First time at Bellearye. I went on Monday 2015 APR 06 and I had a very good experience. There were a variety of trails for me to ski down and I thought the snow on the trails was good.
Weather: Upper-20s in morning with sun. Rose to mid to upper 50s during the day. It was mostly sunny all day. Once or twice, the cloud cover was significant, but such cover did not last long. Wind was not significant. It felt more gusty in the afternoon, but not too severe. No rain or snow at all.
Crowds: Light for most of the day. I rarely felt crowded. There were many times that I found myself alone on the slopes. The most people with me on a trail was about 6-7 other skiers/snowboarders, but that did not occur often.
Lift lines: Less than 1 minute wait at the three operating lifts (SuperChief [SC], Lift #2 [L2], Tomahawk [T]). SC is a high speed detachable quad with ~5m20s ride to the top. The L2 was a (much) slower 2-person lift for the beginner trails. Time to top was ~9m30s. The Tomahawk is a fixed grip quad. It was slower than the SC, but I did not time the travel to the top. The T did have a midway station where people could get off the lift and start skiing. (This is real good for those that did not wish to ski ♦ or ♦♦ trails and do not care for upper part of Deer Run.
Open Trails: Most open. There were some trails closed due to lack of snow on trail. The terrain parks were closed. I did not notice if the beginning areas (Little Creek, Beginning Flats Learning Area) were open.
Snow conditions: Very good in morning and somewhat soft. The corduroy in the morning felt similar to passing rumble strips in a car. Felt slushy/heavy at spots by the afternoon. At a few spots puddles of water formed. On Roaring Brook this left a relatively large area with ice and/or water to pass through (located after Horseshoe Pass merges into Roaring Brook and just before the entrance to X-course traill. This effectively closed these two trails (Roaring Brook and Horseshoe Pass) for me, since I did not wish to pass through the ice/water section again. Very little ice on the trails. I could see areas of ice forming while riding the SC on the moguls and trails below. Ice was primarily in the spots were the snow was either scraped away or worn down by traffic. If there were many skiers/snowboarders, this could have been a bigger problem.
The snow near the Overlook Lodge (especially in the transition area between the upper and lower trails -- between the pump house and the lodge) was getting dirty and/or thin. I had to take some care which path I took on my way to return to the SC.
I arrived about 8:35 and passed the lower parking area, since I wanted to park on the overlook lodge to be closer to the intermediate trail ends. Unfortunately I needed to drive down to the lower parking area to get rentals.
The parking lot was large. It has some pot holes, especially in the unpaved areas. One would need to exercise caution driving though the lot. Parking was easy since not many people had parked. I grabbed a spot near the entrance.
Overlook lodge looked nice, although a bit rustic (in a nice way) in look. I liked the lit fireplace in the main room. The facilities were clean and the locker area for personal belongings was large. Compared to Blue Mountain, PA, the lodge seemed older. The rental facility was efficient and the staff were helpful. The rental building seemed new. Perhaps when they started using Rossignol equipment, they built the rental center.
The mountain is split into two areas: The lower part of the mountain is primarily Green trails with some short Blue trails. (Oneida and Eagle Falls were closed) The upper part of the mountain had Blue and Black (♦, ♦♦) trails with zero Green trails. Many of the upper trails begin as Black (♦ or ♦♦) until about midway down the slope when they change into blue trails. I did not ski on any black ♦ or ♦♦ trails, but some of the black trails had moguls and some did not.
I got on the slopes just after 9am.
I skied on the green trails (Dakota, Mohican) to start, but after 2-3 runs moved to the upper blue trails. I spent most of the day on the blue trails on the upper part of the mountain.
From the L2 I skied down Dakota onto The Canyon too get to the SC. The Canyon at this point was split 25/75 trail/moguls. Since I did not prefer moguls, I skied down the left (non-mogul) side of the trail.
SC took me to the top (3325') in just over 5 minutes. The view was gorgeous. Bellearye mountain is a beautiful area.
The first run from the top that I took was Ridge Trail to Roaring Brook.
