1. Laurel/BK competition.
a. Laurel will have a hard time competing with 7 Springs (especially with the new Great Western Expansion) and a beefed up BK, but skiing is growing in this market as the infrasture improves. Also, Laurel's market is Pittsburgh; BK's is DC/Baltimore/Philly(a bigger market to say the least).
b. I'm at the point where I feel that its only worth the drive to New England for a handful of mountains. The more mountains we have here in the Mid-Atlantic, the greater my reluctance to travel to NE, especially early in the season when it is butt cold up there and snowmaking really is not as good as our "Banana Belt" resorts. BOTTOM LINE: we could use both mountains. More mountains will only help improve the region. Everyone will be pulled up by a rising tide. When I first started skiing here, I tried Whitetail and said, "hey, this is great; I want more." I visited 7 Springs the next week and was impressed. From there, I went to Timberline and Snowshoe. In otherwords, more skiing is always better than less skiing.
2. UPGRADES for BK.
a. First the focus should be on snowmaking. In this region, snow is life. They need to strive for 100 percent snowmaking on non-gladed terrain. Also, they need a system like Whitetail's or Snowshoe's that is robust enough to blow 6 inches overnight on major trails after a thaw. BK sits right on the Allegheny front but it's trails are on te east slope. That means it gets much less natural snow than 7 Springs or Timberline. Snowmaking, in other words, is not an option. It is a dire necessity and the difference between running a successful operations and losing skiers to other mountains.
b. Improve lodging and off-slope entertainment for destination guests.
c. Improve uphill capacity. BK should forget about 4-packs and go straight for high-speed, detachable 6-packs even if that means that some slopes may need to be widened in spots to accomodate extra traffic.