News archive

Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group workdays 2018

PACCSA members make an enormous contribution to the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group's work. The Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group is formed of several outdoor organizations who enjoy recreation at Laurel Summit and Laurel Mountain and are willing to help to maintain and improve those places for everyone to enjoy.  

The work days planned for 2018 are 


Register as a DCNR volunteer to save time on the day and receive email updates.

Trail love days at Oil Creek

Help keep the Oil Creek trails awesome!  There are hiking/ski trail work days on Sundays May 20 and June 3.  We will be picking up branches, trimming, cleaning culverts, doing ditch work, or whatever we find.  Bring your favorite trail tools and a friend!  Volunteers make a HUGE difference to the trails in the park.  Thanks! 

More info on the friends of oil creek page


Summer storage ski waxing

Spring is here, the webcams are on vacation and it's time to get your favorite skis cleaned and put away for the summer!  Here are some instructions on summer ski care from Madshus.  Recently people have been advising against cleaning by warm-scraping skis as many skiers have been over-enthusiastic with this, resulting in base damage.  Using a medium-hard wax for storage is a good choice in PA as it's often the wax of the day for the first snow of the next season.

Webcam aestivation

The webcam will be back next winter

PACCSA's webcams are now dormant for the summer. 

Thank you to the webcam managers who have tended them throughout the winter and everyone who has donated to their upkeep.

Last chance!

There's still good skiing in PA and for some it's the last day of the season.  Check out the snow reports here  

2018 PA Nordic Championships Canceled

Unfortunately the weather has not favored us and so the PA nordic championship races are canceled for 2018.  Special thanks to PACCSA's volunteers, Wilderness Lodge and all of the sponsors who worked with us to put together the region's premier cross country skiing event.

We will try again next year.

Good luck, German!

Rollerskiers on the Hot Metal Bridge

Already enthusiastic supporters of the US (and in some cases, British) cross country ski team(s), some of the PACCSA rollerskiers are also rooting for a second or third team at the 2018 Winter Olympics: Mexico! 

Click here to read more and see a much better photo

2018 PA Nordic Championships POSTPONED to Feb 25th

Regrettably, PACCSA has been forced to postpone this weekend's Pennsylvania Nordic Championship Races until the official makeup date of Sunday, February 25th, 2018. 

While we had hoped that the surprise snowfall that occurred earlier this week would be enough to carry us through the weekend, that didn't happen.  As of last night, the snow base in the fields remained in good shape.  However, overnight temperatures at Wilderness were much higher than predicted, with enough wind to cause significant snow melt.  As a result, the fields, including the start/finish area, no longer have adequate snow to hold a safe and competitive event.  PACCSA apologizes for this inconvenience and hopes everyone will join us on the February 25th makeup date. 

Cross County Ski Basics class at REI

at REI on Southside, Pittsburgh, Wed 31 January. Free! Registration is required.

PACCSA/CVC Ski Outing this Saturday!!

PACCSA and the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy (CVC) have arranged a joint ski outing at Laurel Mountain this Saturday, January 13th beginning at 10:00 AM.  Enjoy skiing with friends for distances ranging between 5k and 15k.  If the thaw ruins the snow, we'll be having a winter hike instead! 

If you'd like to attend, please send an RSVP by Wednesday, January 10th to and provide your cell number.  See you this Saturday! 

More details here

PACCSA lessons are back!

The first lesson of 2018 is set for 1pm on Sunday at Laurel Ridge.   See the events page and the ski lessons page for more info.

What is Ski-O?

On Sunday 7 Jan 2018 the Western PA Orienteering Club is holding a ski-orienteering event at Laurel Ridge.  If you're not familiar with orienteering, you are missing a treat.  Orienteering is a kind of outdoor treasure hunt, using a map and compass (no electronics!) to find a series of flags, and is suitable for anyone who can walk through the woods.  Ski-O is the winter version... more info here

Race sponsorship

If you are interested in sponsoring the 2018 PA Nordic Championship Races, please contact Charlie Nash asap.   We have sponsorship levels available from $50 to $200 and there are also other opportunities to contribute, eg donating to the swag bags or the door prizes.  Funds raised from race sponsorship will help to offset the race expenses and keep the entry fees affordable.  The sponsors will be recognized by printing their logo on the back of the race shirt, on the PACCSA website, and on any printed literature.  Thank you to those who have already joined in. 

The photo shows Charlie at Wilderness Lodge preparing to check out the trails following a race organization meeting.

Yellowjackets registration is open

Have fun this winter with the Yellowjackets, PACCSA's youth team.  We love xc skiing, snow, games, races and cocoa.

Registration for the 2018 season is open.

More info here

Trail Clear and Ski Swap this Sunday!!

Kick off the ski season with PACCSA this Sunday, November 19th at the Laurel Ridge Cross Country Ski Center!  From 10 AM to 2 PM, we'll be having a Ski Swap in the upper warming hut.  This will be a great opportunity to sell your old gear, or maybe find something new.  Come take a look to see what's on offer!  There is no fee for sellers and admission is free.     

Also beginning at 10:00 AM, we'll be teaming up with the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession and DCNR for a Trail Clear.  There's a lot to do, so we need as many volunteers as we can get!  We'll be focusing on stacking firewood for the warming huts, cleaning out drainage pipes and culverts, and clearing the trails of any fallen limbs or debris.  All volunteers for the trail clear will receive one free ski pass for Laurel Ridge.  There will also be random prize drawings for everyone who helps out.  At noon, the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession and Lucky Dog Cafe will be providing lunch with soup and warm drinks.       

Notes for all trail work volunteers -  We'll be working rain or shine...or snow!  Please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, bow saws, and rakes.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  There will be plenty of extras.  Dress appropriately for the weather (it looks like it might be snowing on Sunday).  With everyone's help, we'll have all of the trails clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!     

Upcoming PACCSA volunteer work days and Ski Swap!

Winter is coming, and it's time to get the trails ready before the snow arrives!  PACCSA is planning trail work at the Laurel Mountain Nordic Trails on Saturday November 4th, and at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center on Sunday November 19th.  Food will be provided for volunteers at both trail clears.  A free trail pass will be given to all volunteers who attend the Laurel Ridge trail clear.  In addition, PACCSA will be holding a Ski Swap during the Laurel Ridge trail clear.  Read on for more information:    

Laurel Mountain Trail Clear:  Saturday, November 4th from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join PACCSA at the Laurel Mountain warming hut at 10 AM for a fun, family centered trail clear.  The primary goal is to take a light-paced hike of the trails and remove any fallen limbs and debris that could get caught up in our grooming equipment when the snow arrives.  We plan to finish around noon time and will be providing a hearty lunch of soups and snacks!  Feel free to bring something to share!

Laurel Ridge Trail Clear and Ski Swap:  Sunday, November 19th from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

This will be a geat day for anyone who loves to ski in the Laurel Highlands.  We'll be kicking off at 10:00 AM with an all-day Ski Swap in the upper warming hut.  Do you have ski equipment that you never use or doesn't fit right?  Bring it along and maybe you'll find it a new home.  Looking for reasonably priced gear?  Come take a look to see what's on offer!  This is a free event for anyone interested.   

