Angry lodging bureau members fired complaints at ORDA

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By Jay Braman Jr.
Reacting to a winter of discontent brought on by empty rooms in local lodging industry, the new management at Belleayre is working on developing promotions for the upcoming holiday weekend.
On Monday interim Belleayre Superintendent Tom Tar was tight lipped about what they had in store, but said that he understood that there was anxiety in the business community over the way this ski season has been going.

Following a meeting last week with the membership of the Belleayre Region Lodging and Tourism Association, during which some of the rank and file expressed concerns over business being down from the dismal 2011-2012 ski season, leaders from the Olympic Regional Development Association (ORDA) said they were committed to making things better, but asked for a little more time since they have only been in charge for a little while.

Tar, who was named interim superintendant two months ago after being assistant superintendant under Tony Lanza, who was fired last spring, said Monday that both ORDA and Belleayre staff are working on the matter.

“The transition (to ORDA Management) only happened in November,” he said.

More marketing money
Business owners, like Michelle Sidrane, who runs the Breezy Hill Inn in Fleischmanns, complain that she must spend more on marketing this year because of the reduction in marketing at Belleayre.
In a letter to ORDA, Sidrane said longstanding promotions, such as the advertising done by Potter Brothers Ski Shop in Kingston at the entrance of Route 28, have gone by the wayside. “It is as if Belleayre no longer exists,” she wrote.

Instead, Potter Brothers now boasts discount lift tickets for nearby Hunter and Windham ski centers and another facility located in Vermont.

And, as ORDA struggles along during this ski season, they are also looking ahead to the summer months, and on Monday heard from Mel Liftoff, the executive and artistic director of the Belleayre Music Festival.

Liftoff said the meeting was a successful one, adding that not only will the unique public/private partnership between the festival and Belleayre continue, but ORDA has even offered a bit more than what the festival has been given in the past. “It is full steam ahead,” Litoff said. “We have full support.”

Not only does the relationship between Belleayre Mountain and the festival remain the same as it had been when the state Department of Environmental Conservation ran Belleayre, Liftoff said ORDA has committed marketing help and will seek out corporate sponsorship for the festival.