Have you ever skied/rode Laurel Mountain?
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Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
January 4, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
As all of you may well know, there are some die hard Laurel Mountain fans here and a few of us are attempting to reopen this rugged gem. I'm just curious how many here have ever visited Laurel and some reasons why. Here's a poll to gauge your answers.
Mountain Masher
January 4, 2007
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
I LOVE Laurel Mt!!! It's a wonderful "old fashioned" ski area! To ski Laurel is to enjoy a "winter wonderland" WITHOUT all of the riff-raff, over-development, logging mess, etc. I've skied Laurel a number of times over the years and have always enjoyed the glades (and various off-slope areas) and, of course, Wildcat. And, to top it off, Laurel is the best place to find Mid-Atlantic powder!
hockeydave
January 4, 2007
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
For all of you Mountain Masher bashers out there, see, there is a global warm, fuzzy side to him!!!
JohnL
January 4, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,516 posts
One big advantage not mentioned is that Laurel Mountain probably receives the most natural snowfall of all the ski areas in Pennsylvania. (IMHO, slightly more than Seven Springs.)
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Roger Z
January 4, 2007
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Dang, someone should frame that MM post! I agree with it 100%. Laurel is the way skiing ought to be, from ME to NC hallelujah praise the Lord and pass the peanut butter amen.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
January 4, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
No poll is ever complete. Soon after I posted I realized I'd overlooked a reason my wife likes to take the family and I should have included that aspect in the choices. My wife likes to take the kids to Laurel because she feels safe to allow them to roam and confidant that if the youngest becomes separated from the clan, he'll show up at the lodge because both lifts and the trails off of them bring you back to the lodge.
DEF
January 5, 2007
Member since 12/14/2006 🔗
8 posts
Thanks Laurelhillcrazie for posting this poll. It will be interesting to see how folks on this forum feel about Laurel Mountain. This will be good information to take to anyone willing to attempt to re-open Laurel. As I see it there are 3 options for Laurel. 1.) A new operator comes to the forefront and purchases the assets from Somerset Trust. 2.) A non-profit/co-op is formed and has the right people and talents to make the financial and political push, or 3.) It closes for good.
hockeydave
January 5, 2007
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I couldn't agree with you more on Laurel being a true family destination. I heard several different parents state that they felt very safe letting their kids ski there alone just because of the type of people who skied/boarded there. Everyone was so polite, people saying thank you without fail whenever you held a door open for them. I never heard an F-Bomb dropped by anyone on the chairlift. Employees & ski patrol members were always helpful, kind & courteous. Mark, the bartender @ the Wildcat lounge, would always give you a great conversation. And finally, to view the sun setting over Chestnut Ridge several times from the Wildcat lounge with a warm fire crackling in the background and an IC Light sitting on the bar in front of me are images & feelings that are forever etched in my mind. This place just has to reopen... it is way too special to not.
jimmy
January 5, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Once, the year 7 Springs operated the place. There's a thread somewhere with my trip report and one from JohnL as well, i'll look and see if i can find it. I managed to chase a storm and found 8" fresh snow and about 20 people on the hill that midweek day. Only two trails open, one of which was Lower Wildcat. The vibe I got from Laurel reminds me of Canaan Valley; when it re-opens I'd very much prefer it to 7 Springs and really would have to consider moving my winter "home" from timberline to the Laurels, it's that good.
hockeydave
January 5, 2007
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Jimmy, if you're willing to take a real estate gamble, there are at least 3 homes for sale in Laurel Mountain Village that are very reasonably priced (see prudentialpreferred.com, loyalhanna.com or ligoniervalleyrealty.com). These homes would be 50% to 75% more expensive if they were located in or near HV/7S. Obviously, the risk is Laurel not reopening and having a 30 minute drive to HV and 40 minutes to 7S (and trust me, those hauls aren't that much fun).
tromano
January 5, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Once, the year 7 Springs operated the place. There's a thread somewhere with my trip report and one from JohnL as well, i'll look and see if i can find it. I managed to chase a storm and found 8" fresh snow and about 20 people on the hill that midweek day. Only two trails open, one of which was Lower Wildcat. The vibe I got from Laurel reminds me of Canaan Valley; when it re-opens I'd very much prefer it to 7 Springs and really would have to consider moving my winter "home" from timberline to the Laurels, it's that good.




Madeline and I skied LM superbowl sunday that year. LM is a very cool hill. The terrain is as good as it gets in the mid-atlantic and they get as much snow as anyone.
Roger Z
January 5, 2007
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
My one complaint about the hill was that the day I skied there, the Broadway quad broke down so everyone- EVERYONE- got funneled to the Wildcat double. I got stranded on the Broadway lift for about 30 minutes, but some folks later were stranded for over an hour I heard. New lifts- even if not detachable quads at least something with a reliable engine- might not be a bad idea. I'd prefer to see them make Broadway and the trail system over there a little longer, so they'd need a longer lift if they did that anyway.
Clay
January 5, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Quote:

New lifts- even if not detachable quads at least something with a reliable engine- might not be a bad idea.




