Ligonier, PA – After several years of false starts, the lifts will spin once again this winter at Laurel Mountain ski area, 72 miles east of Pittsburgh in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Finally, Laurel Mountain will be open this year for skiing. It’s finally going to happen — that’s been the feeling around here,” Seven Springs communications manager Katie Buchan has told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
It will be first skiing at Laurel Mountain in more than a decade. Although the owners of nearby Seven Springs closed on the lease of Laurel Mountain back in 2008, and skiing was promised to resume as early as 2011-12, the ski area’s renovation has faced numerous delays.
Construction finally got underway a year ago. Last January, officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) celebrated the progress on reopening the resort located within the Linn Run State Park Complex, with improvements totaling $6.5 million including a new chairlift, doubled snowmaking capacity, trail improvements and more. Seven Springs is assuming operation of the ski area and facilities, and DCNR is maintaining its role as steward of park resources.
Once the exclusive winter playground of Rolling Rock Club members, Laurel Mountain opened in 1939 and in 1963, R.K. Mellon and his sister Sarah Scaife gifted the ski area to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is among the first ski areas in the state, but facing financial issues and warm winters, it was beset by a series of closings, the last of which was in 2005. Its precipitous Lower Wildcat trail, the steepest run in Pennsylvania, reportedly reaches pitches of up to 35 degrees.