ORDA no show leaves questions with lodging bureau membership

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By Jay Braman Jr.
Jack Jordan, a Shandaken Town Councilman, was disappointed recently when there was a conspicuous absence at a recent meeting of the Belleayre Region Lodging and Tourism Association.
For association members, every year around this time thoughts turn toward the winter and ski season. The association always worked well with former Belleayre Ski Center Superintendent Tony Lanza, who always attended the meetings and worked hand and hand with the association to make the season as successful as could be.

But Lanza is gone, and Belleayre itself is poised to be taken over by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), which is based up in Lake Placid in the Adirondacks.
With uncertainty being the climate nowadays, Jordan wished that someone from ORDA would have been there to shed a little light on what was going to happen.
But that was not the case.

“Its unfortunate that no one from ORDA was at the meeting,” Jordan said at a Monday night town board meeting. “There were a number of questions that needed to be answered that only they can answer. Hopefully they will be in the near future.”

Ski program future
Supervisor Rob Stanley added to that sentiment, announcing that the town’s popular ski program, which gives Shandaken residents deeply discounted opportunities to use the slopes at Belleayre, might not happen this year under ORDA.
Stanley expects to discuss the matter with ORDA officials this week.

These concerns follow an announcement made by ORDA CEO Ted Blazer on August 29 in which he addressed concerns that many in the region are “nervous about.”

In that letter Blazer said the process of taking over Beleayre “is not as easy as some might think,” but that he hopes to put peoples minds at ease. “….Snowmaking will definitely take place at Belleayre this season and will take place at times when management sees clearly that there is a proper window of time with weather patterns that makes sense to do so,” wrote Blazer.

Ski school continues
“Belleayre Ski School programs will continue as well as the exemplary children’s programming. We are working with the marketing team to come up with new and interesting promotions to continue to grow Belleayre in to the future. We will be looking at the mountain for places to add terrain elements for riders and skiers to enjoy. We basically are looking to operate similarly to how we operate our other mountains with great snow, great programs and fun times.”