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Attention 7Springs and Laurel Mountain Skiers
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Updated 7 years ago
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8 years ago
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Somerset Trust (LM leaseholder) and PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (State Parks Dept.) are set to resume talks this spring. Now is the time to lobby Seven Springs. The meetings will determine if Seven Spring will operate Laurel Mountain. As many of you may know, last season Seven Springs agreed to operate Laurel Mountain State Park but decided against doing so this season.

If you are at all interested in seeing Laurel opened again I’m urging you to contact Seven Springs and tell them that you would like to see them operate Laurel. They have a proven record as a successful ski resort operator and the financial ability to develop Laurel’s full skiing potential. E-Mail Seven Springs:webmaster@7springs.com

Why bother with Laurel? If you’re a skiing family: The terrain naturally segregates skiers by ability the beginners aren’t mixing with experts. All lifts empty near the lodge. Laurel is a ski area as opposed to a destination resort and the ambience reflects this.

If you’re an expert or advanced skier Laurel has Lower Wildcat, a 28 degree expert slope with good snowmaking. That’s among the steepest in the State and steep by most standards. Wildcat would wear a black diamond at any resort, east or west. Laurel’s 900 foot vertical is the tallest in the region. There are over 400 acres within the boundaries of the ski area. That includes a lot of terrain suitable for ski slope development.

I’m writing this on behalf of the newly formed Linn Run and Forbes State Forest Outdoor Commission a charter member of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, a 501©3 non-profit corporation. It is the view of our group that Laurel Mountain’s best hope lies with a resort operator of the caliber of Seven Springs.

In addition to the ski area our mission includes sustaining, improving, and advancing outdoor recreational opportunities within the State Park complex as well as the surrounding Forbes State Forest. These activities include overnight stays at rustic cabins, day hiking and picnicking, backpacking, primitive camping, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fishing, hunting, rock climbing and equestrian trails.

If you are interested in being placed on a mailing list or in becoming a member of Linn Run State Park and Forbes State Forest Outdoor Commission please contact the manager of the Linn Run State Park / Laurel Mountain State Park, complex Doug Finger at: dfinger@state.pa.us
8 years ago
Thanks for posting this Rob. We’ll be sending an email today. There are a few people on this site that I know are interested in seeing Laurel get going again. Hopefully if enough people show enough interest 7Springs will see that it’s worth the effort to have one of the coolest mountains anywhere up and running.
8 years ago
I was just thinking… say 7S doesn’t operate LM and a wealthy 84 Lumber tycoon bought LM, how about this for a new name for LM… The Slopes @ Laurel & Hardy

Anyways, on a serious note, I’m all for contacting the proper people and hopefully getting LM up & running again. I just hope that if 7S isn’t serious about operating LM, they inform DCNR & Somerset Trust ASAP of their intentions not to operate LM so that other parties might be pursued.
8 years ago
Laurel and Hardy, I like that.

Also keep in mind that Somerset isn’t just waiting on 7S management to come a callin’. They have capital tied up there producing no return, in fact losing value.

My fear is that if a capable operator doesn’t step up soon then the bank will sell off the equipment and dismantle what is now a turn key operation.

I don’t think the State is interested in running the facility. They don’t operate any of the many ski areas in other State Parks, why would they reverse course and do so at Laurel?

Buckeye, are you Buckeye Skier 1330 at Epic? I’m really sorry we didn’t meet up when Laurel was open.
8 years ago
I agree with you Rob, that the possibility does exist that Somerset might sell all of the equipment… however a large percentage of their original loan to George is tied up in the lodge and the only possible buyer of the lodge would be the state since it’s on state property.

On a positive note, I honestly believe Somerset is going to get 7S or someone else to reopen LM , at least short term, so they can use the ski slopes to help sell lots in LM Village. Long term, obviously, is where the difficulty lies. Frankly, anybody would be somewhat naive to reopen LM w/o the state’s help… both financially as well as gettig the state to relax the crazy and archaic constraints imposed by the DCNR (i.e. state of PA) on state park land development. Just my 2 cents.
8 years ago
Actually, what is really needed to get LM up and running long term is learning who the person is in PA State Parks or politicians that allow the owners of Blue Knob to get away with all the shananagans re the ski area, the bordering park, the permits, etc. Obviously the owners of BK know how to get around the rules without recriminations, even if they do “bad things”.
The Colonel
8 years ago
Quote:

Long term, obviously, is where the difficulty lies. Frankly, anybody would be somewhat naive to reopen LM w/o the state’s help… both financially as well as gettig the state to relax the crazy and archaic constraints imposed by the DCNR (i.e. state of PA) on state park land development. Just my 2 cents.




I wonder just what those restrictions are. Blue Knob has always had slope side condos, no hotel on State Park property but on a private parcel not accessible by lift.

What about Camelback?

Denton has no private lodging but does have State Park modern cabins.
8 years ago
Quote:


Anyways, on a serious note, I’m all for contacting the proper people and hopefully getting LM up & running again. I just hope that if 7S isn’t serious about operating LM, they inform DCNR & Somerset Trust ASAP of their intentions not to operate LM so that other parties might be pursued.




Very important point hockeydave. Hopefully the state doesn’t stand for 7 Springs diddling them around and killing the opportunity for Laurel to open AGAIN this year. It’s in 7 Springs interest that if they don’t operate Laurel Mountain, no one does. DCNR Duh! I’d think Somerset is not the hold up?
8 years ago
I know that there are lots of instructors, patrollers, and staff members in the highlands who have moved to HV or 7S the last season, and so it’s not like people would need to retrain, but just how much lead-time would be needed to get the resort up and running. (ie. getting ski patrol, ski school, and mountain ops running, and of course all the other important stuff)

I know when 7S was running it, they started pretty late, but how late would they be able to start planning and still be successful for the season.
8 years ago
Quote:






Buckeye, are you Buckeye Skier 1330 at Epic? I’m really sorry we didn’t meet up when Laurel was open.