You know, I've been on this board for almost a year and I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen a complaint about lifts that wasn't about T-Line

Clay
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
January 13, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Bump
JohnL
January 13, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,516 posts
imp
January 13, 2007
Member since 01/11/2007 🔗
237 posts
I have been a Laurel skier since the 70's, If Laurel isn't open I just don't bother skiing.
the actual history is in the clubhouse at rolling rock!!
impdriver
tromano
January 13, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I was re-reading my earlier thoughts on Laurel Mtn. I only skied there one day but it was a really great place to ski and has a ton of potential. Heres hoping something positive happens at LM.
Buckeye Skier
January 14, 2007
Member since 01/11/2004 🔗
54 posts
Laurel is the kind of place we like to ski. The first year we discovered it we made 3 trips there. I remember that first day, a Saturday, we pulled up wondering if the place was even open, there were so few vehicles in the lot. We waited with 2 other people for them to drop the ropes to start sking. That was a good thing but ultimately a bad thing to not have many people there on a prime weekend day. We just felt that certain vibe you get from too few ski areas and fell in love with it.
Snowmaking on all trails but especially Dream Highway has got to be the number one priority. If you go down anything to the skiers right of Broadway and DH is not open you either have to go down Lower Wildcat, which some people don't always want to do, or traverse back over to Broadway. For us to make the 41/2 hour drive from central OH we need to be able to ski all the trails to make it worth the drive. I just hope that someday we'll be able to ski there again.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
January 14, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Thanks for the links to your trip reports. I found them both interesting as was the commentary that followed. It's nice to hear that others felt the same as I.

Laurel is by no means perfect as is but to see how many are willing to come back and ski Laurel without improvements is mildly surprising. That kind of indicates to me that a major draw is Lower Wildcat, as indicated by the 32% that cite challenge as a major draw. That's my hunch because as an advanced skier, I like terrain that at least makes me pay attention. When Lower is bumped, you couldn't ask for a better black bump run.

If I were developing Laurel this is what I'd do if I had the money. It would be nice to see a companion slope to Lower Wildcat, perhaps Laurel Run extended. One would be groomed the other one left to bump up or groomed only when deemed absolutely needed.

Two more intermediate trails both progressively steeper than Broadway would be ideal. At least one more with Lincoln Highway widened and Innsbruck intersections removed. I think that Innsbruck reworked, widened, and tamed in just a few places would make the best novice trail in the entire region.

I would like to see the tubing park relocated or even removed and the original terrain restored. That would create a companion learner's area to Tamecat and better access to Laurel and the other unnamed tree lined shots back to Snow Bowl and Dream. The Slot down to rock corner will have to be widened or another upper intermediate trail cut on that side of Wildcat.

My pipe dream would see a high speed lift replace the double and perhaps relocated on top back toward the lodge. Really, upgrading the double to a triple would probably be all the additional lift capacity needed though. I'd think real hard about relocating the Quad at the bottom more toward the bottom of Hegan's Cut on Deer Path.

I would enclose the front 'court yard' of Laurel Lodge to create a real walk through cafeteria much like the one at Seven Springs and also provide additional seating space.

On a shoestring budget; 100% snow making and the minimum re-contouring to make it easy/economical to groom. I think we all agree that snowmaking ranks #1 as essential improvement.

Thank you all for participating and sharing your thoughts. Please ask your skiing friends to take the poll. As DEF stated above, a potential buyer would find this informal poll insightful. Just as important we'll help DCSKI grow. We're already the best source of information for the interior Mid-Atlantic.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
September 13, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Here's a bump for an old poll. I hope some more answer a few questions about Laurel.
RobertW
September 13, 2007
Member since 10/14/2004 🔗
199 posts
 Originally Posted By: Laurel Hill Crazie
Laurel is by no means perfect....


I must have missed this topic back in January. Anyway LHC, your comments are spot on. I myself am not surprised that so many would still ski there "as-is". The $50 I spent for the season pass (the piggyback deal when buying a 7SP pass) in 04-05 was the most bang for the skiing buck I ever got. I spent 4 pristine and wonderfully uncrowded weekdays there that season despite the mostly awful weather. I would fork out "regular price" for a chance to experience the place again as-is. It really is that special.
David
September 13, 2007
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
No..
hockeydave
September 14, 2007
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I wonder how many of the local politicians have even visited Laurel? Given that it is a mini economic engine in the winter for Jennerstown, Boswell, Ligonier & Latrobe, I wonder why the representatives of those areas haven't been more proactive in getting Laurel reopened... oops, I forgot, it is Pennsylvania after all.

