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Laurel Mountain's Redesign Discussion
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Updated 2 years ago
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4 years ago

One thing that meeting (with Ligonier Twp. http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7019534-74/township-carcella-moshier#axzz3H3d3SBhT)  produced was a couple copies of the redesign document, a thick volume of maps and details. The booklet was about the size of a 17 inch laptop. The copies were supplied to the Ligonier Township supervisors for the above meetings. Yesterday I had the chance to briefly review one of these copies. 

The redesign does stipulate a quad chair to replace the state owned double. The lift will be realigned. The bottom load station will be moved out of the “hole” the double now loads from toward Dream Highway to the front of the old warming hut at the bottom of Wildcat. The warming hut will be removed. The load station appears to be low enough on the mountain to enable skiers on Dream Highway to load the chair. The top bull wheel will be at the top of the old tubing hill. I’m not sure what type of regrading will be done to the old tubing runs. I heard at one time that the space will be used for a terrain park. 

Most of the trail work will be done to Innsbruck and Deer Path (Crossover to you old timers). Innsbruck’s entrance will be relocated and will be close to its original start to skier’s left of the start of Upper Broadway below the Tamecat beginner’s slope. It will be widen its entire length. The top 2 switchbacks will be removed and the trail intersections with Lincoln Highway, under the old quad, will be minimized but will still exit onto Lower Broadway just above the Midway Cabin. 

The very bottom of Lower Broadway, the last steeper pitch before it empties on to Deer Path will be regraded  and Deer Path’s entire length will be widened including across the very bottom of Lower Wildcat to the new chair’s load station all with the goal of providing top to bottom novice trail. Snowmaking and lighting will be installed on the entire length. 

Broadway will also be widen with the most significant work being done at the bottom of the first steep pitch on Upper Broadway where the old half pipe emerges and Lynx on skier’s right begins. This section of Broadway is locally know as the chute. The whole tree triangle that is now bordered by Broadway, Lynx, and Last Chance will be removed. I’m sure the idea here is to eliminate the narrow chute and make the trail easier for the low intermediate/novice to negotiate. 

Dream Highway, Hegan’s Cut, Laurel Run and Snow Bowl will not see any improvements.

The snowmaking ponds near Midway Cabin and the two smaller of the 3 ponds at the top of the mountain will be expanded.

The quad that Mowl installed does not appear to be in the plans for now. The chair is no longer working thanks to copper thieves. This chair owned by Seven Springs and is not eligible for state funding for repairs.

As I said at the top, I didn’t have a lot of time to study the entire booklet so I may have some of this wrong but this is to the best of my memory.

I’m going to request a copy of that booklet through the PA Right To Know Law. This booklet did not contain the type of information that a potential bidder would need, at least not thorough enough information as to give an unfair advantage.

 

Comments?


 

 

4 years ago

How many vertical feet is that place? 

4 years ago

Looks like about 900 feet according to my google fu.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_Mountain_Ski_Resort

Hopefully this place opens back up.  My family goes to 7 springs once a year for a weekend, and the crowds really kill a lot of the fun.  Spread the crowd thin to win.

4 years ago

I’d strongly consider a weekend get away with family and friends if ALL 3 places were open.  I’m only 90 minutes away but would be happy to stay in a local cabin / condo / house and enjoy some slope variety along with local dining establishments at night.   

Scott - DCSki Editor
4 years ago

David wrote:

How many vertical feet is that place? 

Here’s DCSki’s archived Resort Profile from Laurel Mountain, with stats from when it was last open: http://www.dcski.com/resorts/laurelmountain

4 years ago

The vertical drop has always been advertised as 900 but that is just marketing. The highest point in the state park to the lowest  point is a 900 foot vertical drop but that is not skiable vertical. From the highest lift terminal to the bottom is more than 750 which makes it sound comparable to Seven Springs backside since that is the most skiable vertical but Seven Springs advertised vertical drop is measured from the top of the backside 6 to the bottom of the front side Avalanche triple on lookers far left of the resort. It is all skiable but the route is all beginner. You would start at the top of the Gunnar 6 and ski down to the lodge via “back to ski lodge” trail across the top of the backside to Deer Pass that takes you near the bottom of Wagner then you must ski across the bottom of Stowe, Tyrol, and Avalanche to the triple.You better have good speed to make it without poling.

4 years ago

Never had skied laurel before, But it seems like a great small resort( maybe not the case with 7s running it) I normally make a trip up to blue knob might have to try this instead:)

 

4 years ago

It’s hard to tell from the map, but it appears that you would ski from the warming hut, down hill to the George Mowl (GM) quad lift. But you indicate that the warming hut is lower than the bottom of the GM quad. It is a shame that the GM quad was allowed to be canibilzed for copper. It has now been sitting for 10 years without operation. The electric motor would probably need to be replaced.

The next big question is….what improvements will Seven Springs make to do their part. Will they rehabilitate the GM quad? What about the condition of the ski lodge. I understand the lease says that they don’t have to do anything until the State has completed their improvements.

Seven Springs is doing alot of strange improvements at Hidden Valley. They have planted at least 100 pine trees at various locations and they are reconstructing the drop-off area at the ski lodge along with delineating walking paths and parking with large boulder placements. Parts of the ski lodge that were to be demolished by Buncher including the Alpine Room are being fixed up. This would indicate to me that the condo hotel is no longer in the plans. I assume the Alpine Room bathrooms needed sprucing up if they are going to use this room to host weddings. I have been told that the North Summit lift has been refurbished although I don’t know if that is true. Supposedly they did some modifications to speed up the lift???

4 years ago

About that trail map.  Yes, you would assume looking at the map that it is downhill from the warming hut/double chairlift to the GM quad but the opposite is true It is downhill from GM quad to the old double/ new quad location hence allthe trail work on Innsbruck, Lower Broadway and Deer Path. Perhaps this photo will help with perspective:

4 years ago

I cannot imagine a viable ski area openning with just one chair, especially that near to a major population center.  Yes, most on this thread see it as a unique experts niche area, but I doubt that will keep it economically viable - especially mid-week.  How far by road is Laurel from 7Springs or HV?  Would bus service be viable?  Otherwise you are going to have all types of sliders from beginner to expert, all on one chair, all expecting 7Springs type services.  And unless something to really beef up snowmaking, all competing for space on a few fairly narrow slopes.

4 years ago

Great observation, Colonel. The work on Innsbruck/Deer Path will now provide a 3rd top to bottom trail. When Laurel last operated it was only Thursday through Sunday. 

I keep on going back to the feasibility study done by resort planner Jack Johnson Co. that said back in 2008/09 that $10 million were needed to bring infrastructure up to modern standards. PA has about $5 million left after all the studies, permits and redesigns. The Jack Johnson study envisioned adding snowmaking to most of the mountain and the Mowl installed quad to be operational. There has been no word on if Seven Springs is willing to do more than making the lodge and maintenance buildings functional again and then turning on the lights. It appears as though the old quad is not going to be repaired and snowmaking infrastructure (water and air lines, hydrants) on the as yet uncovered trails are not in the state plans.

4 years ago

During the time Mowl hadd it open DCNR was doing a survey of all potable water on all state park an forest lands.

This was to include location of all springs and wells deemed drinkable on thoe lands. A state employee went to each 

site and recorded with a hightec, ( 2002 version) gps unit.

someone took her to the bottom of lower wildcat to the 2 wells there. She just happened to stand at the loading platform and record

the elevation, then she just happened to stand on the offload and record that elevation.

bottom elevation with low number satilites  1755

top number lots of satilites  2696

you do the math!!

imp

4 years ago

imp, I can’t argue with you given the technology you witnessed. I based my assumptions on counting contour lines on a USGS topo map, which doesn’t show the exact locations of the current lifts so I have to guestimate the location of top and bottom load points. I also base it on old published trail maps that list top elevation and bottom elevation but that map was from the time before the current double and the t-bar was the main lift. That lift ended at the original Laurel House which was well below the current lodge. Laurel House sat at the top of Upper Wildcat and Upper Broadway but 2 rope tows ran from the Laurel House uphill to service the trails we now call Tamecat, Ski Top and Snow Bowl. That map list a top elevation of 2,760 and a bottom elevation of 1,990 for 770 vertical feet. An old White Book from the 1960s which published data for all US ski area lists Laurel’s vertical as 810 feet. Lastly, the trail map produced by the ill fated Urban Ski master plan for Laurel listed new lift and trail configuration that gave Laurel 750 vertical.

All of the above is based on old technology even still, using any measure Laurel is still the vertical drop champ on the Laurel Ridge when it come down to skiing, not traversing.

4 years ago

I downloaded an application to my Iphone called “SkiTracks”. It has a crude elevation measuring function which seems to be accurate within 30 - 40 feet or so. If you have an Iphone, down load the app and the next time you in the LM neighborhood, try out the app to see what kind of numbers you get.

If we ever get a copy of the plans for the construction work, the elevations should be on there and accurate to within a hundreth of a foot.

Denis - DCSki Supporter
4 years ago

I have now followed the various threads on Laurel mtn. for the better part of 10 years.  I think that the total number of words posted probably exceeds the total number of turns made at Laurel in its entire history.   I like the terrain there and used to ski it when I was in grad school in Pittsburgh in the late 60s.  It is now clear that people have been dragging their heels interminably.  If this resistance is finally overcome what will be gained?  Another sh&t show like 7 springs?  Why?  Why not reestablish the area on the Whitegrass model?  Why not fix up the lodge minimally, call for volunteer work days to clear a few glades and remove deadfall?  There is plenty of terrain there for both downhillers and kick and gliders.  I think this would be very doable an hour from a major population center like Pittsburgh.  It would serve a unique niche and help to preserve the beauty and ecology of the Laurel Highlands, one of the most beautiful areas in the east.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 years ago

Denis wrote:

I have now followed the various threads on Laurel mtn. for the better part of 10 years.  I think that the total number of words posted probably exceeds the total number of turns made at Laurel in its entire history.   I like the terrain there and used to ski it when I was in grad school in Pittsburgh in the late 60s.  It is now clear that people have been dragging their heels interminably.  If this resistance is finally overcome what will be gained?  Another sh&t show like 7 springs?  Why?  Why not reestablish the area on the Whitegrass model?  Why not fix up the lodge minimally, call for volunteer work days to clear a few glades and remove deadfall?  There is plenty of terrain there for both downhillers and kick and gliders.  I think this would be very doable an hour from a major population center like Pittsburgh.  It would serve a unique niche and help to preserve the beauty and ecology of the Laurel Highlands, one of the most beautiful areas in the east.

I think Denis just raised his hand to be the next volunteer/unpaid general manager at LM:-)

4 years ago

Denis, that could be how it all works out. I would be ok with just opening up the terrain for self propelled uphill transport. Nice thing about Laurel is the first descent is free since the base lodge and parking is at the top like BK and the ‘shoe.

4 years ago

I’ve never been able to ski Laurel Mountain due to the constant closures during my lifetime. Based off of what I have read it seems that the snowmaking system is very limited and may only cover a few trails with the rest of the trails being reliant on natural snow. I was wondering if someone could elaborate on how extensive the snow making system is in terms of trails covered. Hopefully next year will be the year. 

4 years ago

Under the new plan Laurel will be able to make snow on almost half of it’s total trail acreage, That would be 30 acres out of 70. Covered would be about a mile and a half long novice trail, About a 4000 ft. long intermediate trial and an equally long expert trail the lower part being the steepest trail on the Laurel Ridge. All dropping an advertised 900 vertical feet.

4 years ago

This raises a few questions. Can LM survive with 50% snow making. Will 7Springs add snow making?

4 years ago

snowsmith. The answers to your questions above are “Yes” and “He!! No”.

