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1-30-2016 Belleayre


Well-known member
Mar 2, 2008
Lower Hudson Valley
Weather: Sunny, temperature hovering around 30 degrees.
Condition: Man made powder, edge-agble packed powder, scraped-off hardpack
Overall impression: Very good skiing. Typical of January in the Cats. Just need to hunt down the trails with good surface condition and milk it for all they're worth.

I don't usually do trip report of my day-to-day skiing in my "local" hounds. But this year, with the slow start and low trail count, I didn't go out at all. I wasn't going to pay top dollar to ski a couple of man made groomer. Or so I thought...

And I WAS SO WRONG! In short, I wish I had gotten out more, given the decent condition I saw yesterday.

But yesterday, I NEED TO go out... My new skis arrived, I need to get used to them before heading out to Aspen when I will TRY to hang with the EpicSki big boys from areas where they have good snow.

Yesterday was also Bell's ski club appreciation day. So lift ticket was only $38!

Long story short, the skiing was fantastic! Condition was very much similar to mid-winter on a typical season. Trail count was low (about 50% open). But since everyone thought condition sucks, many people stayed home and the mountain was relatively crowd free, which also means the surface held up well into the afternoon due to low skier traffic.


But I didn't get first chair. Far from it. I got a "low tire pressure" warning on my dashboard as soon as I pulled out of the garage. I thought I'd add some air and continue on. But when I put a gauge to it, it was zero psi! I realized I got a real issue, not just a teeny bit low pressure. Fortunately, it was just late enough the local garage was open, but early enough there's no other customer there. So I went in and they started working on it right away. 30 minute later, minus 1 nail and plus 1 plug. I was on my way. By then, the traffic also picked up so I didn't get to Bell till almost 10.

Still, when I got to Bell around 10, there's plenty of parking on the upper log by the Tomahawk lift. I hadn't skied Bell for a while so forgot the proper "routine" (When I got my shit's together, I drive to the upper lodge skier drop-off, jump out of the car to buy ticket, then turn the car around to park near the T-lift). This time, I booted up in the car then realize I hadn't bought ticket yet. So hop on the shuttle back to the lodge, got ticket and then had to hike up to the lift. :( Not a big deal but there's a line on the lift due to a race.

There were actually two races going on, which took 2 complete trails off that short open trail list. That's the bad part. Low trail count.

But there's silver lining under every cloud. Because of the "poor start" of the season, everyone seem to have stayed home! Aside from the racer brats, relatively few people on a day with cheap lift tickets. Inside the lodge, there's space to sit without people trampling over my feet!

Despite the occasional short lines from the racer kids (and their adult entourage), lifts had practically no line. So I lapped all the open trails several times each. First up was Seneca next to the Tomahawk lift. It had a really really thick layer of creamy man-made powder on it (4-6" thick?!). Absolutely joyful to make turns in, which I took many laps on (later on in the day, it got pushed into piles, with slick hard pack between the piles. And yard sale became a regular observation. So I stayed off of it). After a while, I moved around the mountain to sample the other trails. Some of them are in better shape than others. So I just concentrate on lapping the good ones.

As the clock strike 12, the crowd disappeared into the lodge for lunch. So I started lapping lift 7. Onteria was a powdery field of moguls. Absolutely perfect for me to get acquainted with my new skis. As I got more and more into "one'ness" with my skis, the after lunch crowd started to build on the lift. So I moved back to Tomahawk lift and lap Seneca again. By then, piles of snow had formed to resemble moguls. Just a different condition I need exactly to get familiar with my new skis.

At around 2, the line at lift 7 had pretty much gone so I moved back there, thinking I'd lap Onteria some more. But the sun had gotten quite low and that trail gone into the shadow. The bumps were hard to see and the fun was gone. So I quit when I was ahead. Clock was showing 3:19 when I pulled out of the parking lot. A good 4 hrs of non-stop skiing for $38. Not too shabby in my book.

Share the chair with various racer kids throughout the day and enjoyed conversation with them. Their enthusiasm are contagious! I felt good for being out there on the mountain. And the skiing doesn't suck either!:)

Bottom line, get out there to enjoy. You'll be rewarded with short lift lines, decent surface condition typical of this time of year. The silver lining of this "poor winter" is you get to enjoy the "well-made" snow without crowds. You may even find nice man-made "powder" without any competition!

(I thought I do a "quick" report, didn't mean to end up writing a thesis :oops: I guess I had such a great day that's WAY above expectation that I just want to share :D )
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