Blue Marsh was a small ski area located in Bernville, just 10 miles north of Reading, PA. The area shut down in 2005.
Blue Marsh offered skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing with seven lifts and tows, including a triple, a double, a T-Bar, and four handle tows. The area included a Half Pipe and All Terrain Park, the Big Tube Park, the Kinder Tube Park, and the Wolverine Raft Park. Night skiing was offered every day except Sunday. Blue Marsh had a vertical of 315 feet and about a dozen trails, the longest being 2,600 feet long. Blue Marsh marketed itself as being a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard, with reasonable lift ticket prices. In 2003, Blue Marsh offered an all-day (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.) weekday lift ticket for $25.
The owners of Blue Marsh decided to shut down the ski area in 2005. On October 29, 2005, Blue Marsh held a public auction, selling ski equipment including Piston Bully Snow Cats, T-Bars, snow tubes, snowmobiles, lighting equipment, rental equipment, and china and glassware.
I learned to ski there back in the 90's. We went there for school nights and it was often less crowded than Roundtop was. Sad to see yet another ski slope close. It could have made a good terrain park area if nothing else.
I skied here in the mid 90's on one of my ski 3 resorts in a day adventures. The day I skied here it had seen better days. Very short hill with old lifts. I belive the lift ticket said Crystal Mtn for some reason which I thought was odd. Always sad to see any hill close.
i tubed at blue marsh and i have never skied there though... even though it was small it was like a hometown ski area like doe mountain used to be before it was renamed bear creek and made very public. it is a shame to lose any ski area.
Blue Marsh formerly was named Crystal Mountain. I have an old brouchure in my collection from when it was operating as Crystal Mountain. I can't say for certain when the name change occurred, but I would guess early to mid 1990s. I would guess they were using up old inventory of "Crystal Mt." materials right after the name change. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to ski there.
I was just wondering if anybody has any pictures of the area. I had been night tubing there a couple times with my middle school, in 2002 and 2003. And does anyone know if the area has been sold to anyone else yet? I loved this place, and had a very special night there.
In the 60s-70s, we skiied every Saturday day and Monday nights at Heidelburg Country club (name changed to Blue Marsh ski area) near Berks county. The boots were lace up, the hill was icy, the tow was rope and Jbar- and we loved it! Our lodge was a trailer. The nice country club lodge was off limits, at least to me:)
In the late 80's learned to ski here when ELCO Middle School had a ski club. It's always been Blue Marsh to me. It seemed big enough at the time. In high school they added the triple chair lift. I always hated the T Lift.
Blue Marsh Ski area was previously owned and operated by Heidelberg Country Club, which is still in existance. It used to be called Mount Heidelberg or Heidelberg Ski area. It was never called "Crystal Mountain" - sorry Darrel S. but I skiied at Mount Heidelberg all my life from the mid 1970's thru the late 1980's. Blue Marsh Ski area purchased the mountain and made numerous improvements including adding the triple and double chair lifts as well as the tubing park. It only had a T-bar and rope tow through the days prior to the purchase.
I worked at Blue Marsh the winter of '94, in the ski rental shop. It was a great place to work and grab a few runs afterwords. I learned a lot and met many good people. I believe the owners were the Aicholtz (sp?) family; I do know they had owned Tussey Mt. in State College prior to purchasing Blue Marsh. It served Berks County well...I was sorry to see it close.
Reading these comments on this site really hits home for me too ! As I was raised in Berks County / Wilson School District, Mount Heidelberg for me back in the early to mid - 70's only brings back great momories of a wonderful childhood that all children should get to experience. Learning to ski their as a tween with many of my classmates to help me past the snowplowing phase. Its a shame it seems to be a sign of our poor economic times to have to close a place down that meant so much to so many people in the area. I have since moved to Virginia and have been Snowboarding for the past 15 years or so, and still come back home time to time with fond memories of where it all started for me. Thank you all who worked their, skied their and made it what it was, we all knew it wasn't the longest, steepest, or highest, but it was our friendly neigborhood slope and we LOVED IT ! Thanks for all the memories Heidelberg !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My friends and family loved this place. We all learned to Ski here back in the late 70's early 80's. My dad helped out with the Ski School ( Also member of the Flying Dutchman Ski Club if any of you still remember ?? ) Several of my closest friends had parents involved at the Mt. ( Ski Patrol etc ).
Fast forward 35 Years and I am still living it ( Snowboarder Now ) out west! (Oregon) !! And make frequent side trips to British Columbia, California, Idaho , Nevada, Utah and Washington ! I love telling people about where I first learned how to Ski & Snowboard ! Proud to be part of Berks County !
I used to come here to snowboard in the winter of 88/89 with my family. Back then, it was easier for Burton Snowboards to publish a list of areas in the nation that allowed snowboarding. This was one of the few areas. I had one half hour lesson by an instructor and I was off & running. I loved it. I brought many friends & family from Pt Pleasant, NJ to Blue Marsh. There was an organization back then called "Snowboarders Express" that would have pickup points on the Garden State Parkway and they would take snowboarders to different ski areas that allowed it. I saw on their schedule that one day they were going to Blue Marsh. At that point, I had never heard of Blue Marsh but I looked it up on my atlas and decided to go by myself. Within a year I went from learning at Blue Marsh to riding Jackson Hole, WY. My mother & I were discussing Blue Marsh today and saying how much we loved the area including the lodge at the bottom.
RIP Blue Marsh - you were great and taught me how to snowboard in 1988.
I've been putting together some short lost ski area tours of some of these closed areas in their current state, along with some of the history I've been able to dig up. I actually grew up nearby, but only visited Blue Marsh to go snowtubing when I was very young in the 1990s, so my first hand experience isn't great. I do remember the hay bales piled at the bottoms of the tubing slopes to stop people from flying off the slope!
So near as I can tell, Blue Marsh started as Heidelberg Ski Club in the late 1960s, founded by John Guenther Jr who also started the country club across the road. John Guenther was something of a figure in the local golf circuit, from what I gathered. I've seen their first year of operation listed as 1968 although the date of installation for the summit t-bar, manufactured by Hall, was 1969. So its possible they operated a rope tow or only had cut the trails prior to that. In any event, this situation continuted until 1986 when the area was leased to a new set of operators headed by Joseph Aicholz. They renamed the area Blue Marsh, and added a Borvig triple chair lift to the top of the hill in 1987. This was also when Blue Marsh started to add a lot of snow tubing slopes and marketed itself as a "winter sports complex". Interestingly, Blue Marsh was also one of the first areas in Eastern PA to allow snowboarding. They added a couple of new trails in the 1990s, but in 1995 the area was already struggling financially. They nearly defaulted on their loans, and from then on it was a slow decline until their final closure in 2005. Ultimately I think this area was just too small to be competitive.
Everything that could be auctioned off, was auctioned off in 2006, and afterwards almost all the structures related to the ski area were razed. About the only things left are the foundations of the chairlifts, and the lift operator's shack at the top of the t-bar line. Most of the area was open field which is still mostly open today, although the trails are starting to grow back in. The area has been slated for development multiple times into a residential community, but so far nothing has materialized.
Here is a link to some video of the area, including some old photos and news clippings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvDb_u205GU