Guide Rants From The Mountain: The Unofficial Guide to Everything Ski Resorts Dont Want You to Know About

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The guy was somewhat interested in doing it personally but ultimately decided that it would be too time consuming. Unfortunately, this now takes us going back to the drawing board and starting all over again. The Bank is now willing to look at anyone interested in just the slopes…. I take it this would potentially make things easier for a Co-Op to run just the slopes while say another business ran the business side of things at the lodge and housing??

Laurel Hill Crazie. Three has been real interest in forming a co-op to run Laurel. I have a list of contacts from a previous meeting. Doug Finger has always been ready to assume the responsibilities if given the green light from his superiors. The petition campaign we did here was noticed but in the end the response was limited and the timing wrong. So I ask all of you interested Laurel enthusiast, where do we go from here? While I love Laurel, I really think that until land is released and the infrastructure lifts and snow making is upgraded that the place has little chance of being successful.

I wonder if these folks were also interested in Hidden Valley and perhaps are close to closing a deal to buy the place. Have the Somerset Bank folks mentioned anything about that. However, would we have the resources to just buy the land? That is the first step. Do we know the price to buy the slopes and village together and separate? The land for sale is the lots at Laurel Mountain Village, a private home development right outside the access road of the ski area but not slope side. In fact the only allowable use of the land is for daily winter sports. The asking price for the Village land and the physical facility at the ski area lodge, outbuildings, and aboveground components of the snowmaking system is said to be 7 million.

That includes salaries, supplies and utilities. We must have this in hand before the season to begin preparation such as lift inspection and basic maintenance. Roger Z. One thousand a year per person is not that much different of a price than a seasons pass at a lot of resorts.

I have never skied there, but am curious — what state is the current infrastructure in? Is the snowmaking and lift infrastructure fairly modern and in good condition, and is there a good water supply for snowmaking? And for those of you who have skied there a lot, what is the terrain and natural snow situation like? Do the slopes hold snow well? I noticed they are north facing, which is a great start. This would be an interesting situation, since the state owns the land. I am sure this has been a sticking point for every organization that has looked into this.

Quote: One thousand a year per person is not that much different of a price than a seasons pass at a lot of resorts. The problem is capital. Who do you present your team and plan to? Somerset Trust is interested in recouping its investment. If your team and plan fail, it matters not to them. Lifts are serviceable fixed grip quad and double serving about 70 acres of cut trail, with about 30 cover with snowmaking. Total ski area is over acres which can be developed or skiing. Water resources are tight but solution could be found. I am definately interested in Laurel Mountain.

Back in January, I was told that a man, I have his name and phone number at the office, bought the resort and Village for around 2 mill. I heard the bank took the offer so I quit pushing the issue. If it fell through, I am there. We need a grant writer to get state grants. The grants are good for the state land but the state will do nothing for the Village. I think a co-op with to investors along with grant money would work. From previous posts, I know that you have spoken with Tyson Cook in the past.

He would be the only person to confirm any selling of the assets. Several people who were supposed to show up at this meeting did not. Frankly, unless someone or some group can devote themselves full time from now until next ski season to attain funding i. My opinion is that a white knight is necessary at this point to resurrect Laurel Mountain. And that would be sad. If you got 20 people in December that is actually pretty good turn out.

If we called another meeting, and if people attended, then I would be encouraged. But at this point, I am very dubious that that would happen. Basically, this was a successful Wall Street banker who loved skiing, so he bought Sugarbush and now runs it. They have made a lot of great improvements in the last few years. I think it would be refreshing to have this kind of ownership, driven by a love for skiing, running any ski resort. That guy sounds like the person who just bought a ski resort just 15 miles south of Laurel Mountain… Bob Nutting.

I wonder if that family might consider operating Laurel Mountain. The Dupres did it for 1 year. If someone would get Mr Nutting over to Laurel and give him a tour of the existing infrastructure and terrain, he might at least consider it. This is my list of apathetic entities wrt Laurel: 1 Local politicians - There is a reason why Western PA continues to lose population.

They continue to blame the decline of the steel industry beginning 30 years ago and ending 25 years ago as to why Western PA is losing population. They fail to see Laurel not only the ski resort but the entire state park as a regional asset that can generate seasonal jobs and add to the quality of life. Have they contacted the Mellon family about removing the lodging restrictions? Have they considered making Laurel more than just a Winter resort? I look at Rocky Gap state park in Maryland as a model for turning a rather unused state park into a regional asset.

They would rather drive 35 minutes to Seven Springs than 15 minutes to Laurel. Granted Seven Springs has much more terrain open, but not to ski a hill and a very challenging one at that with Lower Wildcat in your backyard once or twice a year just to offer token support is unconscionable. And speaking of people with financial resources, there are plenty of Ligonier residents with boat loads of money. Where are they? Myopia is a chronic ailment in Western PA and I think those that live above ft are affected even more.

Just think if the resort took off.

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It makes their property more valuable. I would like to think it is not a fait accompli that Laurel will die as a ski resort. But I believe time is running short. Scott - DCSki Editor. I have never had a chance to ski at Laurel Mountain, and I would love to see the ski area reopen. But looking at the broader economics of the mid-Atlantic ski region, I am not sure it would be financially viable, unless there was a way to transform Laurel Mountain into a thriving year-round resort.

I know of many skiers from this region who used to visit local areas regularly, but stopped doing so entirely after El Nino hit a number of years ago. Now they focus their skiing dollars on one or two big trips out west, where the snow is generally consistently good through the whole season. Perhaps this is caused by climate change, perhaps not, but it leaves an indelible mark on skiers and little by little, the mid-Atlantic region loses skiers.