Since you are a homeowner at HV, feel free to compare, on equal timeframes, the amount of upgrades performed by Buncher and Bobby. I would wager a month’s pay that the upgrades made by Buncher during their tenure will far outpace what Bobby doles out for upgrades. Also, feel free to compare the cost increases made by Buncher at HV in lift tickets, season passes, condo fees, etc. to what Bobby will charge on equal timeframes… again a month’s salary if Bobby’s cost increases are less than Buncher’s. That is his MO. Do and spend as little as possible while making as much as possible.

Bobby will do the bare minimum at Laurel, and then claim after a year or two that Laurel isn’t fiscally viable. I am still predicting that some other event besides foot dragging will prevent Laurel’s reopening.

I’ve heard from several folks in the know that he may need to pump in as much as a million dollars into the Lodge alone just to make it fire marshall friendly.

4 years ago

Guys, realistically, is there any good FINANCIAL reason Nutting would want this open?  Will there be that many die hard, hard core skiers that will support it to a level of profitability?  Won’t it’s opening canabilize revenue from HV and 7S?

Please note that I’m all for opening it and would definitely visit and spend money there, but with his track record of running all his operations as profitable businesses, I just don’t see it.

Look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2 playoff appearances in the past 2 years.  Record attendence in each of the past 2 seasons.   Huge increase in TV revenue yet he is fiddle farting around with resigning a few key players.  The money is there.  He likes it in his pocket and don’t kid yourself.

IMO, the only way this place opens for the long haul is:

1 - The financial models can show that LM can support itself with enough skier visits and NOT at the expense of HV + 7S.  This will ultimately have to become reality VS budget.

2 - Bob is a die hard outdoorsmen and is willing to subsidize a small amount to keep it open.  (This seems contrary to his record)

Political and public pressure may get it open one day since there are public funds allocated, but I agree with Hockey Dave, he’ll do the minimum, cry poor and shut her down ……. Unless he’s making a few bucks.

4 years ago

The state financed a feasibility study that outlined the bare minimum investment needed to make Laurel profitable on its historic skier visit totals, that would be 33,000 skier visits. This feasibility study was conducted by ski industry professionals (Jack Johnson Co. UT, not seven springs) done in 2007. That was before the lodge fell into disrepair and when the quad chair was operational and being maintained. That study advised a $10 million investment. Why the State apparently dragged its feet negotiating with an investor said to be willing to make up the difference then went into agreement with a Seven Springs without stipulating that Seven Springs make the additional investment well,that will forever remain a mystery. Just to make clear, the $6.5 million  invested by the state is being put into non-movable assets, trail grading, water impoundment ponds, electrical upgrades, underground plumbing (waterline and airlines) for snowmaking….with the exception of the new chairlift. The additional investment stipulated by the Jack Johnson study, roughly $3 million would go into movable assets that could be taken or resold i.e. snowmaking guns, grooming machines., etc.

This is the whole fly in the ointment, what will Seven Springs invest?

As for additional snowmaking coverage? I think that with the snowmaking infrastructure improvements being installed by the State and with the increase water storage capacity, there will be hydrants available to make snow under the Mowl Quad, Lincoln Highway trail. Remember that Innsbruck will be widened  and straightened bringing it closer to Broadway which is also being widened. Lincoln Highway, the chairlift line,is between Inssbruck and Broadway giving you another 3000 ft long intermediate trail. What appears to be missing in this puzzle is the infrastructure support for snowmaking on the trails on the new chair side of the mountain. Those being Laurel, Snow Bowl, Ski Top, Dream Highway. The good news is the chair re-alignment will still give the skier access to those trails. When the chair is moved the old chairlift path could be open as an addition expert trail and could theoretically have snowmaking.

There is a lot of skiing to be had on what is planned, more than what there was the last time Laurel operated. There will be a true top to bottom novice trail, top to bottom intermediate trail and the only true expert trail on the Laurel Ridge (50 to 60% grade or about 28 to 32 degree pitch). From the top of the chair back to the bottom has a vertical drop that bests anything on the back side of the Springs. From there you can ski a mile and a half long novice and a intermediate and expert trails that are both 3,000 + foot long in their own right (excluding the pitch and length one must ski from the chair to get to those trails).

 

 

 

4 years ago

Here are some other visions for Laurel:

Jack Johnson 2008

 

Sno-Engineering 1990:

 

 

4 years ago

This probably isn’t an apples to apples comparison, but it would be interesting to find out what Nutting invested in or around PNC Park (a publicly financed stadium). Or is he strictly paying rent… I’m not sure the Pirates are even doing that, but I don’t know for certain.

Laurel can survive, perhaps thrive, and really could add spice and variety to Laurel Highlands skiing, but the state/DCNR really needs a partner to make this effort successful, not strictly a renter. Time will tell, but given all of the comments/opinions about Nutting based on observation, I’m afraid they strictly got a renter at best, an obstacle/obstructionist at worst.

4 years ago

Latest news. But that doesn’t mean that Nutting will fix up the lodge.

http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourligonier/7099503-74/state-approved-project#axzz3It95OjVc

4 years ago

I saw that this morning. Thankfully the township official made a decision to move this along and OK the revision.

4 years ago

I would like know why after one month then design team still has not submitted the grading permit application to the Township?

4 years ago

The way I understand it from the articles linked, this last meeting was to determine if a new application had to be submitted because of the redesign. This last meeting determined that the original permit was valid because the redesign was really a revision that eliminated grading for a tubing hill and a parking lot.

4 years ago

I wonder what stall tactic is up Bobby’s sleeve now to keep Laurel closed? The state helped him keep Laurel closed for the past 5 years, but it looks like that bottleneck/excuse not to open Laurel is just about over.

Also, Nutting is going to save at least $10 million next year by signing AJ Burnett and trading for a backup catcher, thus effectively cutting ties with F. Liriano and R. Martin. There are no reasons why he can’t throw some cash at Laurel. Given that he’s egregiously broken part of the lease that he signed by not maintaining the property he owns on state land (see the Daily American pictures to view the deplorable condition of the lodge that he owns), the least he could do is throw a couple of million in rehabbing the resort. Don’t hold your breath. IMHO, no good samaritan is he, nor does he have to be, but it sure would be nice if my opinion of him is proven wrong.

4 years ago

HD - I’n sitting here shaking my head.  I am in total agreement with you.

 

4 years ago

How can the DGS have no time frame for obtaining bids for this project? It’s really very simple, either someone at the DGS or the Design Consultants get their ass in gear, or the ski area will again not open in 2015 for skiing. When is someone going to get a sense of urgency? The previous article indicated that, after a month, the design consultant STILL had not submitted the application for the grading permit. I do this kind of work for a living and if someone gives these beauracrats the word to get this project done, then it will happen. Maybe the new governor will have someone with a spine bone to make things happen.

Also, please note that 7s contract with the State indicates that they are required to do nothing UNTIL the State completes the improvements.

FRUSTRATING!

4 years ago

I posted this comment to Nicole’s article on the Trib-Review’s web site. My comment is more into response to previous comments left by other readers:

Nicole Chynoweth did a nice job adding background information previously not made public. The Jack Johnson report which provided the state with the initial feasibility study and outlines the types of public investment needed was referenced. Bob Dick of the Commonwealth Foundation, a free market based public policy advocacy group (political lobby), totally rejects the idea that public funds should be used on public lands for the purpose of providing recreational opportunities for….the public. 

On the surface and by contrast to the recommendations in the Jack Johnson report this project appears as a sole investment of public money. What I’ve always found troublesome about the project is the unknown commitment Seven Springs will make. The Laurel Mountain rebuild was envisioned as a public/private partnership by many of us who have push to reopen this historic ski area. It is in that context that I said that Laurel needs more investment. There is no doubt that Seven Springs must invest a substantial amount to restore the physical facility it purchased from Somerset Trust and not one dime of public money is said to be spent on assets owned by Seven Springs i.e. ski lodge and outbuildings, a four person chair lift, snowmaking guns and groomers. The investment that I think is critical to Laurel’s long term success is additional snowmaking capacity not overnight lodging. 

As Seven Springs indicated, they are the bed base that can sustain Laurel Mountain. In addition there are private home rentals minutes from the slopes in Laurel Mountain Village. There are motels within a 20 minute drive to the facility. There is plenty of nearby overnight lodging to meet the need. What you do not presently have at Laurel Mountain is ski in/ski out accommodations, the top end box and club seats of snowsport seating, so to speak. The restriction of overnight accommodations and the investment needed in real in the ground infrastructure improvements underline the issues Laurel must address and the type of investment the state should and appears to be making. It is also the bone of ideological contention asserted by the Commonwealth Foundation.

As Ms. Chynoweth points out, the states’ primary investment is… “a new ski lift, widening and clearing trails, adding lighting and snow guns and developing ponds with pumps for snowmaking.” Except for the chairlift all the rest of the investment is infrastructure that stays with the park for example: re-contoured trails which will require a lot of earth moving and underground pipes for snowmaking. The chairlift can be dismantled and resold but the bulk of the state investment will stay in the park. Will the states’ current improvements provide for the future expansion of snowmaking? 

Is Seven Springs, a private corporation, willing to make the additional investment in public owned land if state funding runs short? Is Seven Springs initial purchase of Laurel Mountain’s private assets enough of a private commitment? Here is the crux of the matter, the shared responsibility, of a public/private partnership. What are the risks and rewards and how will they be shared? As Mr. Dick says, “The best option to pursue would be to allow private financing to come in and see if they can make it work”. Will private financing fund improvements on public land? A clear understanding of responsibilities and good faith practices builds true public/private partnerships. This is also where more transparency would help the public understand exactly what is going on at Laurel.

I do not understand Bob Dick’s comments about Seven Springs competing with itself by agreeing to operate the state owned Laurel Mountain. Chynoweth’s article said that Seven Springs believes Laurel Mountain will complement offerings at Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. Anna Weltz, Seven Springs communications director, said the company plans to extend its Highlands season pass and ticket — which provides skiing and snowboarding at Seven Springs and Hidden Valley — to include Laurel Mountain. 

Mr. Dick’s comments also ignore the history and current practice of resort based snowsport industry today. Public money led the ski industry’s development through the early days with the Civilian Conservation Corp. cutting a number of ski trails during the 1930s and 40s throughout the country particularly in the Northeast. The residents and businesses throughout New England would argue with the assertion that “these sorts of tools are not effective for increasing employment growth.” Residents and businesses of Upstate New York around Lake Placid where state owned winter sports facilities hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, and witnessed “the Miracle On Ice” would not agree with that opinion either. Almost all major ski resorts throughout the country are built on public land and at one time or another have been the recipient of public funds. 

The Commonwealth Foundation’s outlook seems to be totally ignorant of the heritage of public spending for economic development by our government for at least as far back as our nation’s pre-industrial canal building era. Government action and public funding helped developed the nation’s railroad system which was the impetus of the industrial revolution. Going back even further, I wonder if Thomas Jefferson fretted over his decision to use Executive Orders to purchase the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon. Even the nascent Republican Party of the mid-1800s recognized the role of government in what was then called internal improvements.

4 years ago

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Cheryl Spackman right to know coordinator for the Department Of General Services. My requests for information about Laurel’s design has been denied for several reasons too obtuse for me to understand or relate to you coherently. The good news is this one paragraph which comes closest to any kind of official timeline for the start of the bidding procedure:

For your information, DGS Project 160-2 Phase 1 Restoration and
Rehabilitation of Park Laurel Mount State Park Ligonier Township is anticipated to be
advertised in late January 2015 on the eMarketplace website
(http ://www.emarketplace.state.pa.us/Search.aspx). You can locate the specific
project by searching the eMarketplace under Advertisement Type “PW Construction. “

Late January 2015. we’ll keep our eyes on it and in the meantime I’ll file a appeal of their decision. I doubt I’ll hear anything before the bid is posted.

