Blue Knob Sold

TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 453

Blue Knob All Seasons Resort purchased by Pittsburgh
investors

July 17, 2017 12:50 PM

By Lawrence Walsh /
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Blue
Knob All Seasons Resort, perched on the borders of Bedford and Blair counties,
has been sold to a group of Pittsburgh investors, all of whom are skiers.

The
new owner, Sustainable Hospitality & Development, a limited partnership,
bought the resort from Richard Gauthier, president of Blue Knob Recreation Inc.
The resort, a former Air Force radar site, opened for skiing in 1962. The
Gauthier family bought it in 1983.

The
sale is not expected to disrupt operations, and the resort plans to open its
snowsports season in late November or early December, depending on weather
conditions. 

Attorney
Eric Mungai of Pittsburgh, an investor who helped put the deal together, said
the sale price is confidential, citing the terms of the purchase
agreement.

But Terry
Brady, press secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources, said the new owners signed a 29-year lease with the department. They
will pay $62,500 annually for the first 10 years, $100,000 per year for the
next 10 years and $120,000 annually for the last nine years.

The
resort has 34 slopes and trails served by two triple and two double chairlifts.
The vertical drop is 1,072 feet. The terrain is rated 20 percent beginner, 35
percent intermediate, 35 percent advanced and 10 percent expert. At 3,146 feet,
it is the second highest mountain in Pennsylvania.

The
1,385-acre resort, 420 acres of which are on state park land, has been the
subject of being for sale for many years.

Mr.
Gauthier, 79, said he and his wife, Pat, decided that if they could find
someone to care for the resort as much as they did, “we’d let them run with
it.” Mr. Gauthier, who learned to ski at Blue Knob around 1974, said he spent
more than $18 million in improvements in the 33 years he operated it.

When
he hired Snow Engineering in 1983 to evaluate the resort before he bought it,
he was told “it needed everything. [Snow Engineering concluded its report] by
saying it was in the worst condition of any resort they had looked at.”

Among
other things, Mr. Gauthier opened more terrain to more than double the number
of slopes and trails, added a snow tubing park, rebuilt the lodge and the golf
course, built two restaurants and a convention center, enlarged the snowmaking
system and bought snow grooming equipment.

Mr.
Mungai, 49, a former professional ski instructor who has been skiing at Blue
Knob since high school, said the new owners consider Blue Knob to be “a diamond
in the rough. The investors see enormous opportunity. It is one of the best
ski/snowboard mountains in the Mid-Atlantic.”

Scott
Bender, former CEO of Seven Springs Mountain Resort and a board member of the
National Ski Areas Association, helped facilitate the sale. Mr. Bender, who led
the revival of Hidden Valley for the Buncher Co., said he is acting as an adviser
to direct the rehabilitation and development of the resort.

Mr.
Mungai said survey, engineering and architectural reviews at Blue Knob are
currently underway.

The
management team is evaluating all aspects of the resort. In addition to
addressing deferred maintenance, they hope to make updates to snowmaking, the
lodge and the snow grooming fleet as well as other potential improvements.

The
marketing team also is working on a new website, off-season events and new
ski/snowboard promotions.”

He
said Blue Knob’s pre-season sale of season passes has been extended until Sept.
4. For example, a weekday season pass for students, juniors (aged 12 and
younger), seniors (65 to 69) and members of the military is $99.

What
could/should be improved?

“Year-round
activities/amenities, snowmaking, lift capacity, (its network of trails),
lodging/hotel accommodations and parking.“

Mr.
Mungai, a limited investor, said there are six primary investors, whom he
declined to identify. He said they are all snowsports enthusiasts who ski at
Blue Knob.

“We
are in discussions with several other parties who have a vested interest in the
Johnstown/Altoona region and are interested in the development/growth
opportunities at Blue Knob,” he said. The resort is within 25 miles of Altoona,
Bedford and Johnstown.

The
investors have applied to the highly competitive state Redevelopment Capital
Assistance Program for a $2.5 million grant. If approved, the money could be
used to re-grade the Learn-to-Ski/Snowboard Area and install a covered conveyor
lift to take beginners back to the top of the slope.

The
grant also might be used to build a terrain park, a new handle tow, automated
snowmaking and increased pumping capacity for the snowmaking system. However,
the grant program has yet to be funded by the state legislature.

