Warm thoughts about climate change.

Webmasters Note: Over 20 years ago I sold my Pittsburgh home and rental properties and moved to the foothills of a speedbump to the Rockies, 7 Springs. In the following years I gained a life partner “Abe”  and a ski partner Jim “Kapper” Kapp both who lived the winter life with me in the Laurel Highlands and mountains through the world. How many MLK and Presidents weekends Kapper and I danced down the edge of corkscrew and Avalanche or bombed the Gunar chair line in fresh POW? Night excursions along the LH Trail in snowshoes or just post holing in our yard or faceplanting off the deck into feet of snow satisfied my appetite for winter. As I look out of my office window today at the brown field and blooming Roaring Run forest across from the house those snowy days are just memories from  a guy that has been looking out that window nearly every day for over 20 years. The “LET IT SNOW” sign came down this year, although it was greatly needed. I concur with Pats observations. R. Wagner

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The Global Warming/Climate Change Disappointment.
by patmccloskey

So far this winter season, I have had to chase the snow. From skiing and hiking in the rain, to heading west earlier this month, and later next month, to actually ski in some honest to goodness snow. But like I always say, I can’t be out west all of the time so I need to maximize my winters right here at home. Recent meteorological history suggests that climate change is a reality around these parts. Here in Southwest Pa, we are right on the borderline of the snow/rain events. So you really need to head north of Interstate 80 to get to snow country that so far has eluded the climate change issue. At least for now. We had that opportunity this past weekend when Janet and I ventured north to Bradford, Pa. The Icebox of Pennsylvania. I love winter and have posted about that love many times. But when you are standing on a pair of snowshoes and stopping to view and hear the gurgling of a winter mountain stream, it takes your breath away. There is complete silence in the wilds of Pennsylvania save the running water under the ice laden streams. One of the cool things about snowshoeing is that you can easily manage the trails by staying on top of the snow instead of post holing with your hiking boots. We use ski poles as well to aid in our balance and the movement among the snow covered pines and over the bridges of the streams. And if you want to go off trail and bushwhack to get to another stream or point of interest, the drifts are no match for snowshoes. I love bounding over drifts and off trail to enjoy all that the woods have to offer this time of year.

I always struggle to get the most ski days, schlepp equipment to the airport and to the ski areas, get some snowshoe days, look for snow, and in general get what I once had as a regular thing. I never had to search for winter. I grew up with it. Sled riding in the neighborhood with snow all winter. My dad built a skating rink for us in the backyard. We never had issues with weather. Winter was winter. Now we fight the weather, the rain, the sleet, and try to make the most of it outdoors. Sometimes we just have to go on the search for winter because this issue of climate change is affecting our weather down here in the banana belt and it is frankly discouraging to a winter guy like me. At the end of the season, I almost breathe a sigh of relief that the tension I put on myself is over for another year. I get mad at the forecasts, I constantly look at ski reports, I DVR ski races to ease my pain. I can vicariously root for Mikaela Shiffrin or Tommy Ford on the TV after a rain soaked ski day here in the changing weather scene. I will do whatever to enjoy the winter and that includes making things as easy as possible for my wife whose passion for the winter is not as keen as mine.

Please note that my wife calls me the Sherpa. Ang McCloskey Sherpa. Two pair of skis, two pair of boots in the pack, two helmets and goggles. She handles the poles. Full disclosure, not that she won’t carry her own stuff, she is perfectly willing. I just do it to make life easy for her and encourage her to chase the snow like me. So bottom line, I am discouraged at the local winters anymore and kind of bummed at climate change and global warming. I do what I can to help the environment in my own small way. I am a contributing member of POW ( Protect our Winters), the Jeremy Jones endeavor to lobby Washington to heed the call on climate change. I know that weather and climate have cycles over the centuries but there is something to be said about what we do to our atmosphere by way of CO2 emissions . I get it. Other countries better get it too!! Otherwise, our winter scenes, mountain streams, ski slopes, and snow clad peaks will be a distant memory for many folks. Support POW. http://www.protectourwinters.org Thanks for reading folks.

patmccloskey | February 24, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Tags: Protect our Winters.org | Categories: Exercise, Hiking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Weather, Winter, winter sports | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-12P
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The Global Warming/Climate Change Disappointment.


Creative Genius

Creative Genius

You don’t have to be a Picasso, or Brahms or Mozart, or even Martin Scorsese to be a creative genius in my book. Lots of my friends are really creative and can look at an opportunity, or a problem, or a riddle and figure out how to best create a solution. Perhaps the best creative genius that I knew, who was able to solve most problems and riddles, was my father. A Carnegie Tech mechanical engineering graduate, Dick McCloskey saw most things as a fun challenge. His engineering mind was always at work and he relished the opportunities to create solutions that would last. He could plumb, do electrical work, solder, and artistically create things like the treasure chest that he made me as a kid. I still have it some 55 years later and store my mountain bike maps there. My dad made us an ice skating rink in the backyard by using 2X4s as rink perimeters and a large roll of Visqueen plastic as the liner to the rink. He would fill it with water every winter and we were not allowed on it until it was completely frozen for fear the skates would cut the plastic. Many nights were spent on that rink on the back patio and it was the centerpiece for the neighborhood kids for winter entertainment.

