Ski Liberty History
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7 users
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(Anonymous)
January 29, 2004
I'm sure this has been posted before, but does anyone have the history on Ski Liberty? Just for personal knowledge...

Thanks,
JNF

JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 29, 2004
Member since 01/14/2004
2,646 posts
Check this old thread for some Liberty / Charnita history discussion. One of the posters (Robyn) worked at Liberty and said they had a newsletter at the resort with history info. If you contact Liberty maybe they can get you something. I'm vaguely recalling that there was also possibly a longtime employee who kept a bunch of stuff on Liberty history and that it was put on display once at the base complex?

http://www.dcski.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000199.html

gatkinso
January 29, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
I seem to recall trails being cut on College Mountain - and they sure look like trails looking up there during the drive up to Liberty.

this is the only blurb I could find about it:

http://www.emmitsburg.net/archive_list/articles/ce/town_gov_news/2002/land_for_wells.htm

[This message has been edited by gatkinso (edited 01-29-2004).]

Roger Z
January 29, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
College Mountain has joined the legions of ghost hills in our region. The guy who bought the place apparently had no regard for community relations and managed to sour a large portion of Emmitsburg residents by his behavior and cavalier attitude toward them. I don't know how big of an issue that was in failing to get the mountain open but it played a part. But yes, the trails were definitely cut and the vertical was originally going to be 800 feet and then expanded to 1000 feet, with similar elevations to Whitetail.

Cherokee... College Mountain... Tory Mountain... and does anyone remember Ski Snowpeak in the late 80s? They were open for three seasons. They were going to have almost a 1400 foot vertical about 40 minutes north of Harrisburg, but they went belly up before they got the upper half built. And this is 1400 continuous vertical feet-- not two trails down the back side like certain other local destination resorts. This should link to a satellite image of Snowpeak: http://terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?t=1&s=13&x=193&y=2805&z=18&w=1

[This message has been edited by Roger Z (edited 01-29-2004).]

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danwxman
January 29, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=18&n=4484534&e=300188&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25

There's plenty of areas north and northwest of Harrisburg along the Juniata and Susquehanna rivers that could easily get up to 1500' vertical, problem is these areas aren't easily accessed and are east of the Allegheny front (Only 45-50" of snow in the winter). The elevations on the ridgetops are generally 1800-2100', doesn't seem like much but it's far enough north that that equals the 4000' in WV. Problem is, again, east of the Allegheny front.

danwxman
January 29, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
BTW, anybody ever taken the trip up 322/22 to State College? Some huge mountains up that way...It's not that the mountains are really high, it's that the valleys are so deep. Plenty of opportunities for the highest vertical in PA.
Roger Z
January 29, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I haven't driven up there but my step-sister went to Penn State and my step-dad says the same thing you do, Dan. Big mountains. You're right that it's east of the Allegheny Front but I'm a little more indifferent to that than a lot of members on this board. The reason for that is that 85-90% of skiers in this region don't like/can't ski the natural snow trails like glades that you get in the snow belt. Sure 45-50 inches a year means icier conditions and less ability to make snow (a little), but I think proximity to the metro areas would make a big resort east of the Allegheny Divide a viable potential. Plus the route up 322 is further north, and the farther north you go the more consistent winter gets. In other words, a 40 inch average snowfall up there is different than 40 inches at Wintergreen-- drier, stays on the ground longer, and less susceptible to warm fronts pushing up from the south. It's not going to make the place Vail (or even Timberline), but it would certainly be better than Whitetail or possibly even points east like the Poconos. Add a nice base village with non-ski amenities and you could build a pretty popular resort.
(Anonymous)
January 29, 2004
There are allready a gadzillion resorts in PA.Be tough to get another one.+ I bet 1000 vert is pretty much maxed out for a mtn that relies mostly on manmade.Put your thoughts & energy on the BIG one in west by god!
danwxman
January 30, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
Would another resort between Harrisburg and State College be viable? I think so. The Harrisburg/Hershey area is growing rapidly, plus you have the Penn State University. If it's close to 322/22 (which comes right off I-81), then it's definetely possible. The comment about snowmaking only being able to cover 1000' isn't true if it's near the Susquehanna or Juniata Rivers...Plus there is an abundance of lakes in that area. Base elevations for any resort would probably be in the 400-500' area....Seems low but those deep mountain valleys are cold and hold snow well. Anyway, enough dreaming, at least with MPC there is some interest in actually building something...
gatkinso
January 30, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
I don't have my map handy, but there are already a few resorts in that area according to Rand McNally anyway. I don't recall the names at the moment, but I think they are like 500' vert type places. Why they aren't profiled on DCSki (but resorts 400 miles away in NC are shoot may as well include VT resorts too as they are about the same distance) is a mystery.

PS Andy you are right about PA, but College Mtn was to be in MD, not PA. But I will throw in a plug for you, bring on Almost Heaven!

jimmer
January 30, 2004
Member since 11/25/2003
53 posts
I used to live in Emmitsburg during the "ski college mountain" days and this is my opinion of what went wrong.

The town of Emmitsburg for years was (and in some part, still is) staunchly opposed to growth. On top of that, the college of Mount Saint Mary was also opposed to a ski resort on the other side of the same mountain they are on. The Mount has some pretty powerful political figures as alumni & were successful in tying the whole process in red-tape.

