Seven Springs Season Pass
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13 users
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queenoftheslopes
May 3, 2005
Member since 11/15/2004
143 posts
It looks like I will have near on-slope accomodations at 7 springs this year. I will probobly get a season pass... I was wondering if anyone knew if a 7 springs season pass can be used at Laurel Mountain as well.

I know I can try to contact 7 springs directly, but just curious if anyone here has any info.

Thanks!
shearer519
May 4, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
Last year the Seven Springs pass was good at Laurel if you paid an extra 50 dollars. However the Laurel pass was good at Seven Springs anytime Laurel was closed (midweek, early/late season) If they do the same deal again the laurel pass is by far the better deal it is cheaper and you get two mountains with it. I assume they can't announce any info on what they will do with the passes this season until they work out a deal with the bank on Laurel. Does anyone know what is going on with that?
Heather
May 4, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
No info yet on LM that we know of. Although there are some rumors saying 7S is not interested this year due to poor season last year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
hockeydave
May 9, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I have heard that 7 Springs will decide whether to reopen LM by the end of May. I have also heard that 7S lost over $100,000 last year operating LM. I'm keeping my fingers crossed also, but it's not looking so good that LM will reopen this year, at least under 7S management.
DCSki Sponsor: Seven Springs Mountain Resort
queenoftheslopes
May 9, 2005
Member since 11/15/2004
143 posts
I am definitely hoping for the best. I really like both places, but LM is not enough to keep me coming back there week after week....but it would be nice break now and then from SS.

Hopefully SS will post something on the website soon!
jimmy
May 20, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

.... I really like both places, but LM is not enough to keep me coming back there week after week....




Agree LM wasn't enough last season. I'm hoping that 7S will look at the situation as....we ONLY lost $100k with a late start and below average natural snowfall..... My one trip there this year only Wildcat/Broadway were open. JohnL caught Laurel in March when they were "fully?" open and found plenty of fun.

The limited snowmaking really held them back last year. I can't see 7 Springs, or anyone else, making LM work without a significant snowmaking upgrade. Do that and they'll put the last nail in Blue Knob's coffin.
jb714
May 20, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
My wife and I recently purchased weekend/vacation property about 7 minutes east of 7 Springs. The mortgage officer that we used was in Ligonier (just down the mountain from Laurel Mt) - he was a season pass holder at Laurel, and he's a huge fan of Laurel. He told me that he skied there basically every weekend and quite a few weekdays this season and the turnout at Laurel was consistently very, very low. With the other growth plans that 7 Springs has in the works - Western Territory, Southwind Development, application for slots license - you have to wonder if they'll see Laurel as the best use of their $$. If I'm not mistaken the application for the slots license is something like $5 million.
hockeydave
May 23, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I also skied LM almost every weekend and was disappointed with the low turnouts.

Almost no advertising, horrible natural snowfall, and a late takeover by 7 Springs probably contributed to the small crowds, as well as the minmal terrain covered by snowmaking.

The friendly atmosphere is fantastic. I love skiing there.

Having said all of that, there are 2 conflicting thoughts in my head.

On one hand, I think Western PA, with its struggling economy, can not support 3 ski resorts (4 if you include Blue Knob), even with weekenders coming in from all over the Mid-Atlantic region. On the other hand, the demand at 7 Springs is very high (especially on weekends). Other evidence is their initial sales and waiting lists for the new condo developments.

It isn't an accident that 7 Springs has become the best resort in the Mid-Atlantic.

The people who have run the show over the years for the Dupree family are smart businessmen.

If it makes fiscal sense to open LM again, they will. Reasons might include:

1) actually making money there
2) forcing another resort out of business (e.g. Blue Knob) so more business comes their way
3) getting lower interest loans from Somerset Trust (who currently own the LM lodge, groomers, and snowmakers) for their new developments (see links above)
4) patronizing the state of PA (LM rests on PA state parklands) so a gaming license can be more easily attained

7 Springs will not reopen LM out of the goodness in their heart.

The only way LM will reopen is if 7 Springs management believes they will get a Return On Investment.
snowcone
May 23, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Speaking of BK, frankly, I don't see how it can stay in business much longer. The place has gone down hill so badly in the last couple of years that we have given up skiing there. It just isn't worth the trip for badly cared for slopes, lifts in such bad condition that it takes a leap of faith to get on one and expect to be deposited at the top, and an access road that backcountry WV would be proud of.

