The New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) is excited to announce its growing partnership with the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) by offering competitive alpine and freeride programming at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center (Belleayre) in Highmount, N.Y.
Managed by ORDA since 2012, Belleayre is conveniently located approximately two-and-a-half hours from the greater New York City area in the Catskill Mountains. The mountain offers challenging terrain to accommodate skiers and riders of varying levels with 51 trails and eight lifts. In 2017, Belleayre installed a gondola to the summit, expanding uphill capacity while offering a unique lift in the Catskills.
NYSEF plans to serve over 75 youth athletes in the 2018-2019 season through this expansion. “We’re excited to expand our reach by taking advantage of the excellent training and competition venues at Belleayre,” said John Norton, NYSEF Executive Director. “Competitive snowsports are our primary focus in our relationship with ORDA. With their continued support and ongoing venue improvements (at Belleayre), we have an opportunity to bring more young athletes into the sport and provide a pathway to national and international competition.”
With this expansion comes new leadership. NYSEF is excited to announce the appointment of Jim Catalano as Program Director of NYSEF-Belleayre. “I am thrilled to be back in the heart of the Catskills and eager to bring high level coaching and athlete management to NYSEF-Belleayre,” Catalano said.
From 2000-2013, Catalano was the Program Director and Head Coach at Hunter Mountain. While at Hunter, Catalano coached FIS level athletes and mentored several staff members. Catalano recently coached at Killington Mountain School where he trained some of the top U14s in the state of Vermont. However, his love for the Catskills brought him back home to New York. Catalano lives in Hurley, N.Y. with his family and actively competes on the cycling circuit in the Northeast.
Catalano is motivated to build the NYSEF-Belleayre program by offering athletes the opportunity to develop their competitive snowsport careers with professional coaching and excellent training environments. “The terrain and atmosphere are ideal to develop the necessary skill sets and culture for a very strong program,” Catalano added.
“We’ve found the ideal candidate to lead NYSEF-Belleayre in Jim,” said Norton. “His passion and experience in ski racing along with his love for the area make him perfect for the job.”
NYSEF is a certified Gold Club of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body of alpine and freeride competition in the United States. Certified clubs are expected to engage in ongoing evaluation and are encouraged to commit to their missions and the athletes they serve. With this new expansion to Belleayre, NYSEF demonstrates their commitment to providing programs that help young athletes develop athletically and emotionally, with a strong sense of self-discipline and work ethic.
Chairman of NYSEF, Greg Harden, commented on the growing partnership of NYSEF and ORDA, “Belleayre is a great opportunity for NYSEF and in partnership with ORDA, we look forward to expanding our program offerings to include Belleayre in alpine and freeride. Many great athletes come from the greater New York City area and Belleayre is a venue that produces a lot of great skiers and riders.”
In the late 60’s, despite the fact that New York State had more ski areas than any other state in the nation, ski racing was an afterthought. Young athletes were faced with an ultimatum as they progressed – either leave the sport or leave New York State and compete in New England. Unified by a vision of offering athletes in the Empire State the opportunity to train with an elite coaching staff on world class terrain, NYSEF was born. With the addition of Belleayre, NYSEF has since grown to include six disciplines, now five training venues and over 500 athletes, some of whom have gone on to medal in the Winter Olympic Games.
Mike Pratt, CEO of ORDA said, “Belleayre is a tremendous ski area. Families are attracted to the terrain and the new gondola has transformed the experience. The cooperative efforts of NYSEF and ORDA to improve the programs at Belleayre will be appreciated by the families of skiers and riders.”
NYSEF and ORDA will be working together this summer to plan the details of the Belleayre program for the 2018-2019 season.
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