- Ridge Trail was very flat and require me to propel myself along the trail. In the afternoon, one or two wet spots developed (due to warm temperatures), but otherwise trail was good. It was about 40-60 ft wide and flat. Ridge Trail is a long trail on the top of the mountain connecting to several trails. As you get off of SC the left, Ridge Trail connects with Roaring Brook, Onondaga, (Cathedral Brook♦♦–closed), Winnisook♦, Winnisook Glades♦♦, Tongora♦♦, Chippewa♦♦, and Belleayre Run♦. As you get off of SC the right, Ridge Trail connects with Wanatuska♦, Mohawk♦, Onteora♦♦, (Yahoo♦♦, Goat Path♦, and Utsayantha♦♦). The last three might be easier to reach from Tomahawk lift via Route 9. I did not ski on Route 9 since the trail only leads to black trails (unless I wanted to cross country ski across Ridge Trail to Roaring Brook, or Onondaga).
- Roaring Brook–a good trail for beginners to attempt when they would like to find a bigger challenge. It is Bellearye's longest trail at 12,024ft (over 2-1/4 miles). I thought it was relatively gentle. It is a steeper slope than green trails, but not too severe. The only somewhat hard part was a turn that goes into a brief steeper part. I skied this trail a few times, since it was fun, and I enjoyed picking up speed on the brief steeper part. Roaring Brook connects to (Cathedral Brook♦♦–closed) which leads to Cathedral Brook and Lower Cathedral Brook both closed due to no access from Cathedral Brook♦♦–closed.
- Horseshoe Pass–connects from Onondaga and Winnisook♦ and connects to Roaring Brook. I found it slightly more difficult than Roaring Brook but not too difficult for me.
- Onondaga–connects from Roaring Brook and runs across the mountain ending in Howe's Highway(Not visible on trail map (though has signs on mountain) but shares path with Onondaga. I will refer to both trails as Onondaga) which ends at Alogonquin. Onondaga crosses across several trails as it travels the mountain. In the morning the trail was good and just required some caution as I crossed over other trails. As the day progressed the top part of the trail became sloppier and more difficult for me to ski. I tended to avoid the slushy snow on the sides and skied in the middle of the trail. The trail was not too steep. It just had brief section with a slightly steeper slope. A good spot to safely pick up some speed.
- Winnisook, Tongora, Belleayre Run, Wanatuska and Yahoo–blue trails I picked up from Onondaga. They are similar trails that are more challenging than Roaring Brook and Horseshoe Pass. Of these trails I liked Belleayre Run the least. Half the trail was devoted to moguls. The other half was ok but not very wide (for me). I only traveled this path once. This run also passes under SC. I could see icy patches developing as I passed over via the SC. Since better trails were available I did not return to Belleayre Run. Winnisook trail – bottom part of trail (that connects to Roaring Brook) was closed. This meant I had to ski over to Tongora to make it down to the lodge area. This led to me favoring Tongora over Winnisook. Yahoo is further across the mountain (via Onondaga) than Wanatuska. I do not consider Yahoo trail much different than Wanatuska so I would ski Wanatuska over Yahoo to save some time coming down the mountain. Of these five trails I preferred Wanatuska.
- Alogonquin–a good blue trail that I only skied from where Onondaga funnels into it. The trails above Alogonquin were black♦ or black♦♦ trails and Lift 7 (L7) was not running that day so it would have been to difficult for me to reach the upper part of Alogonquin. From what I could see from below, it would not have been worth my effort (via a black♦ or black♦♦ trail) to try to ski Alogonquin.
- Tomahawk Crossing– Nothing too special about this trail. Its main purpose is to let some ski across the mountain to get to the Tomahawk lift. It starts at the Alogonquin trail and ends at the T lift. It crosses over a few trails so some caution is needed as I traversed the mountain to the western side. I needed to make an effort to keep my speed up so I would not stop on the flatter parts of the trail near the bottom.
- Deer Run–a mellow intermediate trail that is accessible from the top of the Tomahawk lift (3429'). On the top if I did not pick up enough speed (and keep it) from the small drops I would get stopped on the flat spots that occur near the top part of the trail. It has more drops (steeper sloped areas) and longer steep areas than Roaring Brook. The snow/trail conditions were good throughout the day. I thought the lower part of Deer Run was better than the upper part. This was primarily due to the slope being consistently steep enough to not risk stopping on a flatter part of the trail. At the bottom of the trail I needed to keep my speed up so I could coast into the Tomahawk lift.
