SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

City of Utica hopes to reopen Val Bialas next year

Val Bialas is one of only 4 ski areas in the entire country that's placed in the heart of a city. But for the past couple of years, the slopes have been closed to the public.

Posted: Feb 19, 2021 7:00 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- Val Bialas is one of only 4 ski areas in the entire country that's placed in the heart of a city. But for the past couple of years, the slopes have been closed to the public.

Over the years the slopes were only opened when there was enough snow to ski or snowboard. The snow was also one of the main reasons the previous owners turned the property over to the city in 2017. Utica DPW Commissioner Dave Short said the area has seen a very inconsistent amount of snow.

"We always talked about maybe if we could keep snow on the slopes then maybe we would see an increase. We don't know because it hasn't happened," said Short.

Funding for the slopes was also tough. Short said the city needs to invest a lot of money to maintain the area and hire people to operate the machinery. Money the city did not have because of COVID.

Local developers have also tried to run the ski area over the years, but Short said none of them have had any luck.

"Over the last 20 years, we've had some private enterprises come in here thinking they could make a go of it. They started out strong and maybe they made it work for a bit, but they could never get the revenue they needed to make it worthwhile. What it really needs is snowmaking. And with snowmaking, you have to have water, and we don't have those things which are big expensive things to have." said Short.

Finding employees to work at the ski area is also tough. Short said because of the need for snow to be open, employee schedules would be so up in the air and possibly spread out throughout the season.

But Short said the city is not giving up on the property. The city still has insurance and the ski lifts are inspected every year. The snow grooming equipment is also routinely taken out and maintained. This means the slopes could reopen as soon as the state provides approval. But Short said they won't go through with trying to open the slopes until next year.

"It gives us a year to solicit some kids and people that want to work. Hopefully next year we will be doing an interview with skiers coming down the hill and we will be talking about that again," said Short.

Similar to the city opening its pools, opening Val Bialas would be for the benefit of the residents, not so much for making money.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1650303

Reported Deaths: 47719
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2118128784
Kings2109509118
Suffolk1628183086
Nassau1486692918
Bronx1445195881
Westchester1078572101
New York1039223906
Erie654191603
Richmond572011579
Monroe52679991
Rockland38628889
Orange37059720
Onondaga32452630
Dutchess22387408
Albany20890332
Oneida19735478
Niagara15324312
Broome14870336
Saratoga11970145
Schenectady10842178
Ulster10069228
Rensselaer9039132
Putnam836986
Chautauqua7336123
Chemung6440130
Oswego600289
Ontario580188
St. Lawrence553285
Steuben5509137
Cayuga537988
Jefferson480663
Sullivan475559
Herkimer4561107
Wayne447364
Cattaraugus442076
Genesee4411118
Madison384885
Clinton361026
Livingston355056
Tompkins345742
Columbia340096
Fulton333784
Montgomery3190107
Cortland316760
Allegany290481
Warren284155
Wyoming282049
Tioga280656
Greene264871
Orleans245181
Chenango243969
Otsego235543
Washington234352
Franklin208712
Lewis206730
Seneca162053
Delaware151933
Essex134226
Schoharie121012
Yates101426
Schuyler86812
Hamilton2842
Unassigned221140
Out of NY0192
Rome
Partly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 5°
Feels Like: -5°
Binghamton
Partly Cloudy
12° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: -4°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: -5°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 17° Lo: -4°
Feels Like: -5°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Submit your Mutt Madness Picture through March 10th
March into Beautiful Skin Giveaway
2021 Golfer's Paradise Card - 21 Courses for only $99.99
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve