In a surprising move, a major ski resort developer announced today that it plans to build a new ski resort in Dundalk, Maryland. The resort will become the largest ski resort in the Mid-Atlantic, and one of only two ski resorts in the state of Maryland.
The American Ski and Upholestry Company (NYSE: ASUC), which owns numerous resorts in New England, the Rockies, and Canada, announced during a press conference this morning that it intends to expand its portfolio of resorts into the Mid-Atlantic region, tapping into a wealth of area skiers. The company spent over a year surveying possible sites for the new resort, ultimately settling on Dundalk, a suburb of Baltimore.
“We believe Dundalk is the ideal location for a new ski resort,” explained Leg Pullin, Director of New Projects for the American Ski and Upholestry Company. “Dundalk is in close proximity to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. - in fact, it is closer to this major metropolitan area than any other ski resort in the region. We believe that fact alone will give us an enormous competitive advantage in this market,” he said.
Construction for the resort is slated to begin next week, following regulatory approval from various state agencies. The first phase of the resort’s development, expected to be completed in time for the next winter season, will add 82 trails to the new resort and 17 lifts, including 12 high-speed quads and one 8-person heated gondola. Most trails will begin at the top of a 20-foot hill in downtown Dundalk, although in the second phase of the resort’s development, interconnected trails are expected to be added to a nearby hill.
“We’ll have hill-to-hill skiing,” said Pullin.
Residents of Dundalk were excited about the prospect of a major ski resort coming to town.
“This represents an historic moment for the town of Dundalk,” remarked Paul Otician, Mayor of Dundalk. “It will really put Dundalk on the map,” he added.
Later, an aide from the Mayor’s office clarified that Dundalk is already on the map. “In his excitement, the Mayor mispoke,” explained the aide.
When asked about placing a resort in downtown Dundalk, architectural engineer and Massachusetts resident Brian Preston said “I think it’s a good idea.”
Some long-time area skiers expressed concern over the location of the new resort, however.
“Dundalk is really close to the Chesapeake Bay,” said one area skier who requested anonymity, Tom Johnson. “They hardly get any snow there. It’s quite warm in the winter, in fact, and there aren’t any mountains anywhere near there,” he argued.
“We expect some to second guess our choice of location,” countered Pullin, adding that city lights from Baltimore will light up the night sky, allowing the resort to offer night skiing without the expense of slopeside lights. He also said the resort hopes to receive “bay effect” snow.
Other ski areas in the region are bracing for the new competition.
“Initially, we didn’t feel threatened, because we questioned how a resort with a 20-foot vertical could possibly compete with us,” explained one official at a Pennsylvania resort. “But then we began to realize that this resort will benefit from the unparalleled nightlife of Dundalk. Our aprés ski activities can’t compete with all the activities available in Dundalk. They have a McDonalds!” she exclaimed.
“It’s all about location, location, location,” said Pullin. “From day one, we will have slopeside lodging. There’s a small apartment complex already located adjacent to our property, and we are currently in negotiation to purchase this complex. We’re trying to evict the current residents now.”
“Visitors to our resort will be able to take a break from the slopes for some shopping. There’s a strip mall right next to our property with a Home Depot and PetSmart,” he added.
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.