Ownerships of our local ski areas come in a variety of forms -- including a bank, corporations, individuals and families.
Back in 1955, Ace and Evelyn Heiss, who owned a motel at Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Md., decided something had to be done to generate some winter business.
"There wasn't any place for anybody to come to in the winter," says Evelyn Heiss. So she and her husband made a proposal to the area's development council to build a ski resort. "It was," she says, "a venture for everybody to bring in business -- stores, service stations -- and it sure has done that." t
Over the years it has grown to include two chairlifts and three other lifts.
A substantial investment was made this season in snow-making and night skiing after last year's snowless and mild December caused the resort to end up with a small loss.
The Heisses, she says, "tore down the original motel in 1972 and built a high-rise condo." The apartments have since all been sold to individual vacationers.
Though Wisp is a corporation, the Heisses are "the biggest stockholders," and the resort remains a family enterprise: Evelyn Heisss is the president; husband Helmuth, the general manager; son Martin, the food and beverage director; and son Gary, an engineer, helps his father on the slopes.
Since November, Bryce Resort in Bayse, Va., has been owned by a corporation of 230 of the resort's vacation home owners who each paid $2,500, says general manager Manfred Locher. Previously, the resort's recreational facilities had been a partnership of some 50 property owners.
Two Texans and a Floridian, John Swain, own the stock at Massanutten, near Harrisonburg, Va. Swain, the president, also heads the Lake Placid Club in New York State.
Blue Knob, near Claysburg, Pa., which leases part of its acreage from the state, is the property of a single-member corporation. He is B. Dale Stancil, of Winston-Salem, N.C., who also owns Sugar Mountain in that state. Bankers Trust of New York holds the majority of stock in the Wintergreen (Va.) corporation.
Ski Roundtop, a Pennsylvania corporation, bought the Ski Liberty ski facilities at Fairfield, Pa., in the mid-70s when it was known as Charnita.
A Pittsburgh corporation, many of whom are skiers, this season obtained a 35-year lease from the state to revitalize Laurel Mountain near Ligonier, Pa., investing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" for snow-making, lighting and cafeteria and bar.
And the State of West Virginia owns Canaan Valley Resort, leasing the facilities to a concessionaire.