After you check out the Ski Swap, team up with PACCSA, the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession and DCNR for some trail work at Laurel Ridge.  We'll be focusing on cleaning out drainage pipes and culverts, stacking firewood for the warming huts, and picking up fallen limbs and debris from the trails.  There is a lot of ground to cover at Laurel Ridge, so we can use all of the help we can get!  All volunteers for the Laurel Ridge Trail Clear will receive one free ski pass.  In addition, upon the conclusion of the trail clear, the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession will be holding a pizza party with appetizers and drinks at the Lucky Dog Cafe in nearby Confluence, PA.   

Notes for all trail work volunteers -  Please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, bow saws, and rakes.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  There will be plenty of extras.  Dress appropriately for the weather, and since PACCSA trail clears take place during hunting season, DCNR asks that everyone please wear bright, visible clothing. With everyone's help, we'll have all of the trails clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!     

Summer picnic

We set a new record for attendance at the PACCSA annual meeting and summer picnic - 20 PACCSA members and friends were present on this occasion, which was held at Laurel Hill State Park on August 5. The weather was unusually cold (in the 60s) and the park was almost deserted. After an efficiently short meeting and a picnic lunch, we enjoyed the picnic and then some more energetic activities - volleyball, hiking, rollerskiing, and three hardy Yellowjackets went for a swim.  Thank you to everyone for coming.  

2018 PA Nordic Championships (CANCELED)

2018 races canceled

The PA nordic championship races are canceled for 2018.  We hope for more favorable conditions next year. 

More details here

PACCSAwear order

We will be placing an order for PACCSA team gear - suits, jackets, hats soon.   

Photos and more info are here 

If you wish to order something, be sure to get your payment and order form to Rick before September 19. 

SAVE THE DATE! PACCSA Summer Picnic on Saturday, August 5th!

Join PACCSA for our annual summer picnic!  This year's picnic will take place at Laurel Hill State Park on Saturday, August 5th in the groves adjacent to the beach area.  Look for our bright PACCSA and Fischer signs!  We'll be starting at 11 AM with a very brief Board meeting to elect officers for the 2017/2018 ski season.  After that we'll be grilling up some hotdogs and hamburgers and enjoying everything Laurel Hill State Park has to offer.  This event is open to all PACCSA members and their families.  

Please feel free to bring a food item to share with your ski buddies!  Also, Laurel Hill has a beach for swimming and many playgrounds for the kids. It's a great place to canoe, kayak or paddle-board and there's a concession where you can rent boats.  There are also interesting hiking and and mountain bike trails, and the fishing is great.  Some of us might also go for a rollerski, so bring 'em if you got 'em!

Northwoods and Roaring Run Trail Work on Saturday, July 29th!

Get outdoors with PACCSA and the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group for some summer trail work on the Northwoods and Roaring Run XC ski trail systems!  

We will meet on Saturday, July 29th at the Route 31 pole building parking area (located off of Route 31 at Camp Run Rd., just east of Donagal, PA near the Hidden Valley Ski Resort).  Work will start at 10AM and end the day around 2:30PM.  Projects will include resurfacing wet areas of trail and brush-back work.  Wear sturdy shoes, long pants, and bring a good pair of work gloves. DCNR has a large selection of tools for us to use, but feel free to bring your own loppers and had trimmers if you have them.

See you on the 29th!  

Laurel Mountain Trail Work This Saturday!

Saturday, June 3 is National Trails Day!  To celebrate, PACCSA is teaming up with the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group (LMVG) to work on the cross country skiing trails at Laurel Mountain.  Everyone who helps out will be entered in a raffle for prizes generously donated by REI.  We plan to repair and armor wet areas and erosion damaged segments of the Bill Alberts and Towhee trails.  

Meet us at the Laurel Mountain warming hut beginning at 9:45 AM.  DCNR will have light snacks, water and Gatorade for all participants.  Make sure to bring work gloves and a bagged lunch.  Tools will be provided by DCNR, but feel free to bring loppers, hand pruners and trimmers if you have them.   

Your volunteerism and hard work during the off-season ensures that we'll have the best possible trail conditions when the snow returns! 

PACCSA rollerskiers

Lawrenceville (Open Streets June 2018)

We have email and garmin connect groups for PACCSA rollerskiers, and a few of us meet in or near Pittsburgh most weeks. Let us know if you'd like to join us.

You might enjoy this beginner's guide from's Mark Vosburgh, the longer rollerskiing guide from AXCS, or this amazing agility training video from CXC.

Tony Mathie Makes Junior Nationals!

Tony Mathie winning the 2017 PA Nordic Championship Title

PACCSA would like to congratulate Tony Mathie of Edinboro, PA for earning a trip to the 2017 XC Junior National Championships as part of the Mid-Atlantic team!  Tony, who is 18 years old, is the current reigning Pennsylvania Nordic Champion and a member of the Wilderness Wildcats youth program.  He will be competing in the Junior Nationals U20 division in Lake Placid between March 6th and 11th.  For more information about the 2017 XC Junior National Championships, including the schdule of events, click here.  You can watch Tony race live and view his results here.       

PACCSA recognizes the level of hard work and dedication that is required to achieve this level of success and wishes Tony good luck and fast skis!     

PA race shirts for sale

We have some extra race shirts available for $15 each in sizes S to XL.   They are lightweight, tech wicking fabric, and a nice high visibility green which will stand out in traffic - ideal for rollerskiing or cycling etc.  Here we have Naomi and Matthew modelling size S.  If you'd like a shirt, contact Jim.

2017 PA Nordic Championship Race Recap!

The 2017 edition of PACCSA’s Pennsylvania Nordic Championships took place on February 5th, 2017 at Wilderness Lodge in Wattsburg, PA.  After last year’s poor snow season, combined with this January’s snow drought, fitness was a concern for many racers.  Despite this, over 100 skiers participated in hotly contested Classic, Skate and Kids’ events.  Limited snowfall and a recent thaw had forced the cancellation of the Highmark Quad races a week earlier, and for a time, it looked like PACCSA’s race might need to be rescheduled.  However, the snow gods and expert groomers at Wilderness Lodge combined to prepare an absolutely flawless course.  Click here to read the whole story!   

2017 PA Nordic Championships - Results

The results are here!   Just a brief note to say congrats to our new champions Tony Mathie and Pamela McCormick and a huge 'Thank You!' to everyone for coming out to race, bringing kids to race, helping out, for sponsorship, and Wilderness Lodge for a super job with course prep.  (To be continued.) 

Conditions Update For PA Nordic Championships (2/3/17)

Course preparation has begun for Sunday's Pennsylvania Nordic Championship races.  As predicted, Wilderness Lodge has received additional snow this week.  The trail base is currently 8-10 inches with nothing but below-freezing temperatures in sight.  The forecast is calling for a race-time temperature of 31 degrees with cloudy skies.  It will be an great day for skiing!  

Erie NBC television affiliate WICU is planning to be at the races, with live interviews taking place between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM during their Sunday morning news program.  Also, for anyone needing help with ski preparation, Findley Lake Sporting Goods plans to have a race-day waxing station on site at Wilderness.  

Lastly, for those who haven't yet made lodging plans for this weekend's race, please consider staying at the Erie Wingate by Wyndham.  The Wingate is offering a special rate for racers and spectators planning to attend the races of just $79/night.  The Wingate will also make a donation to PACCSA for each room reserved.  Call the Wingate at (814) 860-3050 and mention the Pennsylvania Nordic Championships to get the special rate!          

Trail pics from Wilderness Lodge

Trail photo from WL

These were taken today (Fri) before setting tracks.  As you can see, there is plenty of snow this year. 