Lawrence
Walsh writes about a variety of outdoor activities for the Post-Gazette.

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Comments

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,079
    interesting; thanks for posting
  • skipro77skipro77 intermediate
    Posts: 51
    i think it's great when a place is sold to owners who actually ski.
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 453
    I grew up in the Pittsburgh area and skied Blue Knob in the mid 60's to early 70's. The side by side double chairs didn't seem too new then. Yet there's no reference to replacing them in the article. 
  • slathamslatham advanced
    edited July 18 Posts: 129
    Grew up in DC taking the 3 hour trip to ski Blue Knob for the day. Great terrain, especially steeps. Glad to see it's in good hands and getting investment. I wish them luck and hope they succeed.
  • JimKJimK advanced
    Posts: 216

    The pair of brothers that owned BK since the '80s are now quite
    elderly.  Rumors of a sale have circulated
    many times in past years.  Looks like it
    finally got done.  BK's fine terrain, but
    undercapitalized  infrastructure is reminiscent
    of Magic or Plattekill.  I don't know
    that new group has very deep pockets, but fresh energy can't hurt.  I wish them the best.  It's hard to run a small ski area and even
    harder down by the Mason-Dixon Line.

  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 193
    This place seems like it could really be a class act with some snowmaking upgrades. I've never been, but I've heard when this place gets a dump, its the bomb!
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 675
    Terrain and vert seem impressive. Is it PA's largest vert?
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    Posts: 95

    Terrain and vert seem impressive. Is it PA's largest vert?



    Blue Mountain beats it by 10 feet.

    I skied Blue Knob a few years ago. It is a nice mountain but could use a HSQ to replace one of the top to bottom doubles. One of the doubles has a mid station unload which is nice because the lodge is at the top and the top is relatively flat. Most advanced skiers get off at the mid station.

  • mapnutmapnut expert
    edited July 21 Posts: 794

    According to a link in the Blandford thread, the selling price was only $1.3 million.

    http://unofficialnetworks.com/2017/07/19/pennsylvania-ski-area-acquired-for-1-3-million/


  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 193
    Good price considering Maple Valley VT is listed at 950,000. It says with two Hall chairlifts. Ha ha ha ha ha, that's a good one.
  • Posts: 6

    Terrain and vert seem impressive. Is it PA's largest vert?



    Blue Mountain beats it by 10 feet.

    I skied Blue Knob a few years ago. It is a nice mountain but could use a HSQ to replace one of the top to bottom doubles. One of the doubles has a mid station unload which is nice because the lodge is at the top and the top is relatively flat. Most advanced skiers get off at the mid station.

    The current lift capacity out strips the demand even on weekends and slow lifts keep lower skier density on the narrow trails. Better snowmaking is needed more then a new lift. Old double with the mid-station is grandfathered into current lift regulations for Pennsylvania. If that lift is removed then mid-station likely gone.

    Blue Knob's trails were originally laid out by Otto Schneibs who was on hand at the opening in  December 1963.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,079

    Blue Knob's trails were originally laid out by Otto Schneibs who was on hand at the opening in  December 1963.




    Learned a little bit about the "Otto Schneibs Designed the Trails" from Peggy Kurlander a few years ago that may or may not apply here.

    At Great Gorge, which was laid out shortly after Blue Knob, Jack Kurlander did the design, laid out trails, etc. and Otto Schneibs came and visited the property, they drove around and walked where they needed. Schneibs spent a few days, made some suggestions, offered advice, a couple of minor changes, etc. for which they paid him a fee, and then he put his stamp of approval on it and they could then claim "trails designed by Otto Schneibs" Mrs. Kurlander told me it was a thing where they used his name to lend prestige to the area. She made vague reference to other areas doing the same thing, but didn't say which ones, and it wasn't appropriate nor essential to my interview to dig deeper.

    Not saying that was the case at Blue Knob, but I wouldn't be surprised.
  • flbskiflbski intermediate
    Posts: 80


    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
  • 4aprice4aprice intermediate
    Posts: 28
    flbski said:



    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
    Really?  I respectfully disagree.  At the original area (aka GG South) the Kamakazi pod seems fine but I think the summit would be improved if they had one lift to the old mid station then started a summit lift with a different alignment like over by the bottom of the old racing trail (not down where the racing chair was but up a little higher and obviously accessable from the old mid station).  The lift line under the old summit double below the  mid station was a good trail that seems to be left for dead now.  

