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Active ski areas w/ mtn-top resort complex

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This question falls into the ski trivial pursuit category.

I'm trying to do some research about ski areas with a primary resort complex/base lodge situated at the top of the ski hill, rather than at the bottom. This is a characteristic somewhat common in the southeast/mid-Atlantic where I come from. There also seem to be a number of "upside down" ski areas in the lower elevation hills of the Midwest. This design choice is not too practical in the Rockies or other areas with large verticals or extreme winter weather, but I'm guessing there is a fair sprinkling of such counterintuitive layouts around the US. In my region building everything at the summit offers more snowy and cold weather to facilitate the ski operation and doesn't present an untenable transportation problem since natural snow levels are modest even at 3000 or 4000 feet.

It is pretty astounding what has been built on the top of some fairly serious mountains at some of these upside-down ski areas. At Snowshoe, WV for example, Intrawest has spawned a huge complex of condos, restaurants, night club, waterpark, etc. that can sleep 5000, all atop 4848' Cheat Mountain. Wintergreen, VA is similar, but also has an 18 golf course (Devil's Knob) at an elevation approaching 4000' that is not far from their summit ski complex.

Curious about where else you folks have seen such layouts? I'm primarily thinking of areas where the main resort complex/base lodge is at the summit, not areas with multiple bases at different points on the mountain, but comments on the latter with noteworthy mid-mtn or summit facilities are also welcome. Canadian or European examples are also of interest.

Thank you. Feel free to edit/correct/amplify list below.

Active ski areas with a mountaintop resort complex or base lodge:

Blue Knob, PA
Laurel Mtn, PA (closed this year, open in 2005)
Snowshoe, WV
Wintergreen, VA
Sundown Mtn, IA (riverside)
Indianhead Mtn, MI
Norway Mtn, MI
Powder Mtn, UT (not sure if summit lodge is primary)
Ski Sunrise, CA (recently absorbed as North Resort of Mountain High?)
Le Massif, Quebec (riverside)
post #2 of 11

There are a couple of western resorts that come to mind that would vaguely fit your definition in a couple of different ways:

Squaw Valley: While the larger base area is further down, the High Camp area is essentially a base area in itself accessed via cable car. There are numerous lodging and entertainment facilities there, and while not at the top of the mountain per se, it's definitely not at the bottom either.

Sunshine Village: Again, the base area is not at the top of the mountain, but one does need to take the gondola up from the parking lot to the main base area village where there are the typical amenities like the base lodge and a hotel.

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 11
Not operational anymore, but the first place I ever skiied 30 years ago. Big Vanilla at Davos. It was in the Cattskills, NY. We were a bunch of dumb Cub Scouts who knew how to do hockey stops. So we were on the "expert" runs by our 3rd run. Hey who needs lessons when your 12 & fearless.
post #4 of 11
How about Bear Valley, California where the main skiing (and vertical) is below the lodge ? The beginner and intermediate skiing goes up though.
post #5 of 11
I'm sure there are lots of places with a "mid-mountain" type of area. Deer Valley comes to mind.

The only other place I know of that has nothing at the bottom of the mountain and everything at the top is Tanglewood in PA. It's a little tiny place with about 8 or so trails and about 500' of vertical.
post #6 of 11
Blacktail in Montana is one of these upside down resorts too.
post #7 of 11
Silver Mtn, Kellogg ID arguably is one. you can buy tickets at the lower gondola station where you load up with your ski gear, etc, but you're not really at the "lodge" and center of ski/snowboard operations until you get to the top gondola station and related buildings. you can't ski down to the base gondola station unless you have an amazing ability to keep your skis going uphill on pavement.
post #8 of 11
Jack Frost in PA is upside down, and Montage is the only place I have been to where the base lodge and parking lot is actually in the middle of the mountain.

post #9 of 11
Sprit Mountain in Duluth MN has the lodge at the top. In fact, all the parking lots are on the top too. Lutsen ski area in MN also has a weird lodge location. A good bit of the skiing is below the lodge, but it is not at the "top" of the mountain.
post #10 of 11
Treetops sylvans resort east of Gaylord MI is one of the lodge on top resorts. Its also overrun with kids on weekends
post #11 of 11
Craigmere, a small area in NJ was upside down. Closed in 1998. http://www.craigmeur.com/pr04.htm
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