Join us at the PA Nordic Championships on Sunday!

Race day weather & wax tips

The NWS weather forecast for Wilderness Lodge  looks great!  As of today (Thurs) it predicts snow, with a high of 31F.

Wax recommendations for race day are linked below

Membership Prize Draw

The lucky winner is Charlie B!  Enjoy the slopes, Charlie!

New PACCSA teamwear

New PACCSA suit

We will be ordering new suits and jackets in early Jan 2017 from Borah Teamwear, using these great designs from our talented designer, Colin Burch.  

More info here

Are you a PACCSA member?

Now is a GREAT time to renew your PACCSA membership!   Memberships are valid for one calendar year - get the most out of yours by renewing before the season starts.  You will be ready to show your membership card at White Grass or Wilderness Lodge and able to take advantage of the discounted trail fees, ski gear and more offered to PACCSA members. 

PACCSA members also know that they are putting some financial support into their local cross country ski club, whose Board Members and Volunteers put a lot of time and hard work into bringing you two lovely webcams, groomed trails at Laurel Mountain, free lessons, the Yellowjackets kids ski program, the PA Nordic Championship races, a host of information on our website, and more.  Thank you for your help!

PACCSA Trail Clear at Laurel Ridge


On November 9 the weather was not ideal, it started off warm and breezy, became windier still and then the temperature dropped by 30F as a light rain started to fall and became progressively colder and heavier as it changed over to wet snow.  Despite the nasty conditions, a dozen hardy PACCSA volunteers showed up to help.  We first replenished the wood rack inside the main warming hut before turning to the trails.  Our crew managed to clear out every drainage ditch and culvert on the Red, Blues, Greens and some of the Orange.  We also cleared limbs and debris from those same trails, as well as the Yellow.  A number of downed trees were removed by our chainsaw crew.  Afterwards, as we dried off in the warming hut, we enjoyed burgers, hotdogs and fellowship, looking forward to a snowy winter.  When we left, the trails were in good shape and ready for the season. 

Laurel Ridge Trail Clear and Cookout This Saturday!!!

Please join PACCSA on Saturday, November 19th, 2016 from 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM for some pre-season trail work at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center.  We'll be doing a variety of tasks, including clearing the trails of fallen trees and branches, cutting back invasive saplings, and cleaning out drainage pipes and culverts.  Since we'll be working up an appetite, PACCSA will be providing a cookout afterwards and handing out prizes to lucky volunteers.  

We'll be meeting in front of the lower warming hut at 10:30 AM.  For all trail clears, please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, bow saws, and rakes.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  There will be plenty of extras.  Also, since this Saturday is opening day for Bear hunting season, DCNR asks that everyone please wear bright, visible clothing.  With everyone's help, we'll have all of the trails clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!     

Laurel Highlands rollerski

A few photos from a PACCSA rollerski outing near Ligonier, PA.  No group pic, we were in too much of a hurry to get to the Pie Shoppe.  If you would like to receive invitations to future outings, contact us

Yellowjackets 2017 registration is open - closing soon!

Kids, snow, fun and games...  registration for Yellowjackets, PACCSA's youth team, is now open for the 2016-2017 season.

Don't miss your chance!

More info here


Drive for 25 is the National Nordic Foundation's grass-roots fundraiser to support US cross country skiing.  Most of the athletes on the US Nordic Ski Team are or have been supported by the NNF, read Caitlin's story to learn more.

If you can help, any amount is welcome.

The fundraiser ends on Dec 1.


Ski Saturday in NYC

NYC rollerskiers

The Ski Saturday group in NYC are starting up a weekly continuously happening ski session every Saturday - the kind of thing that can go on even for one hundred years.  Every Saturday people show up to ski, and skiers visiting NYC will always find buddies with gear to lend for a ski session around Central Park and Harlem.

Visiting NYC and want to rollerski?  Contact Enrique.

(For rollerskiing in London, contact Iain, and for PA, contact us)

Ski camps 2016

Thinking of getting a few days early season skiing with some expert coaching too?  If you're prepared to travel, then check these out


National Bike Challenge 2016 results

Kevin and his bike

Team PACCSA finished the challenge period (May-Sept) in 8th place locally and 348th nationally, with 7396 miles pedalled. Our #1 rider was Kevin Craig, who rode a glorious 3407 miles, followed by Mike Blessington, 1364 miles, and Paquita Txirrindulari, 1874 miles.

More info here

Summer training - 2016 edition

Dave and Mark after riding to Mars and back

What did you do as summer training? 

So far we have evidence of Dave Helwig and Mark Spear cycling to Mars to find a flying saucer, Nancy and Addy Barnes getting a SUP workout, Carlton Ketchum striding along the Eliza Furnace trail in Pittsburgh, beach skiing from Naomi Jarvis (there wasn't enough snow in PA last winter), Jim Anglin on a gut-busting bike race in WV, Robert Kaschak with his medal from the Pittsburgh Adventure Triathlon, and James Fenn in the start lines for a rollerski race.

Laurel Mountain Trail Work and Picnic this Weekend!!

Winter is coming fast!  Please join PACCSA and the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group on Saturday, September 24, 2016 beginning at 10 AM for some much needed trail work.  The primary focus will be repairing areas of erosion damage along the Laurel Mountain nordic ski trails with loads of crushed stone and fill.  We need a significant amount of manpower to accomplish this task.  

After the work is completed, there will be a hearty picnic dinner provided by DCNR and the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group.  Also, various prizes donated by REI will be given away.  

If you're able to volunteer for this important trail work, please gather at the Laurel Mountain warming hut on Saturday at 9:45 AM.  Wear sturdy shoes, long pants and bring a good pair of work gloves.  DCNR has a large selection of tools for us to use, but feel free to bring a good sturdy shovel if you have one. 

PACCSA thanks its members for their tireless volunteerism and looks forward to a snowy 2016/2017 ski season!             

PACCSA rollerskiers

PACCSA set a new record for the number of rollerskiers on one Pittsburgh street after yesterday's picnic.  Thanks to Alan Hough of Skike PA and PACCSA Board members Jim South and Naomi Jarvis for sharing their rollerski gear.

If you are interested in rollerskiing, let us know!  We have email and garmin connect groups for PACCSA rollerskiers, and a few of us meet in or near Pittsburgh most weeks.

The 2017 PA Nordic Championships are a GO!!

The Pennsylvania Nordic Championships will be held at Wilderness Lodge in Wattsburg, PA, on Sunday, February 5th, 2017 between 9 AM and 12 PM.  There are events for everyone, including kids races, classic races, and skate races.  The course conditions at Wilderness Lodge are currently excellent, with more snow and continued cold temperatures expected.  Register today at!  

More details

PACCSA Picnic This Weekend!!

Please join PACCSA in Pittsburgh this weekend for our annual picnic on Saturday, August 27th beginning at 12:30 PM. Come meet PACCSA's Board of Directors, learn about future projects, and enjoy a lunch of sandwiches, salads and other summer favorites.  If you've ever wanted to try rollerskiing, we'll have skate and classic models on hand with both NNN and Salomon bindings.  Just bring your boots, poles and a helmet to give them a whirl!  Some of us will also be mountain biking the trails in in Frick Park, so bring your bike if you have one!  We'll also be holding PACCSA's "annual meeting" to elect this season's Board of Directors.  

