2008-12-11 / Local & State

Seven Springs Acquires Laurel Mountain Ski Assets

LIGONIER, Pa. (AP) _ Seven Springs Mountain Resort has acquired the ski assets at Laurel Mountain State Park and a nearby housing development, another step toward reopening slopes that have been closed for several years.

The state owns the park, but Somerset Trust Co. owned the buildings and equipment after foreclosing on the resort in 2004 when its former concessionaire could not repay more than $5 million in loans.

Seven Springs' purchase price was not disclosed. Ski assets include the lodge, two chairlifts, snowmaking and grooming equipment, maintenance and storage buildings. The housing development is located in nearby Laurel Mountain Village.

"This is another positive step forward in the process of reopening the ski area to local skiers and visitors to the region,'' said Bob Nutting, chairman of Seven Springs. "We will not stop working hard toward this goal until the first skier takes the first run down Lower Wild Cat, the steepest slope in the commonwealth.''

Seven Springs hopes to benefit from $6.5 million in the state's capital budget for renovation and improvements at the park.

"That money doesn't come directly to Seven Springs,'' said Anna Weltz, a Seven Springs spokeswoman. "That's money from the state being donated to a state park. It's instrumental. Laurel Mountain needs upgrades to the facilities there.''

Seven Springs officials are optimistic that an agreement with the state can be reached, though she declined to put a timetable on reopening the resort, Weltz said.

The park, which borders Somerset and Westmoreland counties, is about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The acquisition took place Nov. 26 but was only announced Friday.

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