4 years ago

Finally! We should have a bid by the end of February. Another 45 days for award and I a guessing and construction should start in April. They then have 8.5 months for construction to get the place open next year. A very tight schedule for $6 million worth of construction, but not impossible. The construction contract will either specify a completion date or the number of work days allowed for construction completion. We should be able to purchase the contract documents once the project is advertised for bids.

4 years ago

Found this blog and found it to be a very interesting read.

http://chroniclesofmccloskey.com/2013/12/19/the-lost-ski-areas/

4 years ago

Thanks for the link. Pat really does capture the soul of Laurel and the Ligonier Valley, a vision widely shared. 

4 years ago

When I came across this blog, I thought it was so articulate and eloquent… sort of reminded me of something that LHC would have penned. Maybe I’m naive or maybe I just don’t look that hard, but I have yet to uncover these types of reflections about Seven Springs or Hidden Valley. I bad-mouth Bobby Nutting a great deal on this forum, most of the time with just cause, but mostly out of frustration that he hasn’t done more with the material gifts bestowed upon him by being fortunate enough to be born into the G Ogden Nutting family. Given all that Western PA and PA taxpayers in general have done for him vis-a-vis the building of PNC Park, one would think that committing a few resources (some time and treasure) and pushing for the reopening of a cherished ski area would be such a public relations coup. Granted, there is potential financial risk, however limited. He bought the assets at Laurel, both on the ski resort and in the surrounding village in 2008. He signed a lease to reopen Laurel with the DCNR in 2009. For whatever reasons, probably a combination of state bureaucracy, some business and some indifference, the reopening of Laurel has stalled for the past 5 years. Had the largest employer in Somerset Co. become a champion to reopen Laurel by committing his own resources of time and treasure, I’m sure we would have been skiing Laurel several years ago. But for the past 10 years, only words such as those written by Pat and our own LHC can describe what its like to ski there. Hopefully, in the Winter of 2015-26, personal blogs and posts on DCSki won’t be needed to describe skiing as its meant to be.

3 years ago

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Cheryl Spackman right to know coordinator for the Department Of General Services. My requests for information about Laurel’s design has been denied for several reasons too obtuse for me to understand or relate to you coherently. The good news is this one paragraph which comes closest to any kind of official timeline for the start of the bidding procedure:

For your information, DGS Project 160-2 Phase 1 Restoration and
Rehabilitation of Park Laurel Mount State Park Ligonier Township is anticipated to be
advertised in late January 2015 on the eMarketplace website
(http ://www.emarketplace.state.pa.us/Search.aspx). You can locate the specific
project by searching the eMarketplace under Advertisement Type “PW Construction. “

Late January 2015. we’ll keep our eyes on it and in the meantime I’ll file a appeal of their decision. I doubt I’ll hear anything before the bid is posted.

 

Well, it is now 6:12 PM 1/31/2015 and the the bid is not posted. Why am I not surprised? Perhaps they are hoping the PA’s new Governor will kill the project.

3 years ago

For your information, DGS Project 160-2 Phase 1 Restoration and
Rehabilitation of Park Laurel Mount State Park Ligonier Township is anticipated to be
advertised in late January 2015 on the eMarketplace website

The DGS had an out as far as placing the bid on eMarketplace by late January by stating the above highlighted text. This project has never had any fixed deadlines or schedules, so why start now. I’m sure there is some diligent state employee(s) at DGS working all day today to make sure the 1/31 deadline is met… ;-)

 

3 years ago

Same old, same old. The 3 legs of the project management stool are scope, budget and schedule. It seems at least two of these legs have been missing. Especially schedule. You pick a date and stick to it. There is a serious lack of leadership on this project.

3 years ago

if you are on facebook “Save Laurel Mountain Ski Resort”.  like and share

 

3 years ago

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826787927369047/?ref=ts&fref=ts

I did not know this Facebook page existed. I just joined.

3 years ago

Here’s the live link to the Save Laurel Mountain Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826787927369047/?ref=ts&fref=ts

3 years ago

Just heard fro troy at the state dcnr office. there needs to be a historical review before they can proceed.

this is supposed to take 4-6 months.

somebody is realy dragging the sevens.

imp

3 years ago

What the he!! is a “historical review”? Somebody please explain.

If Imp’s post is true, heads should roll somewhere. Totally and utterly inexcusable for any additional delays for a project that’s 6 years behind schedule. I guess the only way to get things done at the state level is to pay off somebody (see PA Turnpike scandal). Again, I know I’m painting government with a broad brush, but this entire episode to get Laurel reopened is a disgrace and farcical… it does not paint government or the people/bureaucrats who work there in a very good light.

However, it might be possible for the DGS to put the project out for bid while in parallel the DCNR could perform this “historical review”, but I’m sure its asking a bit much for the state government to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

3 years ago

OMG, now I’ve heard everything. Really though, I’d love to be a part of that review. I have a pretty good idea of when RK Mellon’s plans unfolded and how it came to be designed by one of the most venerated pioneers of alpine skiing and the story of how Laurel launched the career of a key player in the success of the US Ski team, a 10th Mountain vet. Lots of history, a mirror of the roots of skiing as a recreational sport. I think that bidding can still take place and the review begun with enough time to preserve historic sites and artifacts. I know where a lot of them are and the true locals will probably be able to show and explain a lot more.

 

3 years ago

bump to highlight my edit of the previous post. ^

3 years ago

Unbelievable!!!!!!! You would think that the organization that oversees the State’s cultural resources would know what is historic on this site, especially after 6 years of working on this project. In fact, I will suggest that this is just an excuse to delay the project. It could be political. It is, frankly, just total bull shit.

3 years ago

First you need to find out what a “Historical review” really is!   Is it about the history associated with the site, or is it a review of past business results from past operators?  And you might want to check how the historical knowledge that LHC and others have accumulated might be input into this review.  And find out if this is a new state requirement or something that was mistakenly not done before any state funds were spent on planning, etc.

Sounds fishy to me.  HockeyDave, are you sure they did not say ‘hysterical review’?

The Colonel

3 years ago

Just got off the phne with Troy from dcnr press office. The Historic review is no longer a problem,

seems DCNR has some issue that will be resolved and the bids now are to go out within 2 weeks.

Do not hold your breath but pray

imp

3 years ago

Well, the rumored historical review may be false however the spokesman for the state agency in charge of design and the bidding process announced yet another delay due to unspecified design items that “needed to be fixed”, as said by the Dept. of General Services Troy Thompson.  Mr. Thompson said that the bid will now be posted within 2 weeks. In a letter I received from the DGS stonewalling my Right to Know request the anticipated bid posting was to be late January. Despite what Mr. Thompson called an aggressive schedule to open the resort by 2015 this 2 week delay will now delay the opening date to 2016. Wow, I am underwhelmed by such an aggressive schedule. Article here but you’ll need a subscription to view (1 day for$.99) :

http://www.dailyamerican.com/news/local/somerset/laurel-mountain-reopening-delayed/article_a6426aac-b491-55d1-a8ed-8b322996e2e3.html

This one might link for free:

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7693335-74/ski-mountain-project#axzz3QmQkmkPM

 

3 years ago

Its time to really jump on state reps and senators and even the new governor to move this along and complete the work THIS YEAR (2015). For the amount of work that is going to be performed, there is no reason that we shouldn’t be skiing LM by Dec 2015. Sorry, 6 years and potentially 7 years for some grading work, pond improvement, and a new chairlift is totally inexcusable.

3 years ago

Letter writing campaign meeting tomorrow night at the Ligonier Country Inn. Beginning at 7:30 PM. Hope to see some of you there.

3 years ago

hockeydave wrote:

Its time to really jump on state reps and senators and even the new governor to move this along and complete the work THIS YEAR (2015). For the amount of work that is going to be performed, there is no reason that we shouldn’t be skiing LM by Dec 2015. Sorry, 6 years and potentially 7 years for some grading work, pond improvement, and a new chairlift is totally inexcusable.

I am not saying it can’t be done, but $5.0 mil in improvements is a good amount of work to complete in only one construction season. I would imagine that the contractor will not be given notice to proceed until April meaning all of the work has to be completed between April and November, in an area with tough weather. Most of the cost I would imagine is the lift, thus this item will take the longest to order, get an approved design from the manufacturer and then install.

I think the recent effort for a letter writing campaign is at least a year too late. I had suggested this many times but I think the new Save Laurel Mountain facebook site finally has people coming together. I spent alot of time pleading with reporters from the various news media in the area to keep the story current with the public. We can thank reporter, Nicole Chynoweth for sticking with this story and thanks also to Larry Walsh. I truly doubt we’ll be skiing at Laurel Mountain next ski season.

3 years ago

The timeline seems to be in place if the bid is posted by mid-March. I hope the bid will be posted at that time. Meetings like this will help generate interest and focus energy.

3 years ago

Did a quick search on the eMarketPlace and still no RFQ for the rehab work at Laurel.

So now its one month late. I suspect that I can copy and paste the first sentence in follow-up posts at the end of March and then the end of April and so on and so forth.

If I ever have to change careers before I retire, my first application will be submitted for a state job at the DGS. That way I can coast into retirement.

3 years ago

I sent an email to Nicole Chenowith, asking for another newspaper story. I keep hoping we will embarrass these people into action.

3 years ago

Good idea SnowSmith, however, if any of the parties involved (7S, DGS, DCNR) aren’t embarassed by the pace of progress over the course of the past 6+ years, I don’t think a newspaper article or two is going to change things. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

3 years ago

snowsmith wrote:

I sent an email to Nicole Chenowith, asking for another newspaper story. I keep hoping we will embarrass these people into action. Send backcountry mag a vid of some lower wildcat post closure skiing. Who knows? Maybe they will put a story on their mag. I’ve seen ascutney in there before…

 

3 years ago

Hockey Dave - Unfortunately, I agree. The real persons to embarras are the politicians who have been non-existant during this fiasco from what I have seen. I have worked on many a project where a politician got involved and we had address some things to make them happy, including expediting the schedule. They all love to show up for the ribbon cutting.

3 years ago

For those that have not joined the Save Laurel Mountain Facebook Group the latest news was a reply from Robert Nutting to a letter written by a group member conveying his commitment to Laurel’s long term viability and that he, his management team and the DCNR are doing everything possible to ensure a 2017 - 2017 reopening. Click the link above to read the letter.

 

 

3 years ago

Well it’s not a 15-16 opening:(

3 years ago

Yes I know and it certainly is our goal to try to move this forward for an opening at the beginning of next season. The great news is Mr. Nutting’s commitment to Laurel in a rather lengthy letter. He did not have to do that especially if the goal was to allow the project to languish in bureaucratic red tap until the lease runs out.

I was critical of this most recent redesign that apparently did nothing more than remove a planned and relocated tubing hill. After I had the opportunity to review the new proposal I see that money allocated to the tubing hill will instead be spent on trail grading required to make two trails amendable to modern snowmaking and grooming practices, one novice and the other intermediate, both of which are the bread and butter of all snowsport resorts. This is in keeping with ensuring Laurel’s long term viability. His remarks concerning Laurel’s unique character gives me hope that Laurel will not be bulldozed into a fall line clone that so many resorts became during the rise of snowmaking and grooming in the last few decades.

In short, Mr. Nutting’s letter has given me the most assurance that Laurel will reopen and that unique character and expert terrain that has drawn so many of us will once again be offered to all snowsport enthusiast so they too my find their challenge and passion on its slopes.  