    Don't get me started on the Vernon side.  Turnpike (or what ever its called now) is a disaster cutting across the mountain.  Straightaway T2B was always my favorite run but the crossing takes away a little from it.  Camelback's layout with most trails having their own summit and most not having crossing trails is better IMO.  Regardless I do look forward to getting a few days at MC this coming season on Max Pass and visiting my daughters friend Jason Bay's.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 274
    4aprice said:

    flbski said:



    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
    Really?  I respectfully disagree.  At the original area (aka GG South) the Kamakazi pod seems fine but I think the summit would be improved if they had one lift to the old mid station then started a summit lift with a different alignment like over by the bottom of the old racing trail (not down where the racing chair was but up a little higher and obviously accessable from the old mid station).  The lift line under the old summit double below the  mid station was a good trail that seems to be left for dead now.  

    Don't get me started on the Vernon side.  Turnpike (or what ever its called now) is a disaster cutting across the mountain.  Straightaway T2B was always my favorite run but the crossing takes away a little from it.  Camelback's layout with most trails having their own summit and most not having crossing trails is better IMO.  Regardless I do look forward to getting a few days at MC this coming season on Max Pass and visiting my daughters friend Jason Bay's.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ



    I would have to agree with both of you. I think the layout made this mountain (GG) ski bigger than it was. It made you feel like you were not in NJ, but rather, something in Vermont. The midstation with it's snack bar, the summit lodge, chairlifts crossing each other, the section of the summit lift that was low, and at the level of the skiers on your left, the wide open western feel of Bakersfield, the classic lodge, the unique twisting trails that left you wondering what was around the next corner, the wide open racing trail, the glades of Bakersfield and Wedeland, the view from the summit on Autobahn, the ski jump, the outdoor hot tub at the Norseman Club, etc... The list goes on and on of things that made this area truly unique and loved by those of us who grew up skiing it. This was big mountain skiing in NJ.

    That being said, the summit lift line always perplexed me as it left you poling it for a bit before you could get enough momentum to get going downhill. A similar argument could be made for the flats by the midstation/connecting lift. Also, having the parking across the street without a dedicated bridge, tunnel was never a safe thing. And having to climb that small hill to get to the slopes from the lodge left many newbies sliding back down on their but. The plusses outweigh the minuses IMHO.

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited July 25 Posts: 1,079
    4aprice said:

    flbski said:



    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
    Really?  I respectfully disagree.  At the original area (aka GG South) the Kamakazi pod seems fine but I think the summit would be improved if they had one lift to the old mid station then started a summit lift with a different alignment like over by the bottom of the old racing trail (not down where the racing chair was but up a little higher and obviously accessable from the old mid station).  The lift line under the old summit double below the  mid station was a good trail that seems to be left for dead now.  

    Don't get me started on the Vernon side.  Turnpike (or what ever its called now) is a disaster cutting across the mountain.  Straightaway T2B was always my favorite run but the crossing takes away a little from it.  Camelback's layout with most trails having their own summit and most not having crossing trails is better IMO.  Regardless I do look forward to getting a few days at MC this coming season on Max Pass and visiting my daughters friend Jason Bay's.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
    Vernon Valley was not designed by Kurlander/Schneibs.  If you ever skied Great Gorge when it was Great Gorge, you would understand what flbski is talking about.   NJSki sums it up nicely

    To talk about Turnpike when you've got multiple, switchbacking packed cattle paths on Pocono Powder* at Camelback is rich.  Take the log out of your own eye before you complain about the splinter in mine.   ;)

    Camelback is a mess, but I know you love it, so, ski on!  It's all good.








    *ice
  • 4aprice4aprice intermediate
    edited July 25 Posts: 28

    4aprice said:

    flbski said:



    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
    Really?  I respectfully disagree.  At the original area (aka GG South) the Kamakazi pod seems fine but I think the summit would be improved if they had one lift to the old mid station then started a summit lift with a different alignment like over by the bottom of the old racing trail (not down where the racing chair was but up a little higher and obviously accessable from the old mid station).  The lift line under the old summit double below the  mid station was a good trail that seems to be left for dead now.  

