Laurel Mountain Co-op Meeting
November 20, 2006
We've got several commitments for a Tuesday November 4 meeting in Ligonier at the Town Hall, second floor conference room of the Laurel Highland Visitors Bureau.
Post here if you can make it.
Laurel Hill Crazie
Butch Bellas - maybe
Does anybody have a list of the members of the LM Ski Patrol (besides LMV & Heather)? If you do please PM me. I've talked to one former member who is going to try to make it Nov 14th.
I may or may not be able to come, depending on whether I can get out of a prior committment or not. But I'd appreciate recieving minutes or notes from the meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry for the typo, tromano. Yes the date is Nov. 14th. at 5:30 PM
Something new is developing. I spoke with Tyson at Somerset Trust and an offer has been made on the resort. The offer is good enough to take to the board of directors. I will keep everyone informed as to the status of the offer. If it doesn't work, then a co-op can take it. We should know in a couple of weeks.
Did Tyson give any details and is it still a possibility that LM might open this year?
I'll see you tomorrow...
The "Save Laurel Mountain" meeting went on as planned last nite, even with the rumored potetntial sale of the Laurel Mountain assets acquired by Somerset Trust. Based on the past 2 years of rumored potential buyers, history indicates this one sad fact... Laurel remains closed for downhill skiing. I would not count on any potential buyer stepping forward to operate the Laurel ski area. There is no guarantee that a potential buyer of the assets (ski lodge, real estate in Laurel Mountain Village, etc.) will operate the ski area. They may just develop the village and let the ski area sit idle. So until something is officially announced by Somerset Trust and the DCNR that a ski area operator is in place and approved, those of us concerned should keep pressing forward with this co-op plan. At the end of the day, whether the co-op operates LM or some other entity does, we all win because LM will again be open for skiing (hopefully next ski season).
Without going into any details, the 1st meeting was a good start to get the co-op ball rolling. Laurel Hill Crazie and/or myself will keep people posted as to the time & place of the next meeting. I would encourage those who are interested in reviving LM, please attend the next meeting. All ideas are welcomed.
I'd just like to add that this effort will not be opposed by the DCNR, we have this assurance from Doug Finger, park manager. We are currently awaiting word from the Pa Parks and Forest Foundation, the parent organization of our local Friends group, to see if we can organize this effort under their 501(c)(3) status. If their board approves of our effort we can proceed as a non-profit and begin to partner with local government and begin to seek funding open to such non-profits.
You know, this may be a far fetched pipe dream doomed to fail but I ask those of you who love this place, if we do not take it upon ourselves to risk failure then who will do so? At the very least it will be a grand civic experiment and a great learning experience. Proceeding as a non-profit will minimize personal financial risk by opening up funding options not available to a private concern.
I'm just naive enough and arrogant enough to think that this can succeed. Frankly, there is a huge part of me that would rather see Laurel succeed as a citizen's non-profit rather then a private real estate development. We can preserve Laurel's natural state and rugged ambiance that is so lacking in other resorts. We can dictate mountain development through our users consensus rather then some corporation's bottom line needs. We can seek to keep lift tickets reasonable and offer skiing as it was, unadorned, closer to nature and to the soul of what snow sports are really about; outdoor recreation.
People we need your help, we need your experience, we need your imagination but most of all we need your time. We are laying the ground work. Look for an official press release soon. We will announce a general meeting and present our ideas for a corporate structure. We will need experience in business law, business planning, grant writing etc. for a board of directors. If you've ever daydreamed about what your perfect ski/board area would be like, stop dreaming and make it real, there are no prefab plans, no hidden agendas, no experts waiting in the wing. There is only you/us and that which we are willing to accomplish.
What have we got to lose except a little time? I strongly feel it can succeed. We want it opened to be a ski area like it is. It has the best skiing, no massive crouds, and the nicest people to talk to. It's a State Park so I don't think there can be alot of real estate development there. I think a co-op is what will work. We all want it for the beauty and skiing not for large profits.
I am a CPA and will help in any way I can. I can help draw up business plans and projections. I want it open.
Has anyone who attended the Co-op meeting thought of starting a Yahoo group to better organize the effort? You can make a group invitation-only to limit access (more privacy for sensitive, i.e. $$ and law-related discussions.) Sounds like you guys are the leaders of this effort.
There are probably several of us posters on DCSki who are interested in joining/helping a co-op but who live far enough away (just outside DC in my case) that we can't make regular meetings in PA. (Certainly not meetings on a weeknight.)
There was an article in the Daily American where Robert Nutting expressed interest in possibly operating Laurel Mountain. A link to the full article can be found at Laurel Lift-Lines, www.liftlines.wordpress.com
It sure didn't take long for Mr Nutting to start drinking the same KoolAid as Mr Duppstapt (7S spokesperson). If LM sat idle for the next 20 years (and hopefully that's not the case), I can almost guarantee that Mr Duppstapt and Mr Nutting would be issuing those same vague statements sometime in November of 2026 that "we are still talking to Somerset Trust and considering operating it if conditions were right." I wish either one of them would elaborate what it would take for 7S to operate LM. Guess what? They never will. And everyone knows why. Because they have no intention to operate LM, only to prevent it from opening (my opinion).
Thanks for the suggestion, JohnL. I haven't a clue how to go about setting up a users group and I'm not sure of the need. Discussion here is sure to be of a general nature with real business being done in committee meetings and Board meetings.
John, if we get a sense that there is genuine interest outside of Western PA we will be glad to schedule a weekend meeting. We need talent where ever we can find it. We need people that love the sport and see Laurel for the rough gem that it is, for what the soul of snow sport is. Not glitz and hot tubs, après parties and resort posh but rather the singularly individual challenge of snow, gravity and your skill and judgment and the camaraderie that the shared challenge engenders
End of idealistic rant, thank you.
Just to follow up on hockeydave's post in another thread; I'd like to thank Scott for providing the space and allowing us to pursue this endeavor. I know that I've been rather myopic about this topic since I've began to post here. Too often my passion exceeds my etiquette and if I come off as a user, I apologize. We are confronted with a daunting task and have a limited amount of time to create a minor miracle, I tend to get carried away.
This is only my opinion but miracles do happen!!! This is the perfect place for a co-op. We all love the place and I think we can all work together and make it happen.
Investors looking to make a mint don't want it. This is a State Park. No slopeside condos or onsite lodging. It would be hard to put lodging anywhere close with the water and sewer situation in the Village. This is meant to be a co-op owned venture for people who love the best skiing and love the beauty and peace of the Laurel Mountain Ski Resort.
New user to this forum, but I would like to help with the co-op effort anyway I can. I live in the DC area, but have a place at Indian Lake, and I'd love to help anyway I can to get Laurel Mountain back on track.
Let me know any way I can help!