The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 3, 2013

Seven Springs buys Hidden Valley

JOHNSTOWN — Seven Springs’ ownership group is positioning itself to be resort king of Laurel Mountain.

Seven Springs Mountain Resorts announced Tuesday a deal has been reached to acquire its nearby rival, Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort, for an undisclosed price. The group’s owners say plans are already in the works to invest into in the 29-slope resort so both will “grow and thrive” as all-season destinations.

It will give the Seven Springs group, led by the Nutting family, the region’s two largest ski resorts, a Somerset County duo separated by 13 road miles.

“We have a long held a deep appreciation for Hidden Valley and the family experience it offers,” Seven Springs Chairman Bob Nutting said, adding the resort’s buyers are “committed to the long-term success of Hidden Valley as a family destination.”

Hidden Valley has been hosting skiers and other travelers since 1951. Its original owners, the Parke family, developed it into a year-round resort in the 30 years that followed before it changed hands in the early 1980s.

Since 2007, the resort has been under the Buncher Co.’s watch.

Buncher President Tom Balestrieri said the real estate developer will look back fondly over the past six years as it took a “unique investment” and, in his words, “restored (its) reputation as one of the premier family resorts in the mid-Atlantic region.”

Balestrieri pointed to Buncher’s move to add the largest fully-automated TechnoAlpin snow-making installation of its kind in recent years.

Nutting said the Buncher Co. has been solid stewards at the resort.

“Every year, thousands of families build similar memories and experiences at Hidden Valley and Seven Springs. That is something we respect, appreciate and will build on moving forward,” he said.

“We want to ensure that more and more guests have the opportunity to develop the passion for the outdoors in the Laurel Highlands.”

There has been talk of a deal all year, but until this week discussions were under wraps.

A trip by Nutting and Seven Springs CEO Erick Mauck to Hidden Valley in January fueled speculation to the point Seven Springs officials sent a statement to the media that they were not buying the resort.

They are now, it seems.

Hidden Valley sits on 110 acres – about half the size of Seven Springs’ 275 acres. It offers 29 slopes and several other trails, a golf course and other attractions.

Follow The Tribune-Democrat’s David Hurst on Twitter @tddavidhurst.

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