All PACCSA members and their families are invited.  If you're interested, meet us at the Law Offices of Frischman & Rizza, 7300 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 (just up the road from the Frick Museum) beginning at 12:30 PM.  See you there!           

Laurel Mountain Trail Work!!

Please join PACCSA and the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group on Saturday, August 13 for some trail work.  We'll be focusing on squaring away some of the backcountry trails in the Northwoods and Roaring Run areas.  Meet us at 9:45 AM  at the Route 31 pole building.  DCNR will be providing water and granola bars, and be sure to bring a lunch and wear sturdy shoes, long pants, and work gloves!

PACCSA thanks our members in advance for volunteering to keep the region's Nordic ski trails in tip-top shape!   

National Bike Challenge 2016

There's still time to join the National Bike Challenge - look for team PACCSA.  We are currently team #351 nationally and #7 in Pittsburgh, with over 2000 miles logged.  Your bicycle miles can be entered on the challenge website directly, or synced automatically from Endomondo, MapMyRide and Strava.

Yellowjackets 2016 season report

2016 was a season of ups and downs - snow one week and grass the next!  Yellowjackets coaches spent far too much of the winter checking the weather forecast and looking for alternative dryland activities.  After two weeks of dryland we were literally jumping for joy to be on snow.  We had 3 on-snow sessions at Laurel Ridge and 3 dryland sessions, which were a mix of hiking, games, rollerskiing, indoor mountain biking and more hiking.  (Continued...)

Laurel Mountain - firewood ready already

PACCSA members Elizabeth Beech, Mike Blessington, Bruce Cox, Jim Logan and Bob Mazur worked hard at the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group work day on June 4, splitting an enormous heap of logs into firewood to keep skiers warm next winter.  Elizabeth said, "It was a great group of people to work with and we made a pretty good team. I'm so glad to get the chance to contribute to the places I get to play in.  I had a blast." 

Join the fun at the next LMVG workday on August 13.


Come Help PACCSA Maintain the Laurel Mountain Trails this Saturday!

PACCSA volunteers working on the Laurel Mountain ski trails in 2015

In conjunction with National Trails Day, PACCSA is teaming up with the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group (LMVG) to do some trail work this Saturday, June 4th, beginning at 10 AM.  This is one of just a few "volunteer days" scheduled by DCNR each year where PACCSA volunteers are permitted to do maintenance work on the Laurel Mountain XC ski trails, such as repairing wash-out areas and improving drainage.  Your hard work during the off-season ensures that we'll have the best possible trail conditions when the snow returns!  

Meet up at the Laurel Mountain Warming Hut at 9:45 AM.  Also, if you have not previously done so, please click here to sign up as a DCNR Conservation Volunteer.          

LMVG Work Days for 2016

This year is the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group (LMVG)’s 10th year anniversary, making it an especially important work season!  Please mark your calendars for the 2016 volunteer trail work days:

Saturday, June 4

Saturday, August 13

Saturday, September 24

More detailed information will be available closer to the trail work dates.  Register as a volunteer to receive email updates.  

Forecast FYI

Screenshot of ski area map

The local forecasts from the National Weather Service are linked to our ski area map - click the balloon for the ski area of interest and then click 'Forecast'.  There is also a collection of links to various weather forecast websites on the pages for the PACCSA webcams at Laurel Ridge and Laurel Mountain including the NWS's new interactive map of predicted snowfall depth. 

It's a Great Time to Join PACCSA!

It's been a strange winter, and with the poor snow conditions, we know that many of you have held off on joining or renewing your PACCSA membership.  However, the snow has returned and PACCSA is pleased to announce a special LATE SEASON BONUS for anyone who joins, renews their membership, or donates to PACCSA between now and April 1, 2016!  Click here for more details!   

Pennsylvania Nordic Championships are this Sunday!

Come join us this Sunday at Wilderness Lodge for the The Pennsylvania Nordic Championship races!  Start off Super Bowl Sunday the right way with some fun competition on Wilderness Lodge's expertly prepared trail system!  The races begin at 9 AM, so you'll have plenty of time to test your abilities against the region's best skiers before heading home to watch the big game!

Read more about the race and our sponsors by clicking here!

Thank you PACCSA Volunteers!

PACCSA recently sponsored two very successful trail clearing events.  On November 6th, twenty-five PACCSA volunteers attended a trail clear at Laurel Mountain.  The following weekend, seventeen PACCSA volunteers helped get things ready at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center.  Read more about these successful volunteer events!    

Volunteer to Help the Ski Patrol!

The all-volunteer Laurel Summit Nordic Ski Patrol needs your help this winter at the Warming Hut and on the trails. 

More details here

The Webcams are Ready for Snow!

Hopefully we'll have snow like this in the coming weeks!

Your membership fees and donations make PACCSA's webcam program possible. 

Thank you for your ongoing support!     

Laurel Ridge Trail Clear

PACCSA volunteers enjoyed the sunshine at the Laurel Ridge trail clear last weekend.  Fallen branches have been removed, drains cleaned out, and firewood stacked.  We're ready for snow.

Come to Sunday's Trail Clear at Laurel Ridge!

For the second year in a row, PACCSA is teaming up with the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession for pre-season trail work.  The Laurel Ridge trail clear is scheduled for Sunday, November 15th from 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM.  The Ski Concession is giving everyone who participates one trail pass for the 2015/2016 season and will be throwing a free cookout with soups and warm drinks. Participants will also have a chance to win free ski garb.  If you plan to attend, please send an e-mail to Jim South at indicating the number of people in your party.  This will let the Ski Concession know how much food to prepare.     

For all trail clears, please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, bow saws, and rakes.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  There will be plenty of extras.  Also, since it will be hunting season, DCNR asks that everyone please wear bright, visible clothing.  With everyone's help, we'll have all of the trails clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!     

Laurel Mountain Trail Clear/PACCSA Picnic is This Saturday!

PACCSA's first ever trail clear at Laurel Mountain is scheduled for this Saturday, November 7th, beginning at 10 AM.  The trails are in good shape, but last week's wind from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia dropped a ton of debris on the trails.  We'll work for two hours before having a picnic lunch at the Laurel Ridge Warming Hut at noon.  After lunch, PACCSA will be holding its November Board Meeting, which is open to all PACCSA members.    

We'll be meeting at the Laurel Mountain Warming Hut.  From the Ligonier/Laughlintown area, take Rt. 30 until you reach the top of the mountain.  Take a right onto Summit Road and drive about 2 miles until you come to the warming hut.  If you can attend, please e-mail Jim South at  That will let us know how much food to prepare.  

As with all trail clears, please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, and bow saws if you have them. Again, we'll mostly be clearing downed branches and other debris from the trails, so tools aren't necessary.  Lastly, since it's hunting season, DCNR asks that you please wear brightly colored, high-visibility clothing.   

2016 PA Nordic Championships CANCELED

Unfortunately, Wilderness Lodge does not have enough snow for the 2016 Pennsylvania Nordic Championships, which were rescheduled to occur on March 6, 2016.  PACCSA thanks all of our sponsors and apologizes for this inconvenience.  Participants who pre-registered through will be receiving a refund. Hopefully excellent snow conditions will return in 2017.  

Yellowjackets 2016 registration is open

Kids, snow, fun and action...  registration for Yellowjackets, PACCSA's youth team, is now open for the 2015-2016 season.  Don't miss your chance!  More info here

Public Comment Period on DCNR’s Forest Plan Ends November 30th!

