New York State was hit hard by Hurricane Irene, and no place suffered more dramatic damage than the northern Catskills. The region is home to several private resorts and one state-run ski area, Belleayre Mountain. The private areas provided what assistance they could to the local communities, but their focus was on repairing the damage done to their own facilities in time for the opening of the ski season a few months from now.
Belleayre is different. As a division of New York State government it has a first responder mandate. That means all the human and facility resources at their disposal were put to use to help people recover from the devastation brought by the storm. Belleayre lodge became a shelter and distribution point for basic staples. Their heavy equipment, used to groom trails in the ski season, cleared roads and moved earth. Their trained staff coordinated relief and rescue operations and were out in the community providing relief and rescue. Amazingly enough, in spite of all the carnage, there was not one casualty, not one fatality in the community. So many people say government is dysfunctional, want budgets cut because there is so much waste and fraud, have lost faith in our ability to take effective collective action. Critics of state ownership of a ski area claim that Belleayre is guilty of unfair competition. All these critics need to remember what happened in one week this summer when a public entity was ready and able to save a community in a most effective and dramatic manner - and, because they have income from their ski operations, they did it at no cost to the taxpayer. Another RadXSports video. Interact with us on Twitter @RadXSports