Sure am. Hopefully Laurel will be open next year and we can make some runs together. That pic you had of Wildcat was a really nice shot!
8 years ago
You are correct sir!…+ why would it be in 7springs best interest to run Laurel? wouldn’t LM just draw buis from 7sp?
8 years ago
When the Mellon family turned over LM to the state of DO NOTHING, they stipulated what could and could not be done with the land. For this reason the DCNR feels that they need to be “good neighbors” to the mellons as the still reside at the base of LM in Laughlintown/Ligonier area. The current agreement with the state includes a high price tag to lease the property that LM sits on. I feel that this fee/tax should be waived as all local communities benefit from LM being up and running. Just my two cents (again) on the matter. We will wait and see what happens in the next few weeks. I believe that will be a good indication of what is to come to LM.
8 years ago
Quote:

You are correct sir!…+ why would it be in 7springs best interest to run Laurel? wouldn’t LM just draw buis from 7sp?




This is a conversation I’ve had with MANY people over the past year or so. Quite frankly, the two resorts have different markets.

Laurel Mountain is definately more of a day-use area, so it would be pulling local skiers, mostly people who want to get away from the lines at Seven Springs but still want a nice, well-run resort.

Also, Lower Wildcat is the steepest run in Western Pennsylvania and is considered by many to be one of the best trails in the Mid-Atlantic.

Also, with the anticipated addition of slots this year to 7S, some people will be less interested in skiing there, even if the slots are nowhere near the slopes, it would probably just turn people off.


And besides, owning more market share is a good thing. Why would 7S turn down the possibility of having the overwheling majority of ski business in the Laurel Highlands.

All in all, it’s a great idea.
8 years ago
7S lost money running LM. 7S will survive because people spend money there on a bunch of stuff. This is good for skiing/ snowmaking. An awsome vertical doesn’t always = cash to keep up the slope!
8 years ago
Quote:

7S lost money running LM. 7S will survive because people spend money there on a bunch of stuff. This is good for skiing/ snowmaking. An awsome vertical doesn’t always = cash to keep up the slope!




7S lost money running LM because they got into it pretty late in the pre-season. They had all of a month or two to try and get everything together before the season started. If they made a decision right now, they could be preparing for next year right now and not lost as much money.

And besides, anyone who’s ever run a business, or even just a fundraiser for something knows that you don’t make money right away. A resort would be similar, but on a much larger scale. It might take several seasons before they’re getting themselves out of the hole. But see that’s the good thing, with big companies, they can take risks and try things without immediate profits.

I can list any number of reasons for 7S to run LM. If nothing else, it’s worth them giving a second try.
8 years ago
Quote:

Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Somerset Trust (LM leaseholder) and PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (State Parks Dept.) are set to resume talks this spring. Now is the time to lobby Seven Springs. The meetings will determine if Seven Spring will operate Laurel Mountain. As many of you may know, last season Seven Springs agreed to operate Laurel Mountain State Park but decided against doing so this season.

If you are at all interested in seeing Laurel opened again I’m urging you to contact Seven Springs and tell them that you would like to see them operate Laurel. They have a proven record as a successful ski resort operator and the financial ability to develop Laurel’s full skiing potential. E-Mail Seven Springs:jjones@7springs.com

Why bother with Laurel? If you’re a skiing family: The terrain naturally segregates skiers by ability the beginners aren’t mixing with experts. All lifts empty near the lodge. Laurel is a ski area as opposed to a destination resort and the ambience reflects this.

If you’re an expert or advanced skier Laurel has Lower Wildcat, a 28 degree expert slope with good snowmaking. That’s among the steepest in the State and steep by most standards. Wildcat would wear a black diamond at any resort, east or west. Laurel’s 900 foot vertical is the tallest in the region. There are over 400 acres within the boundaries of the ski area. That includes a lot of terrain suitable for ski slope development.

I’m writing this on behalf of the newly formed Linn Run and Forbes State Forest Outdoor Commission a charter member of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, a 501©3 non-profit corporation. It is the view of our group that Laurel Mountain’s best hope lies with a resort operator of the caliber of Seven Springs.

In addition to the ski area our mission includes sustaining, improving, and advancing outdoor recreational opportunities within the State Park complex as well as the surrounding Forbes State Forest. These activities include overnight stays at rustic cabins, day hiking and picnicking, backpacking, primitive camping, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fishing, hunting, rock climbing and equestrian trails.

If you are interested in being placed on a mailing list or in becoming a member of Linn Run State Park and Forbes State Forest Outdoor Commission please contact the manager of the Linn Run State Park / Laurel Mountain State Park, complex Doug Finger at: dfinger@state.pa.us




Rob, possibly you could edit this and any other postings for me. Jen Jones (JJones@7springs email) is the head of the Recreation Dept. and has nothing to do with LM or any decision making process involving it. She handles the summer and winter recreation dept…hiking, biking, paintball, climbing, etc. She has asked me to see if you could remove her email as she is swamped with emails that she can not do anything about. Any and all emails need to be sent to Scott Bender, nobody else. There are links on the 7S site that can be used. Thanks bud.
8 years ago
Hi Matt, I was given her e-mail when I inquired about an address to send such comments. I thought Scott Bender would be a perfect choice but the committee thought otherwise. I’ll e-mail Jen with my apologies. Thanks for the heads up.
8 years ago
Quote:

Why bother with Laurel? If you’re a skiing family: The terrain naturally segregates skiers by ability the beginners aren’t mixing with experts. All lifts empty near the lodge. Laurel is a ski area as opposed to a destination resort and the ambience reflects this.




Based on some recent postings, I know there is some discontent out there with 7S acquiring slots. If one does contact 7S about LM (and based on TaylorMatt’s reply, it seems there have been quite a few people who have contacted 7S already), don’t forget to mention how great it would be to have a true “family” alternative over at LM.
8 years ago
Quote:

I’ll e-mail Jen with my apologies.