DCNR held a public meeting on October 28th in Monroeville for public comment on the 2015 State Forest Resource Management Plan (SFRMP).  The Bureau of Forestry develops this document as the primary reference governing how Pennsylvania’s numerous state forests may be used.  Numerous PACCSA members attended the meeting to comment on issues related to cross-country skiing and trail grooming in the State Forests.  

Citizens may still submit written comments related to the SFRMP until November 30th.  If you would like to submit a comment to DCNR, there is an online survey available that makes the process easy.  You can also submit comments via e-mail to  If you still haven't taken a look at the SFRMP, click here and pay particular attention to the “recreation” sections, pages 166 through 183.  

Thank you for doing your part to ensure that DCNR’s state forests remain a great place for cross-country skiing! 

National Bike Challenge 2015 results

Team PACCSA finished the challenge period (May-Sept) in 12th place locally and 440th nationally, with 6907 miles pedalled.  Once again, Board Member Mike Blessington held the spot at the top of the leaderboard with 1741 miles, hotly pursued by Jim Anglin (1532) and Paquita Txirrindulari (1424).  Here he is on the GAP trail with PACCSA President Jim South and Yellowjacket James Fenn.  Congratulations to all who took part.  If you missed it, join us next year.

National Nordic Foundation Drive for 25

There's just one day left for the NNF's campaign to raise money to support US cross country skiing - this will help many of the national team and the junior teams get to races.  If you are able to contribute, any amount is welcome. Thank you.

North Park workday on Oct 11

Please help our friends at Trail Pittsburgh (formerly PTAG) fix up some drainage issues on the xc ski trail in N Park. This trail is a treat to ski, it goes through the woods close to the edge of the golf course and needs about 5" of snow to be skiable. We will be installing drains and removing some rock ski-traps. Lunch will be provided. Afterwards, head on over to the Trail Fest event, bring classic poles if you'd like to do some nordic walking, or rollerskis for a nice hill workout. We are meeting at 8am at the Scout Cabin on Kummer Rd. More details here

Fall trail work days

Mark your calendar with the PACCSA trail work days:
Saturday Nov 7 at Laurel Mountain
Sunday Nov 15 at Laurel Ridge

Friends of Oil Creek State Park have work days planned for Sundays Oct 25, Nov 8 and Nov 22.  

White Grass have work days every weekend in November - RSVP to join the fun.

Saturday, August 8th -Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group Work Day

Over the past several years, PACCSA has been working with the Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group (LMVG) on improvements to the ski trails at Laurel Mountain and other locations within Forbes State Forest.  A LMVG work day is scheduled for this Saturday, August 8th at 9:45 AM.  While there a numerous tasks to be accomplished, a primary focus will be clearing trails in the Northwoods skiing area.  

If you would like to help out, please meet PACCSA board members Mike Blessington and Bob Mazur at the Route 31 Pole Building at 9:45 AM.  We look forward to seeing you!    


Summer training

Skiers are made in the summer - well, summer is on the way out, what have you been doing?  Let's see some training photos here (use the contact form to ask for our email address).  Here's Jason Zimmerman on his way to winning the ACA Master's Crit Series with the Freddie Fu Cycling Team - congrats, Jason!  Click on the photo or the title to see more PACCSA members' antics and maybe get some inspiration for your own.

Ghost town trail ride

RAINED OUT!   We will try again next month.

The bike ride on 27 June has moved... it will be on the Ghost Town trail, 9am at the Blacklick trail head in Saylor Park, Blairsville.
Planning to join us?  Contact Mike Blessington so that he can email you if the weather forecast turns bad and we have to cancel.

Summer biathlons

There are two summer biathlons coming up - June 27 in Altoona, and August 8 at Oil Creek State Park.   No experience is necessary, equipment will be provided, and there will be safety training for first-timers.   More info on PA biathlons

*** The Oil Creek biathlon is FULL! ***   Volunteers and spectators are welcome.


LVMG Workdays 2015

The Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group Work Days for 2015 are

Saturday, June 6
Saturday, August 8
Saturday, September 26

More details here

National Bike Challenge 2015

Do you ride a bike? Log your cycling miles for the National Bike Challenge and join Team PACCSA. Our 2014 bike challenge champion Mike Blessington is at the top of our leaderboard once again, and after the first week, Team PACCSA is in 18th place locally. Miles can be logged using Strava, Endomondo, Mapmyride, or directly on the bike challenge website. The bike challenge awards 20 points for each day with over 1 mile pedalled, plus one point per mile, so regular short rides can build up points more easily than less frequent longer rides. There is also a friendly competition between the bike advocacy nonprofits Bike Pittsburgh and Bike Cleveland for the Rust Belt Cup  - and a free beer in June for each mileage target reached.

PA Nordic 2016 - save the date

The 2016 PA Nordic Championships will be held at Wilderness Lodge on Sunday, February 7th, 2016.  The races will include:

5km classic and 10km or 20km skate for adults

5km classic and 5km skate for youth

and a choice of races for kids.

More details will be released nearer the time.  Mark your calendar now!

Spring is here!

Have you put storage wax on your skis yet?  If not, don't panic, but follow the instructions in the Toko summer storage manual  The Toko guidelines also work for Swix wax, use yellow/BP/CH10 for cleaning and red/CH8 for storage.  Summer ski care from Madshus suggests purple/CH7 for storage.  If you're lucky, that same red or purple wax will be just what you need for the first ski outing of next season - just scrape, brush and go! 

Winners of the PACCSA/REI Prize Drawing!

Everyone who joined PACCSA this season was entered into a drawing for one of four different "Evaporator" ski and duffel bags that were donated by REI.  Click the title above to see the winners! 

Special thanks to REI who has been a great supporter of PACCSA over the years!  Also, thanks to each individual member of PACCSA for your ongoing support! 

2015 Pennsylvania Nordic Championship Recap!

The 2015 Pennsylvania Nordic Championships were held at Wilderness Lodge for the second year in a row on February 8, 2015.  In the end, PACCSA held one of the most exciting races in recent memory, with Nancy Herbst and Sheldon Degenhardt being crowned the 2015 Pennsylvania Nordic Champions.  For a full recap of all the races, click on the title above.    



Even the youngest Yellowjackets are learning trail etiquette - calling out 'on your left' to pass to the left of a slower skier, 'Track!' (clear the track please, a faster skier is coming through) and, of course, 'thank you'.

Yellowjackets 2015 - thank you, Birkie Foundation!

Thank you to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation for the Young Skier Development Grant which was awarded to PACCSA Yellowjackets in 2014. Yellowjackets have enjoyed the plentiful snowfall at Laurel Ridge - 2015 has been our snowiest season ever! The photos show the team enjoying an agility session disguised as a game of 'fire and ice' tag.

Ski lessons - change of date

This weekend the Sunday lesson is rescheduled for Saturday 14 Feb, due to the forecast extreme cold on Sunday.

Huge thank you to Norb Duritsa for teaching not one, but two lessons last Saturday!  One to a group of scouts, and one regular PACCSA lesson.  For remaining lesson dates, see the events calendar.

Membership draw prizes from REI

REI, a long time partner of PACCSA, has graciously provided us with FOUR fantastic bags to be used as fundraisers - two duffel bags, and two ski bags (one in each color).  These will be awarded to the lucky winners on February 28, 2015.  Everyone who joins or renews their membership by 2/28/15 will be eligible to win.  The winners will be randomly selected, please encourage your friends to join and support our club.  Thank you to REI for this generous gift.