When I first started to go to Tuckerman Ravine in the spring for the ritual of spring skiing, I needed a way to lash my skis to the external pack that I owned. My dad rigged up some aluminum tubing with some hasps and wing nuts and presto, I had a frame that allowed me to attach my skis with the boots in the bindings to the outside of the pack. Skis pointed to the sky on either side of the pack.

Interestingly, my friend Eric who lived in Vermont at the time, was faced with the same challenge and he made his supports from wood. We have laughed about that in later years as the boy from Steeltown had metal supports and the boy from Vermont had supports made exactly the same from wood. Creative genius from two different perspectives.

But the masterpiece which was created around the same time by my dad, was the ski bench that he made me and I still use some 42 years later and is featured in my blog photo here. I remember going to my dad and saying to him that I needed to have a bench now that I knew how to tune my own skis. Thanks again to my creative genius friend Eric Durfee ,who taught me everything I needed to know about tuning skis. He was also perhaps the best ski instructor I ever had but that is another story. I told my dad that I needed to have a bench using the vices that Eric had given to me and he looked those over with great thought. What popped up in his creative mind was something I would never have imagined. A door from the hardware store complete with hinges. He knew that I needed to have a place for my bindings to fit and he cut the door to the specifications of my skis allowing the bindings to rest in a cut out hole in the door between the two vice pieces. He then mounted the door on the wall of my townhouse in the garage with supports underneath either side of the horizontal door. When I was finished tuning my skis. I flipped the door up to be secured by a hasp on the wall and pushed the supports up against the wall and the whole bench was out of the way until the next time I needed to use it.

The interesting thing is I still use the bench today and as an aside, it also serves as a refrigerator in our garage for items that my wife wants to keep cold. My dad never saw that coming, but the creative genius of my wife allowed her to think about a place to keep things cold in the winter and as long as I did not get metal filings or wax in the food, she was open to storing things on my ski bench when it was not in use for it’s original intent.

I could go on and on about my dad’s creative genius. There were so many things that he made for me that we enjoyed together when I was a kid. Today people just buy things. My dad made them, and his love for creating solutions is something I will never forget. Perhaps the biggest benefit about my dad’s creativity was the chance for me to spend time with him. I cherished those moments and I think about him every time I open up that bench, heat up the iron to wax the boards, and get the file ready for the side edge tunes. My dad never skied, but he and my mother made sure my sister and I did and I am in their debt so many years later. Creative genius is more than just the solution. It is the catalyst to education and a chance for guys like me to appreciate and look back so many years later with thankfulness and love for my dad and mom. Although my creativity is on the other side of the brain, I still look back with respect and love for those who educated me with their ability to see the solution. Thanks for reading.

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What it takes to be a skier in PA.

You Have To Be a Grinder

You know folks, you have to be a real grinder to be a skier in the mid-Atlantic region of our country. We had it rolling this winter with the cold that froze one of my pipes, and created great snow making weather. This coupled with the fronts steamrolling over the Great Lakes provided wonderful lake effect snow and then…………the bottom fell out. 78 degrees last Tuesday with torrential rains coming from, what the weather service calls, a once in a 100 year event. So we go into grind mode and ski in the rain, sleet and other borderline weather that results from low pressure coming up from the Gulf and a shift in the jet stream. But again, we are resilient here in the mid Atlantic/Ohio Valley/Laurel Highlands, and our enthusiasm never wanes.

Take Robert “Wags” Wagner for instance. He is shown above with his affable smile no matter what the weather is. A successful real estate broker, Wags has a real history of enthusiasm for the Laurel Highlands. http://www.laurelhighlandsliving.com wags@abeandwags.com A veteran Green Beret, a PSIA certified alpine and telemark instructor and ski patroller, Wags always looks at the bright side no matter what. He never says “die” and to his credit, he lit his sign again to hopefully bring more snow to the region. There is a lot of history to this sign which used to reside on the balcony of his girlfriend’s condo. Adrienne lived on the third floor and it was quite a task getting the sign up there. She is now Mrs. Wags. But in later years, it was reconstructed and it sits waiting to be lit every fall outside their home off of County Line Road. Now it is lit again hoping that we salvage some snow and ski weather in Western Pa. We need some help from above for some more winter weather which may return this weekend although now it is 66 degrees.

But again, you have to be a grinder here and be willing to ski in the rain, sleet and snow and faithfully get days in locally. I spend many a day driving to Laurel Mountain no matter what the weather. I even went to a snowmakers website http://www.chssnowmakers.com – Jason Sawin at jsawin@chssnowmakers.com , and purchased a pair of water proof snowmaking gloves to go with my Patagonia Pro Gore Tex bibs and parka. I am totally dry now that I have solved the issue of wet gloves. Like my friends, I will ski to the last flake especially here in Western Pa. Even if it is a soggy flake.

