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Blue Knob's Plans
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Updated an hour ago
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7 months ago
I asked Blue Knob on their FB page what they have cooking for next year. Here’s what they said:

“Still working on snowmaking repairs and upgrades.Working on lifts. New tubing park will be open. Also, renovations on the Black Bear. Probably some more changes in the Summit Lodge, as well.”

They later clarified that the lifts needed a lot of catch up on maintenance.

Sounds like they have a good handle on things - getting the infrastructure where it should be then they’ll have a good base for upgrades.

Kudos to the new owners for being very active and engaged with the community!

They’re also doing a big fireworks bash on the 7th, claiming to be PA’s highest fireworks show.

4 months ago
Is there a good place to post pictures? Blue Knob’s tube park is mostly together now and looks fun - the backstop is all fill, and it’ll look better in the snow, but it’s major progress.
4 months ago
The advanced editor has a way to post pictures directly into posts. I’m also mention this again since this is the BK thread … BK is offering season pass holders to ANY resort $30 day and twilight sessions on weekdays (non-holiday, of course). That’s $13 off their regular price.
4 months ago

Its great they they are responsive… but if they are doing so much great infrastructure work, why don’t they promote it?  There is zero information about mountain upgrades on their website, and only an occasional post on Facebook, which is mainly dedicated to pushing their wine tastings/golf specials/labor day dinner etc etc etc.  I get that the partners are in it for the long haul and are prudently deploying capital… but a bit more effort on the marketing side would help sell more season passes, which would help replenish the coffers for the deferred maintenance, which would help make the ski experience more enjoyable, which they could promote, and sell more passes… rinse wash repeat.

As for myself, I’m ready to buy a pass once I know they can keep 50% of the mountain open on a consistent basis, AND get extrovert open. 

4 months ago

Wow … I had a long post and it timed out on me.  Hate when that happens! :D

At any rate, I agree with you - they need more advertising (especially the “free” stuff like FB and their website) and a much more reliable snowmaking system.  They also need to attract new blood up there. Season passes were ridiculously cheap in the spring (as low as $199), and the $30 weekday ticket to other resorts’ pass holders can help bring people up to try it.

I think there are a few things in play here. I think the first thing is they want to become a year round resort, and they’re advertising the golf and other events heavily to get awareness that there’s more to do there than just ski or to go to the park. Having grown up in the area, no one ever thought about the resort after ski season was over. People would hit the state parks for the free activities like swimming and hiking. Few knew they had a golf course up there.  At any rate, get that off-season money flowing and you have more money for improvements.  Take the focus off there too soon and you can kill that market off sooner than you want.  Roundtop’s doing more or less the same thing - heavily promoting their summer activities.  It’s only been in the last few days they’ve hinted at any new announcements for the winter (even though WT and Liberty did a long time ago).

I don’t think deferred maintenance excites anyone. The general public won’t see it for the most part. Maybe a new coat of paint, but who’s going to see the snowmaking and lift repairs, snowcat upgrades, etc?  The improved snowmaking may excite some, but for most people, it’s going to look like the same resort.  It’s playing catch up to everyone else - not doing anything new and exciting.

Anyone know what the water situation is? I see a few streams at the bottom of the hill, and a few smaller ponds at the top.  So even if they can fix the infrastructure, do they have the water to really cover stuff?

I know they applied for a $2.5M grant from the state shortly after purchasing the resort, but I have no idea if they got it. Or if they did, when the cash will come. That’s a huge infusion for them, considering the estimated sales price was only around $1.3M.  They also hired Scott Bender from 7S, so I’m sure there’s some prioritization and long term planning going on.

I’m curious as to how much veto power the state has on their plans.  Only about 1/3 of the total acreage they own is on state park land.  Most of the ski runs are on private land.  It’s the resort buildings at the top of the mountain and end of the old Condo trail that are on park land. Makes sense why the lease is so low.

