When I think about skiing near NYC, Belleayre Mountain Ski Center usually isn’t on my radar.
But thanks to a great deal from OvRride, a bus company that specializes in bus trips to ski resorts from New York City, I was able to try out this surprisingly impressive mountain.
While being smaller in comparison to the neighboring Hunter Mountain, Belleayre boasts a large variety of trails with plenty of black diamonds for experienced skiers.
We booked the bus adventure about two weeks in advance.
On the day of our trip, my wife dropped my cousin and I off in the middle of Times Square in NYC where the ski company makes its pickups before getting into the Lincoln Tunnel to head to upstate NY.
Thankfully it was early so we didn’t have to deal with any busy crowds in what is one of the busiest places in the world.
We hopped on the bus where they served us bagels with cream cheese. The bus also had a small bathroom and reclining seats for those of us who wanted to catch a few winks before getting to the mountain.
The bus trip up was relatively quiet. We arrived at the mountain around 9 a.m. and were immediately given these cards which looked like gift cards. I figured we’d use these to pay for our lift tickets. However, they ended up being all that we needed to ride and shred for the rest of the day.
A Convenient Mountain
Belleayre is super convenient in terms of the location of its parking lot, lodge and lifts. It’s pretty much all on one level so there’s no need to hike up a bunch of hills and stairs in your stiff ski boots to get to the lift for your first run. This was definitely a huge selling point for me.
The lodge was pretty typical, with a cafeteria on one side and bar on the other. It had the normal log cabin feel that most lodges that I’ve been to have and a full view of the lifts so you could see your loved ones skiing down while enjoying a beer at the bar.
My family and I suited up and headed up towards the gondola. I was shocked to see one of these in Belleayre since gondolas are normally in places like Vermont or out west.
While quick and more comfortable than regular lifts, gondolas are annoying because you always have to take your skis/board off before boarding. But enough of my complaints.
Before getting on the lift we noticed the high tech entrance gates at the front of the lift line. We were told to put those key cards that we were given earlier in one of our pockets and the gate would automatically scan us and open up for us to enter.
Thankfully it worked as expected and we were able to not have to deal with annoying lift tickets flapping all over the place in the wind while coming down the mountain. (make sure you have nothing else in your pocket or else the card won’t scan)
We got to the top of the mountain where there were about 4 or 5 other lifts and decided to take a blue down for our first run. It was a nice trail, but a little flat for snowboarders, so my cousin who rides wasn’t too happy.
The Crazy Lift
Many of the trails from the top of the mountain happen to be black diamonds. Most of them are pretty steep. Thankfully, the day that we skied, there was some fresh powder on the mountain so it made the steeper trails tolerable. We took a few runs and got back on at the Tomahawk lift where a lot of funny things happened.
The Tomahawk lift at Belleayre has to be the most dangerous and unpredictable lift I have ever been on. It does not slow down when it gets to the pickup area so it can give you whiplash when you sit on it.
My cousins and I, thanks to my clumsy leadership, ended up getting on the lift with other people in front of us. To explain it best, there was one guy waiting and we ran up behind him thinking he had already caught the lift. The lift grabbed us, then got to him, and he almost ended up on one of our laps.
The lift worker yelled at him to get back on the chair and he hilariously screamed “they won’t let me.” I’ll admit I was a bit clueless.
As if that wasn’t dumb enough, we actually did it again with two women in front of us. They were much more graceful about it. However, the lift worker was pretty pissed and he turned the lift off. We let them go and then took our chair after.
It is probably easier to let one chair go empty before you get on the Tomahawk lift.
Later on in the day, one of the other workers said the Tomahawk lift is tricky because it doesn’t slow down like normal lifts. So I guess we weren’t that foolish after all!
The skiing at Belleayre was great with the exception of one really icy trail that I got stuck on for a bit. My cousin took a few spills, but thankfully everyone was ok. It’s part of the game.
We broke for lunch, had some yummy cafeteria chicken tenders and fries, and went back up for a few more runs before the day ended.
The mountain also has a whole other side to it which we didn’t get to explore much due to time constraints. That area includes the Master Chief quad lift, jumps, and another set of black diamonds.
We finished out the day chilling out in the lodge and got back on the bus to head back to NYC at 4:30 p.m.
The bus was super packed on the way back due to a large amount of people who had stayed over-night catching a ride back with us who had made the day trip. That was kind of annoying and I ended up sitting next to a garbage bag full or trash for a bit.
One of the standouts of the bus trip home was the chaperone who will remain anonymous for now. He sounded like a native New Yorker and he had a Brooklyn neighborhood-like personality.
Before getting back into Manhattan, he told us that he didn’t want to use foul language when describing how the drop off in Times Square would be. He then hilariously told us sorry guys but this is going to be a “bit of a cluster f***.”
He reminded me of some of my family members which I got a kick out of.
There was also a lot of funny banter between him and the bus driver. They argued about a motorcycle and suggestions for new drop off locations for the company other than Times Square.
Times Square is probably not the best place to perform pickups. I have to agree with my blunt-speaking friend on that one.