However, truth be told, you do have to subsidize your local days with out of town ski days, out west, or in New England. In the last two years, with the weather and all, I must confess that I have more ski days out of town than locally. My wife and I take trips with our friends and in a few weeks, I will finish off the season with the annual guys trip which this year is slated for Colorado. But like I tell people, you can’t always be out west unless you live there and we live in the mid-Atlantic so we make the best with trips and skiing the local scene no matter what.

But what is up with this weather, man? I have been hiking in this biblical rain., skiing, taking spin classes and trying to stay positive- like Wags. But it is tough when the meat of the winter is taken away by some gulf, moisture laden,sopping wet, low pressure system that seems to linger on and on. Good thing is the west is getting snow seeing that they had it a little thin early in the season. But hey, it could be worse. Just like I always say, ” Things always look darkest before they turn black.”……….. Just kidding!! Truly grateful for many things. Thanks for reading.

Go to Pats Blog for more stores about skiing, biking, and hiking in SW PA.


Tough teaching an old dog new tricks Pat McClosky

It is Tough to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

by patmccloskey

Go to Pats Blog for all the photos.

So,I am up here in the Adirondacks visiting my old friend Mike Smith who I have skied with for 45 years. I have posted about Mike before. Acrobatic pilot, skydiver, marina owner, and general gas pedal to the floor guy. That is him on the left in the picture above. The other guy is Mark Hutchinson, my friend from Vermont. Ex ski race coach at Stowe and PSIA Level III 40 year ski instructor. Hutch coached Eric Schlopy and Chip Knight who were US Ski Team members, World Cup racers, and Olympians. Hutch knows skiing and makes great turns.

Now going back to Mike on the left, he has been hampered as of late with some knee issues because of past sins on a motorcycle. So, I have been hammering him on the use of the new ski equipment which allows for easier turns and shorter lengths. Despite the knee issues, he refuses to ski on the modern skis and insists on skiing with a 20 year old pair of Heads. He ridicules us for using the new skis and vows that he never will even try them and hurls a bunch of expletives which I cannot recount here. Hutch on the other hand, is a proponent of modern ski equipment and will never even think about skiing on anything that is not state of the art. He has had two hip replacements and is skiing like he did 30 years ago. He is in good shape, skis really well, all day long.

Now Smith, because of his knee issue, will only ski half a day any more and if it is not perfectly groomed, he will not ski. He is trying to preserve his knee. So when a foot of new snow fell on Sunday night and we went to Gore, I pulled out the fat boards( 107 under foot) and enjoyed the windblown powder and the skis performed flawlessly in the cut up snow as well. Smith said no way with his old skis and went to the lodge. I told him how easy the new fat boards are but he had no interest. His curmudgeon attitude was coming out strong and he missed a perfectly good ski day

The Summit Chair at Whiteface was beckoning the next day, and as Hutch and I got ready to board, Mike said he would just ski the lower groomed trails and missed all the new fluff at the top of the mountain. Again, his old skis were limiting his fun but he refused to try the new skis that I sent up to him. He has a nice pair of Stockli GS skis in a 183 length sitting in his rack at his marina and refuses to try them. When Hutch and I rode him hard at The Cottage after skiing, over a nice Switchback Ale, he once again rattled off a bunch of lines about how he will never use skis like we use. Hutch and I had a great day at Whiteface, Mike once again packed it in at noon.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to paint a bad picture of my old friend, but he refuses to listen to advice about new equipment that would make his skiing so much more enjoyable and also easier on his knee. Mike has always been a good skier but if you don’t keep up with the times, you are limiting yourself and it only accelerates with age. Granted, Mike is a few years older that Hutch and me and has had a plethora of injuries due to his high risk hobbies. He says, ” McCloskey, I have 100,000 miles on my body and it is starting to show.” And I keep telling him that if he would only try the new skis that I sent to him, he would be so much happier. He said, ” when the Heads break, maybe I will try them.” That is the closest thing I have gotten up here to a capitulation. For a guy who has a successful business, survived 3 plane crashes, and has jumped close to 2500 times out of an airplane, he has lived all of his dreams for sure. We love the guy.

The tough part is that Hutch and I ski all day. We can do that because we take care of ourselves and we use equipment that helps our skiing. Mike admitted that he was sorry that he could not ski all day with us, but it is not for lack of skill, or even the knee, it is his refusal to come into the 21st century and it is costing him time on the hill with his buddies. He is an excellent skier. He could be so much better. He also needs to take care of that knee somehow with some surgery that would render it new again. But that is another discussion that did not go well.

