Great deals, family friendly, no lines, close parking
Sparten lodges, some minor issues with rental equipment
Our family of 4 had 2 great days of skiing on December 30 & 31, 2009! We decided to try Belleayre's Stay Free/Ski Free package, which allowed our two kids (age 7 & 11) to stay at participating looking accomodations free and receive a free lift ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket. Vouchers for this program are provided by participating local motels, inns, etc. Lift tickets for my wife and I, plus a full set of rentals (skis, boots and poles) for 4 cost us $200 per day. It was our first visit and we decided to just take a single day rental as we were not sure about the weather for a 2nd day, but the weather held and we came back for day two at an additional $200.
As mentioned in some of the other reviews, the mountain is operated by the State of New York, and as a result, tends toward more of a basic operation with few bells and whistles. The rental and ticket process is not as automated as other places we have skied, but was adequate based on the number of people they appeared to be serving. On Day 2, all four in our party had some minor issues with bindings on our skis. Lodges are no frills, but adequate. Restroom conditions in the lodges were not fancy, but better than many we have been in as far as cleanliness, space, supplies and general conditions. While there are a variety of lifts, they are not arranged to allow you complete and easy access to all points on the mountain. For instance, the Tomahawk lift is in an area of the mountain that is almost separate from the rest of the mountain. Still, we found these issues to be minor.
The beauty for us was the skiing and NO LINES! Our longest wait on these two days was about 3 minutes. Most runs, we came down and waited for 2-3 groups of 2 or 3 people in front of us and that was it. A large number of trails were open and the slopes were in good shape. On the 31st, snow was falling in the morning as we started skiing and the slopes were in particularly good shape. No crowding, no pushy or nasty people (either other skiiers or staff), no out of control skiers or snow boarders. Some moderate intermediate level slopes that run from the top of the mountain all they way to the bottom as they turn into beginner slopes, making some very long, enjoyable runs for the kids and those who like a nice paced run. A number of black diamonds are available, but we do not ski on them with the kids. Fantastic view from the top of the mountain just off of the Super Chief Quad lift! As the day wore on, some icy patches began to develope on theslopes, but overall the runs were in good shape. All in all, we found the skiing to be quite good and the prices tough to beat! We were pleasantly surprised and plan on coming back again. The kids had a particularly good time. We did not use the terrain park.
If you haven't been to this area, there are limited opportunities for restaurants or night life. We ate in a nice restaurant in Phoencia, which is about a 15-20 minute drive east of the mountain, but there didn't seem to be much of a selection for more than sandwiches or pizza in the immediate area.