And, longer-term, climate change will probably not be kind to mid-Atlantic winter sports. Few of these areas were on the scale of Seven Springs or Snowshoe, and the capital requirements of running a ski area back then surely do not approach the costs today. And it was probably less common for folks to hop on a plane back then to go on a western ski trip, something that is more economical and practical today, so there was a big market for local hills then. Many were just that: hills. But this is a fickle area, and one of the lessons I seem to be drawing is that it takes deep pockets and perseverance for local ski areas to thrive.

They have to be prepared to weather several bad seasons in a row, and come out the other side ready to try again. Because a ski resort is really a long-term investment: you might not make a profit each and every year, while you wait for the season that brings ample cold temperatures and plentiful snow from Thanksgiving into late March. Remember those seasons? I believe this is what hurt Laurel Mountain after it reopened. Had the weather been ideal, the story could have been very different.

The story is similar with Whitetail: the first few years were banner years, and the original Japanese investors continued to pump money into the resort, probably thinking that was the status quo. Then El Nino hit. The costs of opening Whitetail were huge — it was the first area in the region to have a high-speed quad, for example.

At one point there were plans on the drawing board to aggressively expand the terrain at Whitetail, adding trails in between existing ones and running them off the backside of the mountain. These are some of the reasons why I have concerns about the options for reopening Laurel Mountain. All of the investors will have lost their money, and then what about the next season?

My understanding is that they had no interest in continuing past the first season. Seven Springs is a different beast entirely; it is a year-round resort with a strong real estate base and lots of revenue generators. They can certainly focus their efforts on areas such as building a water park, etc. For example, you can make a nice profit selling condos to property owners, and then continue making a nice profit as those properties are placed in the lodging program.

Not a bad business model. The best hope for Laurel Mountain is probably a patient, deep-pocketed investor who can generate additional revenue opportunities than skiing alone. But based on the realities of Laurel Mountain e. Bear in mind, too, that nearby Hidden Valley Resort has also been on the market. But there are smart people out there, and one should never give up hope. I was also told from another source that a John Brady bought it and was going to bring in inspectors to get the lifts operating ASAP. I am still very interested and looking at other routes to get it going.

I wonder how many skiers stopped skiing locally not because of a decade or so of changing weather. My interest in local skiing waned when the local terrain ceased to be challenging. For me that means steeper terrain and natural tree runs on sustained pitch. Is there any correlation between the closure of so many local ski areas and the decline of new skiers? How popular would golf be if you had only 1 or 2 courses within a 2 hour drive? Gone are the local areas that the kids can get to after school and the family can easily get to on the weekend.

These places feed the large regionals like Laurel, Wisp, and Seven Springs. These in turn feed Stowe and Aspen and Sun Valley. Yes it was a different time. Travel was more expensive, certainly not as convenient. Snow seemed more abundant and challenge could still be found locally. The industry changed and focused on real estate and high end restaurants, hot tubs, clubs and chic retail villages.

Still, not all of us can afford one or two big trips out west or could be compelled to travel more than an hour or so to try out a new sport. The ski industry has become gentrified and content with serving the patrons that can afford their product but the sport is dieing at the root. Laurel can not compete in such a market.

What Laurel has and other places have lost is a personality, a sense of space, a connection with the living history and heart of skiing. To stand at the top of Lower Wildcat and see the trail just disappear at a white horizon line with the valley below prepares you for the most difficult in bounds terrain you find anywhere in this nation.

Laurel can only be what it is, a no frills, challenging mountain. Surely there is a niche for this. You Sold me! Its a shame that a better MT like laurel stands still while others of less quality keep running. Being a lot less articulate than you, all I can say is.. That Sucks! It would seem that Laurel Mt. Canaan Valley is operated by a company that has a contract with the State of West Virginia. I would suggest that the State of PA should put out a request for proposals which require the operator to make improvements and provide revenue to the state if the operation is profitable.

WV has contracts with various companies to operate their state park lodges. The National Park services does the same thing. New Hampshire has several state owned ski area which are operated by private companies. What are they waiting for???? The ski area is an important economic engine which generates tax revenue, jobs, room-nights, restuarant visits, etc.

Exceptionally well put. A big draw of Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail is location, location, location. But Laurel Mountain does differentiate itself in many ways, as Laurel Hill Crazie eloquently puts it, so by focusing on the bare basics and keeping costs down, Laurel Mountain could carve its own succesful niche. It will still take a risky investment to get things off the ground, and a person or company that is willing and able to stand by their investment for the long-term. The big test, I think, is what happens if the first year of operation is a crummy season.

Scott - I agree, Laurel Hill Crazie should have been a journalist or maybe he is one. It is also reasonably close to Johnstown. Thus your relating the mountains location to the wrong market. That is true, I sometimes forget Pittsburgh. Although the D. My comments were more geared towards why Snow Time would probably not be interested.

By focusing on one major market Snow Time is able to achieve some economies of scale. For example, they do a lot of combined marketing for all three resorts, such as radio spots that advertise Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail, as well as joint discount cards and season passes. Over the years Snow Time has been focused on improving Liberty and Roundtop, and picking up Whitetail was probably irresistible given its location and financial circumstances. Scott, Remember that Snowtime used to own Windham and they did put a bid in on Montage. I heard that the only reason why Windham was sold was that Snowtime was offered a premium price.

Laurel would not be out of the question based on location alone. Most of the trail expansion was in the bowl between Snowpark and Fanciful. If Snowtime was to develop all of this land for snowsports usage, the development cost would have to include snowmaking, lodge space and parking expansion as well. Given the prospect of global warming, I know what I would do with this property instead. There should be a way to make this work.

Another possible buyer might be Peak Resorts. Until recently they just closed on Mt. Crotched was rescued from lost status a few years ago and I have kept on their mailing list. They might be a good fit. Quote: That is true, I sometimes forget Pittsburgh. The place will work it just needs some real backers. Quote: last group misplaced the lodge by ft. Are you saying it should be closer to the parking lots? Or further down the hill? I think all of us who are hoping and willing to get Laurel open were lulled into false hope that a private buyer was at hand.