Again, I was a smiling dog on top of Whiteface, and so was Hutch. But I missed my old friend when he threw in the towel and went in at lunchtime. So, what lies ahead? I think I have finally admitted to myself that I will not change Mike’s mind and it will only be him that makes any change. That seems to be a recurring theme with me anyhow and I need to let things go and let people make their own decisions. I can’t force my opinions and beliefs on anyone. I need to let people decide for themselves and if I have presented my case and they don’t follow the advice or the suggestion, I need to let it go. I am hoping that my buddy will get competitive again and get on the new boards and ski with his pals who so desperately want to ski with him. He is a crusty old tough guy, but I know he wants to be able to ski like he has always done in the past. So, if you see him up at the Pilot Knob Marina on Lake George, tell him to hang those old Heads up over his fireplace and get with the times. But don’t tell him I said so, because he will throw you in the lake. Thanks for reading and stay current in all that you do.

patmccloskey | February 8, 2018 at 11:47 am | Tags: Gore Mountain Ski Area, The Cottage- Lake Placid, Whiteface Ski Area | Categories: Aging, Friendship, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Skiing, Uncategorized, Winter, winter sports | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-TP

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Lake Erie Fluff by Pat McCloskey

Click on Pats Name to see the article with photos.

Lake Erie Fluff

by patmccloskey

This week, the west is being pounded with “Snowmageddon”. Amazing amounts of snow in the Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain region. I can’t wait to get out there in March, but for the time being we are treated here in the east to the maddening cycle of snow and cold, rain, warmer temperatures, back to cold, ice, wind, etc. etc. etc. It takes fortitude to be a skier in the East and even if there is no snow on the ground in the city and suburbs, don’t ever underestimate the power of grooming, and snowmaking at the local resorts.

Fortunately cycles change and we are blessed periodically with a phenomena that I call Lake Erie fluff. As with the storms that come from the Pacific that bang into the Cascades, we here in the banana belt see storms that come from Canada. They roll over the warmer waters of Lake Erie which produce locally heavy snows in the Western New York areas as well as colliding with the ridges of the Laurel Highlands and produce a light powdery snow that is the fluff. Lake Erie is our “snow machine” and for those who live in the northwest corner of Pa. and Western New York, it is a reality of winter even in the cyclical winters of late. I went to school in Meadville, Pa where I wore Bean boots from September through May. But to local skiers, we look forward to these storms which can salvage the cyclical damage of the winter rain, freezing rain and warmer events.

My wife Janet and I take advantage of these storms each winter snowshoeing and skiing locally but also traveling north to the Lodge at Glendorn http://www.glendorn.com to celebrate her birthday and to take advantage of mid winter storms in the “icebox” of Pennsylvania. Snowshoeing on the local trails there is a very pleasant experience especially when the Lake Erie fluff falls softly during our outings. The crackling fires of the lodge are welcoming and we have been very fortunate to time these visits with snow events rather than warmer, rain events. We usually combine these visits with trips to Ellicottville, NY to ski at Holimont http://www.holimont.com or Holiday Valley, each of which lie directly in the path of the storms rolling across Lake Erie.

It is not uncommon here in Pa. to see blizzard conditions in the northwest corner of the state with nothing on the ground as you drive farther to the south. Then the snowpack increases as you drive into the Laurel Highlands where you see the results of the storms colliding with those ridges and emptying larger amounts of the fluff on the local areas in the region. A strange weather pattern to be sure but it enables us to have some outdoor winter activities despite not being in the more traditional snowbound areas of New England or the west.

I often hear people say that they don’t ski in the east or they don’t ski locally, they only ski out west. That is fine if you are satisfied with only a week or two enjoying your favorite winter sport. In my mind, take advantage of the local opportunities so that when you do go on a trip, you can be ready to go. In my mind, making turns is making turns. The more you make of them, the better you are prepared and also the more you can enjoy the winter. This particular winter has been a strange one but skiing Wildcat at Laurel Mountain has been a fun experience seeing that it is the steepest slope in Pennsylvania and the area has been reopened after a 10 year hiatus. I know that lapping those runs will get me ready for my Adirondack and western trips but it also has been truly enjoyable in its own right. Janet and I will be venturing north shortly and hoping for a nice dump of that Lake Erie fluff again on our visit. Our friends, Mike and Judy Smith, drive all the way from Philly to join us. They usually only ski the west but were pleasantly surprised with the Holimont experience in Western New York. Also the stay in Glendorn is memorable. Get there if you can.

patmccloskey | January 12, 2017 at 11:28 am | Tags: Holimont, Laurel Mountain Ski Area, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, The Lodge at Glendorn | Categories: outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, Skiing, Winter, winter sports | URL: http://wp.me/p31Q99-KT

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Pat McCloskey’s thoughts on Laurel Mt. Ski Area

The Return of a Classic Ski Area

by patmccloskey

I have skied a lot of areas in my time and most of them were in New England where there are the giant, corporately run areas and the smaller privately held areas. The smaller areas always held my interest because they had a sense of tradition and a feel of skiing in another time. Recently, in our neck of the woods, down here in the Banana Belt, Laurel Mountain came to life again this year. It went from being one of the lost ski areas to a vibrant, resurgence of a classic ski area reminiscent of those areas in New England. In fact, there is a tie to Mt. Cranmore in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire. Apparently, when the Mellon family first had the idea to develop a ski area in 1939 for the members of the prestigious Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, they hired Hannes Schneider to lay out the trails. Hannes Schneider was the ski school director at Mt. Cranmore who was brought to the US from Austria by the industrialist Harry Gibson, a friend of Richard King Mellon. Schneider is widely acclaimed as the father of ski instruction in this country.

