goat-milk cheesecake. A great place to hit after skiing Belle or Plattekill.
Never understood why peekamoose didn't open until 5. Passed by it many times because it wasn't open yet and not willing to wait.
Same here and I told five different people there yesterday that on weekends during ski season they have to open the pub no later than 3 (instead of the scheduled 4 pm) and advertise it (!) because people leaving Belle and Platte want to stop somewhere pleasant on the way back to the Thruway.