- Dot Nebel–One of the more challenging blue trails on the mountain. The snow conditions were good on the trail. I accessed this trail from the midpoint drop off of the Tomahawk lift. It had some of the steeper slopes of any blue trails on the mountain. It required more effort on my part to remain upright while coming down the trail. If I was a better skier, this would have been among the best trails to ski considering the condition of the trail, snow and lack of traffic. I fell down at a bad spot (just after a dip so I could not be seen from anyone coming down the trail) in the middle of the trail. Fortunately I was able to pick myself up and move to the side of the trail before anyone came across me.
- Seneca, Pepacton, Peekamoose–These trails were similar blue trails. I think they were better in general than the eastern blues (Winnisook, Tongora, Belleayre Run, Wanatuska and Yahoo). This is probably due in part to these trails being less crowded. Of the three, I liked Seneca least. The bottom of Seneca (after where the trail splits with Tuscarora♦) did not appear to be groomed at all. This would not have been an issue, except that the snow had some brown coloring coming through, which I took to mean that it was getting thinner. I did not ski more than once on this trail.
- Esopus–I did not ski this trail. It suffered from the L7 not running. I assume it would be similar to the other three trails (Seneca, Pepacton, Peekamoose).
- Cayuga–I only skied the bottom part of this trail (the part accessible from Deer Run) due to the top part (accessible from Dot Nebel) being closed. This was a narrow trail. Parts of the center of the trail were icy. Fortunately there was enough room on the left side for me to ski while avoiding the ice. As a trail it was ok, but I think I prefer wider trails. I only skied this trail once.
- Expressway–It connects from Dot Nebel to the Overlook Lodge. It crosses over several trails (Seneca, Pepacton, Peekamoose, and Esopus) and is similar to Tomahawk Crossing. Its main purpose is to provide a path for people to ski to the lodge from the western part of the mountain. As a trail it is ok and it requires care as I crossed over the other trails.
- Lower parts (below the Overlook Lodge) of (Winnisook, Tongora, Belleayre Run, and Wanatuska)–
- Tongora, Belleayre Run, and Wanatuska–These trails had brown mixed in with the snow. It required care in how I approached the area to get an area with good snow. All three of these trails were slushy near the top with the worst trail being Wanatuska. Tongora was the best of these three trails, but had the worst approach of the three (grass was appearing above the trail near the pump house and the snow appeared thin.)
- Ashokan–This trail has (Winnisook, Tongora, Belleayre Run, Wanatuska and The Canyon) feeding into it. It appeared to have a slight slope. I needed to lean back somewhat on my skis to maintain my speed. If I did not lean back a bit, then I would come to a stop on the trail. The trail was just a connector to get back to the lift. I could take Ashokan or The Canyon into the SC.
- The Canyon–An ok blue trail. The top part of trail could be considered a green trail. By the afternoon (2-3pm) the bottom part of the trail was sloppy and required more care in going down to the SC.
- Discovery Way–I finally skied this trail in the afternoon. It was a disappointing green trail. Its slope was too gentle. It was difficult to keep the skis going. It also was wet in spots. I only skied this trail once.
- Huron and Iroquois–These were nice green trails with a few nice drops for green trails. They were a relaxing way to end the day. Too bad that Eagle Falls and Oneida were closed. It would have been nice to see how these trails would mix with the green trails.
I think I liked the Elan erise (170cm 77mm waist) skis more than the Rossignol Experience skis (174cm 78mm waist). The Rossignols did not always feel good under my feet. I still had a good time with the Rossignols, but it did not feel quite as good to as my experience with the Elan skis.
Although I have heard about people getting sunburn from skiing, I did not think much of it. I got some redness from my day at Belleayre. It was most noticeable on the tip of my nose, with minor redness on the bottom of my face. (Basically where my goggles and helmet did not cover my face was where I got red. It was not painful, but next time I'll look for some type of sun protection.