The guy your talking about, who bought the land & wanted to develop it is the same guy who owns Roundtop, Liberty, Windham & now Whitetail. He is extremely intelligent. There is a rumour that he even offered to completely re-build Emmitsburg ancient & (in my opinion from living there) inadequate water treatment facility. But the town & the college wouldn't budge.

Whitetail has since opened (which he recently purchased) & in my opinion, Ski College Mountain has been dropped for lack of skier base. I don't think the DC/Baltimore area can support 4 ski areas. (if you don't include canaan, showshoe, etc).

It was pretty interesting living in E-burg during those times & hearing the backwards thinking most of the residents were saying.

Like I said - this is all my opinion of what happened & most of what I said is all hear-say from what I heard while living there.

jimmer

Roger Z
January 30, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Thanks for the Emmitsburg story Jimmer.

Dan that map you showed of the 2100 foot peaks has caught my interest. You're right that they could draw a lot of water off the river, and since 100% of it would run back into the river in the spring there are no long-term consequences to doing this (an adequate gray water treatment facility near the base would cover environmental concerns). Plus the map you showed the mountain was a little further from the river and you could build a base a shade higher and still get a 1500 foot vertical.

The capital would be huge to build this though and it would need an immediate skier base. The reason is snowmaking capacity; it'd have to be big to sustain a decent sized resort (one with more than 100 acres of terrain). High up front costs = higher probability of bankruptcy.

On the other hand, if the towns up there are growth friendly, you'd have a helluva lot less fight on your hands than trying to build on MPC, which promises to be the clash of the century. Newsflash folks: business hasn't been winning a lot of environmentally-sensitive clashes lately. I wouldn't put any money down on Bill Bright doing any better. If he wants to concentrate on Tory or something else, fine.

(Anonymous)
January 30, 2004
Roger Z your analysis is interesting but you have forgot one key fact: this is WV. WV does not have the enviro regs other states have OR the care for the enviro other states have.

The coal industry has been allowed for years to eliminate mountains in southern wv, perform illegal valley fills, and this still continues today!

I don't think you will see much opposition to MPC if (and when) it gets built. There will be resistance from those in the area, but the powers that be in WV gov't will pump this idea as huge economic growth (and tax revenue) for the state.

A state such as ours must have jobs -- and jobs in WV are few and far between. A new resort would be a great economic boom for that part of the state -- and also would be absolutely wonderful for those of us that love to ski.

danwxman
January 30, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
We're talking about Central Pennsylvania, not WV.
danwxman
January 30, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
The resort with 500' you are referring to is Tussy Mountain right outside of State College. It serves the college students well, which is why it was built so close to the Penn State University.
danwxman
January 30, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
Roger Z I picked that mountain for a reason....If you look at the base you've got a nice little 600' plateau...Plus a road connection. That could be the base lodge

That mountain (Tuscorara mountain) has some pretty amazing potential. Move up down the montain a little on topozone and check out some of the nice bowls on the NW face of the mountain.

Roger Z
January 30, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Dan the MPC discussion is WV-centered. WP_Employee: you have a point that WV is more business friendly than a lot of states and I agree that it's a good thing for the state to be more focused on business; there is some very extreme poverty in the state. A Bill Bright ski area could be built on one of three sites and MPC is only one; I'm waiting to see if Mr. Bright settles on one location and which it is before I invest any emotion into the issue.

Now, as for emotion for an issue that doesn't exist, back to Snow Peak! Dan Tuscarora is the same ridge that Snowpeak was on, just further to the east northeast. There are indeed some very nice pitches and angles according to that topo map you posted. I wonder if anyone has been looking at resort potentials up that way. I doubt it.

Scott - DCSki Editor
January 30, 2004
Member since 10/10/1999
1,096 posts
gatkinso: DCSki covers the Mid-Atlantic ski region, and that is generally defined as including ski areas all the way down to North Carolina (and south of New York). Although many of us live in the D.C. suburbs, remember that DCSki has a lot of readers that live as far south as Florida. North Carolina was added several years ago as a direct suggestion of readers, and only the "big two" resorts in North Carolina are covered.

In general, DCSki is only able to cover the larger resorts -- ones with a vertical greater than 500 feet. There are some tiny resorts in the Mid-Atlantic (even some in Ohio!) but they usually cater to a very localized clientiele. The only resort I can think of offhand that we profile that has a vertical less than 500 feet is Mystic Mountain at Nemacolin, and that was a tough decision to make. In the end, I felt Nemacolin provided such a wide range of winter activities that it made it an appealing winter resort destination, and a place where non-locals might want to go for a quieter or beginner-focused experience.

I don't rule out coverage for any resort in the region, though, and rely on resorts to forward me press releases and press kits. As an example, Tussy Mountain has never sent a press release to DCSki, and I've never had a reader ask that DCSki cover them. I have nothing against smaller resorts, but with the limited time I have, I try to cover as many of the popular ones as I can. DCSki has continued to add resorts over the years, and the yardstick I normally use is "would someone living in D.C. want to drive to visit this ski area?" But I do also have to remind myself that DCSki readers come from all over.

Thanks,

- Scott

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