I think we all know that a private buyer is ideal. Snowtime or Peak Resorts may fit the bill if they do indeed make their money selling lift tickets, rentals, lessons and lunch. I hope the DCNR will go a calling at their corporate doors and entice them in. I hope they go to Bob Nutting and entice him in. Thank you Scott for the kind compliment but really, words follow passion quite easily. Make no mistake it is our sport and places like Laurel that feed my feelings and inform my prose. I really think that the survival of places like Laurel is important for generating future snow sport participants.

Quote: the slopes at Laurel were laid out by Hanas Schneider in or 38 according to when he was in the area. I thought the ski area blossomed below the Midway Cabin and grew up mountain via Broadway when the original Laurel Lodge was built around Can you describe where the abandon trails ran? JohnL, I think that imp means that the new Laurel Lodge should have been place feet lower where the original stood.

The trails and slopes flow much more naturally from there. In conclusion, Laurel is far from gone but it can slip away fast. Are there people on this forum willing to help with expertise and money? Quote: Are there people on this forum willing to help with expertise and money? You can count me in for any required mechanical engineering services.

Putting it where the original Laurel House was made access impossible. Old trails go below the quad chair and off to the right side there are still old rope tow wheels in the trees down there. I am a cpa with experience in both profit and non profit organizations. We need to have some equity for the State Parks to talk to us. To receive grants, a non profit is probably the best route.

Laurel Hill Crazie wonderfully put into words what so many of us feel. I truly feel sorry for those who may never get a chance to ski Laurel. I want to thank George Mowl, the previous operator of Laurel who reopened the resort after being closed for 10 years. He gave me a chance to ski the Classic and enjoy the experience of skiing a wonderful hill.

I only hope that I and many others get another chance to ski it again. I did not have a chance to ski LM, but I did visit the place and it looked very interesting. Most of us do skiing for recreation, to escape reality. I would love to see the ski area re-open and I think the only way that is going to happen if the State publically advertises the ski area for long term lease. That would involve someone getting off their duff at the State to actually initiate this type of venture. The problem is that Somerset Trust has the long term lease on the land.

The State signed with them and as long as they stay current, there is not alot the State can do. I give George credit for all he did to try and make a go of it. The bank wants some of their money back so they want to look for a good buyer. We have a catch There are no building permits given out in the Village. It is a stand alone resort that needs to make enough in 3 months to support it for the year. That sounds good to me. I hope your right.

Allan Saro (Author of Rants From The Mountain)

Last fall I was told by someone with the state that Somerset Trust had the lease. The state owns the double chair and land. This is why I keep trying to work with Somerset Trust. Somerset Trust offered to give me a one season lease at a good price but it was to late in the year to do a chair inspection. At the end of the day, it is in the best interest of the Somerset Trust to get the ski area reopened. So getting the ski area reopened is sort of like getting a used car running reliably; it can only enhance the resell value, not only of the ski area assets, but the LMV lots.

Tyson Cook is a bright guy and I truly believe he and Somerset Trust are committed to selling those assets to keep Laurel Mountain Ski area alive. I believe the only way Laurel is to reopen this upcoming ski season is if the state takes an active role immediately and helps Somerset Trust sell or lease the assets. There is plenty of money to build new arenas and stadiums in the state 5 at last count and soon to be 6. Maybe a few of us can make it happen. But in my opinion, more than just a few of us need to be heard. I have a question about the PA state officials having a real interest in reopening Laurel Mt.

Ski Area. Any chance negative politics could be playing a role? The Colonel. The new prospective buyers would have to seek a new lease with the state and be willing to assume the restrictions in place. In absence of a new operator Somerset is technically the lessee. As Dave pointed out, Somerset is free to sell the assets to whoever cares to remove them. To their credit and our hope, they have not. Will they be willing to eat that lose or will they just opt out when a good offer is made for pieces or the whole? I think the most valuable asset they own are the HKD snowmaking towers, they would be the most easily sold.

I hope someone had the foresight to secure those snowmakers. The quad chair will have some competition in the used chair market and the lodge would be expensive to move. Somerset stands to get the best offer from an operator that gains approval from the state. They are still trying, what choice do they have? What role is the DCNR taking in executing their obligation to utilize the land donated for specific snow sport use?

Will they lead the effort by providing grants and a long term lease for an operator? Will they talk to Snowtime? Will they contact the Melons and seek to alter the restrictions? Will they get back into the ski area business and run it as a State Park, the way it was originally intended? Not likely There already has been indications that they would be willing to work with a not for profit. We should continue in our effort to form a co-op.

Forums and discussions like this should continue. Folks should contact the DCNR and voice their opinion. The more folk heard from the better. This should be a true gauge of public interest instead of an organized political effort. Also, by contacting the DCNR as park users we come across as clients rather than advocates in opposition and that opens the door for out of state users to express their concern. I think that snow sport operations at Laurel Mountain should be a part of that program for the Laurel Highlands. It seems to me that an open Laurel would add to the region as a snow sport destination.

We are talking about three distinct areas. All three serve different types of clients and Laurel could serve a more core sport cliental. Hidden Valley for me was always a stepping stone to larger resorts and an amenity to the resort home owners.

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Another million and a half might buy the Village lots depending on the overall proposal. Scott, can you clarify the quote? Is this Somersets lowest asking price or is this an offer made to Somerset from a creditable operator? I believe these are values the bank would consider as reasonable starting offers. A million dollars to buy an entire ski operation …that seems pretty cheap. The construction cost of the facilities you are buying would probably far exceed that. Even middle class folks like us could almost come up with that money.

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Hell, a 4 bedroom house in the DC area sells for close to a million. What do say Scott.. Whoops- I fell a sleep and had this weird dream…. Originally Posted By: snowsmith. Here is some information on a co-op owned ski resort. With some large cities within driving distance to the slopes, a co-op may work.