Here are winter & summer pictures for those who have not been there.

http://picasaweb.google.com/ReopenLaurelPlease/LaurelMountain
RobertW
September 15, 2007
Member since 10/14/2004 🔗
199 posts
Here are some additional pictures from the winter 2004-2005 ("The Springs at Laurel Mountain"). The first from the soggy week after Christmas, the second from a wonderful day in January.

http://leacar.smugmug.com/gallery/3479735#195833317

http://leacar.smugmug.com/gallery/3478541#195725339
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
September 15, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Great photos, Robert. That sunny, snow covered day in January must have been great. Was all the terrain open? Who is that natural beauty? And I don't mean the mountain.

It looks certain that Laurel will not open this year. Once again we've heard of a series of suitors that back out when it seems the deal is close. I know that the buzz we helped to create has the State and Local politicians taking notice. A few of us here are still trying to organize a co-op. We're awaiting official word from the DCNR before we start in earnest. Then there will be the question of how to or who will buy the assets from Somerset Trust.

Awhile back I urged all interested folks to lobby Seven Springs to renew their agreement to run Laurel. With the change in ownership there, that hope died. Now I'm asking you to contact Doug Finger, Linn Run/Laurel Mountain State Park Manager. Send him your opinions and thoughts about Laurel. I know that he is in favor of seeing Laurel re-opened and has done all that he can to help that process but he is one person in a chain of command. Doug is the point man for the DCNR on all things concerning Laurel Mountain. He will see that your voice is heard in Harrisburg. Contact Doug at: dfinger@state.pa.us
RobertW
September 15, 2007
Member since 10/14/2004 🔗
199 posts
 Originally Posted By: Laurel Hill Crazie
Great photos, Robert. That sunny, snow covered day in January must have been great. Was all the terrain open? Who is that natural beauty? And I don't mean the mountain.


Unfortunately all the terrain was not open that day. There was enough natural snow (barely) at that point in time that they did open Dream Highway and its other natural brethren that weekend and for a few days afterward. The conditions were so good on Lower Wildcat that day that I did not get bored skiing it over and over again until I could barely walk to the car. As far as the "natural beauty" goes , that is my daughter who is one of my regular ski partners. And yes, she got none of that from me. \:\)

I sent my email and will attempt to get others to do the same.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
September 16, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
My daughter is my frequent ski companion and she gets her good looks from her mother too.
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 31, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
(Just bumping this topic to move it back towards the top of the list.)
snosnugums
October 31, 2007
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
I have been there during the off season, but unfortunately I have never skied there. The view from the top is great and the lodge has a nice setting. Hopefully, I'll have another shot. 900 feet of vertical is pretty decent for the Mid-Atlantic. If Ski Liberty and Roundtop can make without depending on real estate sales, why not Laurel. I would like to suggest that the State lease the resort in the same way that WV leases Canaan Valley. Several examples also exist else where like New York and New Hampshire.
jb714
November 2, 2007
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
I've skied Laurel twice - once back in March of 2003 (near the very end of the George Mowl tenure); and once back in the late '70s - roughly '78 or '79. My memories of what it was like way back then are somewhat fuzzy, but I seem to recall that whatever lodge/building they had at that time was sort of spartan and utilitarian.
RobertW
November 2, 2007
Member since 10/14/2004 🔗
199 posts
 Originally Posted By: jb714
...but I seem to recall that whatever lodge/building they had at that time was sort of spartan and utilitarian.


Yes, the original historic 1940's "Laurel House" (I think this what it was called) burned down. It was replaced by something they used to call a "Warming Hut" and this is what served as the Lodge until the area closed around 1989. The Mowl group replaced it with the present building.

I loved skiing there in the late 70's. It was always a rugged, retro experience with all the old tows and structures. The only "modern" thing you saw there was the double chair that was put in in the 60's. There was a ton of snow there in those cold winters of 76-77 and 77-78. It was always an adventure getting to the summit on US 30 and navigating the twisty access road back into the area.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
December 10, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Bump, the new season begins and some new faces are visiting and old visitors returning so I thought I'd ask again.

Exciting possibilities abound with the Buncher Company (new owners of Hidden Valley) expressing interest in operating Laurel Mountain. Post your ideas on what you would like to see happen at Laurel.
jb714
December 12, 2007
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
 Quote:
Post your ideas on what you would like to see happen at Laurel.



[list]
[*]Get the place open!
[*]Improved snowmaking.
[*]Retain the old-school-charm, throwback-to-the-'60s, shotski atmosphere that it had in 2002-2003. In other words, keep the soul of the place.
LMV
December 12, 2007
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
aah the shotski...

When SS ran the bar we weren't allowed to use it.
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