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Mountain Echo

Online newspaper of Altoona Area High School in Altoona, Pennsylvania
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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Students voice their disdain for Blue Knob Ski Resort

Courtesy+of+Nolan+Park
Courtesy of Nolan Park

For many at Altoona Area High School, Blue Knob has been an integral part of their winter. Its impressive 3,100 foot-summit makes it one of the highest mountains to ski on in Pa., and it’s right in our backyard. Recently though, Altoona students have been frustrated with the leadership, or lack thereof, at Blue Knob.

Senior Nolan Park has frequented Blue Knob since the young age of four. Despite his connection to the resort, he has been outspoken about his animosity towards Blue Knob management. 

“It could be the best ski resort in Pennsylvania. The slopes at Blue Knob are probably triple compared to Seven Springs. It’s just the management doesn’t allow it to reach its potential,” Nolan Park said.  

Despite ownership being changed six years ago in 2017, Blue Knob goers are choosing to speak out now due to annoyance brewing over the years. 

“I think after multiple years of not having anything open and making all of these promises to us, I think we had to draw a line. The previous owners did a lot better compared to what these owners are doing, at least they kept it consistent,” Nolan Park said. 

A major reason why the displeasure towards the Blue Knob resort has been able to gain so much traction is undoubtedly because of social media. In early January of 2024, the Facebook group “Blue Knob Concerned Friends & Neighbors” as well as the corresponding Instagram account, “blueknobconcerns” made their first posts. According to the founder of the accounts Maddie Almer, an avid snowboarder, Blue Knob has been not paying attention to patron’s concerns and even deleting comments of concern. 

“It is way too often that our comments and concerns are deleted. There have been pages made in the past that grew to be flooded with memes and overly offensive comments. I wanted to create a page for people to share their concerns honestly and respectfully,” Almer said. “The frustration toward Blue Knob isn’t personal. It’s just truth. We need change.” 

Not only are Blue Knob regulars upset with the quality of the slopes, they are also concerned about the potential safety risks the allegedly unkempt slopes pose. 

“I broke my collar bone a couple winters ago due to poor grooming. My board caught a front edge on a huge snowball and went flying. I had to walk down to the lift and when I rode back up the lifties had no way to communicate. When I got to the top I was screaming to get the liftie to notice,” Almer said. “Safe to say that didn’t feel great on a snapped collar bone.”

Reportedly, the conditions are unsafe throughout the winter but some have even claimed a lack of safety throughout the off season. 

“I’ve been a season pass holder for about three years now,” senior Nathan Park said. “ Two of those years I weed-wacked the trails for a season pass. Honestly, it was really unsafe. My sister almost lost her eye. We didn’t sign any waivers or anything to do it. All they did was give us a weed wacker and ear plugs and said ‘here you go’.”

Despite working to prepare the trails for two years, Park believes Blue Knob does not go far enough to properly get the resort ready for winter.

“The preparation they do for the place is practically non-existent. Even though we worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for four weeks in October, it just wasn’t enough, ” Park said. “In the ski season, there’s practically no snow making being done. Even if there is, nothing gets groomed so it’s just ice.”

Not all snowboarders and skiers find the conditions at Blue Knob unacceptable. Freshman Thomas Dunkle began snowboarding at Blue Knob this year and enjoyed it so much that he plans on getting a season pass next season. 

“I think I’m going to get a season pass next year because it’s a fun environment and you always meet new people. It’s really fun up there when there’s lots of snow because they don’t use the snow machines all the time,” Dunkle said. “All the different trails make it really fun too.” 

Even with the irritation many remain hopeful that Blue Knob can be transformed into a resort that is capable of doing wonders for the local economy and providing fun to locals. 

“It’s such a beautiful mountain with some of the best skiing terrain in Pa. It has so much to offer,” Almer said. “Blue Knob could easily be one of the best on the East Coast. Timberline in West Virginia is a great example of what could happen if we put it in the right hands.”

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About the Contributor
Gracie Gioiosa, Reporter
After enjoying the intro to pub class so much last year (especially when we got into opinion writing!), I decided to join the news staff this year as a junior. Other than writing, I love reading, biking, running, listening to podcasts and being outdoors. After high school, I hope to go to college and law school and move to Pittsburgh. Until then, I can't wait to have a fantastic year writing for the Mountain Echo!

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    Douglas DivelyFeb 7, 2024 at 8:06 am

    My buddy and I, started a site on Facebook also called, uncensored blue knob ski resort. Because we were blocked or removed from official blue knob sites, if we had anything negative to say about the management

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