I am upset that BK is such an ecological disaster. It used to be a really decent day ski but unless someone wins Mega-Millions and pours the entire sum into the resort, I really don't see it surviving for more than one or two years, or until all of the slopes are stripped for timber.

I wonder if Snow Time could develop an interest in BK or LM for that matter? They seem to have a good system, their three PA resorts are well run and profitable, and all of their resorts are managed under the NSAA Sustainable Slopes Charter.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 24, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

I wonder if Snow Time could develop an interest in BK or LM for that matter? They seem to have a good system, their three PA resorts are well run and profitable, and all of their resorts are managed under the NSAA Sustainable Slopes Charter.




Bingo! I think 7 Springs and Snowtime should run it together as a tax shelter. On big weekends, both resorts could send overflow crowds to Laurel.

In truth, BK has sort of gone off the radar screen as a viable ski area because of the snowmaking issues there and trail erosion there.

However, people from DCSki who went to Laurel last season (sadly, I was not one of them) spoke highly of the experience. As an overflow for big weekends at WT and 7S, it makes perfect sence.

BTW, it's only 45 minutes between 7 Springs and Wisp and about 1.5 hours to T-line from 7 Springs, so homeowners there have a lot of neat skiing options. I enjoyed skiing 7 Springs and Timberline on the same weekend last year--a good ski safari, which would have been better had I added Laurel to the mix.
JohnL
May 24, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
I wouldn't be so quick to write off Blue Knob; even if you don't count its rock-strewn glades it still has hands-down the best advanced terrain in the Mid-Atlantic. The advanced trails at Timberline are weak by comparison. Several posters reported excellent conditions at BK after the dumps this past March. Blue Knob's reduced snowmaking (specifically on Extrovert) cost them my business this past year, but I'm sure plenty of locals made the short drive. In the 10 plus years I've skied there, the facilities have always looked run-down, the lifts have been slow and the crowds have always been sparse. At this point, I don't expect that to ever change. I also don't expect anyone would ever buy the place and take over the clean-up/improvement expenses. Without snow, the slopes clearly look disastrous but when they're covered with snow there is still some excellent skiing there. The on-going logging is not on the slopes, it is on adjacent property. I'm sure it is making the surrounding area a lot less scenic and desirable.

I'm not optimistic about either Snowtime or Seven Springs buying Laurel Mountain. As a political move, Seven Springs may continue to operate it indefinitely. To be anything other than a mountain for locals and hard-cores, Laurel Mountain needs a substantial upgrade in lifts, snowmaking, new trails and a larger lodge. It's pretty far from Seven Springs to serve as a convenient spill-over for weekend crowds like Silver Creek does for Snowshoe. Plus, it's a long drive from the Snowtime resorts for most DC/Balt day trippers.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 25, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
JohnL:

I think that you and I both agree that what this region really needs is a good high/low mix of resorts.

On the high end, we have places like WT, Liberty, Snowshoe, and 7 Springs--places that provide world-class snowmaking, great uphill transport, lodging, and tons of other activities for skiers and non-skiers alike. These places have a proven track record for staying in the black. They may not be as profitable as a Vegas casino, but they can make enough money through ticket and real estate sales to keep going and gradually improve terrain, lifts, snowmaking, and other services.