The lucky winner of the Top Gear swag bag is Louis D.


Ski swap at Laurel Ridge Jan 24-25

From Erica and Andy at Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center:  Ski Swap!  Bring your used outdoor gear (any - not just skiing).  We'll provide pricing tags, clothing racks, hangers, cash box & credit card processing.  We will watch & sell your items while you ski for 10% of the selling price.  Drop off anytime this Friday or Saturday.  Pick up Sunday, Monday or following Friday.

Ski lessons

Thanks to Norb Duritsa, Bob Dezort, Robert Kaschak and Mike Lubich for instructing the PACCSA ski lessons on Jan 18 and Feb 1.  There are several more ski lessons scheduled - see the events calendar

PA Nordic Championship 2015

Results are on Miles of Smiles website.   Thank you to Wilderness Lodge for hosting the race, many volunteers for helping, Miles of Smiles for timing, Whole Foods Market for the fruit, and all the racers and families who came out to enjoy the day.


A can't miss outing of outdoor enthusiasts, skiers, snowshoers, hikers.
Saturday January 24, 2015 10AM at Laurel Mountain Summit Road warming hut.
More info here

2015 Membership Prize Draw

Join PACCSA or renew your membership by February 12, 2015 to be entered into a drawing for a messenger bag full of bike swag courtesy of Top Gear who are now stocking a selection of nordic gear from Madshus at their Wexford location.  The bag itself would retail for $120 and contains a water bottle, lock, socks, neck gaiter, taillight, some other small swag, and 20 Top Dollars.   The drawing will be held on Feb 13th.  

Yellowjackets registration is open!

Registration for the 2014-2015 season is open, see

Don't miss your chance - registration will close on Dec 16.

This year we have a grant from the Birkie Foundation to help people with ski rentals - contact us for details.  Thank you, Birkie!


National Bike Challenge Update

At the end of the challenge period, the PACCSA team was ranked #319 nationally, out of a total of 1266 teams, and #43 out of the 927 teams with less than 10 riders (we had 9) - outstanding!  Our collective total of miles pedalled is 8320, and the lead rider was Board Member Mike Blessington (pictured, several years ago) who covered 1953 miles, closely followed by Jim Anglin (1608 miles) and Paquita Txirrindulari (1573 miles).  Mike put in his miles on the local trails, mostly from the Point in Pittsburgh to Cedar Creek, and recommends the Westmoreland Heritage Trail for its changing terrain and beautiful scenery.  Tracking days and miles with the NBC provided a real incentive to get out and ride.

Congratulations to all the participants!  We'll be doing this again in 2015, look for the announcement on the website in spring.

Laurel Ridge special offer on trail passes

'Buy a 12 time use pass for $75 ($21 savings).  Pass is good through March 2015.  Offer ends November 30th.

Call Andy at 724-880-4384'

19 Volunteers Help Out at Second Laurel Ridge Trail Clear!

November 16th was a chilly day, but a light blanket of snow made for a beautiful backdrop.  A record total of nineteen PACCSA volunteers made the trip to the Laurel Highlands to participate in the second trail clear of 2014.  Tons of wood was moved and stacked at both warming huts, drains and culverts were cleared of debris, and the trails were swept one final time of fallen limbs.  Laurel Ridge is ready to go!  All we need now is a big dump of snow!

Andy Smith, Erica Smith and Bob Ruppel from the Ski Concession provided the volunteers with a hearty lunch including homemade chili, burgers and hot dogs.  Probably the best part of the day was catching up with old friends and swapping ski stories in the warming hut while filling up on lunch.  Each volunteer earned a complimentary trail ticket for Laurel Ridge, and the names of everyone who helped out at the October and November Laurel Ridge trail clears will be entered into a prize raffle for items from Patagonia, Swix, Atomic, and more.  The Ski Concession plans to hold the raffle on opening day (when there's enough snow for skiing) and will notify the winners via e-mail.  

PACCSA thanks the following volunteers for making the November trail clear a successful event:

Jim Anglin, Bill Askin, Kevin Craig, Amy Dana, Neal Dana, Norb Duritsa, James Fenn, Dave Helwig, Naomi Jarvis, Hop Kruper, Kelly Kruper, Chuck Nash, Christina Price, Kelly Rosche, Bill Rosche, Sally Smales, Jim South, Matthew South, and Traci Torrence.


The second trail clear at the Laurel Ridge XC Skiing Center will occur this Sunday, November 16th, from 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM.  Everyone who participates will once again earn a free trail ticket for the 2014/2015 ski season.  Also, the Lucky Dog Cafe will be providing a delicious lunch for every volunteer. 

If you can attend, please e-mail Jim South at  Make sure to indicate how many people will be coming with you so the Lucky Dog Cafe knows how much food to prepare.  Also, please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clipper, bow saws and rakes if you have them.  If not, we'll have extra tools on hand.  Lastly, deer hunting season starts this week, so DCNR asks that you please wear brightly colored, high-visibility clothing. 

PA Nordic Skiers Unite!

Let's get together to support the development of the USA's future Nordic stars.  

Donations of any size are very welcome.  Think of it as buying one of the athletes a coffee, a stick of wax, or a small fraction of a ski pole.  Proceeds go to the National Nordic Foundation, which supports developing athletes and the US 'B' team.  Almost all of the skiers on the US team have benefitted from NNF help in the past.  The campaign ends on Nov 15.

Let's put some PA pride into the NNF fundraising for 2015 - thank you! 

2015 Membership Prize Draw

Join PACCSA or renew your membership by December 19, 2014 to be entered into a drawing for snowtubing for two, compliments of Seven Springs Mountain Resort.  Drawing will be held Dec. 20th. - UPDATE - the winner is Barbara B.  Another prize draw will be announced soon.

PACCSA Webcams Ready for 2014/2015 Season!

PACCSA's webcams are up and running, just in time for the first predicted snow accumulations of the season.  The Laurel Ridge XC Center webcam will once again feature a button for skiers to take their own photos.  Also, make sure to check out the newly improved webcam at the Laurel Mountain ski trails.  Your membership fees and donations make the webcam program possible.  Thank you for your ongoing support!   

First Laurel Ridge Trail Clear a Success!

Last Saturday was a bit of a dreary day at the Laurel Ridge XC Skiing Center, but the heavy rains stopped just before the trail clear got underway.  Eleven hearty PACCSA volunteers braved the wet and chilly conditions to remove fallen trees, large limbs and other debris from the trail system.  In the end, virtually every trail was cleaned up and readied for the 2014/2015 ski season. 

Andy Smith and Bob Ruppel from the Ski Concession provided all of PACCSA's volunteers with a delicious lunch which included homemade chili, grilled burgers, hot dogs, and warm apple cider.  In addition, everyone earned a trail ticket for helping out.  PACCSA extends a special thanks to the following volunteers who braved the weather to help accomplish this back-breaking work:

Kevin Craig, Norb Duritsa, James Fenn, Kate Fissel, Naomi Jarvis, Brian Joly, Gene Parsons, Jim South, Matthew South, Traci Torrence and George Wolf.   

For those who couldn't make it, there will be another trail clear at the Laurel Ridge XC Skiing Center on November 16th from 10 AM until 3 PM.  We'll provide more information on this event in the coming weeks. 

Think snow! 

