Speaking truth to powder.
Skiing the Laurels - 2020/2021
13 posts from 7 users
Updated 6 days ago
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20 days ago

I have been watching Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain getting ready for the 2020/2021 ski season. However, no COVID type policy has been issued by Seven Springs. Typical Eric Mauch management style…wait until the last minute. I have not tracked the Laurels other 2 resorts, Wisp and Blue Knob to see what’s up. I am sure they are all  itching to get some revenue. I also have not heard anything about new improvements. Given how miserable 2020 has been with the pandemic riots, the election, Trump, fires, hurricanes, etc, I SO look forward to skiing. A bad ski weather season would be the nail in the coffin. For all you Laurels skiers, what are your thoughts about the upcoming ski season?

20 days ago

This year I downgraded to a Laurel only season pass because I had been getting the PASA Dedicated Skier Pass and planned to use that to ski 7S and other PA resorts. Well the PASA pass was discontinued for good. Anyways, those were my plans before the pandemic. Now I’ll wait and see how covid runs its course before I make any plans. I’ve already accepted that we might not ski at all this winter due to our vulnerability to covid because of underlying medical conditions.

Needles to say, I am not organizing any volunteer trail and glade cleaning days at Laurel this Fall. Also not putting together a Gathering GTG either. I’m not going to be a volunteer for the herd immunity army and I will not ask anybody else to do so either.

I’ve been up to 7Springs a number of times this summer/fall, since we have a condo there. I find 7Springs management to be mediocre. If the North family had Nutting’s money and owned 7S, it would be top shelf. That said, it looked like the resort did solid business this summer.

Complaints aside, 7S is a “steady eddie”. It will never be spectacular with the current management, but it will never go broke either. They will make modest investments here and there, like repaving all of the roads in the resort, creating paved footpaths up by the condos, renovation of various spaces, upgrading snowmaking nozzels, etc.

This summer, all around the base and top of the Avalanche lift was dug up. I got excited, thinking “they’re finally going to replace this dog”. In the end, it looks like it was just repair work. I saw crew replacing some snowmaking sticks on the mountain. Management just seems content with the status quo. I wish they’d upgrade a lift or cut a new run once every 10 years.

We have season passes and are thrilled that 7S doesn’t join the passes IKON, etc. Crowds have been much better than other places I’ve skied in the mid-Atlantic on weekends. That’s it for the 7S update.

19 days ago

Nutting is dumping all of the money back into the Pirates and we will just have to be satisfied with having a top shelf baseball team even if it means medicore management of the ski areas.

In all seriousness though, I spent more time than usual around 7S and HV this summer.  They were very busy with people because of the popularity of outdoor activities and the crush of out of towners, but a lot of the revenue sources were not there or reduced.  So I am quite sure they didn’t have the best summer and they really can’t be faulted for taking a wait and see approach heading into this ski season.

I had to talk to someone at the pass office this week and they acted like it’s business as usual with regard to skiing, but who knows. 

19 days ago

Got an email from Hidden Valley last week stating the following;  “We hope to have details about winter operations completed in the next few weeks. Rest assured, we will be skiing and snowboarding this year and will be doing it in a safe, yet fun manner.”  Expect that they are waiting to see covid status by opening time and are working through possible options based on that. Can’t blame them with so many variables at play

Having 2 AirBnB properties in the area, what I can say is this has been the busiest fall ever, booked solid every day.    Since school and work is still virtual for lots of people, that has opened up midweek travel and everone is looking to get away in a distanced way.  Would expect some of that to continue into the ski season, and this could be a great season for the resorts with  higher midweek visitors IF they can adapt to the situation.   For example, would expect that people may not want to congregate in the lodges, but outdoor food and bar could do great. Similarly distanced vacation homes may be preferred over hotels like 7S and local B&B’s. Could also benefit from fewer people looking to get on airplanes to head west, and instead opting for drivable options such as the Laurels.