The problem is the low mix--places like Laurel, and BK. These places appeal to the purists among us who are looking for a skier's mountain with little else. These places have something that the commercial places do not hhave--SOUL! People who love to ski often get a bigger rush out of a good day at BK than any other place in the region. The problem is whether the the region can support both places? I sincerely hope so but if not, I think Laurel should win because it's in a colder climate than BK and has better infrastructure including a new lodge. Even if 7 Springs continues to lose money on the deal, it will at least be a good tax shelter, and may one day be profitable. It can also pave the way for other things 7 Springs wants to do such as slots and real estate development The Great Western. One idea for saving BK is to have ST step in and run it. Just as Laurel is the overflow for 7 Springs, BK could be the same for ST.

You'll notice that I did not mention T-line. T-line is a hybrid. It's got too much pricey real estate and snowmaking to be a "low end" mountain, but it cannot compete with WT or Snowshoe. With all the real estate and tax revenue, it's gotten too big to fail, but it's not exactly thriving either. If Blanzy gets what he wants in the next 2-10 years, we could see a very different mountain. Only time will tell....
queenoftheslopes
May 25, 2005
Member since 11/15/2004
143 posts
Well, I am buying my SS Seasons Pass this week. YAY!
LM addition would be nice, but I guess i can live without it.
jimmy
May 25, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
hockeydave brings up some very good reasons why 7springs may continue Laurel Mtn. JohnL, you're right, marginal snowmaking = sparse crowds.

Blue Knob has been on my list for the past three years but I still haven't been there. Did make Laurel Mtn this year and "SOUL" it has. Johnfmh, I really think the region would support both mountains if they had the snow to go with the soul. Even though my season pass is at Tline, I consider 7springs to be my "home" mountain because I can count on good conditions and it's an "easy" daytrip. I could call Laurel home if only they had better snowmaking.

It will be interesting to see what develops if/when 7 Springs gets a "gaming" license. We have Wheeling Downs Racetrack and Gaming "Resort" here in Wheeling. Based on the numbers they get, I'd expect that 7 Springs would draw as many gamblers as skiers on the weekends. Lake Tahoe NV, anyone?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
May 25, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
John, market forces being what they are, a "purist" ski mountain CAN survive well if it is near other resorts that take up the slack for its lack of the upscale amenities. Timberline,, and if you want to go outside the area, Mad River, can survive because of the nearby amenities or urban areas that attract people. The survival or TL is guaranteed primarily due to its proximity to DC, Canaan, etc. MRG has the very nearby infrastructure of everything that includes Stowe, Killington and everything in between. Laurel Mountain will hopefully survive as people are looking for a "purist" place and meanwhile they and their families can enjoy the amenities of Seven Springs, or perhaps the cultural activities, playhouses etc. around the area. As Seven Springs increases its size and crowd, there will be more people taking advantage of the side trip to Laurel. Worth adding, some great winter and non-winter activities abound; the Mountain Playhouse, bit over three miles away, is the oldest professional stock theater in Pennsylvania, as well as one of the less than fifteen surviving summer theaters in the US. In the meantime, I pray it survives... It is a wonderful place in a beautiful setting...
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 25, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

John, market forces being what they are, a "purist" ski mountain CAN survive well if it is near other resorts that take up the slack for its lack of the upscale amenities. Timberline,, and if you want to go outside the area, Mad River, can survive because of the nearby amenities or urban areas that attract people. The survival or TL is guaranteed primarily due to its proximity to DC, Canaan, etc. MRG has the very nearby infrastructure of everything that includes Stowe, Killington and everything in between. Laurel Mountain will hopefully survive as people are looking for a "purist" place and meanwhile they and their families can enjoy the amenities of Seven Springs, or perhaps the cultural activities, playhouses etc. around the area. As Seven Springs increases its size and crowd, there will be more people taking advantage of the side trip to Laurel. Worth adding, some great winter and non-winter activities abound; the Mountain Playhouse, bit over three miles away, is the oldest professional stock theater in Pennsylvania, as well as one of the less than fifteen surviving summer theaters in the US. In the meantime, I pray it survives... It is a wonderful place in a beautiful setting...