I’m sure she will appreciate another e-mail!
8 years ago
I contacted Scott (DCSki editor) to ask that the e-mail link to jjones@7springs be changed. Please direct comments to Seven Springs via webmaster@7springs.com
8 years ago
The reasons why the owners of Blue Knob (who are actually from Northern VA) have been able to get away with running a “shananagans” ski area in PA, complete with poor management and extensive environmental damage are as follows: 1) Blue Knob is located within an area of PA that has some of the worst environmental practices in the US; so, any environmental damage or mismanagement (at BK) is hardly noticed by the local officials or local population. 2) The political climate in the area is staunchly conservative and anti-environment. 3) Once the activiities at BK caught the attention of the media and some environmental groups, the local politicians (fearing that BK might close) pressured the local media not to run any stories critical of BK. Also, the local politicians pressured the local PA Soil Conservation District not to do anything about possible illegal and/or poor logging/bulldozing practices at BK. 4) The local politicians also pressured BK State Park to continue leasing the lodge and land to the operators of BK “at all costs” (to insure that BK remains open). Unfortunately, this meant turning a blind-eye to how the current owners of BK are managing the ski area and treating the environment.

Although there’s plenty of blame to go around (concerning the current mess at BK), PA Dept. of State Parks is where the “buck stops”. At any point in time, PA Parks could have required the owners of BK to clean-up their act and start managing things properly. To date, the Commonwealth of PA has decided to take a hands-off approach and allow the owners of BK to do whatever they want. Hopefully, Laurel Mountain will never be subject to the kind of horrible things that have happened at BK.
8 years ago
Any new developments or rumors concering the re-opening of Laurel Mountain
8 years ago
Several different people who I have talked to who are in contact with folks at Somerset Trust really think LM will reopen, however, the one person in a very high management position @ 7S that I talked to says 7S is not interested in operating LM. But if Somerset Trust & DCNR “sweeten” the deal for 7S, anything is possible.
8 years ago
I’m afraid that 7-S is currently devoting most its time, money and energy to bringing in gambling to the Resort and putting the finishing touches on the high-end condo/house community located at the top of the mountain near Lake Tahoe. The possibility of 7-S operating LM for the 2006-2007 season isn’t a high priority with 7-S management right now. Perhaps Somerset Trust can find someone other than 7-S to buy or (at the very least) operate LM. LM has excellent potential. In my opinion, Wildcat is superior to Extrovert at BK and there’s an abundance of GENUINE glades at LM (unlike the raw logged mess at BK). And, to top it off, LM receives considerably more natural snow than BK.
8 years ago
I think the operating model with LM being opened Thursday - Monday would work, assuming a decent snow season; probably a decent profit could be made too. If it were up to me, I would make Thursday hours 3PM - 10PM and Monday hours 9AM - 5PM to further lessen operating expenses.

LM has a world of potential, it just needs someone or group with a passion for that mountain & some relatively deep pockets for additional snowmaking investments and to ride out the occasional and inevitable bad snow season or two. It really is a turn key operation, just waiting for someone to step up to the plate. If only I could hit the lottery.

I understand other parties besides 7S have “viewed” LM, but so far, no takers. Fingers still crossed hoping ‘06-‘07 skiing happens @ LM.
8 years ago
Dave I agree with you entirely.

The operating model you present would not only satisfy the locals, but also make it viable as a place to do a long weekend’s worth of skiing at.

I mean honestly, there are skiers during the week, and certainly LM would have it’s share, but it would be more cost efficient to only run it the 4-5 days a week, plus more for weekends.

I still have my fingers crossed for next season. I’m almost undoubtedly not returning to Hidden Valley, and I’d be hesitant about 7S without slots, but the thought of them having a casino makes me even more reluctant to want to patronize them.

Maybe I’ll have to settle for some out of state turns for next year.
8 years ago
I was wondering if anybody has heard anything new wrt the reopening of LM for 06-07.

I’m holding off buying a 7S season pass until May 31, at which time if nothing is announced by Somerset Trust & the DCNR, I’ll end buying a season pass @ 7S. (Their rates go up for season passes after June 1.)

It is in LM’s best interest to make an announcement ASAP so that if they are going to open, some promotion of LM can take place as early as possible.

With HV’s future uncertain & 7S getting into slots, now is a perfect time to promote LM as the true family oriented skiing area.
8 years ago
Hockeydave, I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, although I was unaware that the deadline before pass prices were jacked up was so soon.

I’m hoping and praying for Laurel.
8 years ago
I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back here sooner with a follow up.

At the last meeting of the Friends of Linn Run and Forbes State Forest (LR/FSF) the group heard the meeting that was to happen in April between 7S and Somerset Trust did occur but there was no movement toward an agreement to run Laurel. I don’t know if more talks are pending but 7S hasn’t closed the door on operating Laurel. Somerset Trust is said to be seeking other possible operators.

I think the Friends LR/FSF group will see if it is possible for the State to maintain operations at Laurel until a private operator can be found.

Here is a link to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review from Friday May 19 with a public introduction of our Friends group:

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I’ll get back with more info as it becomes available.
8 years ago
Rob, if you could please forward to me any and all information on joining your friendly little group, I could pass it onto LMSP (if you would like)! PM me with whatever you would like to forward!

Thanks in advance
Heather
8 years ago
Just read an article from the PPG that the DCNR is closing the swimming area at Laurel Hill State Park (Trent) for the summer. A 1.8 million dollar upgrade is to ensue. Funding for the work comes from Growing Greener II which is $625 million bond issue that pays for state park and forest improvements. Where is the rest of this money going? Can’t just 1 or 2 million of this go to LM Ski Area?

Follow-up: Read a press release where $217.5 million is earmarked for the DCNR with the rest of the money going to other depts.
8 years ago
Now with the sale of 7S to the Nutting’s, what is to become of LM ???