When you first pull past the stone entrance hut on the mountain road, you feel as if you are driving back in time. The parking lot is never full and as you make your way to the top of the mountain lodge which has been recently refurbished, you can relax in an Adirondack chair by a roaring fire and put your boots on. You can then take your brown bag lunch inside or take advantage of some good comfort food in the new bar area in the base of the lodge. The picture windows look out on the whole Ligonier Valley which is not only scenic during the day, but a sight at night if you choose to night ski. The refurbished snowmaking by HKD and the new Pistenbully groomer make the Wildcat slope a delight to ski and it is known to have the steepest vertical in the state.

I remember skiing Laurel when it was run by the state and had some amazing powder days there with Frank Pipak, a friend who took the PSIA exam the same year that I did. Although, I spent the winter prior to that exam in Sugarloaf, Maine, I often credit my runs down Lower Wildcat with preparing me for the steeper terrain that was utilized in the exam. My friend Hiller Hardie always says, ” if you want to get your legs ready for the western trips, lapping Wildcat at Laurel will put you in good form.” Your legs get a work out on lower Wildcat with the steep vertical pitch.

When Seven Springs Mountain Resort decided to bring Laurel back to life this season, along with the DCNR of the State of Pennsylvania, it was time to promote it. I have told a lot of friends about my good times at Laurel and how they must try it. Like my two snowboarding friends, Tina and Mark Sauers who were totally enthralled with the area and the family feel to the place.

We have some challenges down here in the banana belt with the weather being on the edge of rain and snow. But credit Laurel with good snowmaking and grooming to make it possible for enthusiasts like me to get the most days out of rather dismal early winter conditions. I have a lot of good memories of skiing at Laurel back in the day including fun times with my son Jack and our visits to Fort Ligonier and the Pie Shop in Laughlintown at the bottom of the mountain.

Two years ago, Hiller, John McWilliams, Jeff Balicki and John O’Toole and yours truly used our snowshoes to hike into the closed area and after unloading our packs, took two runs down Lower Wildcat. Four hours plus of hiking for two runs was “having to have it” and it showed our devotion to an area which we all loved. It is so nice now to have Carl Skylling’s new Sky Trac chairlift instead of bootpacking to claim our vertical.

So if you are a local, get over to Laurel. You won’t regret it and if you are visiting, check it out. Lower Wildcat will surprise you even if you are a veteran of steep skiing from points beyond. I am so happy it is back. Hannes is probably up there smiling at all of us. Thanks for reading.


Update on Laurel highlands Ski Areas

Here is an update on some of the ski areas from  Appalachian Telemark Association Treasurer Jim Kapp.

Just some news you can use.

Info about Laurel Mountain: The state of P.A. spent 6.5 million dollars getting the place ready. Regraded and widen trails, HKD snowmaking. New Winch Cat. The owners of 7 Springs put additional funds in. \

The Mountain has 970 vertical. Chris Plummer is the Technical Operations Director. Signed a 10 year lease 8 years ago only 2 years left they are working to sign a 35 year lease.


Info about 7 Springs: Purchased 2 new groomers, Improved water lines and purchased additional ground guns. Lodge remodeled. Tyrol Building remodeled.Instead of an open floor plan it has 5 separate bedrooms with various capacities.

 The old game room next to the bowling alley is now the 710 Bistro. Nice small lounge with cozy furniture and big screen T.V. The bowling alley is also going to be redone/upgraded.

 Matterhorn updated/remodeled. Foggy Goggle new carpet and bathrooms remodeled.

All the remodeling will be finished for the end of November. They are saying now that opening day will be Black Friday. Yea! Pray for snow!

Jim Kapp


Updates to 7 Springs ski slopes

7 Springs Snowmaking

This is excerpts of a November 15 PG article by Larry Fine. 7 Springs purchased 4 Pisten Bully ParkPro snow groomers and 5 HKD SV 10 Impulse snowmaking tower at the top of North Face. Snow Boarding magazine rated the Spot as the 2 best boarding area on the East Coast. They have created an Uphill Ski Access program from 7 to 9AM for skiers who want to skin up the slopes. They are also opening the Highlands Market on County Line Road just outside of the main entrance. It will have seating for 30, offer house made food, a large craft beer selection, and grocery. Foggy Brews on the second floor of the base lodge will be open every day during ski season.


Snowmaking starts in the Laurel Highlands

With 3 days of temperatures forecasted  to be below 30 at night snowmaking has started at both 7 Springs and Hidden Valley resort in the SW of PA. Both resort are working on getting the front intermediate slopes and trail network open. Although no opening date has been announced we could see opening this weekend. Pictures were taken earlier today.


Updates to skiing at Hidden Valley Resort

Free Weekend

This is an excerpt from a recent article in the Post Gazette by Larry Walsh. Hidden Valley purchased two Prinoth BR 350 snow-grooming machines, installed portable snowmaking on Bobcat and cleared glades and the off-loading area at the top of Avalanche Quad. Updates to the lodge included remodeling of the Alpine and Yukon rooms, seating in the Sunrise Sunset café and now carpeting.  See you on the slopes.


