Are ski area with PA state parks a dying breed?
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padjaski68
February 20, 2023
Member since 01/21/2016 🔗
95 posts

How many ski areas are currently operating within PA state parks. Obviously, Laurel Mtn and Blue Knob come to mind. Ski Denton was but not anymore. Blue Knob has struggled for years to make it work, not sure how much land is actually in the state park that they use for skiing. Laurel Mountain reopened with investment under Nutting ownership (cough). Are both operations financially feasible under the watchfully eyes of DNRC? 

What are the pros and cons of operating within the state parks? How can VR make Laurel stay afloat and when does their lease expire to operate the area? Would they renew it? Why has Blue Knob not been able to find right the owners to professionally run it and turn a profit? With a high vertical, you would figure some conglomerate would kick the tires on Blue Knob.

 

Patf1engineer
February 21, 2023
Member since 01/23/2018 🔗
59 posts
The lease at Laurel was extended for a number of years, I want to say 20+, under previous ownership and transferred to Vail. They have a lot of history of operating facilities under those types of leases. I think it has shown to be valuable both as part of the package and as a stand alone facility attracting outside people from Virginia / DC, eastern PA and Ohio. I have spoken to numerous Epic passholders from outside the area who heard about it and wanted to come there.  I think it wall always be third banana to 7 Springs and second to HV but am reasonably confident that it isn't going anywhere.
GGNagy
February 21, 2023 (edited February 21, 2023)
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
504 posts

There are 5 PA state parks that I know of which have had lift served ski areas during their existence as state parks. The three operating ones are Blue Knob, Laurel Mt, and Camelback (in Big Pocono State Park. ) The two lost areas are Ski Denton and Black Moshannon SPs

I would guess that having a concession in a State Park has a LOT of regulatory overhead involving the DCNR. there are also a lot of changes that you cannot do own your own. Many of us remember the huge fight that Nutting had with the State to get 6M of upgrades and how he let the ski area sit during that time without opening.  

[editing to add]

Think about it. that's still a 60% survival rate. While at the same time semi private ski areas that came up as part of the resort home boom of the 60s and 70s are just about completely extinct. So too, at least in PA, are the local feeder hills. I don't know about some of the places in Eastern PA, but Boyce Park is the only one I can think of in Western PA. Apropo to this comment, located in a county park. 

padjaski68 wrote:

How many ski areas are currently operating within PA state parks. Obviously, Laurel Mtn and Blue Knob come to mind. Ski Denton was but not anymore. Blue Knob has struggled for years to make it work, not sure how much land is actually in the state park that they use for skiing. Laurel Mountain reopened with investment under Nutting ownership (cough). Are both operations financially feasible under the watchfully eyes of DNRC? 

What are the pros and cons of operating within the state parks? How can VR make Laurel stay afloat and when does their lease expire to operate the area? Would they renew it? Why has Blue Knob not been able to find right the owners to professionally run it and turn a profit? With a high vertical, you would figure some conglomerate would kick the tires on Blue Knob.

 

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