Any thoughts or rumors…
8 years ago
It looks like it is going down pretty much like “they” said it would… it just took alot longer than they said it would. If everything I’ve heard over the past year and a half is true, the sale of 7s should set off a bit of a chain reaction. I would expect to hear good news about Laurel over the next couple of weeks, but I don’t want to start any more “rumors”.
8 years ago
Hmm, interesting developments, let’s hope ‘they’ are right.
I’m optimistic but the little birdies have twittered false before.
8 years ago
The Somerset Daily American article regarding the 7S sale mentions that “the operation of Laurel Mountain Ski Resort was not part of the equation”.
8 years ago
I also spotted that in the Daily American - I was hoping that the article would have a little bit more detail on that count, but it doesn’t.

Here’s an intriguing thought - perhaps Hermann Dupre will still have an itch for ski area management and would consider running LM to relieve that itch - it would also permit him to have a continued showcase for his HKD snowmaking equipment. It seems logical that he’ll have a bit more cash on hand in the next few months.

Just a wild-and-crazy thought - stranger things have happened.
8 years ago
I think we’ve been talking to the same “little bird”, infact I talked to a different “little bird” today that told me the same thing That’s was teh rumor we were told more than a year ago whe all of the speculation about the sale 7s started. I don’t know if it is Herman or not, all I know is the members of the LMSP were told they were NOT permitted to sign-on with any other patrol. I think that is a pretty good sign. There has been some activity at the resort. Someone has been doing some maintenence on the snow cats and snowmobiles. The DCNR has been cutting the grass and running the lifts. Let’s just hope that this time it is for real!

I almost forgot, If this is the case, and it really looks like it is this time, I just wanted to be the first to say, in your face wolverene!! Have a good time at 7s!!
8 years ago
I’m invisible remember. Glad you’re convinced about your bird (I’m not). By the way, you won’t find me at 7S, I’ll be at Wisp, the top LM area (or close to the area) ski resort!
8 years ago
Found in interesting article in today’s Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. Apparently Somerset Trust has settled with Laurel Mountain Ski Co (George Mowl) to acquire the 300 remaining lots at Laurel Mountain Village. The timing seems a little curious, coming right on the heels of the Seveen Springs sale announcement. It also seems interesting that the bank would express an interest in undeveloped land at LM - that would seem to indicate that they see a future potential for profit (?)

Anyway, here is the link to the article (registration required, I believe):

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_172001138.html
8 years ago
8 years ago
I think that the outlook for LM might be positive. 7-Springs is now taking-on a “carnival atmosphere”, so lots of skiers might start looking for a ski area like LM, which has a more natural atmosphere, some challenging slopes, and fewer non-skiers. Also, should BK close (I’m not saying that it’s likely, but it’s possible), LM would probably pick-up most of the skiers who live in the Altoona area.
8 years ago

Laurel Hill Crazie
Member
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Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 34

Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: hockeydave]
#27098 - 07/18/06 12:09 AM


Their silence has been deafening. I doubt that there is anything to announce but, curiously, 7S is still maintaining the lifts at LM. The lifts must be run periodically to prevent flat spots on the cable.


hockeydave
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Reged: 06/30/04
Posts: 208
Loc: Pittsburgh
Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: Laurel Hill Crazie]
#27103 - 07/18/06 06:17 AM

Based on talking to several different people who are somewhat connected, I am very hopeful that good things will happen @ LM this Winter!!!


Laurel Hill Crazie
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Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 34

Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: hockeydave]
#27119 - 07/18/06 01:20 PM


I fear that even if there is an interested private developer time maybe running out to make the basic improvements needed to give Laurel a good chance to survive. We all know that Laurel needs to cover more of it’s terrain to generate repeat customers. The lesson learned from Mowl’s valiant effort was, you can’t count on mother nature.

Back to the orignal intent of this thread, the Absorb the Forbes hiking and camping event. The Keystone Trail Association has posted more detailed information and registration forms on their web site. Use this link to access that info.

I’ll be there most of the weekend doing volunteer work for the Friends of Linn Run and Forbes State Forest but if anybody wants a guided hike of the ski terrain, I’ll be happy to oblige.


hockeydave
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Reged: 06/30/04
Posts: 208
Loc: Pittsburgh
Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: Laurel Hill Crazie]
#27659 - 08/21/06 04:21 PM

Is there any chance that this type of weekend will be repeated in early October when Laurel Mountain and Linn Run will glow with Autumn colors?

Laurel Hill Crazie
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Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 34

Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: hockeydave]
#27675 - 08/22/06 11:49 PM


Yes, join our Friends Group and make it happen. Did you stop by over the weekend? I missed you. Heather and LMV were there. When are you going to make it to a meeting? Latest rumor: DCNR is going to act soon, help make it happen.

hockeydave
Senior Member
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Reged: 06/30/04
Posts: 208
Loc: Pittsburgh
Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: Laurel Hill Crazie]
#27684 - 08/23/06 12:12 PM


My wife and I did stop by Saturday… actually talked to Heather & LMV, but I missed you (must have been hiking).

I am very busy currently, having just got married, changed jobs in April and renovating the recently purchased home in Laurel Mountain Village. But your friends group is such a great idea, and if I can’t join this year due to the aforementioned time constraints, then definitely next. Please keep us posted on the status of the ski resort, even the rumors.

What do you think the DCNR is going to do?


Laurel Hill Crazie
Member
*****

Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 34

Re: Camp and Hike Laurel Mountain Ski Area [Re: hockeydave]
#27692 - 08/23/06 09:00 PM


Quote:
What do you think the DCNR is going to do?



The right question is what do you want the DCNR to do with Laurel? You’ve said it here , tell it to the State Parks. E-mail DCNR at:

ra-askdcnr@state.pa.us <ra-askdcnr@state.pa.us>

Tell them why you think the PA. State Parks should operate Laurel Mountain.

