Brad S. writes the following:
- “Hahn Mountain, later changed to Big Valley Ski Area, [was] just north west of Krumsville, PA. Small but great night skiing during high school in the 70’s. I drove by a couple years ago and the slopes and lodge are still there, but overgrown. No lifts remain that I could see. It was a fun place for us kids from Allentown.”
Steven Berkoski confirms the area.
- “I have an old Pennsylvania map that lists ‘Hahn Mountain Ski Area.’ It is north of Rt. 78 in the area north of the Kutztown exit. I spoke to a woman in a local business, and she remembered the area. She said it was now a camp or youth group retreat area or similar.”
Jeff Zweizig has set up a web page providing some information on the Big Valley / Hahn Mountain Ski Area, including some photos. Jeff’s parents were both ski instructors, and he spent some time skiing Hahn Mountain as he grew up.
Woody Bousquet purchased an old ski jacket from eBay that had several ski patches, and was delighted to find a Hahn Mountain lift ticket still attached to the jacket:
In January, 2011, DCSki reader Rich K. wrote: “I seem to recall that Big Valley/Hahn Mountain was originally going to be named something like Flying Dutchman; that name actually appeared on a map of Eastern PA ski areas, but the name was never used.”
I skied Big Valley and Hahn Mountain from around age four. The area closed for good in the mid 1980s when I was around 15 years old. Both my parents were ski instructors so we all spent a lot of time there. Big Valley was bought by the same guy that owned the Hahn fire truck company in Hamburg, PA, hence the name change to Hahn Mountain.
Looking from the lodge there were three main trails. The “Rim” came down the left, “Big Valley” was in the middle and “Appalachian” (I think that is the correct name) was on the right. The lower half of each of these trails had a separate name, but they all escape me. The lower half of Appalachian was called Bear something and one of the others may have been “The Landing”. All of these trails had lights and snow making.
There were three lifts. There was a T-bar located between the lower halves of the Rim and Big Valley. The T-bar only went half way up the mountain. There was a double chair lift between Big Valley and Appalachian. And there was a short rope-tow and beginner slope on the far side of the chair lift base. The T and chair dated from when the entire ski area was called Big Valley. The rope-tow and beginner slope was a Hahn Mountain addition.
I also remember some changes to the lodge when the area became Hahn Mountain. More decking was built around the outside perimeter and a small addition was built on the parking lot side of the lodge to house a new stairwell between floors. The old stairwell (which was removed) was located in the middle of the lodge near the snack bar. And there was a bar/lounge on the far side of the building. The basement contained the ticket counter, rentals, restrooms, gameroom, ski patrol room and a short-lived ski shop.
Big Valley used individual snow guns, but Hahn Mountain bought these enormous gas and diesel powered snow machines. I guess the machines didn’t work out because they began converting back to small guns the year before they closed.
There were also a few unofficial trails that were sometimes available with enough natural snow and daylight. There was an easy narrow trail that we called “Proposed”. It snaked around the back left-side of the mountain and came out about half-way down on the Rim trail. From the top of the chair lift one had to climb a bit further up the mountain to find the entrance to Proposed. There was a trail I think was called “Fox” or “Fox Trot” or Fox something. This trail was accessed by turning right at the top of the chair lift. The trail exited onto Appalachian. Finally, there was an unnamed slope directly beneath the chair lift.
Hahn Mountain is located north of Interstate 78. Take Rt. 143 north from Lenhartsville then turn left on Pine Creek Road. You’ll see the remains of the ski area on your left just before reaching Gun Club Road.
After Hahn Mountain closed down my parents and I moved on to Heidelberg/Blue Marsh ski area. I became a ski instructor too, but gave up skiing for good after a few more years. Blue Marsh is now gone as well.
One of my fondest memories of Hahn Mountain is pinball! There was a small gameroom in the basement of the lodge that included a 1979 Bally Star Trek pinball machine. I now collect pinball machines and have an eye out for a Star Trek of my own. I also spent a lot of my childhood at the nearby Wanamaker, Kempton and Southern steam railroad. As an adult I’m now a volunteer at the railroad and sometimes drive by the old Hahn Mountain.
oh yeah- I think a day pass was 7 bucks (weekends)!
Back in the early 80’s, I was kind of a speed demon, and I’m not sure if this is a claim to fame or not, but a cousin of mine, Ken Prins and I, once logged 55 runs up and down the Mountain in one evening of skiing there.
We were both disappointed when the place closed, as the hill, even though small, did have a decent dropoff from the top. Back then, it was a great place to learn and enhance skills, no doubt.
