Abandoned Ski Resort in Pennsylvania Planning to Reopen

Gregg Frantz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
The main lodge at Denton Hill. Photo Credit: Sun Wellsville

There is something special about small ski resorts that resonates with people who visit them for their vibes, characters, and histories. There are a lot of smaller resorts throughout the country where skiers can relax and are not overwhelmed with the noise and crowds at larger resorts. Thousands of skiers call these resorts their hometown mountains and have been skiing them their whole life. It is no secret that some smaller mountains are being bought by larger resorts or groups, and some feel that takes away from the character of the mountain. The skiing industry is tough, competitive, and expensive, and it can be difficult for smaller resorts to keep up.

Denton Hill Ski Area is a small mountain located in North Central Pennsylvania and is located in one of the most rural counties in the state. The last time the ski area was open for business was in 2014, but the contract expired, and the owner chose not to renew it. The ski area was first operated by Pennsylvania’s Park Service and is now operated by a concessionaire. Last week, they announced that Denton Go, LLC, will sign a 35-year lease and are investing $10 million in capital improvements to reopen the ski area.

The defunct chair lift at Denton Hill State Park. Photo Credit: Kelly Stemcosky

The announcement was released on Pennsylvania’s Government website and State Parks Director John Hallas said, “We’re really excited to work with Denton Go to imagine how greater access and new recreational opportunities at the park can serve residents and draw visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds region throughout the year.” Denton Go, LLC comprises three members who are from the area and have business and mountain experience in skiing and hospitality operations.

The ski area will focus on becoming a four-season destination, with mountain biking, and dark-sky gazing opportunities. Cherry Springs State Park is just 12 miles south of Denton Hill and is a national destination for stargazing. The ski area first opened in 1951 and is known for having some of the steepest terrain in the east. Avalanche and Extreme were trails that boasted some of the steepest terrain on the East Coast.

The ski area is definitely off the beaten path and will require time to travel to, however, that will provide skiers and boarders with open terrain to hit. It was rare to see Denton Hill to be crowded like some larger resorts out west, which also meant no long waits at lift lines. The ski area is best known for its beginner terrain and has two green trails that are over a mile long. Denton Hill has 700 acres, 22 trails, and a peak elevation of 2,250 feet.

The lodge at Denton Hill State Park, as shown Dec. 16, 2021. Photo Credit: Kelly Stemcosky

The re-opening of the ski area will bring enthusiasm from locals looking to ski at the mountain again and will also look to the economic benefits as well. Potter County’s population in the 2020 census was 16,396 which makes it the fifth-least populous county in PA. The re-emergence of Denton Hill Ski Area will hopefully bring visitors, business, and revenue to the county. “Outdoor assets like Denton Hill are an important part of rural economies, so revitalizing the park will help nearby communities, businesses, and attractions grow and thrive,” said Hallas.

There was no announcement if Denton Hill will re-open for this upcoming season, but after being dormant for almost 10 years, it will take time to get things running again. It will attract skiers searching for terrain that is challenging and has the vibe of a small-town resort. The solitude of being away from cities and crowds is something Denton Hill has in its favor. It is located in Potter County, and it is known as “God’s Country” due to its remoteness and natural environment.

For more information on Denton State Park, visit its website. 

Denton Hill Trail Map. Photo Credit: DCSki

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