Contact your local State Senator and Representative and ask them why the State is allowing a turn-key asset to sit idle.

Did you know that the DCNR owns the double chair and the snowmaking? Yep that includes the HKD towers.

I think that the DCNR is looking at their declining state budget and seeking revenue sources within its system and Laurel is sitting right there.

The DCNR is involved in fostering community and business co-operation in a project branded Pennsylvania Wild in the northern tier of the state and has invested millions there yet Linn Run Road is pot holed and patched despite the fact the funds for repaving were approved in DCNR capital budget the last couple of years. Where did the money go?

The easiest thing to do is comment at askDCNR in this link. Tell your skiing buddies who live here in PA to do the same. Ask the folks here at DCski and through-out the mid-Atlantic to contact the DCNR and tell them why you’ve skied Laurel and how you love to bring your family back. I’ll link contacts here at DCski and other message boards.

I don’t think anything will happen at Laurel unless we start to shake the trees.

Edited by Laurel Hill Crazie (08/23/06 09:06 PM)

I thought I’d copy and paste this thread with hockeydave to update where things stand with Laurel.

I really believe that a note from all interested parties to the DCNR will help bring Laurel Mountain back from mothballs. Changes in outlook at DCNR may make State operation of the resort a reality this winter. Please take the time to link through and voice your concerns.
ra-askdcnr@state.pa.us
8 years ago
There are some links to local politicians in this thread:

Open Laurel Mountain

All PA residents please contact the State Senators and Representatives in your district also. Laurel Mountain is a State Park and serves all residents of the State therefore opening Laurel is a state-wide issue. Also contact the DCNR and tell them to operate Laurel Mountain:

ra-askdcnr@state.pa.us

All out of State folks please contact the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) at the e-mail link above. They are the State bureau that manages the PA State Parks. Tell them you’ve skied Laurel and ask why Laurel isn’t open.
8 years ago
New Article on LM:
::LINK::
8 years ago
major disappointment.
8 years ago
I still have no idea why Mr. Duppstadt keeps insisting that 7S are still talking with Somerset Trust about possibly operating LM… if 7S is talking with ST, it sure ain’t about operating LM now or anytime in the future (this is not rumor or conjecture, but fact). I just wish 7S would stop stringing ST along and admit they have zero interest in operating LM now or ever. My opinion is that 7S wants to keep LM closed for as long as possible because I think they know if someone with some real $$$ came in and developed the ski area and maybe threw up a nice little overnight lodging facility just outside the state park, it would definitely siphon off a lot of local traffic from 7S because the terrain @ LM (both developed and undeveloped) blows 7S off of the map. But I still hold out hope that a white knight will appear to open LM, if not this year, then very soon in the near future. But I will wager a year’s salary that the white knight will never, and I mean never, be 7S, either next year or any year before I meet my Maker (which I hope & pray is still 2 score away).
8 years ago
I think your right all the way around. Seven Springs doesn’t want it and they don’t want the competition. A person can’t build in the Village because of water. They refuse to give permits. An investor can’t put up lodging because of water. An investor can’t build slopeside because it’s a State Park. I don’t know the reason but you can’t drill a well in the Village. It is the best skiing up to Vermont, but with no lodging and no building permits anywhere in the future, It would be hard to pay off 3 million dollars when you can’t furnish lodging.
8 years ago
I think support from the county, the township, thr borough is what really needs to be done.

If we can subsidize Wal-Mart, why can’t we subsidize a ski resort?
8 years ago
Since it seems painfully obvious that LM is not going to open this year, does anyone think that it might be feasible to operate the place as a co-op (a la Mad River Glen)?

If it’s true (as stated elsewhere in this thread) that DCNR owns the double-chair and the snowmaking equipment at LM, doesn’t it seem possible to run a bare-bones operation as a co-op? The triple (quad?) chair on the skier’s left of the mountain could be removed and replaced with a poma or T-Bar.

According to the FAQ page at the MRG website (link below) a share is $1750, plus a $200 Annual Purchase Requirement than can be used for lift tickets, season passes, food, etc.

http://www.madriverglen.com/coop/?Page=.%2F3faq.htm&dir=.
8 years ago
Quote:

Since it seems painfully obvious that LM is not going to open this year, does anyone think that it might be feasible to operate the place as a co-op (a la Mad River Glen)?

If it’s true (as stated elsewhere in this thread) that DCNR owns the double-chair and the snowmaking equipment at LM, doesn’t it seem possible to run a bare-bones operation as a co-op? The triple (quad?) chair on the skier’s left of the mountain could be removed and replaced with a poma or T-Bar.

According to the FAQ page at the MRG website (link below) a share is $1750, plus a $200 Annual Purchase Requirement than can be used for lift tickets, season passes, food, etc.

http://www.madriverglen.com/coop/?Page=.%2F3faq.htm&dir=.




According to what I’ve read, the lifts and snowmaking were owned by the previous concessionaire, and are thus now in posession of somerset trust.
8 years ago
Here’s the bottom line. The double is owned by the state and will remain there. The bank owns the quad and the building. I spoke with Doug Fingers this morning and he said if we have some people interested in this co-op, he wants to talk to us and try to work with Somerset trust. I love the place and would be happy to pay my share. I personally think the bank would be happy to talk to us if we can get enough people. If it sits empty long enough, and they lose the lease, they may get the quad chair but I think the building is there to stay. This way, it’s open, the bank gets something and we get the ability to ski the best area in western PA. If anyone is interested, we need to communicate quickly. I will be the first in line.
Is anyone out there interested????
8 years ago
I’m interested, but doing it for this season seems doubtful.
8 years ago
I agree that trying a co-op this year would be next to impossible. But definitely count me in if the current situation exists early next year.