19 days ago

Owners of Blue Knob are still sputtering along… did they make any off season improvements?  Like, any?  Their facebook page does a fantastic job of pushing the Clubhouse Surf and Turf specials…

17 days ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Their facebook page does a fantastic job of pushing the Clubhouse Surf and Turf specials…

No kidding. Could they put that kind of marketing energy into their daily snow reports, or snowmaking??

17 days ago

I believe the group that purchased Blue Knob several years ago have some of the same members that tried to buy Hidden Valley from the Bunchers. They could not come up with the money to close the deal and thus the reason why HV is now owned by 7S. You would need deep pockets to provide the investment needed at BK. I don’t think they have that kind of capital. 

13 days ago

Right, they don’t and they won’t.  Unless they bring in a partner (doubtful but could happen) or they pursue some more debt (not gonna happen).  Also uhelpful that the group is all Pittsburgh based.  No owner onsite on a daily basis.  So like many partnerships that start off with such great promise, they will all start looking at each other sideways over next few years wondering - after they bought a resort with a lot of deferred maintenance, and in three years managed to add one pump and fix two broken snow making pipes - why haven’t thousands of more lift tickets been sold?

Meanwhile 7S is a mob scene every Sat and Sun December through March.  Sigh.

13 days ago

Note that HV and LM recently re-advertised their early season , season pass deal. I am wondering if they have a reduced number of season pass renewals because of COVID. Perhaps many people were wondering if they would even be open? And thus delayed their decision on getting a season pass.

LHC- how about getting a mid-week pass for LM? Low crowds=low risk?

12 days ago

Season pass prices for 7S and the Highlands Pass (good at all 3) were also reduced to pre-season levels. For example, the Highlands Pass has been reduced to $630. I believe that is $100 less than a few weeks ago. The 7S only pass is $613. Click here for details. The Hidden Valley only Season Pass is $483 as is the Laurel Mountain only Season Pass. There are discounted prices for seniors, juniors, and children, midweek, etc. Also a discount for paying with cash or check. 

Snowsmith, I already have a full Laurel only season pass. I purchased it just a week before the lockdown. We will wait and see how Laurel’s season unfolds and if there is an uptick in visitors hoping to avoid crowds. If we do go our car will be our base lodge. 

7 days ago

Perhaps most don’t know your 7S, HV or LM season pass and the combined Highland Pass include a resort swap and ski lift ticket discounts at the ‘Mountains of Distinction’:

- if you have a HV, LM or 7S pass, you get a free day(Sunday -Friday) at all three resorts and also a free day at Wisp Resort and Wintergreen. After using your free day you get 50% off for each visit there after. Of  course if you have a Highland pass you can ski at all three  -HV, LM & 7S anytime.

- the ‘Mountains of Distinction’ include: Massachusetts: Jiminy Peak, Wachusetts;  NH: Cranmore;  NY: Bristol Mtn, Holiday Valley, Ski Windam;  Vt: Bromley. For all of these resorts, you get $15 off lift tickets on Sat., Sun., and Holidays. Mid-week you get 50% off lift tickets.

- Ski Cooper, CO: you can get 3 free lift tickets for this ski resort, any day, no black out dates.

Ski Cooper is not far from Breckinridge and historic Leadville. If we’re able to make it to CO this year, it may be worth spending a day or 2 skiing at Cooper.

Bristol Mtn NY has a 1,200 foot vertical and is about 2 hours from Holiday Valley. It’s also in Finger Lakes wine country.

Has anyone from DCski ever skied Bristol Mtn?




6 days ago

I went to college in Rochester and spent quite a few Wednesdays at Bristol (college discount day, whoo hoo!).  It is eerily similar to Whitetail but just a hair bigger.  6 or 7 trails down the fall line, meandering green trails off to skiers right, and they have a few black trails about the same as pitch as Exhibition and Bold Decision (and they used to let one trail bump up, just like Whitetail lays off Bold Decision).  So nothing terribly unique but a great mountain for getting some runs in.  Almost forgot - right in lake effect snow country, so they can have great conditions when just a few hours south there is no snow in sight.   

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