Bids out for Laurel Mt. Ski Area

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, 10:51 p.m.

Bids for general and electrical construction contracts at the Laurel Mountain ski area have been opened and are under review by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Five companies submitted bids for the general construction proposal, which carried a cost estimate of $1 million to $5 million. The work includes demolition and replacement of one chair lift; site clearing and tree removal; improvements to snow-making, water storage, pumping and distribution; upgrades to electrical service and regrading of ski trails.

Six companies submitted bids for the electrical construction proposal, which had a cost estimate of $500,000 to $1 million. That portion of the project includes supplying and installing exhaust fans, site electrical upgrades, electrical work for a ski lift and trail lighting.

“Our goal is to award the winning bid and notify within a week,” barring any questions about the submissions, said Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the department.

Laurel Mountain Ski Resort opened in 1939 for Rolling Rock Club members. In 1964, the property was given to the state with the stipulation that no summertime activities would take place there and no lodging would be built.

The resort closed from 1989 to 1999, then reopened and closed several times between 1999 and 2005 because of mild winters and financial problems. In 2008, Seven Springs Mountain Resort signed a 10-year lease to operate the site as a concession.

For general construction, the apparent low bidders and their three base bid amounts are:

• Ligonier Construction Inc., $4,623,000; $5,048,000; $5,158,000

• A. Merante Contracting, $4,897,711; $5,117,711; $5,240,711

• James T. O’Hara Inc., $5,670,000; $5,990,000; $6,170,000

• Clearwater Construction Inc., $5,805,000; $6,150,000; $6,425,000

•CH&D Enterprises, $9,747,117; $10,066,530; $10,386,500

For electrical construction, the apparent low bidders and first two base bid amounts are:

• Merit Electrical Group, $353,000;

• Mashan Inc., $399,900;

• Westmoreland Electric, $449,000;

• TSB Inc. doing business as Schultheis Electric, $494,200;

• David W. Jones Co., $546,700;

• Power Contracting Co., $587,149

The amounts for the companies’ third base bids are:

• Merit Electrical Group, $369,800

• Mashan Inc., $429,500

• Westmoreland Electric, $471,000

• TSB Inc. doing business as Schultheis Electric, $518,500

• David W. Jones Company, $585,700

• Power Contracting Co., $614,600

Both sets of bid results were to be opened Aug. 6, but the general construction bid opening was delayed because of last minute fine-tuning of the proposal’s wording, Brady said. The department didn’t immediately award the electrical construction contract because it wanted to award contracts for both portions of the project at the same time, he said.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/8937738-74/construction-electrical-inc#ixzz3m6qtBEJi
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WHITE FRIDAY expected at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs.

Cold temperatures and unexpected snow have set the stage for both resorts to open this Friday at 9:00 for snow sports. The snow guns have been blasting at both resorts since the first of the week so there is a solid base on limited terrain. Go to the resorts website to see what will be open. Here is a quote from the Hidden Valley Website.

“We are committed to providing our guests with excellent snowmaking and grooming. Over the course of the weekend, our mountain crew took advantage of every opportunity to make snow in preparation for opening day,” said Eric Mauck, CEO of Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. “As of Monday morning, both resorts have at least eight inches of snow and in some places drifts as high as eight feet. Snow accumulations of these amounts are astounding for this time of year. We are anticipating the arrival of an abundance of natural snow later this week, which will add to outstanding skiing and snowboarding conditions. We always strive to open the slopes as early as possible and provide our guests with incredible conditions and this weekend will be a testament to our commitment.”

Seven Springs and Hidden Valley will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri., Nov. 29-Sun., Dec. 1, 2013. Hours of operations for dates beyond Dec. 1, will be available later this week.



Plenty of snow on the slopes in the Laurel Highlands

We were just up both resorts in the last few days and want to report that there is plenty of snow on the slopes and all slopes and trails are open. Even though the weather has been mild it does not diminish the snow on slopes much since it has been packed and groomed. With evening temperatures forecast in the 20’s next week snow making will start back up and conditions should be AWESOME with spring like conditions. Hey, I was on Ski Patrol for about 15 years and believe me I would rather be out skiing in 40F than 10F with 20 mph of wind. This is great weather to enjoy snow sports and road conditions are dry and clear. Don’t miss these nice days in the middle of winter, trust me that the cold will come back.


Ski Gear Stolen at Seven Springs

This is an excerpt of the police blotter and article by City Editor Rick Kazmer in the Daily American, Somerset PA, January 13, 2001.

On January 5 state police received 41 complaints of stolen skis and snowboards taken from people who were at Seven Springs Mountain Resort between December 4 and January 4, 2011. Since the average value of this equipment is easily $500 this amounts to possibly over $20,000 of theft.

Anna Weltz, Seven Springs Spokeswoman said “This is average. It’s sad but true.” One thing to point out is that none of the equipment was taken from storage areas.  This is ski gear left leaning up against a wall or table. There is unlimited ski check for $2.00 where the equipment is secured in a guarded room.  All the resorts in the Laurel Highlands offer racks to lock up equipment when you are not using it.

