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Laurel Mountain Poll @ DCSKI

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I posted a poll at DCSki.com about the now closed Laurel Mountain in Pennsylvania. I'd like to invite interested Bears who are likely to visit Laurel to participate in the poll. I considered posting the poll here at Epic but I know there are several cross users (opening for irul or like minded wit) on the two sites so I don't want to pad the numbers. You can vote here: Have you ever skied/rode Laurel Mountain?

This is the second consecutive season that Laurel hasn't open and the third time since reopening in the 1999/2000 season after a decade of being dormant. Seven million dollars where invested at that time to build a new lodge and maintenance building, totally revamped snowmaking and a fixed grip Quad. Enormous start up cost due to accelerated development (building began in July '99), debt retirement, and failed attempt to offer summer programs depleted the new owners cash supply. Laurel has no slope side lodging or real-estate development as a source of cash flow by restrictive covenant when the State acquired the resort from the Rolling Rock Club. The State wishes to honor this restriction.

Three years ago the bank foreclosed and assumed most assets and has since been actively seeking an operator. Seven Springs operated the area for one season but has declined to do so the last two years.

A dedicated group including, former season pass holders, former employees, and Laurel Mountain enthusiasts have been working with the consent of the PA State Parks (ski area is a State Park) and Somerset Trust (owns most of the infrastructure) to explore the possibility of forming a non-profit or not for profit corporation to run Laurel. If you want to be involved or stay informed PM or e-mail through EpicSki or DCSki. If you care to share your ideas and opinions please post in this thread.

Oh yes, I know the poll is flawed so tell me why.

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post #2 of 4
I won't be voting in your poll due to geography, but it occurs to me this season ma not be the best time to second guess a closing that was probably based largely on economic factors. Pennsylvania ski operators are taking it in the shorts this year with no natural snowfall, warm temperatures and crowds staying away in hordes. That said, we appreciate your hospitality and the availability of off-slope activities.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I appreciate your comments and yes, this season would have been a disaster had Laurel opened. Without a doubt Laurel was closed for economic reasons but I think the primary reason was the inflated cost of a hurried development which depleted cash reserves that could have sustained operation until Laurel reestablished its market, not to mention money that could have been used to expand snow making.

Using very conservative numbers generated by use during the last years of operation Laurel can make a profit if debt retirement weren't so high. I doubt the bank will ever recoup all of its investment so may settle for an amount that is manageable for another operator.

Just to highlight the difficulties Pa resorts are having, take a look at this:
post #4 of 4
LM is a sweet little mountain. They have some unique economic hurdles that tent to drive away investors interested in a relestate based business model.
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