    Don't get me started on the Vernon side.  Turnpike (or what ever its called now) is a disaster cutting across the mountain.  Straightaway T2B was always my favorite run but the crossing takes away a little from it.  Camelback's layout with most trails having their own summit and most not having crossing trails is better IMO.  Regardless I do look forward to getting a few days at MC this coming season on Max Pass and visiting my daughters friend Jason Bay's.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
    Vernon Valley was not designed by Kurlander/Schneibs.  If you ever skied Great Gorge when it was Great Gorge, you would understand what flbski is talking about.   NJSki sums it up nicely

    To talk about Turnpike when you've got multiple, switchbacking packed cattle paths on Pocono Powder* at Camelback is rich.  Take the log out of your own eye before you complain about the splinter in mine.   ;)

    Camelback is a mess, but I know you love it, so, ski on!  It's all good.

    First of all Rick,  I skied Great Gorge plenty since about 1967.  2nd I stand by my comment that they would have been better had they split the summit lift and made 2 separate pods.  The summit is fine and the lower 1/2 is fine but the flats by the transfer lift and over to the old Bakersfield leave a lot to be desired.  The lift line below the summit chair on the bottom would make a good bump run with views from the lodge. With the 2 side lifts gone I don't think you can access the top of that 1st knob anymore except by hiking.  Unfortunately it would only be like 400 vertical feet, which wouldn't bother me but I know some of you who need that every cm of vertical the summit lift gives every run, you would be disappointed.

    As for Camelback, there are 2 trails effected by the cross over known as Honeymoon Lane which is the worst trail on the mountain.  Several legitimate t2b runs have no intersections at all.   Vernon used to close the top of Straightaway and what ever the top under the old bubble was to prevent skiers from coming down on to Turnpike.  Totally took away from the best part of the mountain.  

     We based ourselves at Camelback for a decade as our children grew (or were learning how to ski) but to say we love it is laughable.  Its a convenient local hill just like Mountain Creek is and we took total advantage of it during those years to get plenty of skiing in. There was also a family Pocono house for many of those years.  Now the wife and I mostly use it as a place to go on the most crowded times of the year.(ie Christmas week, MLK, and Presidents week)  I'm not going to travel to New England or anywhere else to stand in lines when I can do it close to home. That little boy who joined the development team and subsequent race team that planted us there those 10 years lives in Colorado now.  I had more days in the west last season then I did at CBK.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ  













  • z1000307470z1000307470 intermediate
    Posts: 91
    4aprice said:

    4aprice said:

    flbski said:



    For a "banana belt" ski area, I think the trail design at Great Gorge South was as good as it gets.
     
    Really?  I respectfully disagree.  At the original area (aka GG South) the Kamakazi pod seems fine but I think the summit would be improved if they had one lift to the old mid station then started a summit lift with a different alignment like over by the bottom of the old racing trail (not down where the racing chair was but up a little higher and obviously accessable from the old mid station).  The lift line under the old summit double below the  mid station was a good trail that seems to be left for dead now.  

    Don't get me started on the Vernon side.  Turnpike (or what ever its called now) is a disaster cutting across the mountain.  Straightaway T2B was always my favorite run but the crossing takes away a little from it.  Camelback's layout with most trails having their own summit and most not having crossing trails is better IMO.  Regardless I do look forward to getting a few days at MC this coming season on Max Pass and visiting my daughters friend Jason Bay's.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
    Vernon Valley was not designed by Kurlander/Schneibs.  If you ever skied Great Gorge when it was Great Gorge, you would understand what flbski is talking about.   NJSki sums it up nicely

    To talk about Turnpike when you've got multiple, switchbacking packed cattle paths on Pocono Powder* at Camelback is rich.  Take the log out of your own eye before you complain about the splinter in mine.   ;)

    Camelback is a mess, but I know you love it, so, ski on!  It's all good.

    First of all Rick,  I skied Great Gorge plenty since about 1967.  2nd I stand by my comment that they would have been better had they split the summit lift and made 2 separate pods.  The summit is fine and the lower 1/2 is fine but the flats by the transfer lift and over to the old Bakersfield leave a lot to be desired.  The lift line below the summit chair on the bottom would make a good bump run with views from the lodge. With the 2 side lifts gone I don't think you can access the top of that 1st knob anymore except by hiking.  Unfortunately it would only be like 400 vertical feet, which wouldn't bother me but I know some of you who need that every cm of vertical the summit lift gives every run, you would be disappointed.