3 years ago

Rob, talk is cheap and so is he.

He’s had 6 years to push this effort. Now, he’s excited to get Laurel opened? Give me a break. There must now be a financial ulterior motive. In my mind, no other explanation makes sense for him to respond now to concerns that were expressed over the past 6 years (see this forum).

Mr Nutting: Prove to us that your all in…. repair YOUR lodge this summer (2015) and make it look respectable and ready to accept skiers whether it be the Winter of 2015 or 2016.

3 years ago

Dave you will always keep us grounded. Here we have passed another “estimated” date the bid was to be posted and no postings. The latest delay was to see if the budget and scope of work is in sync so there is more wiggle room.  However Nutting did make these statements though he could stay quiet on the issue or just blame state bureaucrats on the delay. There would be only short term positive attitude to gain at the expense of long term good will if he were not to follow through. It doesn’t make sense to opt for empty appeasement.

 

3 years ago

I know grading is a very important issue  but i bellive lodge issues are the most important.  The case is proven at blue knob with Mobil snowmaking and summit snowponds.  I think if nutting wamt laurel to wu seed he will have to add in “glade” skiing and somthing original, or it will not compete with hv/7s and bk with us dc area ppl.  And i belive laurel can sucseed with its natural beauty.

3 years ago

Larry Walsh pick up Bob Nutting’s reply. The story is also in the Post-Gazette’s print edition with the headline, Nutting Committed To Laurel:

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ski/2015/03/14/Pirates-owner-Bob-Nutting-appears-committed-to-re-opening-Laurel-Mountain-ski-area/stories/201503140090

3 years ago

Sooner, rather than later, somebody has got to make a decision to allow this project to go out to bid. They’ve had   6 years to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Somebody with a spine bone has to say enough is enough.

3 years ago

The article has many negative overtones about all parties involved, as well it should. The “great partnership” Nutting speaks of doesn’t exist because a partner actually does something proactive and not throw additional roadblocks in front of foot-dragging state bureaucaries. As the long as the state pays for everything, he’ll just sit back and wait, exactly what a good partner would do. I would be happy to apologize if proven otherwise.

Far be it from me to tell someone how to spend their own money, but let me offer a little context. He’s paying AJ Burnett, a pitcher whose best days can’t even be seen in the rear view mirror on the flatest Pennsylvania highway with high power binoculars, $8.5 million this upcoming baseball season. A risky investment,especially for the likes of Nutting. I would wager that he hasn’t even contributed 1% of that salary towards manpower hours over the past 6 years at Laurel for redesign, meetings and maintenance. So I’ll just laugh when I hear people say “he’ll be pi$$ing money away at Laurel… no return on investment” given what he’s paying Burnett.

But I’ll be one the first people lined up at Laurel when it opens, assuming I don’t get treated like the pierogi racer at PNC park who had the temerity to criticize the Pirates.

3 years ago

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7942659-74/project-ski-thompson#axzz3USslIZZL

Haven’t purchased a Sunday newspaper in a while, but I remeber an entire section of the newspaper that was dedicated for the Comics on Sundays. This article belongs there.

The state is going to a 3rd party to consult on the purchase of a ski lift ? What the heck is their supposed “partner” 7S doing? They just installed a new 6 pack a couple of years ago.

3 years ago

Wow, I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events. Will we be surprised if the project will not come in within budget? No word on what happens if that turns out to be the case. One million dollars spent so far on design, permits and consultants. More now going to see if the “experts” the state hired to draw the plans knew what they were doing. No reason to be nervous though. 

3 years ago

Wow, I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events. Will we be surprised if the project will not come in within budget? No word on what happens if that turns out to be the case. One million dollars spent so far on design, permits and consultants. More now going to see if the “experts” the state hired to draw the plans knew what they were doing. No reason to be nervous though. 

3 years ago

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7942659-74/project-ski-thompson#axzz3USslIZZL

It seems after 6 years of working on the project, they decided to check the cost estimate.  So DGS hires a company that is supposed experienced with building ski lifts to check the estimate. Of course, their spoke person says;

….” It’s not something that we’re rushing them on, because we want to make sure that we have this done properly so that when the project goes out (to bid), it is something that can be done,” Thompson said.

I can tell you from experience this estimate check should not take more than 3 or 4 days.for one ski lift.

3 years ago

Sorry, I forgot to post this news but figured that anybody here that was interested in Laurel would have joined the Save Laurel Facebook group and learned of it. Bob Nutting and his Seven Springs/Hidden Valley management team along with the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA State Parks) will meet with Laurel Mountain supporters on March 30 to share the latest information and updates. The event is invitation only and yours truly has an invite. I will post any new information here.

3 years ago

Should be interesting. I am sure you will give us a summary of the meeting. You probably have these questions in mind already, but I would like to know:

- Will Seven Springs refurbish the existing quad chair that was damaged by vandalls?

- Does Seven Springs plan to make any snow making improvements?

- When will the lodge building be secured and then refurbished?

- Will the option to ski Laurel be added to the HV season pass?

- Perhaps it is time to pursue modifications in the agreement with the Mellon family on the use restrictions to allow for some appropriate lodging and summer time activities to make the whole operation more financially viable? There are many examples of state parks with beautiful lodging facilities/

- When will the DGS FINALLY release the project for bid? What is the point in holding this project up any longer?

3 years ago

snowsmith wrote:

Should be interesting. I am sure you will give us a summary of the meeting. You probably have these questions in mind already, but I would like to know:

- Will Seven Springs refurbish the existing quad chair that was damaged by vandalls?

- Does Seven Springs plan to make any snow making improvements?

- When will the lodge building be secured and then refurbished?

- Will the option to ski Laurel be added to the HV season pass?

- Perhaps it is time to pursue modifications in the agreement with the Mellon family on the use restrictions to allow for some appropriate lodging and summer time activities to make the whole operation more financially viable? There are many examples of state parks with beautiful lodging facilities/

- When will the DGS FINALLY release the project for bid? What is the point in holding this project up any longer?

 

 

The existing quad will be decommissioned as reported here: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7693335-74/ski-mountain-project#axzz3QmQkmkPM. You’ll find a quote from a familiar name. : )

Innsbruck will be reworked and Deer Path will be widened and snowmaking will be added or refurbished to create a top to bottom novice trail. This was my impression from the very brief review I had of the design plan. This will be done as part of the state’s expenditure.

It has been consistently reported that Laurel will be added to the Highland pass program.

Seven Springs owns a rather large lot in Laurel Mountain Village right outside the access road to the ski area about a mile from the ski lodge. It could be used to build a hotel. Even if the Mellon Foundation agrees to cancel the restrictions it would still be problematic to build a private hotel on public land. Who would finance the project? I can’t imagine any private business building on land they do not own.

The DGS has given us several dates for releasing the project to bid. We have passed all of them. I have a hope that we will learn a definite date at this meeting. 

3 years ago

Isn’t the existing quad chair one of the assets owned by Seven Springs?

3 years ago

yes the borwig quad now belongs to 7 springs.

it has been vandilized, stolen copper wire.  needs some major work to be put back in service.

there is an issue with it’s original instalation that the orginal engineering firm missed.

fault lies with the installer not previous owners

imp

3 years ago

I live 17 miles away from 7S and I bet I’ll be able to hear the tap dancing at my house if some tough questions are asked Monday evening.

3 years ago

I was looking at pics from dream highway and it looked like a nice gladed are towards the last switchback. LHC  do you know if Laurel has any  “Glades” (Like blue knob) that it states are on the map?

3 years ago

When you come up to Laurel when it re-opens. I’ll show you. ;~)

3 years ago

What happened with the meeting with DCNR and Nutting. I’m dying to hear.

3 years ago

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/8076113-74/mountain-ski-nutting#axzz3VxadKbxG

Everyone involved is now on record:

  1. Laurel will be opened for 2016-17 season,
  2. The lodge will be renovated and expanded
  3. The existing lease may be extended beyond 2018.

If the lease is extended beyond 2018 within the next year, I will then be a convert from skeptical to hopeful

3 years ago

actual bid process is moving forward, still 2 weeks of internal (put my stamp on it ) to get credit.

the actual dirt moving will start july-august.

Lodge renovations for the start will be just getting it back in order. expansion if the crowds justify.

No state money for lodge!!

Lease extension negoations are in progress but at this point not a pressing issue.

Both Bob Nutting and His brother were in attendance, shows some real interest.

1 more winter in the desert.

imp

3 years ago

I think it is great that we will have what many of could call a new ski area to explore. The last time a new ski area opened around these parts was Whitetail in the 1980’s.

I do have some concerns though:

- A ski area with only one lift? What happens if the lift breaks down?

- Nutting seems to think that the old Borvig quad chair is not salvagable. The old Jack Johnson study suggested that this lift could be rehabilitated and reused. It estimated the repairs and upgrades at $235k. Not cheap but not as expensive as a new lift which was estimated to cost close to $2.0 million.  I wonder what he means by “creative reuse” ? Maybe if there is enough demand, they will rehabilitate the quad to supplement the new fixed grip quad chair.

- Does anyone know if the new snow making systems if automated, thus reducing labor for snow making. Which system are they specifying? Hopefully, Techno-Alpine.

Rob- do you think it is possible that the DCNR could make the presentatin available to the public? Perhaps on their website?

3 years ago

Mr. Robert Nutting, President of Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Ogden News, and the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted a meeting that included his management staff, officials of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), local press and supporters of Laurel Mountain who wrote letters to advocate a speedy opening of their now closed winter sport resort. Mr. Nutting began by thanking all in attendance with a nod to all the DCNR official that had come from Harrisburg. Mr. Nutting compared the slow often frustrating process moving this Pennsylvania state park project along to the equally long and frustrating rebuilding of his Pittsburgh Pirate Major League Baseball franchise. He stated that he hoped that Laurel would soon see the success that the Pirates have achieved most recently. Mr. Nutting told his personal stories about his young daughter skiing Laurel’s challenging Lower Wildcat and portrayed his as a skiing family. He repeated that he was deeply committed to opening Laurel but also spoke of the need to get it right and his commitment to excellence. He went on to say that he and his family are not motivated by quarterly reports but rather by doing business by what interest them and doing it right. Mr. Nutting said, “Our goal is to be there for a long time.” Mr. Nutting then began a power point presentation of the state funded six and a half million dollar infrastructure rebuild plan for Laurel Mountain. I repeat them here not necessarily in the order presented: 

  • Rework and relocate Innsbruck to eliminate the switch back turns at the top. Innsbruck will still have a somewhat “out and back” character but it will be less hairpin and more gradual, more “round the bend” than “out and back”. The trail will be widened its entire length and the start of the trail will begin at the bottom of Tamecat just to skier’s left of the beginning of Broadway. There will be 16 snow guns added to Upper Innsbruck and 13 added to Lower Innsbruck. This should make it novice friendly as Laurel has always lacked a top to bottom easy trail.
  • Deer Path will be widened and snowmaking renovated, again with the goal of making a top to bottom easy trail. There will be 23 to 30 guns on the trail. Deer Path was once a rope tow line before Laurel’s first true top to bottom lift, a T-bar, was installed in 1955. 
  • Snowmaking ponds will expanded to ensure all snowmaking trails can be totally recover twice, an 11 million gallon expansion of holding capacity from 15 to 26 million gallons. 
  • Broadway will get some trail work too. The pinch point known to locals, especially the ski patrol, as the chute will be graded and widened. The lower pitch below the Midway Cabin will be re-graded as it will be the connector between Innsbruck and Deer Path.
  • A new fixed grip Quad will replace the current double and be realigned to begin near the site of the Wildcat warming hut and end at the top of the old tubing hill. That will take the end point closer to the lodge and a little higher on the mountain creating better access to the lodge and the trail network on skier’s left side of the mountain. This lift should exceed the capacity of the 2 lifts it will replace. 
  • The old quad will be removed. When Mr. Nutting was questioned about the possibility of making snow on that lift line trail (named Lincoln Highway) he said the thought occurred to him when he hiked the mountain. There are no plans to equip the trail with air and water lines and hydrants but the new snowmaking on Innsbruck as well as existing lines on Broadway will make snowmaking feasible on Lincoln Highway. If this happens it will give Laurel another long top to bottom intermediate trail with consistent snow conditions.
  • Any additions or improvement to the trails on skier’s right of the mountain will depended on the success of Laurel’s new design (a visit count to justify expansion) . The major trails on that side of the mountain include Snow Bowl, Laurel, and Dream Highway.