A CO-OP with bylaws set up like these may have a chance at the tax exempt status and grants available. The cost of the Assets present at the resort are considerable in regard to the price Somerset Trust will probably release them for. Is anyone good at marketing to get this out to the public and see if there is enough interest? Who wants to sit on the board of directors? Most of us just want to ride our boards. All we need to do is raise 1. Bake sales and flea markets anyone? I would love to sit on the board of directors.

I also think that we could find grants to absorb a large part of the 1. Well, here we go again. Stay tuned, as a deal may happen soon within the next 2 weeks. If something does happen, I fully expect the ski area not to open this year, but who knows. It would be great to have 3 ski areas open in the Laurel Mountains with solid management in place at all of them.

Is there any speculation as to who the potential buyer is? Yes it would be great to have 3 ski areas to choose from. It would seem that there should be enough skiers to support all three. This is afterall the east coast megalopolis. What I have noticed is the successfull business have one or two aspects that make them work: 1 a quality product or 2 good marketing or 3 both. Laurel Mountain has the potential for 1 but has never had 2. I hope not. The site is still up at: www.

The patrol is still together, we just had our refresher on Saturday. Fortunately we have never stopped working every and any lead in regards to the sale and therefore we still have 3 parties that are interested in the Mountain. Sorry, wishful thinking again…. I was thinking the same thing. Buncher can make it the Deer Valley of PA without a doubt and LM would add the best terrain in the area to round it out.

I understand Buncher wants to return mtn. The other beautiful part? You can ride from one to the other right now with only a small section of fire road to pass. I hope they look hard at LM as an extension of HV. Oh yes, HV and Laurel would be an interesting fit. Thanks for sharing the info. Sometimes I feel those of us that love Laurel are perceived as over hyping the place.

The terrain is good and potential is just as great. All we need is some committed money and some folks to give the place a try when it re-opens. If Hickory Flats and Summit road were paved…. I just heard that Laurel was vandalized this last week by cooper thieves. SOBs on quads destroyed the wiring on the quad and did the same to the warming hut at the bottom of Wildcat. Estimated damage up to 10 grand. What a shame, I hope they catch the criminals.

A friends cabin at White Mtn. You need ID to do it. You start selling a lot to recycle, you better be in the construction business to justify all the extra copper each week. Balestrieri said Buncher is considering Laurel Mountain more as a community service, not competition for Hidden Valley or nearby Seven Springs. While Somerset Trust has been trying to find a concessionaire to operate Laurel Mountain, the state has final approval. Also, on a separate note there was an article in the Johnstown Paper that Buncher just picked up another 86 acres along Gartner Road just this week.

This is on the opposite side of GArtner Road from the game preserve and they claim to have bought it just as a buffer area. Remember, the last official statement from 7 Springs management is that they continue to talk to the state and Somerset Trust about operating Laurel. Until that announcement is made by 7 Springs, the state will continue to wait for that white horse over in Champion to rescue Laurel.

If in fact that is the case, I hope some state rep or even congressman John Murtha steps in very quickly to rectify the problem. I think that wjac was just following all leads and Seven Springs affirmed that they were approached about Laurel but failed to say that was a year ago. I hope their interest in Laurel is over, I never felt that they were all that sincere in operating Laurel but had ulterior motives. I wish that Bender, Duppstapt and Nutting would just go away.

They did not buy Hidden Valley to start a ski resort empire. While I understand your passion for seeing LM opertate again, the real value for a developer like Buncher is the developable land next door to LM. If they can get the ski area packaged with the developable land, then it may be worthwhile to them as developers. They have also contracted a ski consulting business from Vermont that has been helping them getting HV up and running. Maybe these folks have looked at LM for Buncher and have provided an assessment of the investment involved in operating a successful and profitable ski area.

I think the one and only reason the Seven Springs operated LM was to curry favor for their gambling license application. It will take several years to build a customer base for the ski area and marketing to get folks on the slopes. Seven Springs knows that. If they really intended to operate the place they would have developed a business plan to get the place going in the right direction. Seems like they are fairly diversified company to me. One way for companies to grow is to acquire or develop new business units. These people seem to be the real deal and in it for the long haul.

Has anyone heard any more about the Laurel Mountain deal? This was first posted in the Hidden Valley thread, but I think it makes sense to place it here too. From my post on Epicski: The news articles fuel reason to be hopeful with this latest bid to open Laurel. Many deals have been rumored over the last year and a few suitors came close to tying the knot but got cold feet at the alter.

Why else would commissioners from two counties lobby Michael DiBerardinis, head of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources? At the recent annual HV homeowners mtg, I went up to the Jack Johnson rep after the mtg and asked him if they i. I am assuming that state reps and senators have done likewise. I would also assume that these representatives have seen the terms and conditions of the proposed deal and have found them acceptable to the state.

Therefore, in a representative commonwealth, the will of the people, voiced through their representatives, should be heard. One appointed bureaucrat should not be capable of blocking this deal, but hey, after all, this is Pennsylvania. Do you have this information from a reliable source? Hopefully the local guys from the DCNR can assist with this potential transaction. Originally Posted By: skibum. I like the way Laurel was run before, and the way the adjacent x-c center is run now. Buncher is asking for some changes in the lease structure with the state to allow both parties a clearer definition of their responsiblities.

The changes would not be precident setting or involved just different than the usual. Get off your butts and do this imp. Imp, remember this is the state where the last progressive initiative undertaken was building the PA turnpike some 60 years ago. Always, always, always behind the curve when it comes to anything remotely different. Explains why the 2nd oldest population in the country resides here.