At any rate, as far as open terrain goes, 50% of the mountain is a relative term. How much is that really?  Better question is how much can be covered by snowmaking?  BK has a lot of natural snow areas, and they also pad the heck out of the trail count. Aside from a couple difficulty changes on the Twins and Shortway, all the upper/lower stuff is garbage. Extrovert, Expressway, Stembogan, Mambo/RunOut - all one run each.  Reality is you probably have about 16 full runs with snowmaking on them.

Extrovert’s always going to be dead last to get the guns.  It takes much more snow to open (hence time and money), and only a few people have the skill to get down it - especially once it bumps up.  Not a good return on investment in the beginning. Starting with Mambo and the beginner area, then everything serviced by the Expressway triple, then the Twins/Stembogan gets a lot open for the vast majority of people.  Then it makes sense for Extrovert to get the love.

But yeah, they need the snowmaking and water to make that happen. Between a limited amount of guns and pipes bursting (hence why Expressway opened way late), it takes them way too long to get to the good stuff.

What I’d like to see is them hook up with SnowTime - perhaps sell an add on to the passes there and get some more people up there.  BK isn’t that much farther from Baltimore/DC than WT,and that can bring in some new blood and revenue for future improvements.

3 months ago

So does anyone know, what is Blue Knob’s water situation?  As we all know, snowmaking maintenance and upgrades doesn’t get you very far if you can’t pull more water…

3 months ago

It’s an improvement if they can at least use the water they do have more efficiently than they have in the past.

I’d suggest posting on their FB page and asking.  The owners are quite responsive.

 

2 months ago

Anyone from DCSKI going to this?  Would be great to get a summary of the discussion as it relates to infrastructure, snowmaking, etc

2 months ago

Can interested parties crash the event? 

2 months ago

It’s posted on their FB site. Asking there won’t hurt.

one month ago

Did anyone go to the “meet and greet”?

one month ago
Bad news folks. BK posted on FB that their snowmaking system is offline at the moment. They haven’t been able to get the new pump installed yet (pics on their FB page). They started making snow at the top a couple weeks ago, but they can’t get the water to the rest of the mountain. They’re hoping to get it up soon, but didn’t indicate when. Just promised regular updates.

Hopefully they get it unchanged quickly and get the snow cranking. In the meantime, there relying on mother nature.

one month ago

Credit to BK and new owners, they are taking a more pro-active approach to PR and mountain updates, even when things go sideways (at least on Facebook).  This morning they provided an update: “Snowmaking Update: We had the guns on last night until about 11:3o..that’s when we developed some leaks on the Route 66 and Stembogan lnes. Repairs are underway and we will be back on line as soon as possible.”  Great to see the transparency and effort and I definitely plan to spend some time and dollars at BK this winter.

 

one month ago

Agreed. I think it’s helping a lot for the PR that there are issues and being worked, rather than not knowing what’s going on up there.  Folks are more willing to be paitent if they know what’s going on and seeing progress towards a solution - especially the season pass holders. The new owners seem to be making the necessary repairs that have long been neglected.  As somone on FB says, it takes awhile to correct 20+ years of band aid fixes.

They’re planning to open for the weekend, and perhaps midweek.

It’ll be great when they can start making true upgrades to the area rather than fixing all the maintenance backlog. I think BK has a bright future.

one month ago

What percentage of a typical winter does Blue Knob get all the slopes open? I’ve only been once during a pretty tough winter for skiers, so a bunch of trails and even some lifts were closed. It was still a really good day as we had a little powder falling during our visit. I want to go back, but it just hasn’t happened yet because my ski buddies don’t usually go that direction.

 

one month ago

wfyurasko wrote:

What percentage of a typical winter does Blue Knob get all the slopes open? 

In my 12 yrs as a PA resident, I’d say only a few days per season, and the last 2 seasons have been 0 days of 100% open. I have an “indicator trail” that I use to gauge whether I should go or not, and that trail hasn’t turned on lately, so I went anyway on the last weekend last year and still had a great day.

one month ago
What run is that?
one month ago

superguy wrote:

What run is that?

Edgeset is my minimum, but I really look for Ditch Glades

one month ago

I had indicator trails, then I realized they never updated their website.

