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Hunter Mountain Question

cooze

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I was at Hunter Mountain and overheard an interesting conversation on the 6 pack. My gf and I overheard a group saying that either Hunter had some plans to expand or a new mountain was going to open nearby. They said that one trail was built which could be seen from Hunter. However, the plans were nixed and it never happened.

I was wondering if anyone heard/knew about this and could shed some light on it? I found it to be really interesting and thought you guys could help out. Thanks!
 

goldsbar

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Just do some searching. There were plans and this rumor pops up a few times per year. A trail was cut and is supposedly still very visible. Would be great but don't count on it ever happening.
 

ss20

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Privately owned Hunter competes with state-owned Bealleyre. Bealleyre has a ridiculous expansion plan that is getting through easy, since the state owns it. Hunter can't get ANYTHING approved because that would hurt Bealleyre. Hunter will be the same as long as NY owns Belleayre.
 

skiking4

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Which is ridiculous, because Hunter actually has the customer base to support expansion. Belleayre's going to take some massive investments to be able to reap some portion back as revenue for itself and the local economy. Belleayre's long term plan is ridiculous but could be incredible, however.
 

twinplanx

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Seems silly for the state to block expansion at Hunter. I think all of the Catskills would benift from the additional exposure...

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catskills

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Privately owned Hunter competes with state-owned Bealleyre. Bealleyre has a ridiculous expansion plan that is getting through easy, since the state owns it. Hunter can't get ANYTHING approved because that would hurt Bealleyre. Hunter will be the same as long as NY owns Belleayre.

Belleayre ticket sales no longer go back into NY State government bank accounts. In lean government years Belleayre ticket sales, as small as it was, would be of some help to the NY State bottom line in April. As of a few years ago, ORDA now runs Belleayre. ORDA Belleayre ski ticket sales go into the ORDA non-profit bank accounts. Also note that ORDA can not sell expensive real estate that is next to their 3 ski areas Whiteface, Gore, and Belleayre. As opposed to private ski areas like Windham that sell small building lots next to and in-between their ski trails for many millions of dollars.

Ski area expansion involves numerous state laws and agencies. New York City DEP, that is responsible for providing clean drinking water to New York City, is one agency that has a lot of control of large development projects within the New York City Catskills watershed. The DEP is like GOD. Obviously, clean drinking water for millions of people is rather important. Next you have the NY State Constitution which contains laws governing NY State owned forever wild land that borders all ski area that limits their expansion. Changes to forever wild land may require changes to to the NY State Constitution, which lets just say is not easy to do.
 

kartski

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If they could, they would. I think they still own the mountain to the west of the West Side and could possibly do something there. But Ideally they would want to swap land to get the Hunter Mountain Peak, that would increase the Vertical Drop. They have hired lobbyist in the past, but it is a tough process. Land transfers require an Amendment to the NYS Constitution. It has to pass the Assembly and the Senate, wait an Election Cycle, pass it again and then it becomes a Ballot issue. I remember voting in the 90's so that the State Area's could widen their trails. Last time Hunter tried, the first round it passed the Senate, but in the Assembly a guy named Brodsky (sp?) would not let it out of Committee. It died. Brodsky ran for Attorney General last cycle, I remembered and voted against him in the Primary.
 

millerm277

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Paging DMC...

Anyway, to my knowledge, Kartski's explanation is basically correct. They own more land further West, they'd rather trade it for a more useful expansion, the NYS Constitution won't allow the land swap and would require an amendment....that's a massive burden for one ski area to try to make happen. While it hurts Hunter badly, and IMO is bad policy in general, this isn't something which was designed to hurt Hunter or which anyone but the legislature can do something about. It's not some corrupt regulators blocking plans or something.

There was a liftline cut to the West and it's visible on google maps if you look past Annapurna, but nothing was ever built.

As to what their current plans are, there's obviously been big changes on the existing ski area recently with the HS6 going in and the HSQ replacing the doubles on West, there's a lot of updated snowmaking equipment. I think at present they're trying to utilize their existing mountain better before they're going to attempt to expand.

42nd Street, White Cloud, and the E Chair/Highlands weren't getting snowmaking in a lot of seasons previously, and they now seem to be making them a priority to actually get open. It may not be a new trail on the map, but it's effectively expanding terrain.

What I expect to see next is work on the West Side. Typically only one of 44/Westway or Annapurna get snowmaking in a year, and with the HSQ there they're needing the additional terrain, and Lower Taylor's never sees a snowgun. That's IMO their next target for poorly used terrain, and I don't expect to see terrain expansion until that side of the mountain gets more snowmaking regularly.
 

St. Bear

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Isn't there also a law in NY that limits the amount of skiable terrain that can be developed? I remember reading that when Whiteface opened Lookout Mountain, they "maxed out" their possible terrain of ski trails, based on the acerage they sit on. Does anyone know where Hunter stands regarding this, or am I way off?
 

twinplanx

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Isn't there also a law in NY that limits the amount of skiable terrain that can be developed? I remember reading that when Whiteface opened Lookout Mountain, they "maxed out" their possible terrain of ski trails, based on the acerage they sit on. Does anyone know where Hunter stands regarding this, or am I way off?

I don't think your "way off" but as I recall that rule only applies to areas on public land. I could be wrong, but I don't think it would prevent expansion at Hunter.

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