I’m really not sure why Somerset Trust has gotten nowhere on getting someone to operate LM this year. They are in the process of upgrading the water & sewer (mandated by the DEP) in Laurel Mountain Village and have taken over the land assets in Laurel Mountain Village formerly held by the previous concessionaire of LM. What better way to market these assets than to have a functioning ski resort. I just don’t get it. But I am speaking from a not so objective viewpoint… I really love LM and just want to ski there again. I just want to see LM opened and I don’t care by who. I guess all of the calls and emails to local politicians didn’t get the job done this year, but hopefully these emails got their attention and placed LM on the radar screen. I guess I’m wishful thinking.

Just wondering, since LM is not opening again and Somerset Trust is the lease holder, is there anyway the DCNR can pull the lease from ST? Frankly, I blame ST and their seemingly stupid belief that Seven Springs would come to the rescue as the main reason why LM will most likely sit idle again this winter.
8 years ago
What are estimates for how much money the co-op would need for purchasing infrastructure (lifts, building, etc.) and long-term leases with additional cash on hand to support operations and weather lean years?

Any estimates on insurance, snow making and grooming costs? How many skers would be required to break even under a bare-bones operation? Mad River Glen has a huge advantage over Laurel Mountain in that MRG doesn’t use much snowmaking; a ski area in the Mid-Atlantic can’t survive without it.
8 years ago
What I was told is that the equipment is being maintained. I don’t see a large start-up cost. If it could be leased from the bank the first year as 7 Springs did, it could have a quick takeover. I think the snowmaking equipment is still there along with the grooming equipment. The water is in the lakes. I think it only needs one chair lift. This late in the season, the bank may talk. Once December hits, they will be back to looking for a purchaser.
As far as the Village, I heard that they were going to drill a well where the lake was going to be, but there was only enough water for the current connections. They are not giving building permits. This may keep investors from looking to close at any type of purchase.
I think if a co-op leased the resort and the bank ran the utility lines and sold off the lots, we would all be happy.
8 years ago
Quote:

Just wondering, since LM is not opening again and Somerset Trust is the lease holder, is there anyway the DCNR can pull the lease from ST? Frankly, I blame ST and their seemingly stupid belief that Seven Springs would come to the rescue as the main reason why LM will most likely sit idle again this winter.




I could not agree more with this question - it seems likely at this point (to me, at least) that the ST encumbrances/liens have become a stumbling block to luring another concessionaire to operate LM. At what point does DCNR look at ST and say “Sorry guys, but you made a bad decision with the previous operator. Sell the quad, write off your losses on the lodge, and be on your way”?
8 years ago
I think that a lot of Mad River’s members are from out of state, non-Vermont residence. Mad River has the type of terrain and reputation that will draw serious skiers from the entire east coast market. Does Laurel have the type of appeal that could draw enough skiers/co=op members from the entire Mid- Atlantic region?

Those of us that love the place know the terrain is there but it needs to be developed. More money must be put into expanded snowmaking to cover existing terrain. Most of that terrain should be gently re-contoured (very gently, to preserve as much natural features as possible) to accommodate modern snowmaking and grooming. As it is right now there are two top to bottom runs covered with snowmaking, Broadway including the Tamecat beginner’s area behind the lodge and Upper and Lower Wildcat. Upper Innsbruck dumps out on Broadway right above the ‘slot’ across from Lynx. The rest of the snowmaking serves crossovers and connectors. Will the mountain as it now stands draw enough interest from folks with both a love of skiing and disposable income to support a co-op let alone to develop the mountain’s potential? I hope so but that’s a big hope.

Sniping at ST will do to vent frustrations but to think that they are just waiting on 7S is hard for me to believe. I think we must face the facts that many potential investors have looked at Laurel and found it wanting. I heard that Booth Creek looked at Laurel before attempting to buy 7S a few years back. When asked why they passed on Laurel the response was something to the effect that they wanted to buy market share, not create market share.

Which all brings me back to the opening post I made in this thread, the Friends of Linn Run and Forbes State Forest, a chapter of non-profit PA Parks and Forest Foundation, has been looking into ways to resurrect Laurel. Some members had informal talks about a possible co-op arrangement but since ST was saying that 7S was still interested and for the reasons listed above, we felt that 7S offered the best hope for Laurel. Perhaps it was all a stall tactic on 7S’s part, perhaps the interest was/is genuine. At any rate it is long past due that other action should be taken. I think the Friends Group will support a co-op and interested people are welcome to our next meeting on Nov. 16 at 5:30 PM at the Forbes State Forest office in Laughlintown on Rt. 30, just before you head up the mountain coming from Ligonier.

I think another possible way to open Laurel is to run it as a non-profit. The Friends Group could be this non-profit if the DCNR assumes the lease but it seems that they aren’t interested in this course. A stand alone non-profit was organized back in the early ’90s but the IRS didn’t approve the charter. Perhaps a Development Authority could be formed to assist a real estate developer interested in the Village, if one can be found.

A meeting was to take place between State Senator Don White, Ligonier Mayor Butch Bellas (the Friends Group President) and Doug Finger on Oct. 4 to explore possibilities. I went only to discover that the meeting was cancelled. I think we need to get together a better campaign and show real widespread support before the DCNR or state politicians take heed. I think the Friends Group can be the catalyst.
7 years ago
I believe the owners of Hidden Valley & the powers that be at Somerset Trust are drinking from the same well. I’m strictly hypothesizing here, but I bet both owners think that there property/investment are worth more than they really are. Let me expound. One owner (HV) has the equivalent of a used car that is rusting & barely running, in dire need of new parts and a major tune-up. The other owner (ST) has his car sitting up on blocks. Both cars have a world of potential, but need an infusion of cash. What guy/gal in his right mind is going to pay top dollar or even blue book value for either.

