Denton Hill Plans

DCNR unveils Denton Hill plans at public meeting
• By AMANDA JONES Era Correspondent
• May 24, 2018

COUDERSPORT — Proposed plans for the rehabilitation of Denton Hill State Park and Ski Denton were presented to the public during a meeting held Wednesday at the lodge at Denton Hill.
Personnel from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and members of the firms who assisted with development of a master plan to restore Ski Denton facilities and operations and transform the park into a four-season attraction presented information on proposed upgrades and reconstruction.
“The mountain offers unique resources and downhill terrain that makes it special,” said DCNR Bureau of State Parks Director John Hallas. “We will be moving forward with the (Request for Proposal) process and hopefully at this time next year we’ll be enhancing the design.”

Hallas and representatives of LaBella Associates, the firm tasked with creating the master plan, discussed a number of aspects of construction, including which buildings will require refurbishing or demolition and reconstruction, infrastructure issues, projected costs, and the end plans for the Denton Hill property.
Currently, costs are expected to exceed available approved revenue for the construction. The estimates to complete all needed repairs and new construction exceed $18 million. The project currently has $12 million in approved funding through Act 85 of 2013. Work may have to be completed in phases, though Hallas stated that the plan is to reopen the park following the first phase of construction.
“Costs go above and beyond the capital authorization,” said Hallas. “This is not all going to happen at once. After the first phase, the park can be opened up…. We want to move expeditiously.”
The Ski Lodge, or Adventure Center as it is now being called, will be left mostly as it is “due to its iconic visual character.” Changes are required, however, to bring the building up to code. It currently has no roof insulation, outdated windows, old kitchen equipment, and some areas are not accessible to people with disabilities. An elevator will be installed and changes will be made to the interior of the structure to make all areas accessible while keeping the distinct look and feel of the sixties-era building.
Across the park, electrical upgrades will be required, and heating systems in several buildings will be changed over to more efficient propane systems from the current older heating oil boilers that were previously being utilized.
The maintenance building will remain, but an addition will eventually be added to house Ski Patrol and First Aid personnel and equipment. The cabin colony will see upgrades to parking and other aspects before it is reopened. The compressor building will be demolished and rebuilt, while significant upgrades to the water system to address leaks and provide a bigger storage area will be required.
Ski trails will be graded and moved slightly in some areas to make it easier, and safer, for skiers to access trails, lifts, the lodge and other amenities.
One of the biggest changes will be to the lift system. Currently, the park has two chair lifts that are both outdated and likely malfunctioning due to several years of disuse. The new plans call for only one chair lift, larger than the current ones, and several smaller Poma lifts, but the above-mentioned changes will make it easier for skiers to access all trails than it was in years past. Expansion of the snow-tubing area, and a Poma-style lift for that area, are also in the works.
Trails in a number of areas will be lighted for night-skiing activities, which were very popular at Denton when it was open in the past. Snow-making machines for all the trails are also included in the master plan. They are a large part of the cost of reopening, estimated to cost nearly $7.8 million.

“We felt the facility and existing systems had a lot of value to DCNR, Potter County and the PA Wilds,” stated Hallas. “Sustainability is in the forefront of our efforts — Denton Hill has a part to play in the regional picture.”
The plan also details several suggestions for turning Denton Hill into a four-season attraction, including making the park a sort of hiking and multi-use trail hub, addition of an Aerial Adventure Course, designating a large open area for events and festivals, and possibly creation of a down hill and cross-country combination bicycle course.
“There is a lot to do around Denton — hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, camping — but not a lot of organized activities, so this could fill a gap and generate revenue,” said Claire Hamburg, a LaBella presenter. “Future operators have a number of opportunities to review for additional revenue opportunities off-season.”
Hallas stated that DCNR has started the process to advance a Request for Proposals, an official process that would bring in interested vendors to develop the public-private partnership planned for the park’s continued operational success.
According to Hallas, at Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, DCNR brought in an operator during the design process to come up with a plan to successfully reopen the park, and that the process worked well. A similar approach is being taken for Denton Hill, with hopes that a partner will be signed on by the end of this year. At that time, the design process will start.
Skiing will not be open at Denton Hill during the 2018-19 season, but the reopen now seems more of a reality than it has since operations were shuttered in 2014.


  • Whattttttttttt are those!!! No but really what is this? From what I gathered the State of PA is paying to reopen a PALSAP(Jeremy can have that one) area that closed after 2013/14? And not just reopen, but investing heavily and installing new lifts? Wow, this is impressive and at the same time man oh man does Philly need those millions of taxpayer does more than rich white people need another ski area...
  • edited June 5
    Hey that's great news, if it happens.

    Seems to me that if the Commonwealth of PA spends $18 million to reopen a ski area, 20 years from now they can look back and say that it had a positive impact on the region. On the other hand, if they sink $18 million -- or even $118 million -- into Philly, it will still be a hell hole, with "rich white people" trashing convenience stores.

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