Lesson Learned, would you leave your purse or wallet with $500 in it on a picnic table in a public venue? Don’t do the same with your equipment.  Check online sites like Craigs List and E Bay to see if you can find your gear as most of the gear is sold there. You might be able to buy it back at about 1/3 of its value and it you have a serial number bust these creeps. Don’t be a victim of theft, use ski check or lock your gear if it is not on your feet. Ski YAAA.


Hidden Valley and Subaru sponsor Master the Mountain Event

Subaru Master the Mountain

From the news page on www.HiddenValleyResort.com

Hidden Valley Resort and Subaru of America, Inc. are once again teaming up to bring the Master the Mountain event to the Laurel Highlands region.

Subaru is visiting Hidden Valley twice during the 2010-2011 season, the first time on January 16 and 17, 2011 and then again on February 13 and 14, 2011. During each of the Master the Mountain events, there will be a number of great activities in which guests can take part.

During the Master the Mountain events, Hidden Valleys ski school, Wintersports U, will offer participants Confidence in Motion with personal skiing tips. These free sessions of varying difficulty will appeal to skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels.

In Breaking the Wedge, skiers and snowboarders with limited experience can learn the correct way to turn easier and more efficiently. Control on Blues provides instruction to skiers and snowboarders of intermediate skill level on how to control speed on more difficult terrain. Short Radius Turns in the Fall Line offers participants with advanced skills tips on making short radius turns with rhythm, which are especially useful on steeper terrain and in crowded areas.

Subaru is also bringing an outdoor tent to the Master the Mountain weekends to do showings of Matchstick Productions new movie The Way I see It.

There will also be giveaways, free hot chocolate, music provided by DJ Donn and the chance to win Swix ski poles and POC goggles!


Whats NEW at Hidden Valley for 2011

Here is a quick recap of what the Valley has new for the 2011 Ski Season.

Go to THEIR SITE for more

Learn to Ski Area. A graded 8% area with a conveyer belt is now at the base of the slopes and adjacent to the ski lodge.

Learn to Ski Program

Additional Snow Tubing Chutes and expanded parking

Falling Leaf Restaurant on Route 31 at the tubing park

Glacier Pub in what was the former Cafe at the plaza level of the lodge.

On line reservation and free wireless in the Four Seasons Lodge Rooms

There is more but this will give you a quick recap. Cold tempatures and the updated snowmaking system has the slopes in great condition. SKI YAA.


Great snow for upcoming XC events

By Larry Walsh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rick Garstka of Munhall waxed enthusiastic while describing the quality and quantity of snow that has fallen in the Laurel Highlands since Dec. 28:

“Bonanza.” “Heaven sent.” “Phenomenal.”

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Garstka, the president of the Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiers’ Association. “The season has gotten off to a super start, the best in years.”

And downhill and cross-country skiers, snowboarders, snowtubers, snowshoers, sled-, saucer- and tray-sliders and tobogganists are reveling in it.

“We haven’t seen snowfall like this since the 2002-03 season when we received a total of 208 inches,” said Dick Barron, director of ski and snowboard operations at snow-blessed Seven Springs.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the resort had received 57 inches of natural snow since Dec. 28 and more was on the way.

“We’ll have more than 60 inches, perhaps much more, before this system moves on [this] evening,” Barron said.

Seven Springs received the most new snow of any resort in the country — 27 inches — during a 48-hour period this week, according to OnTheSnow.com.

The Web site posts snowfall information it receives from resorts. Top honors for the most new snow in 24, 48 or 72 hours usually goes to the big western resorts.

“We received a total of 78 inches for the season so far,” Barron said. “It’s wonderful.”

Garstka agrees.

“We’ve had smiles on our faces since December,” he said. “We hope to have plenty of snow for our scheduled events in January and February.”

Garstka was referring to the association’s free cross-country lessons for adults and children at Laurel Ridge State Park next weekend and Jan. 23-24, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20. It also has a Nordic Picnic Jan. 23 and the annual Pennsylvania Nordic Championship Races Feb. 7.

The lessons, also offered to those with intermediate skills, will begin at 1 p.m. in front of the rental concession. Although you don’t need to be a member of PACCSA to participate, a trail pass is necessary and can be purchased for $6.

Garstka said beginners will learn double-poling, uphill and downhill techniques and the diagonal stride. The instructors then will take them out on an easy trail to practice what they’ve just learned and will provide individual critiques along the way.

A complete set of equipment — skis, boots and poles — can be rented from the concessionaire at the park (724-455-7303). Rental equipment also is available at Thrifty Ski Rental in Donegal (724-593-6404), Route 31 Board and Ski in Somerset (1-814-443-1282) and Peak Ski and Board near Boyce Park in Plum (412-793-6600).

Be advised: It’s first-come, first-served. Get there early, especially when snow conditions are as great as they are now.

The association has a cross-country ski team — the Yellow Jackets — for children ages 5 to 12. Kids of all abilities, including beginners, are welcome. Garstka said the youngsters learn to ski by using skill sessions and games based on Cross Country Canada’s Bunnyrabbit and Jackrabbit developmental programs.