The yellow areas on the map below indicate planned trail grading and alignment.

That about covers all of the improvements being made by the PA DCNR’s PA Bureau of State Parks. On hill construction is targeted for July 2015 but actual earth moving will probably begin in August. The timeline is set by established procedural policy applied to all state funded projects. This process was spelled out in some detail by the Assistant Director of the PA Bureau of State Parks, John Hallas. Mr. Hallas and other DCNR department heads answered many questions from the assembled guest concerning details about the project including lift placement and trail and snowmaking improvements but the question on everyone’s mind was when will Laurel Mountain be open? That answer came with the caveat, if all things go according to plan Laurel will open for the 2016/2017 winter season.

The current lease is set to expire in 2018 but negotiations to extend the lease are in the preliminary stage. When John Hallas, the Assistant Director of the Bureau of State Parks, was questioned about the 10 year duration of the current lease he replied that 10 years was the set time frame for all state owned facilities leased to private operators but there can be exceptions to that with some leases up to 35 years. When I stated that 10 years seems to be too short a time for a private operator to have confidence to make investment in a public owned facility Mr. Nutting seemed to agree with light hearted gestures of encouragement as I put the question to Mr. Hallas. Mr. Nutting did express confidence that an extension will be agreed upon stating that they were in it longer than the two and a half years remaining on the current lease.

Mr. Nutting also said their intention was to market Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain as a destination in the same manner that New Hampshire resorts created the Ski 93 campaign for resorts access from Interstate 93 which runs through the state and the Ski The Summit campaign used effectively by the four Summit County, Colorado winter resorts. This will be done through the Highland Pass program that will grant access to all three resorts. This program has been in effect since Hidden Valley was added to the Seven Springs operation. A weekend pass buyer can add the option to include the other resorts by paying an additional charge. Likewise, a season pass buyer can do the same and sample the other resort with a nominal up charge for the pass. To paraphrase Mr. Nutting, the Washington/Baltimore market is the target market for the three resorts with their distinct individual character and terrain variety each has to offer.

With regards to the Seven Springs owned assets on the mountain which are not eligible for state funding, the primary focus of questions were about the lodge which is in need of repair since it was last in operation for during the 2004/2005 season. While acknowledging problems with the size of the Laurel Lodge especially during busy weekends, there are no plans to enlarge facility. Instead space within the lodge will be remodeled to create more room for equipment rental. My guess is that food service traffic flow will also be studied.

When I asked if there were plans to further integrate the resorts by providing shuttle service between them, Mr Nutting paused for a moment then said that he was thinking of a nice way to say no. The consensus is that people prefer to use their own cars to travel between Hidden Valley and Seven Springs. If my memory serves me correctly I believe that among season pass holder only about 25% currently purchase the multi-resort Highland Pass. Mr. Bill Nutting told me that so far it appeared that season pass buyer were mostly content to stay with one resort. As a local more inclined to buy a season pass it did not occur to me to inquire about the weekend version of the Highland Pass.

When asked about Laurel Mountain Village, a nearby resort community, Mr. Nutting said that while Seven Springs owns many lots in the Village there are no plans for development.

I was concerned about the preservation of historical structures on the mountain and was assured by PA state officials that all artifacts were cataloged and the scope of construction would not disturb these sites. These include Midway Cabin, Laurel’s first lodge, the hand laid stone wall upon which ran the first rope tow, and the foundation for the engine house of that rope tow. Mr. Hallas also pointed out the Bureau’s work in presenting and interpreting other historic sites under their authority and assured that no less would be done at Laurel and mentioned several ways to present Laurel cultural history. Please forgive my journalistic short comings as I was so intent on listening that I did not take note so much detail is lost as I try to reconstruct from memory but I believe that he suggested PA Historical Marker Program administer through the PA Historical and Museum Commission, the agency responsible for conducting an historic review of construction sites.

When questions turned to history and Midway Cabin in particular, Mr. Nutting expressed his interest in returning Midway to useful condition and making it available for future Laurel riders and visitors. Perhaps I detected from Mr. Nutting an implication that Midway could be a candidate for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places citing his mother in law’s membership on board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation? I hope so but at the very least this big part of PA ski history and the significant role of Laurel Mountain in the greater history of skiing should now be preserved and told.

Although plans for Laurel are in the final stage and the project is not yet put out to bid, with the attendance of several ranking officials of the PA DCNR and Mr. Nutting’s personal attention, enthusiasm and optimism, the invited Laurel Mountain supporters left assured that Laurel will reopen for the 2016/2017 winter season.

 

3 years ago

snowsmith wrote:

I think it is great that we will have what many of could call a new ski area to explore. The last time a new ski area opened around these parts was Whitetail in the 1980’s.

I do have some concerns though:

- A ski area with only one lift? What happens if the lift breaks down?

- Nutting seems to think that the old Borvig quad chair is not salvagable. The old Jack Johnson study suggested that this lift could be rehabilitated and reused. It estimated the repairs and upgrades at $235k. Not cheap but not as expensive as a new lift which was estimated to cost close to $2.0 million.  I wonder what he means by “creative reuse” ? Maybe if there is enough demand, they will rehabilitate the quad to supplement the new fixed grip quad chair.

- Does anyone know if the new snow making systems if automated, thus reducing labor for snow making. Which system are they specifying? Hopefully, Techno-Alpine.

Rob- do you think it is possible that the DCNR could make the presentatin available to the public? Perhaps on their website?

 

 

The remark Bob Nutting made about a more creative use for the old quad must have been made after the presentation when reporters asked questions privately. That remark does hold promise for future use but Mr. Nutting is not one to commit publicly to what might come in the future. I did ask if he felt that this plan with the amount of snowmaking contemplated would be enough to earn back customer good will to which he replied with shrugged shoulders and, ”I hope so”.

I thought about questioning the DCNR about the Jack Johnson projections but really, we are where we are and it is apparent that any other improvements will be contingent on the skier visits this new reconfigured Laurel Mountain can generate. Even with numbers beyond those old Jack Johnson projection I wonder where the money will come from given the realities of the PA State budget. The future improvements at Laurel will be in the skiing public’s hands….wallets. That alone will convince the state or Bob Nutting that futher investment is justified.

My immediate concern right now is to see that this job goes to bid. It is still possible that it could be stopped if the new Governor decides it is not in line with his vision or decides to use it to assuage political opponents. He will have a legal fight on his hands if what I’ve been told is true, that capital projects once started cannot be stopped on a whim. I’ve never seen the law that state that but on the surface it makes sense that such project are protected from political swaying once started.

As for the DCNR making the broad outline public, good question. I’ll look into it.

3 years ago

Do the trails to the right, left and along the new lift have snow making?

3 years ago

as you ride up the lift, no snowmaking on your left. on the right snowmaking on lower wildcat and near the unload.

3 years ago

http://www.apps.dcnr.state.pa.us/news/resource/res2015/15-0408-laurelmountainsp.aspx

atricle from Pa. DCNR on laurel progress

imp

3 years ago

Well there you have the DGS timeline and a good take on the meeting by the author of the piece.

3 years ago

Well, it’s almost May, and the ski area project STILL had not been advertised for bids. It was supposed to go for bids in January. It has to go out soon or they are going to miss this year’s construction season and it will not open in 2016. Time for another newspaper article.

3 years ago

It was not stated plainly at the March 30 meeting but Hallas for the Sate Park Bureau said they were in the first week of a 5 week process that will prepare the bid then get it posted (scroll down to the Project Process table). Upon request fro further clarification from the DGS they did say May was the target posting date. 

It sure has been a moving target.

3 years ago

What year?!

3 years ago

May 2015 or so it is hoped, projected, targeted, with an eye to, possibly, if everything goes well, maybe. Wait and see.

3 years ago

Look for another newspaper article by Nicole Chenowith, coming soon.

3 years ago

I paste my previous post from over 2 months ago here just so i could write “I told you so”….

 

Did a quick search on the eMarketPlace and still no RFQ for the rehab work at Laurel.

So now its one month late. I suspect that I can copy and paste the above sentence in follow-up posts at the end of March and then the end of April and so on and so forth.

If I ever have to change careers before I retire, my first application will be submitted for a state job at the DGS. That way I can coast into retirement.

3 years ago

Goverors office says waiting for permits from Labor & Industry

wonder who’s next on the list

3 years ago

Can you provide the contact information for the governor’s office. They could sitll move forward with the bid process and work on the stupid permits while the bid process is on going. This project was supposed to be advertised for bids in January. Then it was supposed to be early May.  It is now almost June

3 years ago

go to Pa.gov

select Gov. Wolf

hit contact

fill out and send.

be nice

imp

3 years ago

The only thing I can find now is this link:

http://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/Pages/contact.aspx#.VV9nb0-6fIU

There is also the snail mail address:

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
225 Main Capitol Bldg. 
Harrisburg, PA 17120

or maybe this one found at the bottom of the link posted above:


Governor’s Correspondence Office
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Tel:(717)787-2500 

 

3 years ago

I sent a message to the gov asking him to release the project for bidding while addressing permits is in progress. I ask that all DCSKI’ers do the same.

3 years ago

I did the same also pointed out how long this has dragged on and the fact that it has bipartisan support.

 

3 years ago

I suspect that if Nutting were to contact the gov and state reps indicating a need to speedily complete the Laurel Mt build that things would move quickly…likewise no contact from Nutting & 7 Springs might indicate ???

3 years ago

I wrote to governor twice and got no response. I think this may be internal politics between the DCNR and DGS. DGS first had to hire an independent estimator to check cost for the ski lift, now it’s some stupid permit. 

We need to contact Senator Pat Stefano and Representative Ryan Warner, Senator Kim Ward and Representative Mike Reese and discuss the endless delays on this project and the lack of leadership at the governor’s office.

 

3 years ago

http://wesa.fm/post/laurel-mountain-ski-resort-aims-2016-open

Well, looks like the political presure finally achieved some results. However, note that it looks like a construction start in October meaning probably only a month and half of construction season this year. I am cautiously optimistic the ski area will open winter 2016/2017. Let’s see if the project is advertised for bids within the next 3 weeks as they indicate.

3 years ago

I’m still confused about that press release. Will the bid solicitation be publicly posted in 2 or 3 weeks? As of 2:33 PM still not posted on the PA - eMarketplace.

3 years ago

I suspect 2-3 weeks means Terry has no clue when bids will be advertised. Why start a schedule now alomost 7 years later. Amazing. 7 years to get a RFQ online for what will turn out to be about 8 months of work. I wonder how much of the 6.5 million is remaining to actually do the upgrades/work? Only government can get away with this crap. Any business would no longer be in business if it operated this way.

3 years ago

I’m been very negative about this entire process over the past 7 years; however, it’s not just because I’m old and cranky. I believe the reason I have been a malcontent has been justified. When the state earmarked the $$$ and Nutting signed a lease, the area should have opened no later than 2011-12 ski season. 3 years should have been plenty of time to get all of the obstacles cleared. But what’s done is done. Can’t change the past.