Lou, all the $550,000 houses being built at Timberline are proof that small places can survive. Tucker County is going to really start to appreciate the tax revenue coming in from these houses, and if the local politicians were smart (whcih they do not seem to be), they would seriously consider tax incentive financing for the resort b/c it's a win-win proposition. We get our new lift and the county gets more property taxes due to the increasing value of homes in the Canaan Valley area. Unfortunately, no one in the county sees it this way: they are penny wise and pound foolish.

queenoftheslopes, your SS pass should be good at LM so you probably will not have to live without it.

PS Lou, are you going to get down to South America this summer and write about it for DCSki?? I hear the Inca Lake at Portillo has soul in spades... The Marte lift at Las Lenas is another "soulful" experience according to friends who have taken it and experienced the epic, steep terrain it accesses.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 25, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,288 posts
The Mountain Playhouse and all of the other activities in and around Seven Springs and the other Laurel Mountain resorts makes a big difference. At Timberline, there's not much else to do unless your a total outdoor entusiast. No one mentions Hidden Valley when discussing these places. Does eveyone think it is not worth skiing there or you just haven't been there. Yes, it lacks challenge, but it does have 20 some slopes and cross country trails, golf course, etc. Can anyone offer comments on Hidden Valley?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
May 25, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
I would say that in both cases, TL and LV, developed OR developing infrastructure will save them. John cited the half million dollar houses in TL and I still add the proximity to DC as a tremendous plus. On the other hand, LV has some unique natural, sports and cultural amenities and in addition, should Seven Springs go and build its expansion AND then add gambling on top of it, it will become a gold mine that will certainly assure the survival of Laurel Valley. As a matter of fact, should that come true, one of the main problems will be the control of the growth that will follow and channel such growth in a way that will appetize additional positive growth instead of sprawl.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
May 25, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
On the South America front answering John's question: Still very much thinking about Chile and/or Argentina. None of my friends could develop the chutzpah to stomach a 10-hour flight so I may go by myself.

Having lived in both countries, I am really at a loss... Argentina will give me much better nightlife but Chile is such a wonderful place! Both countries have about some of the nicest and intellectually literate people I've seen. Quality of food is better in ARgentina... But Chile's seafood is out of this world... Quality of skiing... Awesome in both places... I better make up my mind before the summer is over...
shearer519
May 25, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
Snowsmith

While I haven't been to hidden Valley in a long time I can add some comments on it. HV is the perfect place to learn to ski. They have very wide green slopes that give beginners plenty of room to make turns. The main drawbacks to HV are its lack of vertical and challenge. While they advertise a 600ft vertical drop a quick look at the topo map shows it is real only 400 on any one slope. Also while they do have some steep slopes they are just short headwalls with a green run out. All this makes HV great to learn but a little boring for experts. That is probably why no one really comments on it here. They will supposedly be adding new slopes in the next few years that might fix some of these problems but until then its hard to justify paying the same price to ski there as to ski Seven Springs.
jb714
May 25, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
I'll second what shearer said about HV. When I was growing up (in the '70s) my friends and I used to ski there almost exclusively, since at that time it was a cheaper ticket than 7 Springs. I took my family there once this past winter - they've expanded over the years in terms of number of trails, and the trails all felt wide, and in general the place had sort of an open feeling about it. But they still don't have much vertical - the trails they've added are very similar to what they had in the '70s. In addition, I think their lift ticket is now about $1 or $2 more than 7 Springs, which simply isn't justified in terms of terrain.
BushwackerinPA
May 26, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Please take note that HV get more snow than any of the Pa resort by a long shot< and that some instructor and patrol have been thinning wood to the piont that they are skiable before any of glades(7s and Blueknob). we had a good month of tree sking at HV from about mid feb to the about a week to the end of the ski season. Sure the trails are boring but i dont ski there when i dont have to(although the double lifts are nice, fast and service imp and cobra to great uncroweded crusiers). I am really biased due to the fact i work there and love the feel of it compared to 7springs, but if you ever there late winter find me on the slopes and i wil show what the locals have accomplished with the tree there(next year between Road Runner and cobra will be very nice maintained glade)
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 26, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,288 posts
Hey Bushwack - I'll be up there this weekend. I'll have to take a look at the new glades. Imperial is a nice trail and so is Cobra. Unfortunately, I don't think the Kettler's are very good resort managers and I doubt they have the cash for the proposed 'Outback' expansion that would provide some more challenging trails with a decent continuous vertical. If you work there perhaps you know more than I do.
jb714
May 26, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

