Belleayre Mountain will be open for riding and skiing seven days a week for the 2008-09 season, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.

That's the good news for skiers and riders who frequent Belleayre's slopes.

The bad? Budget woes mean some cutbacks at the popular state-owned area in the heart of the Catskills.

The state budget crunch means Belleayre will close two lifts adjacent to other more heavily used lifts, and stop making snow on several trails and the Half Pipe terrain, which will become natural snow terrain.

Advertising will be cut, and other unspecified changes made in operations and administration, the state agency reports.

"These changes will not impact skier safety or any essential operations or maintenance of the ski area," the agency reports.
All programming will be available, including Kidscamp and racing programs, it says.

On the plus side, Belleayre is introducing an adaptive ski program this winter, with trained instructors from Belleayre and Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital.

Most season pass prices will remain the same as last year. Adult Season Passes (18-61) are $676 until Nov. 30, then increase to $726. Youth Passes (6-17) are $215, then $265. Senior Passes (62-70) are $585, then $635. College Student Passes are $254, then $304.

Daily lift tickets will increase slightly, the agency reports, to account for higher fuel costs and increases in other operational costs. Adult weekend tickets are $54 and midweek tickets are $45.

Weather permitting, Belleayre plans to open the day after Thanksgiving and operate through March.