Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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The following is a part of a collection of articles written by Karen Cuccinello of the Stamford Village library history room, mostly pertaining to Stamford, and originally submitted to the Mt. Eagle. We are pleased to share them here with all our Delaware County researchers.

Down Hill Skiing in the Catskills

by Karen Cuccinello

I started out to just write about Scotch Valley but decided to dig a bit deeper. Most of the ski areas opened in the 1950's-1960's but skiing became popular in the Southern Catskills before that .

The Catskills had been a place for New York City folks to visit in the summer but in the 1930's a combination of people wanted to make the Catskills a place to visit in the winter too. The groups that joined forces to bring tourists to the Catskills were; local citizens, ski clubs in NYC and local, the railroad operators, and retail stores in NYC and local. Towns worked together to persuade the trains to bring skiers to the Catskills instead of New England with the selling point that the Catskills were 100 miles closer to NYC.

Trails were created mostly on private land by farmers and the CCC forces, and NY Central RR even leased some land for use. Ski Club members groomed the trails by hand and picked rocks in the summer to ready the trails for the next season. In 1933 a group of about 20 people started climbing Belle Ayre Trail in the morning figuring they would get to the top by noon. In 1935 about 15 miles of trails were cleared in Woodstock; the Belle Ayre trails were said to be in great condition; and department stores in NYC were selling lots of ski equipment and distributing maps of the trails.

December 11, 1936 Catskill Mt. News – Round trip weekend fare from Weehawken to Fleischmanns will be $3.50....The railroad assumes and expects that the Fleischmanns Ski Club will arrange for free transfer of passengers from the station to the homes in which they will be housed. In 1937 a ski trail in Phoenicia offered a tow and Mt. Pakatakan offered a 12 mile trail that dropped you into Margaretville. During the1941-42 season The Pine Hill Ski & Out-of-Door Sports Club offered two ski tows (one was 500' long) and a 20 meter junior ski jump.

Besides skiing towns also offered skating, and toboggan and bobsled runs. All of the activities were free but, of course there were no tows, for the most part. As many as 1000 people came to the Catskills on weekends for winter sports.

Tourism to the Catskills fizzled during World War II then started to grow again after the war. In 1960 the Catskills boasted 16 ski areas, four more from the year before and The December 28, 1964 Kingston Daily Freeman states that there are 13 ski areas in the Catskills.

Andes Ski Center on Palmer Rd. in Andes - In 1964 they were open weekends and holidays and the rates to ski were $2.50 all day and $1.50 nights. They had ten trails, a chairlift and three rope tows.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center on State Rte. 28 in Highmount/Pine Hill – Opened 1949 by NYS , with five trails,a rope tow, NYS's first chairlift, two lodges and a cafeteria. In 1964 they had three chairlifts, three T-Bars and rope tow. In 1971 they added snow making, and scenic chairlift rides in the summer that cost .75 for adults and .50 for children. Currently there are 55 trails and eight lifts including a high speed quad, Cat-access skiing, and summertime Music Festival and The Sky Ride. .

Buck-Horn Lodge on Rte. 30, in East Branch - In 1976 a Ski Train transported skiers to the summit to a single three mile ski trail, there was skiing at night on their lighted rope tow, a heated ski lodge and dining room.

Catskill Ski Center/Bobcat Ski Center, on Mount Pisgah off Rte 28 in Andes - Opened weekends and holidays in 1963 by Waldemar Durke and Paul and Emma Grommeck and closed 2005. In 1976 they had two T-Bars, ski school, shop, cafeteria, rentals, lessons and a Lumberjack Round-Up in September and October Fest in October.

Cave Mountain Ski Area /Ski Windham in 1981/ Windham Mountain in 2001 - Opened in 1960 at a cost of about $650,000 and operated by the Macomber family. They opened with a chairlift and rope tow, lodge, restaurant and cocktail lounge. In 1964 they had a 3-seater chairlift and enclosed the chairs on one of their double chair lifts, They now have 53 trails, two high-speed quads, four triples, one double, five surface lifts and tubing park. For summertime there is mountain bike and skateboard racing and Warrior Dash obstacle course.

Cortina Valley/ Villagio/Ski Cortina/ in Haines Falls/Tannersville - Opened in 1974 by Mario deBelardino with two chairlifts and a poma lift. Chairlifts stopped operating in 1999 then ground lifts were used for about another 10 years. An Italian Festival started in the summer of 1979. In 1984 the rate for midweek was $10. They had two double chairlifts, a poma lift and mitey mite when they closed.