However, if and when ground is moved this Fall I’m suggessting a “get together” at the Furnace Inn to celebrate. Any other suggesstion are welcome.

3 years ago

Ligonier country Inn hosted our letter writing event, planning on doing another event there when DCNR

announces bids are out. Light at the end of the tunnel is a bombadier grooming.

3 years ago

imp, are you sure that light isn’t a Thiokol or DMC groomer? 

3 years ago

LMC is history but the Imp still slides.

3 years ago

snowsmith wrote:

http://wesa.fm/post/laurel-mountain-ski-resort-aims-2016-open

Well, looks like the political presure finally achieved some results. However, note that it looks like a construction start in October meaning probably only a month and half of construction season this year. I am cautiously optimistic the ski area will open winter 2016/2017. Let’s see if the project is advertised for bids within the next 3 weeks as they indicate.

It has now been two weeks since the proclamation in the article referenced above was made….”Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said the bidding process for Laurel Mountain’s $6.5 million renovation project will begin in the next 2-3 weeks, after which construction is set to begin this fall.”

That means they have to get this out to bid next week to meet their latest commitment.

3 years ago

The clock is ticking, that’s for sure. I don’t like being a prisoner of process but here we are waiting for the bureaucratic wheels to turn. Carol over on the Save Laurel Facebook page did say that the DGS turned the project over to the DCNR so the wheel is turning. The folks in Harrisburg know we are watching. They have been saying and acting like this project is moving forward. I believe that it is but if I hear one more prediction of ” a week or two” my head will explode.

Perhaps we should be discussing what we can do to make Laurel a financial success.

3 years ago

Although the weather wasn’t the best, I still managed to make it over to the mountain for a look around. I checked it out last summer as well. It’s pretty much in the same condition it was last year with the exceptions of the parking lot being more overgrown and the lodge having several of the exterior double pane windows broken. Keeping my fingers crossed. - msprings

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1hff8jKvNY0Mld1UDFtTVNQc0lueENXVzJBUEtwT29yQ3FB/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1hff8jKvNY0RjF5ZGdPSDhnS2tOTEFsd1JnZjBLb1ZnNktF/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1hff8jKvNY0Q0x2ajhnYTd2LVhBdk8tc29WWXNfU1hwY1Nz/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1hff8jKvNY0cXJMNy1nVE43LTFCVmpOOFd4U3plODNwLTZ3/view?usp=sharing

3 years ago

official from dcnr bid release july 8th

3 years ago

That is correct. I was informed today that DCNR would advertise the project for bids on July 8 with bid opening on August 6. Construction is expected to start in the fall with completion anticipated for Fall 2016, supposedly in time for the ski season.

3 years ago

I dont like the idea of opening 2 months after construction or so. Because just if construction is over dosent mean its done. There still maybe some touch ups to do, and i dont like the idea of a untested snowmaking system and lifts.

3 years ago

last time the bulldozer sat the winter behind the warming hut!!

that construction was done in 5 months, and a lot of issues came from the fast track. the timeline

now is easily sufficent, Don’t tell LHC but I may even buy new skis

imp

3 years ago

imp, I bet those new skis won’t have risers under the bindings. On second thought perhaps you shouldn’t buy new skis. You’ll end up with a job there and never have time to ski. haha.

3 years ago

Bid for construction is now on DCNR website.

bids due aug 6

imp

3 years ago

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/facdes/current_proposals/index.htm

 It finally is here. It’s been a long time coming. Thanks for your interest. Now you all have to spend a few day skiing at Laurel in the 2016/17 season! Help make Laurel a true success.

Hey, I’m going to make a final post in hockeydave’s ”Laurel Mountain Breaking News” thread just to close that chapter and look back at the story as it unfolded in a series of behind the scenes hopes and schemes and dreams.

3 years ago

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

 Now you all have to spend a few day skiing at Laurel in the 2016/17 season! Help make Laurel a true success.

Count me in!  

3 years ago

This is great news. However, given LM’s history, I am not counting my chickens until the contract is awarded. I’ve seen bid awards held up for many months due to bid protests and litigation. When the construction starts, I will let go of the pessimism.

3 years ago

Celebrate at the Ligonier Country Inn Saturday July 11 7PM Route 30 Laughlintown.

3 years ago

I would love to attend, but I have a dinner party to attend at HV.

3 years ago

My wife and I walked back to the lodge about a week and half ago and it is still an eyesore… absolutely nothing has been done. As a matter of fact, the last time I saw the lodge was 2 years ago and it has deteriorated exponentially. Again, if Nutting is truly committed to reopening Laurel, I would think that some renovation work should start very, very soon. As everyone knows with any project, work always takes longer than expected and given the current sorry state of the lodge, renovation work should begin ASAP. Assuming ground starts breaking this Fall on the ski area renovations and is completed on time next year, there is only one potential issue holding up reopening LM for the 16-17 ski season and thats the lodge. I’m guessing that at least $500k needs to be invested into renovating it given it’s complete neglect over the past several years. And since I watch a lot of HGTV on Sunday evenings, who knows what they’re going to find when work is started.

3 years ago

Bids will be opened in 2 days for the state paid work. The Laurel Lodge is all on Bob’s dime, though. I doubt that the lodge will see any work until next season, just a hunch. I would like to see the open court yard out front enclosed to make a little more elbow room. That should be fairly inexpensive. Hell, put a second fireplace on the other end and just heat the way we use too. There’s plenty of deadfall and more to come with the trail clearing.

3 years ago

Kind of dumb of 7S to let that building sit there unsecured for all of these years. It would of required little money to board up the windows and doors to keep the building secure and minimize vandalism. Maybe they consider it a teardown.

3 years ago

Bids will not be opened in 2 days. There will be a delay in the bid opening to allow time to issue an addendum to clear up a snow making piping specification issue. This type of situation is not unusual. The new bid opening date has not been announced. 

3 years ago

I bought the plans and specs for the projects. A few design items of note:

- The lift covers 760 vertical feet and is 2,400+/- feet long. Maximum specified speed is 450 feet per minute.

- HKD stick guns are the basis of design for the snow making system.

- The specs indicate that 7S will be relocating the handle tow?

- Stevens Engineering from New London, NH was brought on board as a ski lift design consultant.

3 years ago

I’m pretty sure that the handle tow for the old terrain park and the tubing hill will be moved. there are 2 other that I can think of. The one on the main beginners slope, Tamecat at the lodge at the top of the hill and another under the old quad just below the unload bullwheel also at the top of the hill. All these conveyances should be easy to move, kind of surprised that there would be specifications in the bid to move those.

I’m not surprised that the new lift rises 760 vertical. The old double which the new lift replaces rose 804 vertical feet and the new lift will start a little uphill of the old double and end a little downhill of the double’s current drop off. Skiers will still be able to access the natural snow trails under the old double but lose maybe 15 to 20 feet of vertical and would have to traverse over that way from the new quad’s drop off..

 

3 years ago

if they fill in the tubing fiasco the tow needs removed.

all the tows were portable to make installation and inspection cheaper.

3 years ago

Seems like i may have beat LHC to this but it seems like general construction will begin on the 18th of this month.

3 years ago

The bid opening date was extended to August 18 for Phase 1.1 which covers most of the work that is not electrical. The electrical contract bid openin occured on Aug 6, as scheduled. Thus no construction will begin on Aug 18. Usually occurs a month or two after the bid opening.

3 years ago

If any construction work starts this calander year, I’ll be surprised. And if it doesn’t start this year, it will be an extremely tight schedule to get all upgrades performed by Dec 2016.

Snowsmith: Are there any bonuses/incentives in the SOW if the work is completed by Dec 2016?

3 years ago

Antoine wrote:

Seems like i may have beat LHC to this but it seems like general construction will begin on the 18th of this month.

I learned of it this morning through the Save Laurel facebook page. Member Tom Anthony broke the news. I’m sure snowsmith knew about it too. As this project moves forward I’m sure there will be others that will beat me to the punch and that is a good thing. Always nice to have more eyes on the project.

 

3 years ago

I did not find incentives in the contract. The contractor has 350 calendar days to complete the work from the day he receives notice to proceed. There liquidated damages of $1,000/day for every day he exceeds the number of calendar days. I would anticipate that notice to proceed will be issued in late September so 350 calendar days would indicate that the project should be completed Sept 2016, weather dependent. New bid date is August 18 for both contracts.

I received the addendum and they completely changed the snow making pipe spec from mechanical joint, ductile iron to welded steel. I think who ever spec’d ductile iron screwed up. The pipe has to be rated for 800 psi and typically snow making pipe is welded steel to withstand the extreme presure and temperature changes.

3 years ago

General construction bids were opened. Ligioner Construction is the low bidder.

 

3 years ago

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that the bids from Ligonier Construction, for general contractor, and Merit Electric, for electric contract, have been accepted:

 

http://www.tribdem.com/news/after-being-closed-for-a-decade-efforts-to-reopen-laurel/article_8d07e4e8-5d9f-11e5-a083-4b175ed86b7c.html 

3 years ago

Not sure if that means the bid has been reviewed and they found no issues or if they issued notice to proceed to start construciton. That is what we really need. They could still squeeze in 6 or 7 weeks of construction before the snow starts flying.

3 years ago

The latest news reports says that the contractors will get a notice to proceed in abot a month:

http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourligonier/9110574-74/electrical-construction-contracts#axzz3mcVHDX7K

3 years ago

Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the department, said in about a month, each company will receive a notice to proceed. He described the progress as a giant step forward.”

Terry Brady has not gotten many dates correct. So we start constuction in November on a ski resort. They may get 3 weeks of good weather. I doubt the contractor will accomplish very much. The contract has been awarded so they can perhaps release the work on the ski lift design and fabrication and ordering other long lead time items. I wonder if “in about a month” turns into several months.

The contract requires the work to be completed 350 calendars days from notice to proceed. So if they receive NTP on November 1, 2015, 350 calendar days would place completion on October 16, 2016. That is assuming the contractor does not claim any delays due to weather. I hate to be a pessimist, but I would say that as a result of the endless delays in getting the contract our for bid and the resulting delays in getting the construction started, I am not optimistic that the resort will be ready for opening next winter, but we’ll see.


 

3 years ago

Well that’s why all official announcements about an alleged timeline is prefaced by the promise that the schedule finish date will be 350 days from the day it begins baring any unforeseen circumstances. We’ll see what kind of surprises are unearthed when Innsbruck, Broadway and Crossover get widened.  Lots of terra firma to be moved around there.

Construction could continue through November and most of December. Christmas week is the critical target opening.

3 years ago

rumor has it that construction will start monday oct 19

state budget fight means no official ground breaking, but the project will start.

imp

3 years ago

Has anyone been to the site to see if the contractor has mobilized his equipment; set up a field office, etc. I was told by DCNT that construction NTP has been issued and there will be no ground breaking due to travel restrictions imposed by the budget impasse??

This is the result of the spoiled children we elect to office these days.

3 years ago

I’m heading up today. I will photo and report back on activity on the mountain.  I would think that Bob Nutting had all this time blocked out for the pursuit of a championship. Better to have the official ground breaking in the Spring, IMHO.

3 years ago

see save Laurel mountain face book page, equipment in the parking lot!!!!!!!

3 years ago

Live link and new photos on Save Laurel Mountain Facebook page:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826787927369047/

3 years ago

For those who are not on facebook - someone posted this awesome link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wicklowaerial/sets/72157659707401396

 

 

 

3 years ago

Trees are cleared around the upper mountain snowmaking ponds and tree clearing continues at the midmountain pond near Midway Cabin. The power upgrades were completed by West Penn Electric.