Change is a 4 letter word here, unless, of course, palms get greased. Just ask the current residents and visitors to Hidden Valley. Rumor has it the Mellons almost gave immediate approval to the Bunchers to operate Laurel It seems obvious to almost anyone with a half-brain that this is a deal that should happen. My hope is that the DCNR will finally understand that we are genuinely interested in seeing Laurel succeed because it is an asset to the State and will serve the skiing public interest. If it is to be a lift served alpine ski area then a commitment to make commercially necessary improvement is paramount.

I think the best we can do at this point is send our comments to Doug Finger at dfinger state. I hope Buncher can get through the red tape and make this happen. It would be a shame to have terrain that good not operating in Western PA. Yo… DCNR…. Do the right thing!!! A microbrewery in Ligonier would be nice too. Yep, I sort of agree with you, but I really think there is a happy medium. Add some lodging e.

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The existing ski lodge on site, IMHO, suffices. However, what really is needed at Laurel is additional snowmaking and a few more ways down the hill. Originally Posted By: hockeydave. Originally Posted By: imp. NOW is the time to e mail the dcnr ra-askdcnr state. IT now or never skibum. Ok skibum link them through here to the DCNR hot line: askdcnr state. It actualy goes clear down to the Deer Path but it takes three feet of snow to get over the rocks. The first 8 pitchers of beer is on me! Sad to say, but if this offer is rejected, it probably will spell the end of Laurel as a ski area.

Happy new year look like 80 hours of snow making then a warm up next weeks. I spoke to 2 separate people who are fairly well connected to the Laurel scene this past weekend. By the end of March, the final prognosis for Laurel will be made; either dead and gone for good or alive and kicking. Also, Somerset Trust can not hold onto those ski assets forever nor the lots in the adjacent Village. Frankly, they have held onto them longer than expected 3 years.

They will probably start selling stuff off and recouping anything they can from their loan. Can you hear the clock ticking, DCNR? Based on what I read here, unless there is some confidentiality agreement, no matter what decision is made about reopening Laurel, the DCNR owes the public an explanation on why they have accepted or rejected the offer. Can anyone think of a reason why the DCNR would not jump at the idea of a group with plenty of equity taking over and making this the perfect ski resort?

It seems that the people, the Buncher Group, and the Mellons want it to go. I would like the DCNR to tell the public what the problem is and get some input from the people who love the resort. Thats if there is a problem. If not, just say it will be open next year. We have approved it. I hate to say it, but if Buncher is not allowed and no reason is presented, one of my first thoughts is whose pocket is padded.

Is there anyone with information to erase this thought? Iwas told by a fairly reliable source that the Buncher have all but closed a deal to operate LM and that it would be added as an optional supplement to a Hidden Valley season pass next ski season. The deal is done… it is pending DCNR approval.

Never worked at Laurel in any capacity. Know several people in the ski patrol. Started skiing there in and fell in love with it. George should be thanked for getting it reopened back in We bought it because we love the solitude the Village offers and the close proximity of the state park. Having the ski area reopened would be icing on the cake. As far as the deal is concerned, whether or not Laurel reopens for skiing next year rests solely with the DCNR in Harrisburg.

Again, please take 10 minutes to contact the state reps who represent that area PM me if you want contact info … the time you take may help get Laurel reopened. I e mail the dcnr on monday this is a copy of what i sent It has been brought to my attention that there has been a new suitor showing a strong interest in Laurel Mountain Ski Area. A long time western PA skier and a frequent skier of Laurel Mountain I feel that this is a great asset to the region and would hate to see it lost. With a new year coming please give the full weight of your consideration so Laurel Mountain Ski Area can be opened in the winter of It would be a tragedy if this ski area went away because of bureaucratic inertia.

Some arrangement is needed that is beneficial to all parties. We cant just sit on our hands and do nothing. If you want a fine example of how skiing was in 40 50 and And a piece of history to gust go away. That old mountain has a soul. Any one who has skied there in the last 30 years know what I mean. Keep the pressure up. If Dave has not already brought it up, it is important that those of you who are not residents of PA also let them know that you will spend your ski dollars in PA if Laurel reopens.

I have been writing to those Representatives on the Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, especially those in Westmoreland and Somerset Counties. Pallone is my local Rep here in Northern Westmoreland County and is chairman of the subcommittee on recreation. You could start there. Most of them have nice easy web mail forms that you can cut and paste your letter into. Has anybody got any news on laurel?

Ski Resorts Working To Start Ski Season Early

And buncher has hired a lobbyist to make things move faster skibum. Having been away for the past week and a half, I am completely out of the loop wrt Laurel news. I seriously doubt that Seven Springs is interested. If contact has been made with Seven Springs or vice versa in the recent past, I am completely unaware of it. I plan on circulating some more this weekend in and around Ligonier. I hope Seven Springs is not approached.

They had a chance, opened 1 season, and backed out. The Buncher group shows interest in both the Resort and Village. They seem to want to keep it like it is. Why is the DCNR going so slow? A company with the equity of Buncher, can take it on, fix it up, and have it running next year. They can wait for a return on investment. As I have said in the past, I wish the DCNR would let us know what is going on so we know weather to forget it or start planning for next year. I was told by a VERY reliable source that negotiations are progressing favorably towards the end goal of reopening Laurel Mountain.

He is very optimistic Laurel will be open for skiing next year. However, patience will be required while waiting for an official announcement. Originally Posted By: rjsherrin. I am Back door lobbying i. If Laurel reopens, any impact to Seven Springs bottom line will be negligible.

They left behind broken equipment and things a mess. You need to give it at least 3 years. There was a year by year lease on Laurel and a seperate entity owned each business. I heard broken grooming equipment, broken water lines, electrical problems among other things. I believe that 7 Springs used Laurel Mountain as a way to get a leg up on the slots situation at the time. They agreed to open Laurel around the same time the state passed slots beings started in PA. I think there were other reasons beyond slot casinos and controlling competition behind 7S interest at that time.

