News Briefs 7
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

Laurel Mountain Ski Resort changes hands

After being placed on the auction block this past fall, Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountain ski area has been purchased by Virginia-based HomeSpan Financial Group, according to published reports. The purchase will allow the resort to re-open this winter, but will not allow time for any capital improvements. Prior to the sale, it was unclear if Laurel Mountain would open for the upcoming winter season.

Since re-opening in 1999 after a 10-year closure, Laurel Mountain has experienced many ups and downs. Immediately following the re-opening, the resort faced several mild winters. A snowy 2002-2003 winter season was not enough to allow the resort to pull through, and the owner decided to place the resort up for auction.

Terms of the sale have not been disclosed, although earlier reports suggested the owner was looking for a bid of at least $7.5 million.

According to a report published in the Tribune-Democrat, HomeSpan hopes that the purchase of Laurel Mountain will help the two-year-old financial services company grow into the ski industry. The company plans for a major marketing push in future years, and also has an eye on expansion, although it is unclear how much expansion will be permitted by the state. The ski area is located within a state park, and is leased under an agreement with the state of Pennsylvania.

Ski Chalet plans 2004 equipment seminar

Confused about recent changes in ski equipment technology? An attendee at the recent Ski Chalet Jeannie Thoren clinic was, and suggested that the store offer an equipment seminar. Ski Chalet is following up on the suggestion and plans to hold a free Ski Equipment Seminar on Thursday, November 13 at its Arlington, Virginia location.

“We want to give customers an easy way to find out about advancements in ski technology,” explained Ski Chalet’s Cameron Brent.

Attendees will learn how skis have changed in shape and length in recent years, and how this impacts performance. The importance of properly fitted boots will be stressed, as well as an explanation of the latest in binding technology. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, contact Ski Chalet at 703-521-1700 or send e-mail to thinksnow@skichalet.com.

About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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Reader Comments

andy
November 7, 2003
Laurel mtn seems to be in the snowbelt, what is thier snowfall & elevation? Did 7 springs take all thier buis? Looks like a decent place.
johnfmh
November 8, 2003
This news made my day. Mid-Atlantic skiing has received a new vote of confidence. The fact that a financial services company intends to invest in one of our resorts means that we have a viable market here and that there may even be some room for expansion. Also, HomeSpan is a local company!!! That means its executives will not only be investing in Laurel but skiing there on a regular basis, and a getting an excellent feel for what this market wants. HINT: We want high-speed detachable chairs!

I've never skied Laurel but from talking to people who have, I know that it has decent vertical and some awesome expert terrain, including the famous Wildcat trail. More importantly, it sits west of the Allegheny Front and therefore gets substantial natural snowfall and good cold air for snowmaking.
JonS
November 10, 2003
It is great to see that one our local mountains, that has so much potnetial, will be alive and well this winter. For those of you who haven't been to Laurel, its a mountain with a good 900 vertical, excellent snow, two of the best intermediate and expert trails in the mid atlantic, and has very good snowmaking on the trails that are equipped with it. THese trails open very early in the season and are open throughout the year. The lift capacity is fine, really a detachable quad isn't needed at this point. THe double chair goes up over Wildcat trail at a steep angle so its pretty fast up the mountain, and quad is more than adequate on the broadway side.

Laurel first needs money for snowmaking on its existing natural trails. THese include Dream Highway, a very long windy blue that rolls down the mountain. Innsbruck, a 1.5 mile (maybe more) green that also winds through the trees. It ranks up there with Salamander and Mambo ALley as the best green in the mid atlantic. Finally a few shorter runs such as Laurel Run, Hegans Cut etc. If you give people more ways down the mountain people will come. Furthermore more marketing is necessary as many people here seem to talk about it but few have been. Do yourself a favor and see this hidden gem this winter.
jb714
November 11, 2003
This is great news. I skied Laurel in March 2003 with my 11 year old daughter.It's a no frills kind of place, but the terrain is great. It's worth the 3-hour drive from DC.
Joe
November 13, 2003
I Ski all the places in SW PA each year including 7 Springs, Hidden Valley, Blue Knob and WhiteTail. I believe Laurel has potential. It has more vertical than 7 Springs and with Wildcat beat it for the steepest run but just doesn't have enough slopes with snow making.

If you don't have a real dumping the night before Wildcat for advanced and Broadway and Deer Path for beginners are the only real ways down the mountain.

Until they invest the money into more snowmaking and cut a few more intermediate slopes on each side and between Wildcat & Broadway there is no need for a High Speed chair as there is just not enough Terrain to ski.

When you're at the bottom of the Wildcat lift turn around with your back to wildcat and look up the mountain. They are probably prevented from doing it due to the fact that they are in a State Park but cutting some sloped up the other side of the valley and adding a lift there would really open up a lot of additional terrain.

Nice place to take the kids when they are just learning but for intermediates on up there is just not enough variety.
Dan
November 16, 2003
Laurel mountain peaks at about 2800' but it is in the PERFECT spot for snow in PA...Last winter Laurel Mountain recieved the most snowfall in Pennsylvania (over 200") and typically recieves over 150" a year.
Todd LeCesne
November 9, 2005
Question. Do you have any information about the zip line/confidence course which is located in Innsbruck Austria?
If so, please send info to: tlecesne@salud.unm.edu
Thank you!

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