I hope this comment will be viewed as a sharing of information and not spam. Although I no longer do any snow skiing, Hahn Mt. was a big part of my childhood. This “Lost Ski Areas” page here at dcski is the only Internet hit I’ve ever found on Hahn. Ever since I found this site a few months ago I’ve been flooded with nostalgic memories of Hahn. So I decided to put together a little web page on the subject. All I have so far is some memories and a few old snap shots, but I’m planning to put out some feelers and see if anyone has anything to add. If you’d like to see a few old pictures of Hahn, check out my page. If you have anything to add, shoot me an email.
I can credit Hahn Mountain for several things:
1. Learning how to work and fix P-tex.
2. Being able to put a mean edge on a set of skies.
3. Learning to carve turns in any combination of snow, ice, dirt, gravel, and beginers snowplowing (affectionally known as “moving moguls”)
What great times and Hanh was just the place for all of this. I’m sad to read that it is long gone. I would have loved to go back and see how big it really is.
We only went there for one season before once again moving on to another town, but I had a blast skiing there as a 6 year old. I now live in the Seattle area where a normal si run is more along the lines of 1500ft el. but when I was a kid Big Valley seemed like the biggest mountain I had ever seen. It didn’t hurt that it also had the name of my favorite TV show at the time, which is probably why I still remember the name.
My older brother and sister also have memories of the place, but there were less exciting as they chose to sit inside the lodge and drink hot chocolate (the fools)In defense of my brother he has since come to his senses and now spends his winter days skiing MT Bachelor in Bend, Or.
In my elementary school years, I grew up near the aforementioned Heidelberg Ski Area (aka Blue Marsh … or Crystal something?). We lived ten minutes away and were members of the adjacent country club who founded it, and we would sometimes ski under the lights most weeknights after finishing homework and all day saturdays and sundays. It was a hardcore group of skiers, some of whom ended up moving out west as instructors. Even after we moved across the county, my father, sister and I would still make the c. 30 minute drive to get a few furtive hours in.
As a family, we had skied at Big valley a few times, but once we were on the east side of the county and obtained driver’s licences, we started going to Hahn sans parents on weeknights. It was a c. 40-minute drive in our ‘68 VW Bus, which leaked oil like mad (we’d drive to Hahn, put an oil pan under the engine, ski, and when we came out, we’d pour the drippings back into the oil filler) and had no heat. But, man, was it fun … and our parents trusting us to handle studies and do this a few nights a week was a true self-esteem builder. A high school friend of mine actually bagged varsity basketball so he could ski there during the week. Another high school friend mowed lawns all summer just to be able to buy a season ticket in cash (I remember him peeling off the bills to buy it and thinking it was about as much money as I’d ever seen in one place at one time … I think it was c. $125). He would sometimes drive in a Chevy Citation: His POS car and complete lack of driving skills had us opting for the Bus most of the time. I remember a fill-up was c. $10 … which is $22 in today’s money, but given the oil crisis/double-digit inflation of the time it really felt like a lot of dough, but completely worth it if skiing was involved.
As we were all of PA Dutch stock, skiing was all about maximizing slope time with minimal lollygagging about in the lodge! As a season ticket holder, I remember literally putting on boots in the parking lot, skiing for three hours (I seem to remember 19:00-22:00 evening hours … so homework between 16:00-18:00, dinner at home, and then the drive up), and getting straight back in the car to be home completely knackered by lights-out at 23:00-ish!
Ironically, a huge chunk of my family tree dates back to German settlers who founded Lenhartsville in the early 1700s, and I still own a bit of ancestral land near the slope in the family. I only recently became interested in geneology, but had no idea at the time that every evening I was skiing a stone’s throw away from the gravestones of most of my family tree.
I live in europe now and my children have learned to ski on a similar time capsule ski area www.postwiese.de (similarly to being an Allentown/Philadelphia suburg magnet, it’s the closest ski area to Holland and the German industrial north)
The smell of late season man-made snow whilst skiing under the lights takes me right back.
Aside from the usual Poconos locales, another area when I was in college was Little Gap (aka Blue Mountain Ski Area … google it up). We also made high school ski trips to a place called Oregon Hill (now Sawmill) and my father learned to ski at a place called Pine Forge.
The prior comment on the combination of 1970s clothing (jeans, gaiters, cotton turtleneck, wool sweater, down vest, etc. etc.) and the often brutal weather really struck a chord … my face today looks like a trainwreck, and I have never quite regained the feeling back in my toes.
A former racecar driver family friend once told me that “if you learn to drive on junk, you’ll be a star when you get behind the wheel of something real.” Same goes for skiing all that boilerplate.
P.P.S. The aforementioned WK&S railroad http://www.kemptontrain.com/ was (and from time to time I believe still is) a location for a traditional family fall picnic of which I have very fond memories.
