Backcountry & Glades

Belleayre Backcountry & Glades

Belleayre offers the closest real tree skiing to New York City. Few other areas within a day trip of Manhattan can match Belleayre’s woods. Backcountry skiing is popular in the areas adjoining the resort.

Belleayre Glades 660X260

Belleayre Glades

For a number of years, Belleayre offered the Catskills only cat-skiing. However, the resort has discontinued the operation and there are no plans to restore it at this time. However, Belleayre does have several marked tree runs and with 141″ of annual snowfall, they are usually skiable from mid-January through the end of March. Additionally, the resort’s high summit elevation and northern exposure tend to keep the snow that piles up in the trees in better shape than just about any resort in the region with the exception of nearby Plattekill.

The best of these off piste areas is on the looker’s left of the mountain – Cathedral Brook. Cathedral Brook is a steep double black diamond run and the woods adjoining it (“The Glen”) are fantastic when the snow is good. To access the trail, some hiking is required. A poling traverse from the Sunset Lodge brings skiers to the base of the climb which requires approximately 10 minutes. The hike is definitely worth the effort when snow conditions are good, though.  It seems as if only a handful of skiers a day tackle the climb and powder can remain on this trail for days after a storm.

On the other side of the resort, Belleayre has recently opened the new Dreamcatcher Glade (entrance pictured above on opening day). Here expect to find a more traditional New England style glade with tightly spaced hardwoods and a moderately steep pitch.

Belleayre Backcountry Skiing

Many backcountry skiers enjoy hiking up from Belleayre Beach or the town of Pine Hill to the summit of Belleayre via public-access hiking trails. The two most common uphill routes are the Woodchuck Hollow and Cathedral Glen hiking trail. As they are on public land, these trails are open to snowshoe and uphill skinning traffic. However, skiing down the trails is prohibited to prevent collisions with uphill traffic.

The trees in this area are tight, but skiable by hardy expert skiers and a 2,000 ft descent awaits from the summit of Belleayre back down to Pine Hill/Belleayre Beach. However, be advised that neither NYS nor Belleayre ski patrol check these woods. Ski at your own risk.


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