Once the deal with the Nuttings went through, interest in Laurel wanned but management at 7S kept open a weak possibility. Now with a real offer on the table 7S seems to be back in the rumor mill if not actual consideration. I, for one, would favor Buncher at this point in the process. I think Hidden Valley and Laurel synergy is right, they are physically closer and each has what the other lacks.

Laurel would be a much greater compliment to HV than to 7S. I think a sharper competition between HV and 7S will serve the snow sport public well. As for 7S, as hockeydave said, they had their chance and sat idle. Now when there is a real threat to their near monopoly suddenly there is rumored interest. A 7S crew was occasionally dispatched to Laurel to do routine maintenance. I think the conclusion of local law enforcement was drug related burglary, crack or meth heads looking for fix money. The recent theft of cooper wire and subsequent damage to lifts and out buildings lend support to the prior conclusions.

Some other items of concern were thought to be missing. I have since heard from the park manager that some, if not all of this was found. It was hoped that these item might be have been taken to 7S when they cleared out. There was never any public accusations of wrong doing on the part of 7 Springs that I know of. When Seven Springs agreed to operate Laurel a couple of years ago, many people were euphoric. Expectations, justly or unjustly, were high. And quite honestly, Seven Springs is at the very least partly to blame for these high expectations.

But I did badmouth Seven Springs management because they continued to perpetuate hope in several interviews and newspaper articles that they may reopen Laurel in the future when in reality that was never a possibility. They claimed they lost hundreds of thousands that year at Laurel. I suspected they did this to keep other buyers away, but I have no proof.

But all of this is in the past. Fast forward to the present… Like I said in a previous post, I have not heard any confirmed news that Seven Springs has now entered into the Laurel equation. Until someone in the know tells me that Seven Springs is now again talking about operating Laurel, I will treat this info as an unfounded rumor and nothing more.

I know for a fact there is genuine interest from Buncher see Johnstown Tribune Democrat article on Dec 15, I am hoping that I will be skiing at Laurel next year under a steward who sees Laurel for what it is; a beautiful, scenic, natural, challenging, and most importantly, family-friendly ski area. IMO, 7S only operated LM in hopes to grease the wheels for the go ahead from the State to open the Western Expansion which crosses State Game Lands and was the 1 reason for the expansion not happening all these years at 7S. Hopefully Buncher can make it happen. It really it does compliment HV.

HV has all the beginner terrain they can handle and no intermediate to advanced. LM has all the intermediate to advanced terrain that we wished we had at 7S. It would be an advanced skiers paradise in the Mid Atlantic. The hold up for buncher is getting a deal work out on the water and sewage buncher want to develop on lots that are in laurel village buncher need water and sewage to do that.

They want the state grant money to build water and sewage system. The outer info I have is that buncher was looking at used 4 person lifts at holiday valley not for hidden valley but to replace the old 2 person at laurel. I honestly believe our collective voice will yield the desired result… Laurel will be once again open for skiing next year and hopefully for many years after that. I hope your Wright if and when the good new comes can we all get to gather and meet to celebrity. At the wildcat bar ski bum. A John Harvards get together had been discussed no matter what the outcome of the LM business.

Still seems like a good idea to me. I have info that both 7 springs and buncher hidden valley have made proposal to the state to run laurel the state has an outside company to evaluate both offers and make recommendations. Ski bum. Skibum - Assuming what you state is true, I wonder why there is sudden interest from the folks over at Champion when they let Laurel sit idle for the past 3 years? Do I smell the scent of competition for the Laurel Highlands tourism dollar wafting over the Laurel Highlands?

Bencher has a long term deal on the table to build and improve the mountain. The springs will take it as is no help from the state. The springs plan will not be good for the long term development of laurel buncher will walk away form the deal if the state is too cheep to help. The springs has had there chance to make a go of it. It call in to question the commitment to laurel mt. Let us let the state dcnr knows we want a long term deal with improvements.

Not a as is deal. The info I have is buncher is just about out of patience with the state. I think in the end they will walk away. If there is Seven Springs management keeping tabs here, I do hope this is more then just a play to blunt competition. I know it is that but Laurel deserves more then being a sacrificial pawn in a real estate game. But your terrain is boring and you have a lot of it, all the same. There is little for the advanced skier except icy bumps or park tricks. A few facts to have in mind: - Les Gets make , lift rides per summer, the biggest number in Europe.

Could explain why there might be some time to time issues with maintenance on a few trails. Certainly easier for North-american resorts. With lifts to be equipped and trails to be built and secured, this is quite a good performance. One has to take into consideration the cost of operating the lifts staff, bikepatrols, energy. If this would be a viable business, be sure all the resorts would be opened all year round! Again certainly easier for the North American resorts where they can make money on tickets, rental, lodging, bike schools and restaurants as they own all of those.

Not to mention the lift pass price, lot cheaper in France. SintraFreeride Dec 23, at Yes you are right in many aspects and I'm very happy to hear that Les Gets has opened some trails for mtbiking. However, the criticism about trail maintenance during the summer and trail quality still stands. Here in Chatel we manage to keep our trails in good condition and I'm sure if you get a little more organised you can too. I wish you all the best with Crankworxs next year! But I know how much more potential you have and would love to see you fulfil it.

One thing I always consider in the 'private land' argument — A ski piste may be 20 metres wide and cover multiple kilometres. It requires a complete deforestation of this area, then a machine to destroy any natural features to make it smooth enough to ski on. Then why is it so hard to build a bike trail through the forest which requires minimal maintenance and destruction? TopperharleyPT1 Dec 23, at Of course it seemed like a statement of intent but of course you are being very quick to dumb it down.