    As for Camelback, there are 2 trails effected by the cross over known as Honeymoon Lane which is the worst trail on the mountain.  Several legitimate t2b runs have no intersections at all.   Vernon used to close the top of Straightaway and what ever the top under the old bubble was to prevent skiers from coming down on to Turnpike.  Totally took away from the best part of the mountain.  

     We based ourselves at Camelback for a decade as our children grew (or were learning how to ski) but to say we love it is laughable.  Its a convenient local hill just like Mountain Creek is and we took total advantage of it during those years to get plenty of skiing in. There was also a family Pocono house for many of those years.  Now the wife and I mostly use it as a place to go on the most crowded times of the year.(ie Christmas week, MLK, and Presidents week)  I'm not going to travel to New England or anywhere else to stand in lines when I can do it close to home. That little boy who joined the development team and subsequent race team that planted us there those 10 years lives in Colorado now.  I had more days in the west last season then I did at CBK.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ  













    I spent many days skiing at Vernon Valley and GG. The trail under the bubble chair was called Moonspin and it was rarely open unless it snowed enough. Eventually, lower Moonspin was eliminated in the mid 1970s due to the installation of the Alpine Slide. For all the years of my youth skiing at VV, the only reason we ever saw Upper Straightaway closed was due to no snow. If there was snow, U Straightaway was open. It was never closed because of traffic problems. I do remember lots of fencing at the bottom of U Straightaway on weekends to control traffic onto Turnpike. There were usually good bumps on Upper Straightaway late in the season.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited July 25 Posts: 1,079
    Interesting to read how a lot of us lump VV and GG together.  when I was a kid growing up nearby, you were loyal to one or the other.  "Gorge is Great, Vernon sucks!"  "Kamikazee is way better than Zero G" etc.  and you wore your tickets like some kind of merit badges. 

     I started off as a Vernon Valley kid and refused to go to GG until a friend gave me no choice and then I was completely hooked,  as NJSki said, thought it was like skiing in Vermont.
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 274

    Interesting to read how a lot of us lump VV and GG together.  when I was a kid growing up nearby, you were loyal to one or the other.  "Gorge is Great, Vernon sucks!"  "Kamikazee is way better than Zero G" etc.  and you wore your tickets like some kind of merit badges. 


     I started off as a Vernon Valley kid and refused to go to GG until a friend gave me no choice and then I was completely hooked,  as NJSki said, thought it was like skiing in Vermont.
    I was always a GG South loyalist. Kamikazee >>Zero-G. But you were a legend if you were able to ski Pipeline on one of the rare days it was open.
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    Posts: 95

    Hey. I thought this was the Blue Knob thread. You Jersey boyz should start your own thread.

    Blue knob is better than Mountain Creek or any of it's earlier incarnations.

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited July 26 Posts: 1,079
    Your statement is incorrect....

    Whether you are in New Jersey or Pennsyltucky, there is no apostrophe in the possessive form of "it"


    :P :P
  • Bill29Bill29 advanced
    Posts: 239
    Rick, That's a nice try and I hope you keep it up. But I'm beginning to think it's like tilting at windmills. The misuse of the apostrophe is everywhere, especially on mailboxes.
    It's like trying to convince people that "I could care less" means the same thing as "I could not care less."
    It's like telling people that the word "like" has specific meaning and it is not a form of speech punctuation.
    It's like trying to stop the use of the double "is, as in "the reason is is that people think that "is" is needed twice when it isn't (though it is in this sentence). I have heard people say "the reason being is..." or "the reason was is..." among other abominations.
    When I mention this stuff, people tell me I'm a cranky old guy (Can't argue that) who doesn't recognize the evolution of the language.
    Devolution if you ask me, but nobody does.
    O.K. That's the end of my rant. Time for a nap.
  • 4aprice4aprice intermediate
    Posts: 28

    Hey. I thought this was the Blue Knob thread. You Jersey boyz should start your own thread.

    Blue knob is better than Mountain Creek or any of it's earlier incarnations.


