Jeremy Reynolds found a lost ski area in Virginia, and was lucky enough to talk to the current land owner and to take some photos. Jeremy writes:
Would the current owner allow any hike-to-ski these days? Conditions permitting?
From the looks of your pics, it seems relatively brush-free and skiable.
This ski area at one time was listed on Alpine Ski Shops (Oakton, VA) ski area pamphlet in the mid 70's. When I was in high school we had a snowday, and decided to go here instead of our usual Bryce Mtn. After leaving Manassas at 6:00am we found it, closed and out of business, about 1:00pm. Needless to say wasting a snowday didn't sit well. This was the winter of 1977, just another little tidbit of history.
When the Mountain Run ski area first opened, it was to have been part of a development of vacation homes, for which a number of lots were sold. At that time other ski areas in the vicinity were going private, meaning you could only buy ski tickets if you owned a share or a lot in their development.
The Mountain run developers apparently got in over their heads and abscounded, leaving the buyers of lots in their development with inaccessable land of little value, and the ski area abandoned to decay.
The owner was very frendly and said his son was thinking about starting up the old lift so he could use the trails for mountain biking. I've been by there more recently and it seems like they don't want to be bothered; as a new chain across their driveway shows...
I am very familiar with Mountain Run as I grew up in Mt Jackson. I think the owner was in a bit of a hurry to develop the area. For example, there were 4 slopes that were cut but never used. There were also plans for a golf course in which the trees were cleared but that's as far as it went. There were 3 runs served by the chairlift that is still standing. They were very short, even by Virginia standards. They used very high-tech (for the time) fan type snow guns that did not need compressed air. They had plenty of water as they dammed up a stream called, you guessed it, Mountain Run. I just drove by the area several days ago and the pond they created is still there. My Dad was an instructor there and it was there that he taught me to ski. The ski school director was an Austrian, but I don't recall his name. We had a lot of fun there in the early 1970's.
I've been recently looking at property in the Shendandoah Valley and was surprised to see that a local attorney is attempting to sell parcels and homes again in Mountain Run ( http://www.mountainrun.org/ ) A realtor told me that the attorney had even attempted to collect on "membership fees" from Mountain Run property owners - for services which have never been provided prior to or following the bankruptcy in the 1970s
Does anyone have any other updates for this resort? If anyone knows of any Ski maps or old pics from the resort in sure the current owner would love to get there hands some type of old history.
These coordinates will help you find the approximate top of the ski area on google maps or similar: 38.720659,-78.571998. You can see the slopes pretty clearly, as they pine trees they are overgrown with standout clearly against the hardwoods. Also, you can see the nice clear path of the lift going from Moreland Gap Road up towards Forest Drive. Rough guess... looks like the place might have had about a 120 ft verticle drop! As Jeremy pointed out, extending to the top of the mountain would have offered more like 700 or 800 ft of verticle drop. There does appear to be a damned creek, but it is Gap Creek, not Mountain Run, as Mountain Run appears to be quite a bit north of the location.
I skied there about 10 times around 1975, when nearby Bryce mountain was just too crowded. I was around 11 years old and recall having alot of fun there with a couple of friends. Typically there were maybe 100 skiers tops all day divided amongst 3 slopes with most of the adults just hanging out at the base. I had an old trail map showing "future" development that of course never happened. If you drive north on I81 and look over to the ski area, you can clearly see the pine forest that grew up in the area of the runs.
My family has claimed residency to hidden pass since the 50's. the technology of making snow wasn't quite there yet. The slopes weren't really that great either. it also got too much sun and heat.If they tried doing it again it might have a better chance of surviving because of snow making equipment. The people had a brilliant and great vision for a resort.
Im glad it didn't happen though because my property is very quiet and light pollution free. I use it as an escape to get away from people and lights. Everybody who lives up here also feels that way.
The layout of the resort and building structures were designed by the FL Wright foundation. Plans were to extend 4 runs up through the National Forest, build expansive lodging, erect community buildings all in a PUD type development. The son of one of the developers still lives in the valley, Brad Pollack.
I have been an Owner of a lot in Hidden Pass Subdivision which is adjacent to Mountain Run from almost the beginning. Yes, Mountain Run was planned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and it laid out roads and lots. Hidden Pass was not a part of Mountain Run. Maintenance of Hidden Pass road was contracted for by B K Hanes of Front Royal and they have basically disappeared from their duties let alone continuing the billing for the service. It is necessary to research to see what the financials as to if any funds remain and if the maintance expenses were paid. If anyone know the details of this please contact me at MGLAIA@aol.com. There were probably maintenance funds collected for Mountain Run but I have no records as to who was responsible for those transactions. The road contitions in Hidden Pass and Mountain run are deplorable.
Marlin G. Lord