I may be venting on ST, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the DCNR pulled the plug on the previous concessionaire for not paying his rental bill to them and not opening the resort for 1 year. If LM does not open this year, that will make 2 consecutive years ST has not had somebody open LM. I’m not sure what the rental agreement is with the DCNR after the lease was assumed by ST, but I think it’s about time ST stepped aside and let people who truly care about LM (e.g. the friends group that Laurel Hill Crazie mentioned in a previous post as well as the local folks @ the DCNR) take over.

LM can work and operate with a profit, if opened on a Thursday - Sunday scheule. As evidenced by the many comments and postings by a variety of people, there are plenty of people who are truly passionate about LM. If only 1 of us had the $$$ to buy it.
7 years ago
I contacted Tyson Cook from Somerset Trust today in reference to a co-op lease on the resort. He said they would much rather sell off and get out but may be interested in a lease. He will call today or tomorrow and let me know their opinion. I hope to get a dollar figure to see if it’s affordable. It is going to be hard to sell for 3 million. This is both the Village and slopes. I would like more information on the November meeting and get together everyone interested in a co-op.
7 years ago
Did Tyson actually quote you an asking price of $3 million??? I have some follow-up thoughts if he did…
7 years ago
I told him, I heard they wanted around 3 million.
He said in that area but they were open to offers. He said that was for the Village and Resort.
7 years ago
Thanks for the info.

If I knew Mr Cook, I would personnally take him to the nearest community college and enroll him in an Economics 101 course. Did he ever hear of supply & demand? Nobody, is in line to buy these properties at that price. What makes him think he’ll he even remotely get that number. I understand that when you sell something, set a high selling price and negotiate down, but don’t set it in the stratosphere… gimme a break!!! You’ll get zero nibbles at that price. His bank made a bad loan. Deal with it. Foreclosure sales happen every day. His bank should try to recoup something, but if he thinks he can get $3 million back when so much needs to be done. The ski area needs additional snowmaking. I know it could be opened as is, but I think it would just end up in the same state unless more terrain were opened (of course, with snowmaking). The lack of lodging also poses problems. (I know I’ve been down this road before, so I’ll stop now). The village has a tremendous amount of charm, but the sewer, water and roads need to be upgraded in order to sell the lots they’ve acquired.


Whether by bad luck or bad management (or both), LM has never been a financial success. RJ, Laurel Hill Crazie, LMV, Heather, others: I think that a non-profit co-op may be the way to go. Any profits would go to Somerset Trust to pay off only part of the bad loan they made (no more than $500K total). But I’m now more convinced than ever Somerset Trust needs to get out of the way and the state needs to step in or Laurel Mountain will soon cease to exist as a ski area. And that would be a crying shame. I will be @ your next meeting @ Linn Run.
7 years ago
The fact that ST views the Village and the ski operation as a bundle seems like a stunmling block to me. Operating the ski-area as a co-op strikes me as a whole lot less complicated than dealing with the Village, expecially given the water/sewage issues in the residential area.

Just my 2-cents.
7 years ago
Quote:

I would like more information on the November meeting and get together everyone interested in a co-op.




The Nov. 16 meeting I mentioned is a Board of Directors meeting for the Friends of Linn Run and Forbes State Forest. I don’t have an agenda yet but we will be talking about a few other projects that we have going that will benefit the State Park and State Forest. Laurel Mountain is always discussed. A lot of the people that started the Friends Group were members of the original advisory committee that help bring Laurel back before. We have access to what records remains of Laurel’s previous operation. Our members include previous administrators, patrollers, and ski school as well as members of other non-profits such as the Laurel Highland Visitors Bureau and the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce.

Perhaps it would be better to first organize a meeting of folks interested in a co-op and then coming to the Friends meeting and make a presentation and exploring how both groups could help each other.

I also have info packet from Mad River that they will send to anybody interested in becoming a co-op member. I don’t have it at my finger tips but if anyone is interested I could scan copies to e-mail and pass along the info.
7 years ago
In regard to a co-op lease on Laurel Mountain Ski Resort,
I have spoken to Tyson Cook from Somerset Trust. The Bank is at present saying that they would consider a lease for the ski resort for $50000. If we could get 100 investors at $1000. per share it could work. The lease would need to be written with renewal options for a number of years. Is anyone interested?
7 years ago
I don’t think that $50,000 left over is enough for liablity insurance let alone start up cost. Compressor rental, salary for staff, maintaince budget for equipment, deposits for utilities, food and beverage and I’m sure a lot more.

I think you need 500 people at $1000 just to operate Laurel as is, sans improvments.
7 years ago
I agree with Laurel Hill Crazie, you’ll need alot more than $50k to start-up the resort. But, what $50k says is that we don’t need a mega millionaire to get this thing back up and running. I think the long term key to getting Laurel Mountain open and running is having an owner who owns both resort and the developable land. But I would say that it not impossible to get 1000 folks to pony up $500 to be part owners of the resort. If you market this idea, it may work.
7 years ago
I agree with with LHC & SnowSmith… $500K is the bare minimum. Also, you need to have a business plan in place, historical data from past years on skier usage, money set aside for marketing and general upkeep, seek funding from other non-profits (e.g. Mellon family) and the state, etc. etc. It’s a lot work which probably requires hiring at least 1 person full-time for operating, managing and maintaining as well as 1 person part-time for marketing… but if enough money can be secured, I think it might work.
7 years ago
Quote:

$500K is the bare minimum. Also, you need to have a business plan in place, historical data from past years on skier usage, money set aside for marketing and general upkeep, seek funding from other non-profits




I admit that I have not read through the past posts on this and I have never been to Laurel. However, this caught my eye (as it is what I do for a living). hockeydave is correct in all that he just stated. It is essential to have all of these pieces to the puzzle. However, $500K may not be required (unless the operation would be as big as Liberty or Whitetail and then it is not enough).

Many of the daily items (food, salaries, etc.) will be paid from sales of lift tickets and food. Insurance is relatively a small cost (property and liability insurance). Notice I did not say cheap. Off the top of my head, I guess it would be $1500-$2000 for the season. (This does not include worker’s comp insurance, health insurance, etc.)