You have an opportunity to lead the world, it'll take a lot of work, blood, sweat and tears to get you back where you used to be. Crankworx is an amazing start and you have been putting in the efforts for many years on the trails. However for as many years people have been saying the trails don't ride well, they are poorly shaped. I'm sorry to say it again. The entire mountain bike community and many hundreds of local riders in the area would help, standing behind you should you wish to pull the trigger on progression. Why put down the biking community by saying you aren't open for the 'hardcore bikers' when they could be just the people you need on your side?

You made a good point of revenue streams in North American resorts coming from rentals and shops that the resort own.

Vail takes over the skiing world....

Well, do something about that, I got one would happily pay more for a lift ticket for longer opening hours and a greater variety of trails. I'm also sure that if you teamed up with the right people in town, extra revenue could be found. I'm sure you'll say it's not that easy.

Well, it is. There are many in your town that you could sit down with, brainstorm ideas and find solutions to any one of your problems. Beyond that that same community could help you construct and maintain these trails we already do on unofficial trails. All we'd need to do is unsure and legalise it.

We've been on the same line of conversation with Morzine for many years, but you seem to be taking more positive steps. Let us help you make them. Compared to chamonix PDS is positively forward thinking There are 2 dedicated bike trails in the valley, les touches and la tour, that's it, everything else is natural which i love BUT the walkers have priority and it seems to be out of the question to have dedicated walkers and riders trails The potential here for the valley to draw bike tourism in is there, but the locals just don't seem to be able to grasp it..

FlorentVN Dec 24, at That's a shame that Chatel is that far back in the Valley. Living few km away only, how many times i didn't even considered going to ride Les Gets and went for Les Carroz, Chatel, Morgins instead. It adds 1hour drive but the riding is so different. Of course Les Gets will still sell more pass but it's not because of the quality offered. SintraFreeride Dec 24, at TheOnlyEhren Dec 23, at Windham is open today and tomorrow! I can't make it there, but I'm definitely gonna hit Highland's cross country trails and umm accidentally find my way onto Hellion TheFireSermon Dec 23, at No response.

I'm gonna message all the east coast guys on Instagram and see if they can open up the lift sometime soon. Totally agree! There was a petition on the ESC facebook to have Plattekill open a few weekends ago too. Eneite Dec 23, at I also had the chance to go to Whistler last year and I no longer have the same look on these Alpine's tracks. Attitudes concerning moutain biking are struggling to change in France I live in les Vosges and the situation is exactly the same. So frustrating. The snow situation is an absolute joke in Europe at the moment.

Interesting points on the park and couldn't agree more. Such a shame, they have so much potential. Jeromev Dec 23, at So much criticism, from people all living in the area, and from people who actually have the ability to do something to improve the situation Tourism office, bike school This has to be a joke!

Of course PDS is behind Whistler bike-wise but still, the bike park is awesome, so are tho se of the numerous stations in the alps. Concerning the lack of passion and motivation the station is blamed for I don't know the exact figures but I talked with the man behind the "Mondial du vtt" at Les2Alpes in Not the smallest event out there. He reported the station earned as much money during a full summer season as it had in 2 days of the winter season.

What do you think they invest in???? I want to believe resorts do as much as they can to attract people in summer. Unfortunately the winter season is still way more important. It's a very good point polar on why don't people group together here like they have in Queenstown or Whistler, but the main difference here is that there are many different land owners around the PDS region.

This is why there are so many trails being built on the Pleney side of the valley but on the other you will likely run a gauntlet of people shouting at you when coming down - all down to ownership. The figures for Chatel are: 1 million euros made for the whole Summer season which is end of June-9 September.

For winter it is 22million from mid December to mid April. Now if they did invest in summer a tad more and open for long I'm sure they could make more money but I don't see them making even half the money they make in winter. This IS the main reason why they don't care about mtbiking and why things are unlikely to change much any time soon. CustardCountry Dec 23, at Just want to say how impressed I was with Chatel this year. We came out for the last week after the majority of PDS closed and it was worth the drive from Montriond every day.

For the last week of the seaso the trails were amazing. Keep up the good work. Been coming to PDS for years now and I understand the criticisms above. In the past we'd spend weeks out there a year, but nowadays Chatel and Les Gets are our warm up week before heading off to ride other places. The PDS has so much potential in the area, I understand the landownership problems but hopefully with Crank Worx next year and a shitty winter season it might start to reach its potential.

My main gripe has always been the lack of trails further afield in the PDS to make the slog over there worthwhile. Thanks we do our best to keep the bikepark in top shape. Let me know when you are over next year and I'll show you some of the sweet singletracks and secret trails which can't be found in the bikepark! Chatel is great, love it there, same as the rest of the area, in fact I'm going in for a week. It beats local stuff here in the Pyrenees, as the whole area PDS is accessible easily. Vallnord is good, but the novelty is over quickly, and the smaller French ski stations Pyrenees try but have a limited budget, and are only day trip options, some very very good trails, but not enough variety.

They have an awesome asset and should have more joined up thinking, then it really would be a the stellar no. Pastry Dec 23, at Chatel works hard to keep their trails tight all season tho. I hate when my downhill trails are bumpy too. I hate smooth lame DH trails. Verbier is one of the more forward thinking resorts. Always one of the first to open and last to close and with a good network of enduro trails as well as the bike park stuff. This year they were open until the end of october when the lifts were shut for maintenance, showing that you don't need from the end of August to the start of December to maintain the lift system.

They also have lifts open to bikes now and guides available for xmas rides. I believe Pila may also be open at the moment too. Morillon and Samoens have never truly opened to bikes, you can just get lucky and sneak a few laps if the lifty doesn't mind but the official line is a big no. I'd definitely agree that more resorts should be building flowy greens and blues though, Les Carroz has invested in a 5km super wide green run that makes introducing people to bikes much easier. Instead of fear and intimidation people are genuinely able to enjoy riding mountain bikes in a bike park from the get go.