    Yea, didn't mean to step on BK.  The rep of Blue Knob was, nice terrain but lack of snow, don't go. (ie snowmaking needs an upgrade) Jim K has posted some pictures of it at its best. Looked pretty cool.  Good luck to them

    W Pa is pretty off the radar for me in NNJ.  I think it's better for Philly and Washington people then it is to us. I (We) traveled out to 7 Springs (and Wisp, MD) when the boy was racing but for the most part, from my house it's 3 hours to Harrisburg v. 3 hours to Lake George, which direction you going?

    We can have a lot of fun with the MC/CBK/E.Pa stuff in another thread during the season as I plan to post plenty of TR's with plenty of pictures.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,079
    Bill29 said:

    Rick, That's a nice try and I hope you keep it up. But I'm beginning to think it's like tilting at windmills. The misuse of the apostrophe is everywhere, especially on mailboxes.
    It's like trying to convince people that "I could care less" means the same thing as "I could not care less."
    It's like telling people that the word "like" has specific meaning and it is not a form of speech punctuation.
    It's like trying to stop the use of the double "is, as in "the reason is is that people think that "is" is needed twice when it isn't (though it is in this sentence). I have heard people say "the reason being is..." or "the reason was is..." among other abominations.
    When I mention this stuff, people tell me I'm a cranky old guy (Can't argue that) who doesn't recognize the evolution of the language.
    Devolution if you ask me, but nobody does.
    O.K. That's the end of my rant. Time for a nap.

    Author!  Author!

    But take heart, I've been using the hashtag #learngrammarplease  on social media, and today actually saw the marketing department at a large destination resort rescind their extraneous apostrophe!  

    They must think I'm a real hump (likewise, no argument here) 

    Let's see how many ways we can hijack this thread!
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 794
    To continue the hijack, who decided that the word "famous" is no longer to be used and that one has to say "iconic"? Iconic scoreboards at the British Open, come on. The latest is that you can't say "appearances", you have to say "optics". Now optics is a shorter word, but when I hear "optics" I think of refraction of light.
  • JMaulJMaul advanced
    Posts: 235
    Let's stay on subject....


    image
    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
    blue knob chiller.jpg
    1641 x 853 - 235K
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited July 27 Posts: 1,079
    Cool!  Blue Knob Beer!

    I found one that requires no explanation.  (for the Gen Xer's and millenial's that have never seen these thing's, these speaker's hang on car door's at drive in theater's)

    image
    drive in speaker with blue knob.jpg
    642 x 664 - 359K
  • JMaulJMaul advanced
    Posts: 235
    More Blue Knobs....


    image


    image
    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
    bk pbr knob.jpg
    1008 x 1280 - 241K
    bk shiner knob.jpg
    500 x 498 - 51K
  • edited July 27 Posts: 6

    Blue Knob's trails were originally laid out by Otto Schneibs who was on hand at the opening in  December 1963.




    Learned a little bit about the "Otto Schneibs Designed the Trails" from Peggy Kurlander a few years ago that may or may not apply here.

    At Great Gorge, which was laid out shortly after Blue Knob, Jack Kurlander did the design, laid out trails, etc. and Otto Schneibs came and visited the property, they drove around and walked where they needed. Schneibs spent a few days, made some suggestions, offered advice, a couple of minor changes, etc. for which they paid him a fee, and then he put his stamp of approval on it and they could then claim "trails designed by Otto Schneibs" Mrs. Kurlander told me it was a thing where they used his name to lend prestige to the area. She made vague reference to other areas doing the same thing, but didn't say which ones, and it wasn't appropriate nor essential to my interview to dig deeper.

    Not saying that was the case at Blue Knob, but I wouldn't be surprised.
    I  really don't know how much Otto really had in the design.I learned of his involvement in the last few years. It would not surprise me if his involvement is exactly as you stated. Otto also visited Laurel Mountain and expressed an opinion on where Laurel's new chairlift should be placed. 

    Hannes Schneider actually did develop a 3 year master plan for Laurel and appears that he returned to Laurel after work had commenced follow up on construction. I haven't nailed that one down yet. Lenny Bughman, RK Mellon's lieutenant and Laurel's first GM, wrote that upon returning to Laurel to check progress, Schneider was surprised to see that all the stumps had been removed and the trail was seeded. Apparently Hannes had never seen or considered that practice and Bughman thought that Laurel was among the first US ski areas that did this. Lenny obviously was not familiar with the CCC's work throughout New England. 
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