Excerpt republished from The Ligonier Echo. Article by Dan Scifo.

The Laurel Mountain Ski Resort slopes officially opened to the public at noon Wednesday, December 21, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. The resort will remain open for night skiing until 9pm.

“We couldn’t be more proud to bring some of the most challenging terrain in the Commonwealth back to the region’s skiers and snowboarders,” said chairman Bob Nutting in a press release. “Laurel Mountain’s historic reopening holds a deep meaning to me and is the result of an immense amount of passion for snow sports in the Laurel Highlands.”

The official opening was fully dependent on weather as the recent arrival of frigid temperatures allowed the snow-making team to turn on snow guns with the intent of running them continuously. Regular temperatures of 28 degrees or colder need to be accompanied with low humidity. Officials are exited about the long-range winter forecast put forth by local meteorologists, predicting heavy snowfall for the region. The average snowfall for Seven Springs is 135 inches and the region received just 80 inches last year.

Vintage Map of Laurel Mountain

Laurel Mountain, once known as the Ski Capital of Pennsylvania, is located within the 493-acre Laurel Mountain State Park and boasts a rich history. It also features 26 acres of skiable terrain and the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge at 761 feet, and one of the steepest slopes in the state at Lower Wildcat.

The project is expected to provide a boost in tourism to the region as Laurel Mountain joins sister resorts, Seven Springs and Hidden Valley, to create a three-mountain snow sports destination in the Laurel Highlands.

Laurel Mountain has received a complete facelift, both on the slopes and inside the lodge. A modern SkyTrac fixed-grip quad chair lift was installed during the summer, capable of transporting 2400 skiers per hour. The snow making system was also overhauled with the addition of 52 new snow guns installed and the water storage capacity nearly doubled to 26 million gallons. Five slopes were also widened or re-graded.

Laurel Lodge, the summit lodge at Laurel Mountain, also underwent a transformation. Gusts walking into the lodge will be greeted by an expansive heated concrete terrace and staircase with an outdoor fireplace lit for skiers to warm and enjoy the scenery. The interior of the lodge has been upgraded with new furniture and carpeting to culminate a rustic, yet upscale feel. There is also a new cafe within the lodge and rental center with a new fleet of equipment.

Additional information can be found at laurelmountainski.com.