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Major Renovations Begin At Ligonier's Laurel Mountain Resort

LIGONIER (KDKA) -- Major renovations are underway at Laurel Mountain Resort near Ligonier ahead of next ski season.

Once considered a premier ski facility, the historic Laurel Mountain ski area has sat unused for years. But Tuesday, it's rebirth began with shovels full of snow tossed at the top of the windswept mountain.

"It's fantastic. Laurel Mountain has such a unique and important history in Pennsylvania skiing," said Bob Nutting, the chairman of Seven Springs.

Seven Springs entered into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to bring Laurel Mountain back.

"We're essentially a concessioner for a state park," said Nutting. "It's their land, it's their project. We're here to give input and to give advice to try to make sure we have the very best ski project, and then we'll be the operator once it's up and running."

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The resort opened in 1939, and it will keep the original layout for the most part, but $6.5 million in state dollars will go to significant improvements.

"From snow-making water retention capacity, were going from about 17 million gallons to 27 million gallons," said Douglas Finger, park manager. "We're doing some improvements on the trails, doing some trail widening and some enhancement, do some more lighting and snow-making on some trails that don't have snow-making on them, and then, of course, we're installing a brand new chair lift."

While the area will accommodate all types of skiers, make no mistake this place is a double black diamond in the rough.

"It's a historic, classic, straight down hill, high vertical drop, wild cat experience for the skiers," said Cindy Adams Dunn, the secretary of the DCNR. "It will be a great draw."

If you plan on being one of the first folks down the hill, you're going to have to wait till the beginning of ski season next fall.

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