Belleayre Mountain closes after a great season

By Jay Braman Jr.
Despite having plenty of skiable snow left, Belleayre Mountain Ski Center closed down its 2009-2010 season on Sunday. Superintendent Tony Lanza said that several factors, including a couple of late-season monster snowstorms, contributed to this being a season to remember.
“Thanks to everyone who made this year one of the best ever,” he said Monday. “And for all the super-hardcores out there, we still have snow if you are willing to hike to earn your turns.”
March is always a touchy time of year. Ski centers like Belleayre plan on making it through mid April before having to shut the lifts down, but Mother Nature does not always cooperate.
This year the weather had no effect on how long Belleayre stayed open.
Lanza generally shoots for keeping the lifts running until the third week of April. But the number of skier visits determined how long they stayed open.
Regardless, Lanza said this was the third-best season Belleayre has ever had.
“We had 169,163 visitors,” he said. “That is nine percent over last year.”
“And don’t forget, we started late,” he added, referring to the decision to delay opening as a cost-saving measure.
After a slow Christmas week and even slower Martin Luther King weekend, Lanza said that his staff beefed up the marketing. That and some late season snow did the trick.
But eventually, most skiers begin thinking of other things when the grass on their lawns starts to become green.
“Belleayre usually runs out skiers before it runs out of snow,” he said, placing some fault for that on the broadcast media in New York State.
Lanza notes that out west spring skiing is cherished and the media keeps skiers up to date on the conditions. But in New York, he said, media interest in skiing melts away long before the snow does.