HIGHMOUNT — The announcement that the state is moving ahead with plans to buy 1,200 acres of Catskill Mountains land from a Shandaken developer is drawing both support and opposition in the community.
The land sale is part of an agreement made in 2007 between the state, several environmental groups and government agencies and Crossroads Ventures, the developer of the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park.
That deal calls for the state the to buy and protect the 1,200 acres in exchange for the developer reducing the size of the proposed resort. The agreement was reached after eight years of review of the original proposal, with no end to the process in sight at the time.
Earlier this month, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the approval of a contract for the land purchase. DiNapoli had held up the transaction in the spring of 2010, saying the asking price, $6.3 million at the time, was above market value.
Last week, two disparate groups issued statements on the plan, which calls for the state to write a check to developer Crossroads Ventures for $5.6 million. Each pointed to the recent flooding in the town of Shandaken as relevant to the matter, but for different reasons.
While the Catskill Heritage Alliance, which opposes the resort plan, warned that large-scale development on mountains will make future flooding worse, the Coalition to Save Belleayre, which supports the resort, says building up the adjacent Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, which also is part of the deal, is now more important than ever after the critical role the state-owned ski center played in the aftermath of recent Tropical Storms Irene and Lee.
Alliance spokesman Steve Kent said Irene was the third “100 year” local flood in the past 15 years and serves as warning that weather patterns are changing and that development must be planned in a way that protects against the real threat of more extreme storms, rather than put the region at more risk.
I'm not sure of them, but I'm not really sure of Gore or Whiteface numbers either.
One time I skied with Tony Lanza, the GM at Belleayre. It was a busy Saturday in January. We were on a lift together, and he got on his radio and asked somebody on the other end: "What's the number so far?"
The voice on the other end of the radio said "54." I asked him what that meant. He said they had 5400 skier visits. It was around 10:30 or 11. Maybe he was bullshitting me, but it seemed believable at the time. The place was crowded.
DEC has claimed annual numbers above 170,000.
With regard the percentage of tickets that are paid ... that's the controversy. Some competitors claim that as many as 10% of Bell skier visits are freebies.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
I recall that WF did about 230k skiers this past year. Since WF has a much longer season of maybe a months more ski days + some that would mean both WF and Bell are doing the same the rest of the season. WF stays pretty darn busy during the week due to the destination business it gets.
The other way to reality check this is look at the parking lots - does Bell have any where near the parking capacity that WF does? 5400 people means close to 3000 cars when you factor in staff. When you do the math something doesn't smell right about these numbers.
A unusable skier always shows his lack of knowledge, Belleayre ski season is about the same as Whiteface and Gore. I have been to Belleaye when the Main parking lot was full , parking lot up above by the Tomahawk lift was full . Lower parking and Maintance garage areas was full and cars all the way out past Jimmy Belleayre's to route 28 and the only thing overcrowded was the Lodges. That day was the Sat that Hunter and Windham lost power after the Feb 2010 storm and Someone said 7500 skiers.
Want to spend special time with your children, teach them to ski or snowboard. The reward will be endless!
as i said I've never been to bell and don't ever expect to
the numbers seem high but if you guys say the are right - ok. I admit maybe I've been wrong and its a better ski area than I thought.
how can a mt with only 1000 or so vert have a upper and lower mt???
now the big question if they almost the same ski days as WF how can they possibly be losing money??? They have much less snow to blow, lifts to run, and can't need as many employees, etc. This place must have been massively mismanaged.