Blue Knob in powder, deep powder is incredible.  I drove up there in 2010 after the 3’ storm and it was hands down the best skiing I’ve ever had in PA.  The woods were open everywhere, the mountain shines in great conditions.

I prefer to hit BK after two things: a decent base exists, and a storm passes through.  It has a reputation of being icy, but what isn’t icy around here?  I prefer Stembogan with bumps after a storm.  It’s a fun trail bumped up, not as fun as a race track.

What’s nice about BK is you can see the conditions on Extrovert from the lift without having to ski it. 

There really isn’t anything similar around. I’ve had some excellent days with nice conditions, no crowds and rubber legs after 5hrs of constant laps.

one month ago

oddballstocks wrote:

I had indicator trails, then I realized they never updated their website.

I know, I’ve been burned by that more than a couple times. Website says one thing, Facebook another thing, ropes on the ground say ????.

one month ago

I thought Edgeset was a natural snow area?

one month ago

From their Facebook, it looks like they might be able to open some beginner areas this weekend, but they are still waiting until Friday to make the call. This warm up and rain storm is really putting a damper on what should have been a bunch of resorts opening weekend.

one month ago

I wouldn’t count on them opening.  If all they have is those 2 trails and limited snowmaking, they need to keep what they have so they can move on to getting more open.

The late upgrades and issues on the 66 and Stembogen lines late in the game didn’t help.  The good news is at least they’re finding the problems and getting them fixed.

one month ago

BK started making snow again and plans on opening this weekend.  Didn’t know how many runs, but said that to the bottom was a possibility.

My guess is it’ll be runs hanging off the Expressway triple and Runout to the bottom.  An interesting tidbit - Lower Rt 66 doesn’t have snowmaking.  I thought both of the twins had it.

one month ago

Bummer they are supposed to get ore rain this weekend.  They cant seem to catch a break.

26 days ago

BK’s opening Mambo down to the Expressway triple tomorrow. Tix going up to $30, open until 10pm.

19 days ago

Has bk ever been in worse shape this time of year?

 

19 days ago

jacksonkillelea wrote:

Has bk ever been in worse shape this time of year?

 

They’ve been pretty rough the past 2 seasons also. Barely 2 days of fully open in both those seasons.

19 days ago
Yeah, especially because been trying to do things right and they keep finding broken stuff to fix. Unfortunately, they bought a mess and it’s taking a bit to clean up. My hat’s off to them for giving it the love it needed after so many years of neglect. That place has so much potential with the right owners and money put in to it. I hope these new owners have the resources to make it thru these first few years.
19 days ago

superguy wrote:

 My hat’s off to them for giving it the love it needed after so many years of neglect. That place has so much potential 

Yep, big effort and much appreciated.

14 days ago

Looks like good snowmaking weather is returning tomorrow and some natural snow too….  Lets see how much these fixes can help them.

5 days ago

Stembogen and RunOut open this weekend, so some love all the way to the bottom.

Bunnyhop (aka Jack Rabbit) and Deer Run are up next.  Interstingly enough, it seems like a lot of their guns are mobile.  That explains why they seem to be slower than the rest at getting stuff open.

4 days ago

Why do you think they blew on stembogan before deer and jack?

 

4 days ago

My guess is that the more experienced natives are getting restlesssend need some challenge and gives them a chance to run the whole mountain. The other 2 funnel into Expressway, so this can help spread crowds out a little more too and get another lift open.

I’m also guessing that they have to make snow on Upper HH for easier access on Deer Run. I think after those, they’ll only have Lower HH and Extrovert to make snow on, and maybe a couple little crap runs at the top. Lower 66 doesn’t have snowmaking.

an hour ago

I am really pulling for the owners but this season isn’t very confidence inspiring… here we are with maybe 60-70 days left in the season and-

Roundtop, Liberty & Whitetail: 90-100% Open

Seven Springs about 85%

Wisp about 70%

Wintergreen about 55%

Laurel about 43% 

Blue Knob about 32%

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