[R354R, Seven Springs Mountain Resort] has entered into an agreement with Somerset Trust Co., owner of some of Laurel Mountain's ski infrastructure, that may result in the reopening of Laurel.

Seven Springs is now in negotiations with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the State of Pennsylvania to work out an operating agreement.

"We're very, very enthusiastic this will happen, and have no reason to believe it will not happen," said Seven Springs CEO Eric Mauck.

His resort has had experience operating Laurel Mountain when, after Laurel closed for the second time in its history in 2003, Seven Springs stepped in to manage the operations in the winter of  2004/05. Laurel has been closed since.

Involvement by Seven Springs would cover the operations part of plans to reopen Laurel.

The other part, at least as important, involves renovation of lifts, snowmaking and other infrastructure.

Pennsylvania is considering a proposal to put $6.5 million toward those renovations.

Neighboring communities, and a community of skiers and riders, have their fingers crossed.

Laurel dates back to 1939, when the ski area was started as a private operation. It opened to the public after World War II and, in 1964, the area and other acreage were donated to the state by Gen. Richard K. Mellon as a state park. The park is 493 acres in size.

Stay tuned.