Please take note that HV get more snow than any of the Pa resort by a long shot




Bushwhaker, is that a seat-of-the-pants observation, or do you have some stats? 7 Springs is on the same ridge barely a mile away, and I think HV is maybe 100 feet lower, to boot.
shearer519
May 26, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
From what I have seen up there Hidden Valley and Seven Springs get the same amount of snow. However Laurel Mountain seams to always get a few more inches each storm then the other two. If I had to guess I would say Laurel is the snowiest resort in PA.
BushwackerinPA
May 27, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
THe ones(one at the top and bottom) to the skier right of tbvird are done, the one between cobra and road runner is getting cleared this summer. Yes Jim kettler said him self that he is a much better deveoloper than manager(John Scanlin is much of the problem). As for the expansion i am sad to say it will probably never happen that si direct from the kettler familiy. A for the snow i have been to mulitple ski resorts on the same day an HV always had more snow. During the big dog storm this year we had what look like foot more than blue knob, and about 6 inch more springs(i was at all 3 with in 36hours) and ihave noticed this more ofter than not.
tromano
May 27, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Quote:

Quote:

I wonder if Snow Time could develop an interest in BK or LM for that matter? They seem to have a good system, their three PA resorts are well run and profitable, and all of their resorts are managed under the NSAA Sustainable Slopes Charter.




Bingo! I think 7 Springs and Snowtime should run it together as a tax shelter. On big weekends, both resorts could send overflow crowds to Laurel.

In truth, BK has sort of gone off the radar screen as a viable ski area because of the snowmaking issues there and trail erosion there.

However, people from DCSki who went to Laurel last season (sadly, I was not one of them) spoke highly of the experience. As an overflow for big weekends at WT and 7S, it makes perfect sence.

BTW, it's only 45 minutes between 7 Springs and Wisp and about 1.5 hours to T-line from 7 Springs, so homeowners there have a lot of neat skiing options. I enjoyed skiing 7 Springs and Timberline on the same weekend last year--a good ski safari, which would have been better had I added Laurel to the mix.




Well,

Since Sheena and I will be having open access to the condo at 7S this winter, a season pass really is in order. I am stoked by the way.

John, when you say run as a tax shelter, are you saying that they should invest in Laurel and take depreciation or that if they just keep it running at a loss they will reduce their tax burden? Laurel could use some capital investments.

About Blueknob:
I made an effort to get out to BK at least once last season, conditions permitting. However I was very disapointed with what I saw as a lack of comitment to opening extrovert which did not recieve any snowmamking as per their website until mid-late februaury, working from memory obviously. Conditions were so crapy from all reports here at DC ski that I never seriously considered a trip until late february - early march. And once things did get opened in early march it seemed all the best snow was at T-line anyway with the sweet out of bounds territory. So there we went. I also got to ski Laural last season and I was impressed in a positive way. BK still is the more challenging mountain. The thing about BK is the ammount of challenging terrain. Most hills have 0-1 really challenging trails BK has like 4. Given that the management seems to have serious issues and an identity problem since extrovert--which is their signature trail--steep and wide as it is, will never be a natural snow trail and they still are not commiting to make snow there before Februaury 1. This is beyond reason.
jimmy
May 27, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Hah, there it is. I've been wondering since march where the "S" in SQOTS came from (curious to a fault, I still wonder about "fmh"). Great you guys got a place to flop next season locked up so far in advance.
tromano
May 27, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Jimmy, I am not sure whats goin on. I think she changed her login name or somehting it used to have a sheena in there some how. Anyway, its jsut a psudonym.

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