3 years ago

I really hate to say this, but I am almost hoping that this weather continues because if they get the clearing done, then the grading can start and the grading will not be done if there is snow on the ground.

3 years ago

Good weather for rebuilding ski slopes, bad weather for snowmaking, what a hell of a position to be in!

3 years ago

Let it snow!!!!!!

Except at Laurel?!

3 years ago

Those drone pictures are pretty cool.  I wonder if anyone has ever capture the lengths of the slopes at LM vs 7S backside?   If I recall, LM had longer runs, and could easily compete with 7S if they opened more.  7S suffers from short vert and too many people.  If LM offered two or three runs as long or longer than 7S’s north face, then I would probably just ski there all season if it were not too crowded.

3 years ago

We’ve had this discussion about LM’s vertical drop before so I’ll not open that up again. I’ll just say that LM’s trails have a greater vertical drop than the backside of Seven Springs and are generally longer. Lower Wildcat is steeper than anything at Seven Springs. When construction is done you will have three top to bottom runs with snowmaking coverage; Innsbruck, Broadway and Wildcat. Deer Path will capture skiers from both Broadway and Innsbruck to take them back to the chair. Deer Path is no mere flat run out and that is why it is being widened, to make it more novice friendly. In addition there are both lift lines and Dream Highway. The trail under the old quad (to be removed) is call Lincoln Highway. The new chair lift will be slightly realigned and the line itself will be widened. These three trails will not have snowmaking. In addition there is Laurel and Snow Bowl but they end about mid mountain then you must choose either Lower Wildcat or Dream Highway to get to the bottom.

Yellow areas on the map represent trail work currently under construction.

3 years ago

Are there snow making hydrants available that could be used on trails that do not have dedicated snow making installed.  Can portable snow making devices be used to make snow on these trails?

3 years ago

The only trail that could possibly be covered in that manner is Lincoln Highway, the old quad chair line. When I asked Bob Nutting about that during the meeting on March 30, 2015 he said that he saw that possibility but he did not say that that they would make it so. My guess is that will be a call made by who ever becomes the Mountain Manager or Operations Manager. My hunch says they will not do so unless some portable equipment is brought over from Seven Springs or Hidden Valley or purchased new. Most of the snowmaking at Laurel now consists of HKD towers and they are not meant to be moveable. I think there were a few HKDs mounted on sleds but perhaps someone else can answer that. I do not know what type of snowmaking guns will be purchased for use with the 35 or so new hydrants that will be installed along Innsbruck and Deer Path.

3 years ago

I’m confused.

-How many lifts top to bottom?

-How many other lifts, and where?

-other than the regraded trails, what other trails have snowmaking?  Who is responsible to assure these guns are operable?  When natural snow is poor, how many snowmaking trails will effectively take the crowd from top to bottom? And all will dump onto a single lift back uphill???!!

-who is responsible for clearing and grading the trails not colored yellow?

Will 7Springs have access to the mountain while the state contractors are working?  If not, it would another delay might occur since they cannot accomplish what has to be done to get the entire area and lodge up to operational conditions ?

-when are the renovated ponds to be ready to catch & hold water?  Hopefully in time to allow adequate water for early season snowmaking!

i only skied at Laurel once so my confusion is reasonable.  Only those who have skied there multiple times can make sense of what the new Laurel will look and ski like!  Help the rest of us better understand!

The Colonel

 

3 years ago

There will be 1 quad chair from the bottom, 2 rope tows for the beginner areas.

7 springs does have accesss to the hill but will not realy do anything till next summer.

clearing of trails not being worked on will be 7 springs problem.

ponds should start holding water by spring.

all the snowmaking guns were removed and will have to be brought back from 7 springs as they own

all that equipment.

LHC there were 8 sled guns at one time.

imp

 

3 years ago

The specifications call for HKD SV10 snow guns and these are part of Base Bid # 2. Existing snow guns that are removed are to be “Turned over to the Department” which I assume means the DCNR.

The lift specs are as follows:

2.1 FIXED GRIP QUAD CHAIRLIFT “NEW”
A. Horizontal length: 2300’± Vertical: 765’ ± Slope length: 2424‘ ±
B. Number of Passengers/carrier: 4

C. Lift capacity: 2,400 pph (initial-maximum) 
D. Operating speed: 450 ft/min (maximum)
E. Drive: At Top
F. Tension: At Bottom 
G. Rotation: Counterclockwise
H. Electric Drive: DC Variable Speed Regenerative Electric Drive.
I. Prime Mover: DC electric motor.
J. Auxiliary: Diesel engine with centrifugal clutch (100% capacity). The maximum
operating speed of the lift under power of the auxiliary engine shall be 450 feet per
minute under full load conditions.
K. Bottom Tensioning: Hydraulic
L. Downhill Loading: 25%

 

3 years ago

Just a quick report from the summit parking lot at Laurel. Construction is in full swing and the D9 is on site, actual trail grading should begin soon. Bryan from Ligonier Construction is determined to finish on time. So far, so good. Sorry, no pictures as I forgot my camera. I did not poke around to check things out. I was there for a specific reason (picking up an old double chair) with advance notice required to get on site. The site is closed to the public due to safety concerns, lots of heavy equipment (see above link) moving around. The closure is no joke.

3 years ago

To put the snowmaking capabilities into perspective, Canaan Valley has forty-odd towers comprable to the SV-10, somewhere around twenty fanguns, 20+ sled guns and 40+ tower Air/Water guns.

My impression so far is that the snowmaking system is relatively small.

3 years ago

the number of guns /hydrants quoted is only new hydrants on the widened slopes.

while only half the mountain has snowmaking that area is well covered

 

imp

3 years ago

Any word from Ligonier Construction about the lift manufacturer?  Since the contract specifies new, the only qualified subcontractors would be Doppelmayr, Leitner-Poma, Partek and SkyTrac.

Peter - Liftblog.com

3 years ago

Company from Utah, Skylling son of Lars from 7 springs in supposedly the rep.

direct from rumor central

3 years ago

imp wrote:

Company from Utah, Skylling son of Lars from 7 springs in supposedly the rep.

direct from rumor central

Sounds like Carl Skylling, Sales Manager at SkyTrac Lifts.  Thanks for the intel, imp.

3 years ago

Michelle Ganassi from the Somerset Daily American reports that construction is about 25% complete due to an assist from the mild weather. She also provided links on the Save Laurel Mountain Facebook page for a slide show and video with a brief interview with Seven Springs’ Alex Moser. The text of the accompanying article  requires a subscription, $.99 for 1 day is available.

2 years ago

Official groundbreaking ceremony is tomorrow, 1/26/2016. We’ll have to dig out over 2 feet of snow to get to frozen ground but I’m sure the ceremony will be fun. I’ll report back tomorrow.

2 years ago

Please get an honest assessment of the progress and see what Mauch and company are up to.

2 years ago

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

Official groundbreaking ceremony is tomorrow, 1/26/2016. We’ll have to dig out over 2 feet of snow to get to frozen ground but I’m sure the ceremony will be fun. I’ll report back tomorrow.

Please be advised this is an invitation only event.

2 years ago

Thanks for correcting that oversight, hockeydave. I’m also interested in what DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn has to say about the agency’s plan for Denton Hill State Park.

2 years ago

 

 

 

Wow, I just can’t be objective about this and write a newsy report. I’ll post some links to tell the news stuff and instead just talk about the emotional impact of this event for me. Laurel is and will always be my home hill and as all of you know, that home hill feeling is so vital a connection to the heart of who we are as skiers. It is that almost indefinable connection woven by terrain, accomplishment and camaraderie experienced on the path to proficiency and a sense of community the outdoor experience engenders. The basic fabric of that home hill feel is the friendships and adventures shared as you unlock the secrets of the mountain and laugh over mishaps and conquest. If you are a life long devotee then the binds strengthen as your family grows and your relive the experience through your children. If you are very lucky your skiing parents get to see their grandchildren’s excitement.  Your home hill will forever define and elevate your experience as a skier. 

 

I think that for those of us who see ourselves as skiers we will all say a ski area’s terrain plays a large part of that connection. When I discovered Laurel in the mid-1970’s I was just rediscovering a sport I was introduced to 10 years earlier. Laurel was not an easy mountain for a novice. Oh, there is good learning terrain, short and tilted just enough. That was it. Even the mile long easiest trail was narrow with hair pin turns to ease the pitch and no snowmaking. It spilled out at the old lodge where once a series of rope tows and a poma lift hauled you back to the top but those were no longer operational. The route down to the sole double chair was a ledge of a nearly straight roadway that traversed the mountain’s lower face. The trail was usually icy washboards strewn with every other skier on the mountain. On your right a hillside too steep to turn into and a steep drop into the trees on your left. Then, 200 vertical and over 2,300 feet later, you are spit out to the chairlift loading bowl which is just as icy and steeper to boot. The carnage could be fierce on the weekends.  

 

After you settle into the lift queue you finally have time to look up and see something you’ve not seen before on the Laurel Ridge. A steep snow covered face, steeper than anything else around. The backs of the bumps on the steepest face just dropped off two feet or more down to the top of the next one, all cut upon snowmaking whales shaped by machine made snow and prevailing winds, never to see a groomer’s blade. If I could ever ski that, I thought, that would be something. This was the slope to truly take your measure. This was Lower Wildcat. I’m not going to cite degrees or percent grade. That alone does not tell the tale of this signature run. All I will say right now about Wildcat is that it will test your capabilities and show you the promise of what ski terrain can really be beyond these gentle mountains.

 

Like any romanticized and idyllic ski area, there is more to the skiing than the trails on the map and that is literally true at Laurel but let’s run with that metaphor and try to define a part of the lore. There is a sense of history here, very tangible because really not much has changed since the 1940s when Laurel began prewar and then flourished post war up to the Vietnam era, to use war as a timeline.. It was raw, bare bones and basic when I found it. The original lodge still stands, tiny by today’s standards but few modern base lodges can match the authenticity of Midway Cabin’s huge stone fireplaces that flank the main floor. You enter the area at the summit, pass a stone hexagon shaped gatehouse the date 1941 carved above a window.The half mile drive back to the ski area is flanked by nothing but trees and the telephone poles along the road. There are no vacation homes, condos, no ski shops or t-shirt shops, no bars or restaurants, just trees and telephone poles. As you approach the side of the ridge you pass the chair and catch a glimpse of the valley below, you know you are on a mountain. At the edge of the ski terrain is the Laurel Lodge, a modern structure whose glass front and prowed roof face that panoramic view. The beginner’s learning slopes are right outside the door. The rest of the trails start just below the rope tow. The only structures within this state park serve the ski area operation. This is outdoor winter recreation same as it was on opening day 76 years ago.

 

Next season the beginner trail described above, Innsbruck, will be totally reworked, snowmaking included. So will the run down to the new chair, Deer Path which will be widened and contoured to make more novice friendly. Work will be done on Broadway, Laurel’s first trail, mostly widening with some recontouring.The new lift is a fixed grip quad but it should exceed the capacity of the 2 lifts it replaces.The water holding capacity for snowmaking will nearly double but still only roughly half  of the terrain will be covered. That means that over 30 acres of intermediate and expert terrain will rely on natural snow.

 

Here are some links for details about the ceremony:

 

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/01/26/major-renovations-begin-at-ligoniers-laurel-mountain-resort/ 

 

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/9840237-74/ski-laurel-resort

2 years ago

Nice write up LHC!

So there is just going to be one 4-person lift for the whole mountain now?

2 years ago

A few questions:

- will the Midway cabin be restored?

- what is 7s contributing? Snow making equipment? Renovation of the ski lodge?