The biggest cost would be electrical. However, with historical data, you can more accurately forecast future costs (minus unforseen circumstances).

Alot of money would also be raised through the sale of season passes, which gives you operating cash going into the season.

I seriously believe it is too late to get this running for this season. But it is the perfect time to begin for next season. If this is a co-op type operation we are looking at (like Mad River Glen), I’d be willing to volunteer some time to helping out.
7 years ago
I spoke with the previous owner of Laurel Mountain today to get his view. He is a friend of mine and is open to discussion. I said I was looking at a co-op starting here and wondered about fixed costs. I asked him approximately how much the insurance was per year. I almost dropped when I heard $50000.00. He said the groomers were no good and that would be approximately $200000.00. The utilities are more than the insurance. The truck needs an engine rebuild. I still think its possible in the future for a co-op if the DCNR takes back the lease and there is time for planning. I really miss the Resort.
7 years ago
50K per year for insurance doesn’t surprise me at all (I thought it would be larger.) 200K for groomers was a bit of a surprise. Pays to do due diligence… Don’t underestimate how expensive it can be to run even a bare-bones ski operation.
7 years ago
I really think that we need to get together a meeting of interested people and explore these ideas. There are a number of ways to proceed, the point is if we have a core group willing to invest through share purchase, or if we partner through a private/public development authority we could leverage funds for a start up. If we lay the ground work now I’m sure we can get running next season.

We have the Mayor of Ligonier on our side. If John Murtha maintains his seat, he has been supportive before and helped raise 1.3 million a decade back.

The meeting with Sen. Don White did occur on Oct.5 so there’s another local political ally.

Doug Finger is interested and open to this idea as is Somerset Trust. There are grants available through DCNR for outdoor recreation and eco-tourism.

We need to expand our pool of experience, find some folks into business law to help form a corporation, we need business folks for a realistic plan, marketing folks, and especially folks versed in working with State funded development programs.

I sure we can meet in the Ligonier Town Hall. Let’s set a date.
7 years ago
Quote:

I asked him approximately how much the insurance was per year. I almost dropped when I heard $50000.00.




Wow! That’s I a lot more than I guessed. I should have realized the mountain is a lot bigger than a retail store and more accident prone.

I’m game for the meeting.
7 years ago
I’m game and will invest. Just let me know the date. The problem is Somerset Trust. They will not give an extended lease. They want it where they can sell a package deal. They will lease this season for $50,000.00 but the lease will expire in April. If the State Parks take it back, I think we could get enough investors to pay for snow cats and start up costs. I would be happy to buy in and reinvest all profit but I want to know we will have it for years to come.
7 years ago
I’m also game and will invest.

As I stated in a previous post, something has got to be done to get Somerset Trust out of the picture. And I think the only way this can happen is for the state to intervene.

I don’t completely blame them as the reason why LM is not opening this year, but they are the chief culprit. They foreclosed on a loan, and now that they have the property, they don’t have the slightest clue on how to unload it or have completely unrealistic expectations what they can get for it.
7 years ago
I would invest as well. But it is a catch 22 if ST is only willing to do a lease until April since some investments will need to be made (like sno cats) and lots of organizing to start up that could not be recouped in just one season. I guess it is ST’s money and their call, and maybe they just need to watch more rust appear in order to come to the conclusion that they may not have other options, but by that time the condition and start up costs may be that much higher.
7 years ago
To anyone interested, I’ve started a website/blog about Laurel Mountain. The website, which can be found at www.jcyrus.com/skilaurel.html isn’t much more than a picture and a link to the blog, but I hope to post links to any and all relevant news articles on that page.

If you’d like to bypass that page, you can go straight to the blog at www.liftlines.wordpress.com

As of right now, the blog is pretty much empty. There’s a post introducing myself and sort of explaining my intentions, but that’s it. I hope to in the future post links and commentary on relevant news articles and post my own editorials about issues regarding the mountain. But, as you all know, there isn’t too much activity going on so there’s not too much to post about.

Currently, I’ve got some great information about the resort, some great historical references that have been posted here and other places, but I’m still trying to obtain rights to actually use that info on my own website.

Laurel Hill Crazie, I sent you a private message through the board, I don’t know if you got it or not, or if you even know it’s there? Also, a few other people can expect private messages in the near future requesting permission to use your comments.

Being a high school student, I don’t have money to invest in a CO-OP, but you can be sure that I’ll come all the time if the mountain opens. I’m hoping to do my part for the cause by posting on this blog, since I can’t do too much.

So please, read and enjoy the little that there is, I’ll certainly be adding more as the days and weeks go by, and be sure to share the link/address with every skier you know.

Save Laurel Mountain!
7 years ago
Lets get this co-op meeting set up. The sooner the better. Does anyone have any ideas for when and where?
7 years ago
I’m available the entire month of November… the sooner the better (within 2 weeks). LHC, pick a day, time & place and count me in.
7 years ago
I’m sending out PMs and e-mails, please PM with your e-mail address and I’ll coordinate communications. We should at least do a preliminary meeting with the folks interested so far and see if we can grow this thing.

Is Ligonier a good place to meet?

JCHobbes check your PMs.
7 years ago
I’m interested also, although I will not be up there until the weekend of Nov 9th.
7 years ago
I have been given some information on Laurel Mountain Ski Resort. The 2 Snow Cats I mentioned in a previous post are working and in good shape. They are 1996 models. The water was working fine when last tested at the resort. The lift inspections need to be done before any type of opening. It may be to late this year to get it open, but is a good plan for next year. Has anyone set up a meeting time and place for a co-op?
7 years ago
We can meet in Ligonier at the Town Hall on the Diamond in the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau on week night over the next few weeks., 5:30 or later will work for me. How about Nov. 9, 13, or 14?

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