NNF - Drive for 25


The Drive for 25 is the grassroots funding program for American nordic skiing at a national level.  The National Nordic Foundation picks up the tab for much of the training and racing costs of young and upcoming athletes and also the US Nordic B Team.  More information here.



PACCSA is teaming up with the Laurel Ridge Ski Concession for two pre-season trail clears this year.  The first trail clear will occur this Saturday, October 18th, from 10 AM until 3 PM.   

The Ski Concession is giving everyone who participates one free trail ticket for use during the 2014/2015 season.  You'll also be entered into a drawing for prizes from Patagonia, Swix, Atomic, and others.  Since clearing trails tends to work up a hearty appetite, lunch is being provided for everyone by the Lucky Dog Cafe! 

If you plan to attend, please send an e-mail to Jim South at indicating the number of people in your party.  This will allow the Lucky Dog Cafe to know how much food to prepare.  Also, if you have them, please bring work gloves and hand tools such as loppers, clippers, bow saws, and rakes.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  We'll have plenty of extras.  Lastly, since it is small-game season, DCNR asks that everyone please wear bright, visible clothing.  

With everyone's help, we'll have the Laurel Ridge trail system clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!  See you on Saturday!   

CXC Coaching Certification & Conference


This year's CXC Coaches Conference will be focused on CXC/USSA Level 100 and Level 200 Coaches Certification, with a session for Adaptive coaching.

The conference is Oct 17-19 in Cable, WI.  For more information see the CXC website.

Laurel Ridge Trail Days 2014

Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center are planning 2 trail clear days for 2014, Oct 18th and Nov 16th.

For more information see the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center on facebook or contact

Birkie 2015 registrations nearly full

Oct 23: Closing tonight! Here's the history: Sept 30: 750 spots are still open, this seems like a lot, but most waves are now closed.  Oct 8: down to 500.  Oct 22: 100. 

50 spots are reserved for JDRF fundraisers.

Read more here


Pittsburgh Meetup Group

Check out this new Pittsburgh cross country skiers meetup group (sponsored by PACCSA). 

"Let's get organized so when we're skiing at the same place at the same time, we can ski TOGETHER!"

Laurel Mountain Trail Days 2014

The Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group trail work days for this summer are

See the individual events pages for more information. To receive work day updates by email, register with DCNR (specify Forbes State Forest as the location).

National Bike Challenge 2014

This year we have a PACCSA team for the national bike challenge!  If you ride a bike during the summer, please join the team.  Log your miles and watch your place on the PACCSA leaderboard and the team's place on the national team leaderboard.  It's all in fun, and if you pass through Pittsburgh you can stop in at OTB cafe and pick up a free beer, thanks to their pedal for pints program, if you've earned one (the first one is easy).  You'll need to create an account on, but if you already log your exercise using endomondo or mapmyrun, the bike challenge site can sync with those automatically.

2013-2014 Membership Prize Draw

Thanks to donations from Seven Springs, REI and #1 Cochran, PACCSA was able to distribute some gifts to members chosen at random from new and renewed memberships during the past season.  The winners were Peter E, Mark M, Jack H, Dana D, Donald B, Barbara B, Keith J, Patrick S, Brian J, Jim S, Linda L, Kathy S, Thomas B, Brandon P, Jack M, George H, Christopher S, Kingsley G, Lora W, Alan K, Bernie R, Kelli M, and Neal D.

Thank you all for supporting PACCSA.

Ski Storage Preparation

As the first day of spring arrives PACCSA reminds you how to properly store your skis in the off season. When ski season is over, make sure that you properly prepare your skis for summer storage. If you don't, the bases may dry out, which will decrease their performance. You also want to have your ski equipment ready to go next winter when the snow starts to fall. For skate skis, wax the entire base; for classic skis, wax the glide zones. For the kick zone, you can cork on a soft kick wax .

Grooming equipment grant from Westmoreland County

PACCSA wishes to thank the Westmoreland County Tourism Grant Program for a grant of $2000 towards the purchase of additional grooming equipment for Laurel Mountain.  The grant is administered through the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau.

American Birkebeiner Race 2014

Cold, very cold conditions and a foot of snow in 24 hours did not stop PACCSA members David Bozak, Greg Harkay, Naomi Jarvis, Robert Kaschak, Hop Kruper and Sally Smales from finishing the 2014 American Birkebeiner, and Jim Anglin from finishing the Korte!!

The conditions were slow, the temps around zero at the start made for a brutal beginning and a brutal day.  But that did not stop the team from PA !!

Robert Kaschak finished the 54 K classic !!  David Bozak, Greg Harkay, Naomi Jarvis, Hop Kruper and Sally Smales finished the 50 K Skate !!

Webcam grant from Somerset County

PACCSA wishes to thank the Somerset County Tourism Grant Program for a grant of $1839 towards the replacement of the webcam equipment at Laurel Mountain.  The grant is administered through the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau.


Snakeguy's Pepper

PACCSA has been chosen to receive a portion of proceeds from sales of Snakeguy's Pepper Mix for the month of February, 2014. View the order form here.  Add a bite to any meal!  Thank you, Robert (Snakeguy) Habegger.

VASA Race update

This tweet just in, VASA results. Denny McDonough finished 10th overall and 1st in his age group in the 50k classic. Scott Rugh finished 3ed in his age group in the 50k classic. Jason Zimmerman finished 7th overall and 1st in his age group in the 25k skate race. That's our PACCSA boys. Great race guys! #PACCSA

 Complete VASA race results

PACCSA PA Championship Race February 1, 2014 Results

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the PACCSA PA Championship Race was a great success. We had almost 150 racers, a beautiful day, tremendous conditions, and lots of fun was had by all. Look for complete results and more pictures to be posted soon. Thanks to all the volunteers and The Wilderness Lodge for making this race a huge success.

Race results

PA Nordic Championship online registration now available

Coming to the PA Nordic Championship at Wilderness Lodge on February 1? We hope so! You'll be rewarded with a great day of skiing at one of the finest nordic ski resorts in the eastern U.S. To make it easy for you to register, PACCSA has created a page on You can find it here:

All registrations make on will receive a $10 discount over same-day registration. Sign up now and save 10 bucks!

PACCSA Needs You!

PACCSA could use volunteers to help with various tasks at the Pennsylvania Nordic Championship, to be held this year at Wilderness Lodge near Erie on February 1. In exchange for a few hours of your time, we'll pay your trail fee at Wildernees Lodge, worth $15! Please contact right away for more information.

Wilderness Lodge weekend Feb 7-9

Ex-Pgh-AYH diaspora are renting Wilderness Lodge for Feb 7-9; some rooms are still available.   This is not a PACCSA event, but PACCSA members are welcome to join in - contact for more details.

Prize draw for new or renewed memberships!

PACCSA needs your help!  We're trying to raise $3000 to replace our ageing fleet of webcams and pay for their associated internet service.  
Everyone who joins PACCSA or renews their membership before 26th March 2014 will be entered into a weekly drawing for an oil change at any branch of #1 Cochran, and a gift from REI.  Memberships taken out or renewed since 1st September 2013 are eligible for the weekly drawings; no more than one prize per membership can be awarded.  PACCSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible.  Please renew your membership today and be sure to ask your friends to join.

The winners are Peter E, Mark M, Jack H, Dana D, Donald B, Barbara B, Keith J, Patrick S, Brian J, Jim S, Linda L, Kathy S, Thomas B, Brandon P, Jack M, George H, Christopher S, Kingsley G, Lora W, Alan K, Bernie R, Kelli M, and Neal D.