Off piste tracks around morzine are amazing. I guess they need to move with the trends but it would be a shame to see more natural rugged lines disappear. Have since started road tripping around other alpine resorts, it's way more of a pain in terms of accommodation and creature comforts but the riding is leagues apart.

Admittedly they don't see anywhere near the traffic of Les Gets but the places are better set out. Vallnord is genuinely fun and has a load of different trails, same with Verbs. I think people feel annoyed about les gets because it could be so much more, the potential is massive. Admittedly it's not easy to build new stuff, but as noted above some of the stuff gets built wrong and then left. I went back a couple of years ago to see what had changed and rode the same red egg trail I had done 7 years earlier, with braking bumps in the same places.

However, the romance of this area is no longer about the tracks. Investment is: let the snow melt and reopen for 8 weeks then close the door last day in August. There was an amazing article a few years back when Fabien Barel himself was talking about a time when he had it out with a lift attendant over laughing in French at the Brit sheep who flock back every year for sub par tracks.

Barel said 'don't forget they are paying your wages' This needs vision to follow current trends and this area can go wherever it wants, literally the sky is the limit. But, if it continues to see this as a summer that makes as much money as 2 days in winter then it won't end well with the amount of forward thinking resorts popping up. Finale, Ainsa, Madeira etc I say keep the parks open for bikes until there's enough snow to board on and open the bike park when there is too little snow.

Probably a liability thing plus damage could be done to some trails in the melt off but I've always thought it was weird that there was a gap. Here in California there could be almost 2 months from the time the lifts close for snow to when the bike park is open. DanielErtel Dec 23, at I think there's a shit load more prep work for ski and mtb season openings than you may be aware. The reason there is a gap is that setting up the lifts for skiing and for bikes is different.

O fcourse, with a little better organization the gap could be shorter. Insurance contracts make sense too. Though it would be fun to blast through some snow, happens a lot at mammoth when there's snowboarding into July. Some of those north facing shaded trails take a long time to melt. Yeah but the PDS could be open for the whole of September and probably until mid october. This year I rode the trails in Chatel bikepark until early November, bone dry! MalleCommencal Dec 23, at Haven't been to the PDS area yet but was seriously considering it for next year.. All I can recommend is to visit Austria!

Ride Schladming no comment needed , Leogang and Saalbach which has sick trails for Trailbikes all within 2 hours of driving! Also Morgins is really worth a shot, fun and lots of option manly lines. This artical simple doesn't do the place justice. There is soo much to it, a week is usually not enough to go exploring away from morzine and les gets JesusJohn Dec 24, at Morgins is my fav riding in the area for sure, lots of flow which les gets does'nt have DaMilkyBarKid Dec 23, at I've been to the PDS 4 summers in a row now and very little seemed to change in that timeframe.

The notable changes were a few rebuilt sections in Chatel killed the flow and the new section on the main Les Gets run was a major disappointment!! Still amazing to be there for a week riding uplifted tracks solidly but there is so much more that could be done. Rebuilt sections in Chatel that killed flow??? You surely mean the opposite! Chatel bikepark is WAY better now than it was 4 summers ago!

Yeah les gets mainline ruined compared to 3years ago. Less of this slow berms stuff and more flat out.. Being fast in the berms requires skill. Flat out is fun but steep straight lines are what cause never ending brake bumps and that is a trail crew's worst nightmare. We at Chatel are trying to remove all steep straight lines on the big flow trails , trying to create trails which require the minimum amount of braking not a lot of pedalling and allow you to keep you're speed.

SintraFreeride - one of the big eye openers for me in Whistler was how the trails were built as you've described, less braking is designed into the trail and consequently less trail damage but also you go faster as you rail each corner and jump. Definitely the way forward. Uuno Dec 24, at Makes me wonder why it's not that way everywhere. I was surprised in Tignes when I tried the easy tracks, even those were too straight and required continuous braking in many portions of the track.

I went through chatel quickly during the Tour des PDS, it was better. The old trail required more skill to rail berms flatout, the new one is just naff Not sure which trails you are taking about in Chatel bat-fastard. The blue Seprentine trail is fast and has over 60 berms and it is alot of fun to ride, far from boring! But hey if it's not you're cup of tea that's fine. I think a DH bike with mm of travel is kind of a waste to ride mostly on smooth flow trails I do like em too but not as much.

The trick is to create trails that aren't very steep. In Portugal there are a bunch of trails with little gradient which you can ride flat out and NOT be on the brakes much. Finale Ligure also has trails like that. Never ridden in Whistler but I think their trails follow that philosophy. That's maybe my problem. Big full on bike with avalanche suspension that loves to point straight down. Was down serpentine this year, not for me. Black shore and likes of bike patrol are my cup of tea.

I'd suggest sticking to the black runs then and riding Morgins if you haven't before. The blue run on the side is super fast with plenty of rocks and roots perfect for your bike! One of my favorite in the PDS. Also the super fast black run in Crosets might be your cup of tea!

ChristchurchAdventurePark Dec 23, at Perhaps someone should consider building a bike park that is open all year round? Voxran Dec 23, at They're is a big problem in our countries : the land owner's. We don't have mountains, hills or anything like than free for building. And if it's not the land owner's the problem, is the forest guards In Spain we have been riding La Pinilla Bikepark all december!!!

Cant wait for this weekend www. Mountain creek bike park should reopen as well! The weather is depressingly warm so if they know they cant make snow for let's say a week why not open the bike park? Come on guys just a few days! Having ridden the PDS for over a decade, and been to whistler once The hills in the PDS could be made the best in the world. With the change in global climate, this is a chance for the local economy to actually benefit. Yeah, MTBers spend less, but it's the economy of scale.

Let us come, build for all abilities, and we will be there! If I wasn't already committed to work and family over the festive period I would go. Please formalise this and so busy family dads and moms can plan to ride there, with the longer season that it is clearly now available.