Firsthand Report: Black and Gold MLK Weekend at Seven Springs 2
Author thumbnail By Jim Kenney, DCSki Columnist

I went skiing at Seven Springs on Saturday, January 15, 2011 and saw the resort in its full people-moving majesty. I arrived around 10:15 am and a very hefty MLK Day Weekend crowd was already in attendance, yet I was still able to efficiently get with the program and have a very satisfying ski day. I had to park in a satellite parking lot, but was able to quickly jump aboard a free shuttle bus to the slopes. I was able to find table space when needed for a couple meal breaks because the base lodge is so humongous. And best of all, I was able to hook up with some fast moving Seven Springs regulars from the Pittsburgh area who shared their secrets for finding good snow and small lift lines on a busy holiday weekend.

Bustling base area at Seven Springs. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

My local’s connection was DCSki forum member MikeC. Mike’s from Pittsburgh and is a season passholder at Seven Springs. For 2-3 hours Mike and three friends led me on a bunch of fast and fun runs on the “backside” of the Seven Springs ski terrain known as the North Face. The two Seven Springs six passenger express chairs had pretty big lift lines, but you could virtually ski-on many of the less glamorous fixed-grip triple and quad chairs.

Seven Springs had very good ski conditions on Saturday. The mountain has recovered nicely from the warm and wet period the region experienced around the New Year’s timeframe. There was a lot of loose and packed manmade snow across the expansive North Face with just a few scratchy or icy patches. The front face of the mountain had several short, but very bumped-up mogul runs including Goosebumps and trails around the Tyrol lift. Most of the glades scattered around the Seven Springs layout were very skiable as well. On my drive from the Washington, DC area it appeared that the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania had approximately 18” of natural snow cover.

Front side glades. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

Seven Springs draws a lot of folks from Pittsburgh and Saturday was a big day for their pro football team. Lots of Steelers fans dressed in home colors for a festive atmosphere on the slopes. Football spectating and snow riding go surprisingly well together at Seven Springs. A lively crowd, including MikeC and friends, watched the Steelers playoff game (they won) in the resort’s famous Foggy Goggle lounge when the game came on TV around 4 pm. Since my Redskins weren’t part of the proceedings I kept on with more great skiing as the slopes emptied.

Make way for the Black and Gold. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

By the way, I used a 2-for-1 discount lift ticket voucher that I pre-purchased online from a “groupon” type offering by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette back in December. I heard about the deal on DCSki.com. With a little help from friends, savvy snowriders can ski prime holidays and still have great fun and save coin.

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About Jim Kenney

Husband, father and retired civilian employee of the Department of Navy, Jim Kenney is a D.C. area native and has been skiing recreationally since 1967. Jim's ski reporting garnered the 2009 West Virginia Division of Tourism's Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article.

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Reader Comments

Dave K
January 20, 2011
Though weekend conditions were decent overall for groomed natural, as a season pass holder frequenting 7, I've continued to see disturbing trends with both a lack of snow-making following thaw periods and very poor grooming, especially given peak season crowds.

I was also out there Saturday the 15th, and there were a number of places the groomers had exposed earth and gravel, including lower Little North Face, North Face main 1 headwall-skier's right, and lower Giant Steps. What's even more appalling is they felt the need to groom ALL of the natural snow trails which should have been in superb condition following the 18" of powder I skied that preceding Wednesday. The natural snow trails weren't just groomed, but once again, scraped bare in some places.

Since purchasing the Springs, Nuttings have increased lift ticket prices to rival those of great western resorts while laid-off dedicated & knowledgeable operations staff, and disregarded the core of their business: making snow and properly maintaining it. If you don't have enough compressor capacity to make snow on other slopes while also constructing a hugely wasteful and poorly designed super-halfpipe lacking earthen berms, you need to rent the extra capacity like the Dupres did.

Seven Springs actions under the Nuttings have shown both incompetency in staff training and a myopic desire for profit extraction at the expense of guest experience. Unfortunately, the Nuttings know they're the only game in town and intend to keep it that way culminating with their deliberate inactivity & stalling at Laurel Mountain.
robbieA
January 20, 2011
Great read on yuzes country!

Steelers colors is normal attire at 7s. Only to be replaced by Penguins attire about mid February!

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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