I lived and worked near Allentown from 1978-87 and skied at Hahn Mountain two or three times. Like many of the other weeknight skiing experiences my buddies and I had during our adult-escence, we re-tell the stories of the crazy, stupid things we did, among ourselves, but we never tell our wives and kids the details.
I printed out the image of the patch above, and thatll do for now, until I can locate and acquire the real patch. Next Im going to see if I can find one from Big Boulder, Shawnee-on-Delaware and Elk Mountain. Then Pennsylvania will be complete, and Ill only be missing Snow Summit, California.
I learned to love skiing at A.H. but I really learned to ski at Hahn. I remember following the intructors as they would clinic trying to get as much information as I could. It was also at that point in my life when I realized that my dad, Jerry Hamm, was a wealth of skiing information too. Hahn also started a racing program under the instruction of Rudy Schlenner. It was at that point that skiing became a serious event in my life.
I had also joined the Jr. instructor program and after only a few weeks I was drafted to a full fledged instructor. I was only 14. I give many thanks to Bill Pendleton (Ski School Director) for believing in my abilities and giving a “kid” the chance to shine.
I also met my first love at Hahn(E.A.M).
Those memories of the formative years at Hahn I will always treasure.
I also remember Jeff Z and his parents Pat and Gary. They were some of the nicest folks you could meet.
I also remember the huge Hedco snow cannons and how badly they would chew up the snow and dirt when they were moved from slope to slope.
I’m still coaching racing at Blue Mountain ski area. I have Apple Hill and Hahn to thank for my love of the sport.
I rememeber you. If I think about it hard enough, I might even rememeber the names of your parents. I was a ski instructor at Hahn Mountain from 1978 to when it closed in 1983.
I “retired” as a ski instructor after Hahn closed, as my real job was becoming too demanding to moonlight. But I still ski. My wife and I are going to Okemo, Vermont at the end of the month as a metter of fact. But I do more cross country skiing than downhill these daus, as I enjoy the aerobic exercise.
The torchs must have been before my time. I do not recall that. But I do remember the funny costumes. I sent Jeff a picture I took of a person in a gorilla suit for his web page.
Does anyone still hear from Bill Penndelton? I read an article about him in 2002. He was chosen to be, I believe some sort of mountain crew member for the 2002 Olympics in Salt LakeCity.
I didn’t learn to ski until 20 years later when I played gigs at Shawnee and Big Boulder, but quickly learned how much fun skiing is.
Thanks for all the details of the location. I’m not far away but was too young to remember where the place was! The early 70’s……a fading memory….
On a more cheerful note; like Paul, I also remember the House of the Turtle. It was great because, except for school dances (too few and in many cases lame), there were not a lot of places for the under 21 crowd to enjoy good bands.
Skiing back then was much more difficult,since skis were much harder to turn,less forgiving and much longer.
I moved away from the area in ‘82, and boy do I miss it! Great memories.
Or just go to YouTube and search “Big Valley Ski Area 1972”.
Attached is a link to some old photos of Hahn Mt I scanned after I stumbled on to this site.
I grew up and currently live about 3 miles from Hahn Mt.
Hahn Mt and skiing was a big part of my growing up. I am sure I crossed paths with many of you at the Mt.
I worked at the mountain for I think like 9 years I think I started when I was 14 or 15 parking cars in the lots on weekends. It was a great job with the best perk of free skiing which was a sport I loved growing up.
I pretty much did every job at Hahn Mt. except snowmaking over the years. I also worked in the summer mowing the slopes, cutting trails back of brush and logs and even operated Caterpillar heavy equipment (955 loader and D5 dozer) widening the trails and top where you got off the lift. I did the kitchen, bused tables, maintained those Franco Belge coal stoves and mostly likely served you coffee or hot chocalate or made that great Philly Cheesesteak for you. You name it I did it LOL.
I even lived at the crappy mobile home below the lodge for a few weeks one summer. That is where Dennis Reiss the GM used to live during some of his tenure at the Mt.
The worst job I got stuck was one day it was so bitterly cold and snowed so no one came in to operate the lifts and I was asked to operate the T-Bar helping people get on the bar. It must have been one of those -20 wind chill days. I was so friggin cold I’ll never forget it.
Chris Kerr you were such a great skier. You were my trouble making jumping idle. You did the best Frog Layouts, Mule Kicks and Helicopters. HEHE
Still of course living so close I drive by it almost every day and for many years held out hope someday it would re-open but not a chance anymore.
All the best,
We tried the place out while it was still The Big Valley. We came over from Apple Hill one night and the four of us got kicked out I think for skiing too fast. Years later I met Bill P who was a very nice guy.