- did you speak at all to the construction contractor and get an honest assessment of the construction progress?

Denis - DCSki Supporter
2 years ago

LHC>  ”Wow, I just can’t be objective about this and write a newsy report. I’ll post some links to tell the news stuff and instead just talk about the emotional impact of this event for me. Laurel is and will always be my home hill and as all of you know, that home hill feeling is so vital a connection to the heart of who we are as skiers. It is that almost indefinable connection woven by terrain, accomplishment and camaraderie experienced on the path to proficiency and a sense of community the outdoor experience engenders. The basic fabric of that home hill feel is the friendships and adventures shared as you unlock the secrets of the mountain and laugh over mishaps and conquest. If you are a life long devotee then the binds strengthen as your family grows and your relive the experience through your children. If you are very lucky your skiing parents get to see their grandchildren’s excitement.  Your home hill will forever define and elevate your experience as a skier.”

wonderful.  Thanks!

JimK - DCSki Columnist
2 years ago

ParkCrewDrew wrote:

Nice write up LHC!

 

I agree with the others.  A beautiful tribute.  We gotta gathering there next winter for a day or more.

2 years ago

Agree!

The Colonel

aka Morgan

2 years ago

ParkCrewDrew wrote:

Nice write up LHC!

So there is just going to be one 4-person lift for the whole mountain now?

Yes, one fixed grip quad to service 75 acres of (trail) skiing but look on the bright side, when you’re on the snow there will be far fewer people on the hill. If you must ski the weekend, take your time and savor the run and make new friends in the liftline, lol.

2 years ago

snowsmith wrote:

A few questions:

- will the Midway cabin be restored?

- what is 7s contributing? Snow making equipment? Renovation of the ski lodge?

- did you speak at all to the construction contractor and get an honest assessment of the construction progress?

  1. I believe that the topic was discussed with Secretary Dunn and if I heard right, Midway Cabin will get  some attention. We have been approached by an individual from the Facebook group interested in raising fund for restoration.
  2. After the ceremony a group of us wanted to go in the lodge. We came upon Bob Nutting and Eric Muach sp? and company standing just outside looking at some papers and talking. I approach from behind and asked, light heartedly, if they were discussing plans for a new Laurel Lodge. I got a chuckle and Bob said, let’s take care of what we have on our plate right here or something to that effect. I just replied that we were just heading down to look at the lodge and reminisce. We went into the lodge and talked about old times. As we departed Bob and company were just coming in. Bob held the door for all of us and I couldn’t help myself. I said that when next year this lodge is so packed that you can never find a seat just think about putting a roof over the courtyard. Bob said with a laugh that it was an idea to consider. I must say, I like Bob Nutting’s manner, he tolerates my overly familiar interruptions with grace and good humor, he will take the time to listen and give you a genuine reply to your question. The real answer, I don’t know. He has said that there are no plans to enlarge and primarily they will attempt to better utilize the space on hand. I think they will do this as inexpensively as possible and future business will dictate future improvements. It’s up to the skiing public to either lay down the cash or vote with their wallets to ski elsewhere, IMHO. There have been no announcements on how much $ Seven Springs is putting into Laurel.
  3. Yes, I spoke directly to Bryan, Ligonier Construction’s site manager, and all the tree cutting and I think he indicated that all the trail grading is complete. All the trails have been brushed back including Dream Highway meaning all the saplings that were encroaching on the trail have been cleared. Lower Wildcat was brushed backed and the new chairlift line has been cleared. The upper snowmaking pond is complete, forgot to ask about the Midway pond. The warm weather really has put them ahead of schedule.
2 years ago

JimK wrote:

ParkCrewDrew wrote:

Nice write up LHC!

 

I agree with the others.  A beautiful tribute.  We gotta gathering there next winter for a day or more.

Jim and Colonel, for those of us retired, we will have the luxury of picking a weekday after a good dump when the entire mountain is open. 

2 years ago

For the record, my description of Lower Wildcat above was the Wildcat of yore. When George Mowl (Thumbs up to George) operated Laurel, the ‘cat was tamed somewhat and made accessible to a broader range of skiers through better snowmaking and better groomers that can now groom the steep pitch. It will not be as intimidating as it was days of my youth. In the last incarnation of the ‘cat, skiers right was left to bump up but they were rational, skier made bumps, no more giant snow whales. Lower Wildcat will still show an intermediate skier the weakness in their technique in a swift and abrupt manner, groomed or not. It will still make expert skiers mind their turns.

2 years ago

I really look forward to next winter and skiing at Laurel. It is such a beautiful and special place. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

2 years ago

the construction of more pond by midway is next project.

earth to be deposited to improve the chute area.

Widening of deer path also yet to be done.

area by old chair unload to be raised by 6-8ft for new chair unload

Blue knob was wonderful yesterday

2 years ago

Thanks for the details, imp. Blue Knob was nice and wintry yesterday.

2 years ago

Will there be nearby lodging options?  Thinking 2017 Mid Atlantic Gathering potential..

2 years ago

Feast your eyes on the 2016-2017 offical Laurel Mountain Trail Map!

 

http://ogden_images.s3.amazonaws.com/www.7springs.com/images/2016/02/LaurelMountainTrailMapweb.pdf

2 years ago

Looks like a significant article about LM will be in the Monday edition of the Somerset Daily American

http://www.dailyamerican.com/entertainment/photos/retro-laurel-mountain/collection_c74f4108-e3d9-11e5-a81d-d7e7ff859cf8.html#ad-image-0

2 years ago

so you can buy the pictures I lent them! nice

map above has a lot of issues, many missing names and some in incorrect places.

 

2 years ago

imp wrote:

map above has a lot of issues, many missing names and some in incorrect places.

 

No Snow Bowl, Hagens Cut now a part of Innsbruck. Timber Top becomes a part of Lincoln Highway and The Chute is mislabeled, wasn’t that renamed Lynx? The Slot is too short, it should go from the bottom Of Laurel Run all the way to rocky corner. Isn’t The Chute a patrollers name for a narrow section of Broadway?

2 years ago

It’s almost May and there is no season pass information or even a resort website. What’s up?

2 years ago

pond work is finished, slope grading and widening mostly done, ditches for new snowmaking in progress.

chair tower pads being surveyed, some already marked out.

imp

2 years ago

http://www.7springs.com/laurel-mountain/laurel-mountain-history/

I found this by searching Laurel Mountain history. It looks like the Laurel Mountain website beta. All the menu tabs work but obviously the site is not ready for public view so let’s just call it a preview. I would hope that the site is active soon with all the information we are waiting for. That reminds me, I must complete the LM history narrative so they can complete the page.

2 years ago

I promised my fellow Laurel Mountainites I would refrain from criticism of any of the goings on at LM, or lack thereof, at least for a while.

So, in my new optimistic spirit, I offer up two links of the latest aerials from Laurel… video is the first link and stills are the 2nd

Enjoy!!!!

http://www.vimeo.com/163379956

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wicklowaerial/albums/72157664986734283

Please PM me for contact information for Tim (drone operator) if anyone is interested in having him perform any of his magic for them. He’s a great guy and an amazing talent.

LHC & Imp, thanks for a great Sunday and please repost these links wherever you want.

2 years ago

In somewhat interesting news, the company building the new quad, Skytrac, was bought by the world’s second largest lift manufacturer on Thursday.  LM was their only project for this summer so far.

https://liftblog.com/2016/04/28/big-news-leitner-poma-acquires-skytrac/

2 years ago

Peter from Lift Blog here.  I did an interview with the head of Skytrac the other day and while I was there his guys were loading up lift towers for Laurel Mountain.  There’s a picture in the article!

https://liftblog.com/2016/05/09/in-his-own-words-carl-skylling-of-skytrac-on-the-leitner-poma-acquisition/

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 years ago

peter wrote:

Peter from Lift Blog here.  I did an interview with the head of Skytrac the other day and while I was there his guys were loading up lift towers for Laurel Mountain.  There’s a picture in the article!

https://liftblog.com/2016/05/09/in-his-own-words-carl-skylling-of-skytrac-on-the-leitner-poma-acquisition/

 

Nice interview!  Thanks for the heads up.

2 years ago

Still no website or season pass. Construction of the lift is progressing. Is 7S working on the ski lodge?

2 years ago
Rumor has it that lodge was power washed. No word on season pass exclusive to LM or website. I’m sure if the new operator was someone other than the owner of HV or 7S, there would be more enthusiasm as to what has and is happening.
2 years ago

7springs told a valley local that they would not make a pass decision till august and might not offer a stand alone

Laurel pass.

construction crews hope to pull out by end of June.

2 years ago

I recently picked up the new Laurel Highlands Guide, the publication that is supposed to market the entire region. There was a full page Ad for 7S on the inside of the front cover. The other 88 pages had no ads for HV or LM. It almost seems at times that 7S considers HV and LM as competition?

2 years ago

tower pads are poured and curing for 30 days before checking, helicopter is already scheduled.

2 years ago

Seeing only one chairlift makes me wonder what the rest of the electircal and water infrastructure will be like for night skiing and snow making.   Tower mounted guns and lights usually offer the best angles for such things.

2 years ago

Here’s an nteresting 15 minute video of the new quad chair tower instalation using a helicopter posted on the Save Laurel Mountain Facebook page. Look for the post, “a ride on tower 9”. It gets interesting after the 4 minute mark. Check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826787927369047/

 

 

2 years ago

Article in Somerset Daily American about current LM Ski status. Requires subscription to read entire article.

http://www.dailyamerican.com/news/local/somerset/laurel-mountain-project-still-on-track/article_2df76192-473c-57b9-ae64-5bcdc338b7b9.html

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 years ago

hockeydave wrote:

This could benefit Laurel

http://www.phillyvoice.com/should-pennsylvania-allow-water-parks-golf-courses-state-parks/

 

Any idea when a vote might happen?  Thinking that Ski Denton would really benefit.  Hasn’t been open for a while, partially because there was no way to make decent money during the off-season.

2 years ago

Denton hill will make more money next weekend with a traditional archery shoot than they make over christmas.

I like the place! They just do not have the population to support themselves.

tubing in spite of Mosier studios love of it will not solve anything!! and if the state allows them to design any slopes 

the state person in charge should have to use it. bumper cars seem more their speed

 

2 years ago

Check out the DCNR’s feasibility study for Denton Hill:

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20031981.pdf 

 

$12.5 million to rehab the ski facility.

2 years ago

What does the Daily American article say since I am sure none of us have a subscription….thank you.

2 years ago

small bird says new chair gets load test this week, also pressure tests on new snowmaking lines.

lodge repairs in progress.Summit road from rt 30 is getting paved

winch cat possibly on site

imp

2 years ago

Winch cat on Wildcat? I hope it is used only on half,

2 years ago

Winch Cat?  Really?  How stesp is it???

2 years ago

that’s just for the beginner slope!!

we groomed it for years with regular cats.

new chair is at bottom and the winchcat will be safer for it.

saw a few wild rides in the past.

come ski it decide for yourself

imp

2 years ago

Either the state has money leftover or Nutting knows someone, LOL.  I bike up there a lot and they just repaved the main road in from rt 30 to the gate, which hardly even needed done, to be frank.

2 years ago

I just heard from a reliable source that Laurel will operate 7 days a week. Passes will go on sale later this month and the web site should be up by then too,

As for road paving, the access road from the Summit Rd. to the parking lot was repaved a few years back when Linn Run Park road was redone. Access should be good.

2 years ago

Laurel Mountain’s new quad chairlift built by Sky Trac and new (to Laurel) groomer await the grand opening.  Pass sales and web site launch later this month. Thanks to Save Laurel Mountain’s Paul Hoolahan for photo,

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