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Laurel Mountain Video Update

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Here's the most recent drone video of the progress on Laurel as of 4/17. The most significant work is the redesign of Innsbruck trail on skier's far left. It is a much wider and straighter trail than the original which began as a roadway constructed in 1941. You can still see the hairpin turns on either side of the new Innsbruck. The other trail improvement is Deer Path which began life as Crossover rope tow then was recut to create Crossover trail sometime after the first top to bottom lift, a Constam T-Bar built in 1955. Broadway, to the skier's right of Innsbruck, was also saw some work as did Lower Wildcat which is the inside cut of the two fall line cuts on the skier's right side of the mountain. The newest cut to the right of Lower Wildcat is the new chairlift line which unfortunately will not have snowmaking. Construction of the new lift is just beginning. Also note the new snowmaking ponds.





Here's a trail map superimposed over an aerial photo taken before the construction began:


post #2 of 13

This is so cool! I love how smooth the footage is and the fact that you took the time to really "detail" each trail in depth. Is this something you think you could do for other mountains? I love this!!!!!!

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did not shoot the video. The credit goes to Wicklow Aerial. It is a drone for hire for taking both stills and video not just of ski resorts but golf course or anything within the bounds of the law. I think the owner shot video of a college campus. Here's a link to some still that were shot that day:



post #4 of 13

Holy sh!!!t:yahoo:


I just watched that for the first time.  I have a 32" monitor and the sound was cranked way up.  About 15 seconds into it I got goose bumps and my eyes teared up.  You have to be psyched up out of your gourd!


This winter:  be there or be square.

post #5 of 13
Just think if they'd actually done it during ski season...

Link intentionally not embedded to avoid derailing thread: Aerial footage of Whitefish: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8Bt0FCiJHy1TrRX7aqLk5nGF7FhPHK4p
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I never really took the time to give you my impression of the trail work we explored that day. Here's a description of the original terrain that I wrote after the official groundbreaking ceremony: The trail names on the map are Innsbruck and Deer Path




I think that for those of us who see ourselves as skiers we will all say a ski area's terrain plays a large part of that connection. When I discovered Laurel in the mid-1970's I was just rediscovering a sport I was introduced to 10 years earlier. Laurel was not an easy mountain for a novice. Oh, there is good learning terrain, short and tilted just enough. That was it. Even the mile long easiest trail was narrow with hair pin turns to ease the pitch and no snowmaking. It spilled out at the old lodge where once a series of rope tows and a poma lift hauled you back to the top but those were no longer operational. The route down to the sole double chair was a ledge of a nearly straight roadway that traversed the mountain's lower face. The trail was usually icy washboards strewn with every other skier on the mountain. On your right a hillside too steep to turn into and a steep drop into the trees on your left. Then, 200 vertical and over 2,300 feet later, you are spit out to the chairlift loading bowl which is just as icy and steeper to boot. The carnage could be fierce on the weekends. 



As you can see by the video, Innsbruck, the trail to lookers right side of the mountain, is now much straighter and much wider too. Innsbruck was Laurel "easiest" top to bottom trail that had no snowmaking, it was about a Pennsylvania rural road wide and switched back to tame the steepness. In fact Innsbruck began life as a Pennsylvania rural road. the New Innsbruck is modern alpine trail width but is the pitch mellow enough to for a novice? Does the width mitigate the pitch? I'm not sure but at least one will have amble opportunity to tame this novice trail, a full season's worth. If it is a little tougher than the ordinary easy mile then that just means that Laurel is the real deal. Deer Path is the other and that  will also be a totally new experience. The first thing I notice is that the very last pitch of Lower Broadway below Midway is wider too along with the sweeping right hand turn onto the Deer Path. Coming up on the old Hagan's Cut, now marked as the last drop of Innsbruck on the above map, this all feels different. It seems odd until one walks across to the outside, down mountain side of the trail and looks over the downhill side and you realize that the new trail is 30 feet, maybe more, above the original trail which is buried beneath you. The entire length of the trail has been graded down to the chair which no longer sits at the bottom of an icy bowl but now near where the original T-bar loaded. What's become of the icy bowl? Again a walk to the downhill edge of the new trail yields a surprise. That huge boulder, 7 foot tall and almost twice as wide that marked the end of Dream Highway and Lower Wildcat? Is it gone? Well, no but it is almost buried at the edge of the trail below you. Patrollers on that day worried about extracted the injured that might crash and slide down the steep, treeless trailside.


Is it all more novice friendly than before? On that I would have to say yes because the new trails are designed with modern snowmaking and grooming in mind. Will it be first day beginner friendly? No. What it will be are two brand new trails to ski that should be both long and interesting. More snowmaking for all the trails that had snow making before. A new chairlift line skiable with enough natural and as steep as Wildcat. Some of the old character has been changed, a few of the switchbacks are still along the edges of the new Innsbruck but will never ski the same again. Timbertop Slope below Midway Cabin will again be isolated as the quad chair at the bottom will be removed. What is now there is twice as wide yielding more new ski terrain and there is the eternal truth: when there is snow on the mountain, Laurel will shine.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Lift towers being placed at Laurel this past weekend. Thanks for the picture Adam Mcmillen.



post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Take a 15 minute Gopro ride on tower 9 as it and the next tower are installed with a helicopter. 


post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

Take a 15 minute Gopro ride on tower 9 as it and the next tower are installed with a helicopter. 


Cool!  Best parts are from 4-7 min and then at the end 14-16 min when you can see the heli bring in the top of the next tower.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yes, the best part for me is when the top of tower 9, with the camera attached, as it is lifted from the summit parking lot and pans over the summit then across the top of the ridge then down the Ligonier valley.  That starts around the 4 minute mark.Next season I hope will will be blessed with good natural snow so that lift line is skiable. The lower end of that liftline has not been skiable since 1989. The last, steepest pitch was closed 1999-2005 because the replacement double chairs were too long risking head knocking skiers, especially when loaded. The lift line you see in the video is twice as wide as the original.


There is no solid word yet on ticket prices. Rumor has it the there will be no Laurel Mountain only season pass???? That might not be a bad thing depending on the single weekend rate. Someone recently observed that season pass rates are too low and day rates are too high. One thing is for sure. Laurel must be able to sustain itself, at the very least. 

post #11 of 13

Would not want to be one of those guys perched on the top of that lift tower trying to "catch" the top part (cross arm and support assembly?) being lowered down by the helo. :o  

That's a lot of heavy metal to possibly get "nudged" by.  I guess the next thing they were going to do is bolt or weld that top part to the top of the tower?

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

No doubt it is bolted at least initially. I see no welding equipment in the video and no noticeable arc flash near the camera while we wait for the next tower to be placed.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 


Bull wheels are in place. Photo provide by Austin Messaros.

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