Davos Ski Resort at Woodridge - Opened 1959 with two chairlifts, snowmaking, two lodges, a restaurant, cocktail lounge and cafeteria.

DePitt's Mt. Lodge Ski Center in Fleischmanns - Opened in 1958 and still operating in 1968. The ski area was attached to the DePitt's resort. They were open daily and had six slopes served by three rope tows.

Highmount Ski Center on Rte 28 in Highmount, on Bellearye Mountain - Opened 1946-47 weekends and holidays by the Davenport brothers and Lincoln Christensen-closed 1993. Before its closing, they had one double chair, two T-bars, two poma-lifts and a pony lift.

Hinkley's in Meeker Hollow near Roxbury opened 1959.

Holliday Mountain in Monticello -Operating in 1950. Currently operating as a ski and summer fun park with seven slopes, four lifts, snow tubing, mini golf, go-carts, bumper boats,climbing wall etc.

Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl on Rte 23A in Hunter - Developed in 1959 by Isreal and Orville Slutzky. In 1961 they had two chairlifts and rope tow, base lodge, restaurant, cocktail lounge, cafeteria and beer hut. In 1972 they added Hunter One and Hunter West, complete snow making and grooming, 16 lifts and tows, 32 miles of slopes and trails, summit and base lodge. They now have 55 trails and for summer 50 MPH zipline.

Phoenicia Ski Center in Phoenicia - Open in 1935. In 1964 it was considered one of oldest ski areas in the region. Ski trains would bring people to what became the parking lot in the 1960's. They had four rope tows.

Plattekill Mt. Ski Center, in Roxbury - Opened in 1958. It is a family run ski area open weekends and holidays . In 1961 they had three rope tows then added a T-Bar in 1964. In 1969 the rates were $4 adult and $3 junior. Snow making arrived in the 1970's. Currently they have 38 trails, four lifts and snow tubing shoots. Mountain bike racing and chairlift rides are available in the summer.

Princeton Ski Bowl/ Bearpen Mountain in Prattsville - Opened 1954 and was named after the owner, Ben Lanes, Alma mater Princeton University.

Roxbury Ski Center 1956-59, Big Bear Ski Bowl about 1964, No-Name Mt. Ski Center in 1970 on Rte. 30 in Vega on back side of Bearpen Mountain - They were open daily and offered; T-Bar, JBar. rope tow, repairs, cafeteria, cocktail lounge, rentals and ski shop. They were open daily in the beginning then in 1964 open weekends and holidays - I believe it closed in the early 1970's.

Scotch Valley/ Deer Run in 1981 on Rte. 10 in Jefferson (but everybody thinks it's in Stamford)- Opened 1962 by Avery Robinson and closed in 1998. In 1965 a 150 foot ski jump was constructed. Stan Czarniak,the ski school director, designed the jump. In the 1970's they were open every day and two nights, and had two slopes, nine trails, three chair lifts, T-Bar, rope tow, snow-making, cafeteria, lodge, ski school, cross country skiing and 10 lane bowling alley.

Photos of Scotch Valley: Lodge and Lift Line . | . Chair Lift House and Slopes . | . Chair Lift with View of the Valley

Shayne's Ski Center on Rte 28 in Highmount on Belleayre Mountain - Going in 1958 and open daily. In 1964 they had one T-Bar and were open weekends and holidays.

Silvermine Ski Center on Bear Mountain - Open weekends in 1961.

Simpson Memorial Ski Slope in Phoenicia – They were going in 1936 -1958 that I know of. They had two slopes and three rope tows.

Tom's Tow in Highmount - Owned and operated by Tom McCanna about 1950. They had a famous Parrallel Ski School and a 1000 foot J-Bar Lift.

Villa Roma Resort & Coference Center in Callicoon - Currently open. They have two slopes, double chair lift, T-Bar, rentals, snow making, ice skating, tube run, ski school, rentals and lodge.

Williams Lake Hotel in Rosendale (also considered the Hudson Valley Region) attached to their resort. In 1957 they had a portable tow in order to take advantage of the snow. Open daily in 1964 with a rope tow.

References: NYS Vacationlands published 1950's, Delaware County Four Seasons Vacationland booklets from 1970- 1976, The Catskills magazine 1972-73, Catskill Outdoor Guide 2012-13, newspapers (hardcopy an on microfilm), google search,

submitted by Karen Cuccinello - posted to this website February 15, 2015


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