The team skis Saturdays in January and February at Laurel Ridge State Park and will make occasional trips to Kooser State Park and other locations close to Pittsburgh.

Although registration for this season has closed, parents can learn more about the team by taking their children to the free lesson sessions and/or the Nordic Picnic.

“Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay fit during the winter,” Garstka said. It can be as energetic as you want it to be — from walking pace to race speed.”

A PACCSA membership costs $6 per individual or $9 per family. For more information, go to paccsa.org.

Larry Walsh writes about recreational snowsports for the Post-Gazette.

Read more: click here



Record Snowfall in the Laurel Highlands

Seven Springs Tops In The Country For 48-Hour Snowfall

Seven Springs Mountain Resort just topped the list of ski resorts nationwide for total natural snowfall in a 48-hour time frame!

The list created by OnTheSnow.com places Seven Springs at number one in the country with a natural snowfall total of 27 inches in 48 hours. Since January 1, the popular Laurel Highlands resort has received 35 inches. According to the National Weather Service, Seven Springs is expected to receive 14 – 16 additional inches by the morning of Saturday, January 9, 2010.

“Conditions are phenomenal here at Seven Springs,” added Dick Barron, Director of Ski Operations. “This winter has been shaping up to be one for the record books as it’s been quite some time since we have seen a winter like this.”

The abundance of snow is also allowing for construction and snowmaking for the creation of the resort’s Superpipe, which is ranked number one on the East Coast by Transworld Snowboarding. This project is coming along smoothly and the pipe could be open by month’s end.

if you haven’t made plans to come up for this weekend, now’s the time to do so! The hotel has rooms available for the weekend, as well as condos and cabins. Please call (866) 437-1300 for more information or to make a reservation.

MLK Weekend Package
January 15 – 18, 2010

Make the most of the three day weekend and make a new memory at Seven Springs! This new package features two nights of lodging, breakfast, unlimited skiing during your stay, snow tubing and up to two kids age 11 and under are FREE! This package starts at only $299 per adult. Don’t delay, book today! Learn more…


Telepalooza Jan 30/31 at Seven Springs PA

Telepalooza Telemark Ski Event is the Largest in the Mid-Atlantic for the Eighth Year Running.

January 30 and 31st 2010

Seven Springs, PA

Telepalooza, a weekend gathering of telemark or “free heel” skiers is being held at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA.

The event features two days of races, lessons, prizes, food, beverage and fun. The photos above show founder Jim “Kapper” Kapp giving tips to those attending, Robert “Wags” Wagner at the registration desk, and the next generation at rest after a long tele day.

This is the eighth year the Appalachian Telemark Association (ATA) has sponsored Telepalooza and it is anticipated to be bigger and better than ever. 

This multi-day, multi-event, multi-fun festival celebrates “free heel” or telemark skiing, a style that originated in Norway.

Telemark skiing is the predecessor of today’s downhill skiing and is experiencing a resurgence of interest.  The skis are similar to downhill, yet the bindings and boots allow the boot heal to come off the ski.

There will be lessons for children and adults, from beginner through expert from certified instructors.  Children sixteen and under are free and discounted lift tickets are available.  Demo equipment is available from Karhu, K2 and Garmont.  Prizes awarded from great producers such as Cloudveil, Kahru, Leki and more.

The price for two days is $99 and $79 for a single day (Saturday or Sunday).  Early payment discount of $10.  Tickets available on the web site www.telemarker.org   Pay Pal is accepted.  Discount lift tickets to Seven Springs Resort are available.


To learn more about Appalachian Telemark Association and see the Telepalooza 2010 PDF flier go to www.telemarker.org

Jim Kapp is the founder  of Telepalooza  and available for additional information at 724-989-8913, or he can be contacted at kapperzootie@aol.com


Laurel Highlands Ski Report 12/24

Laurel Highlands PA Ski Report December 24

Wags ski photo When the weather forecast said sunny and 18 degrees, I knew that it would be a perfect ski day anywhere in the Laurel Highlands. With temperatures under 32 degrees day and night for the last week all the resorts have been making snow 24/7. When you have cold temperatures and low humidity the quality of the snowmaking rivals natural hard pack. This gives the snow rider a consistent surface and snow that makes even a beginner look great. 

Getting up to 7 Springs at the start of the day is important, it gets you into the lower parking lot and you get out on the hill before the crowds. Having a locker in the ski lodge makes it easy for me to get into gear in about 10 minutes and be out on the slopes in less than 20 minutes from parking the car.Lower Giant Boulder

Conditions did not disappoint me, as every slope except Alpine was open and near perfectly groomed. The photo is looking at the North Face Lift from the lower third of Giant Boulder Trail. The entire back was open to include all of North Face, Giant Steps, and Gunnar. When I got back into the lodge I headed for some hot coffee with the cashiers for the coffee shop. They shared that they had been busy but not jammed.
A swing through the Hidden Valley parking lot last weekend would indicate they too are enjoying solid early season skiers.  Ski Ya!


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2019.

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