Thank you for supporting PACCSA

Laurel Mountain Webcam

Yep, we moved the webcam at Laurel Mt.  DCNR is plowing where we had it pointed before. This is still Summit trail behind the warming hut. Now go do your snow dance.

Fundraiser Prize Draw Winner

The winner of the Seven Springs Dinner is Peter E.  Thankyou to all of you who have supported PACCSA.  The next fundraiser will have a weekly prize draw during January and February - more details will be announced soon.

Pennsylvania Nordic Championship

PA nordic champ 2014

The PA Nordic Championships will be Wilderness Lodge in Wattsburg, PA, on Saturday, February 1st.

Please register online, today.  Online registration will close on Friday. 

Late registration will be from 8am - 10am on Saturday at Wilderness Lodge, Wildcat HQ.  There will be a late fee of $10 added to each race fee.  The number of racers will be capped at 100 adults + 100 kids, so to reserve your bib number, register online.

Bib pickup will be from 8am - 11.30 am on Saturday at Wilderness Lodge, Wildcat HQ.  The entrance is behind the trail fee building, which is the smaller building to the left of the main lodge.  As you enter the parking lot, it is straight ahead.

Race schedule:

10.00 5.5k classic

10.25 Kids assemble outside the Wildcat HQ. 

10.30 Kids leave for start locations, skiing in a group led by Wildcats Coach Ned.

11.00 Kids races - 1k and 2k classic, 2k and 3k skate

12.00 8.5k and 17k skate.

2.00 Kids activities start, meet outside Wildcat HQ.

Race fees online are $8 for the kids races, $40 for one adult race, $55 for two adult races (same racer). These include the trail fee for the day.  Late fees for on-site registrations are $10 more for each race.

Course maps for the skate races are at  The 5.5k classic race is two laps around North and South fields.  The kids races are along shorter sections of the classic race course, finishing near the Lodge.

There are prizes and awards for overall winners and age group categories.  For the adult racers, there are long-sleeved tech shirts for the first 50 to register, and fruit courtesy of Whole Foods Market.

Glide wax recommendations from Swix

Yellowjackets 2014 - registration CLOSING!

Ski games, races, cocoa... Yellowjackets is for kids 5 to 15 to learn to ski (and ski faster).  It is even more fun with a group of friends.  Join the swarm!

Prize draw for new or renewed memberships!

Seven Springs logo

PACCSA needs your help!  We're trying to raise $3000 to replace our ageing fleet of webcams and pay for their associated internet service.  
Everyone who joins PACCSA or renews their membership between September 1st and December 31st, 2013, will be entered into a drawing for a dinner for two at the Slopeside Dining Room, courtesy of Seven Springs Mountain Resort.  Please renew your membership today and be sure to ask your friends to join.  The winner of the drawing will be announced the first week of January, along with details of a special incentive for all members. 
Thankyou in advance for your continued support of PACCSA.  Your generous donations have given PACCSA the tools necessary to enhance the cross-country skiing experience throughout our region.    

Yellowjackets 2014 - registration is open

Yellowjackets are looking forward to an active and snowy winter with ski games, races and hot chocolate.  Yellowjackets is for kids aged 5-15 to learn to ski and to ski faster.   Join the fun!

Thank You PACCSA Volunteers!

Last Saturday was a perfect day for a trail clear.  More than a dozen PACCSA volunteers participated in backbreaking trail work at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center on a sunny and seasonable fall day.  Crews worked from 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM to remove fallen trees, large limbs and other debris from the trail system, most of which came down during the powerful Halloween-night storm.  Additionally, clogged drainage ditches and culverts were cleared of leaves and other debris.  Afterwards, everyone had a great time telling their favorite skiing stories during the BBQ.

First Snow

The first snow is on the ground! Have you joined or renewed your membership? PACCSA members enjoy discounts on trail passes at several PA ski areas and at Cycle, Sport and Ski in Greensburg, PA! So join us today and get ready for a great season!


Just a reminder that PACCSA's annual Laurel Ridge trail clear is tomorrow morning starting at 9:00 AM (details can be found in the previous post).  The extended forecast says a storm coming up the east coast might bring accumulating snow early next week.  Since the Halloween-night wind storm dropped a ton of new debris on the trails, we need everyone's help to get them ready for the 2013/2014 ski season!

See you on Saturday!


Laurel Ridge Trail Clear THIS SATURDAY!

PACCSA will be doing its annual trail clear at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center this Saturday, November 9th, beginning at 9:00 AM.  Afterwards, we'll be having a cookout with hotdogs, chips and beverages for everyone.  Feel free to bring your favorite snacks, cookies or other goodies to share!

The weather forecast for Laurel Ridge promises a dry and pleasant day with a high near 60 degrees.  If you have them, please bring work gloves and hand tools for cutting back invasive vegetation along the trails (loppers, clippers, bow saws, etc.).  Also, rakes are helpful for clearing trail debris and spreading dirt to even out depressions.  If you don't have any of these tools, don't worry!  We'll have plenty of extras.  Also, since it is hunting season, DCNR asks that everyone please wear bright, visible clothing (fluoro orange or yellow jackets, shirts and hats work best).

With everyone's help, we'll have the Laurel Ridge trail system clean and clear for the season's first big snowfall!  See you on Saturday!   

PACCSA trail clear day at Laurel Ridge

Saturday November 9 is PACCSA's annual trail clear day at Laurel Ridge.   Mark your calendar now and check back later on for more details.

Drive for 25 - last day!

The National Nordic Foundation funds elite skiers such as the USSA B-team (USSA can only support the 6 athletes on the A-team) and many developmental programs for junior skiers.  Drive for 25 is their fundraising campaign for 2013.  Please consider giving something to the NNF to support their good work.

Cross Country Skiing and Waxing Clinic

Friends of Oil Creek State Park are sponsoring a clinic on xc skiing and ski waxing by Russ Myer from Albany, NY, on Nov 16th at Oil Creek State Park, PA.  It will include discussion of types of skiing and techniques, injury prevention and safety, fundamentals of waxing and ski prep, lunch will be provided, and there will be a ski prep session after lunch.  Pre-registration is required by Nov 8th - 40 people max.  More info here.

Final Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group workday for 2013

The last volunteer day for 2013 is on September 28th - there will be a catered dinner afterwards, so RSVP to Ed Callahan if you can make it, and don't forget to register on the new DCNR volunteer database.

PACCSA Rollerskiers

Who's interested in forming a rollerski group?  When and where do you like to rollerski?  Let us know! We have email and garmin connect groups for PACCSA rollerskiers.


Training support from CXC

Central Cross Country (our division of US Ski and Snowboard Association) has a variety of ski training support programs available - an online academy with training hints and a video library, a Masters Team with coaching and race support, and several training camps and clinics for skiers of all ages and abilities.

Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group

LMVG will be using DCNR's new online volunteer database in future.  If you wish to receive emails from them, such as the workday invitations, you will need to register at and select Forbes State Forest under Forestry Locations.

CXC Masters/Citizen Technique Camp

2-4 August, Cable, WI

This camp is designed for citizen skiers of all ages and abilities, focuses on technique, busts bad habits, and builds new skills. During the three days at the camp participants will work on ski specific strength, agility and balance in addition to rollerski technique training.  There are beginner, intermediate and advanced options.  More details here and here

Laurel Mt. Warming Hut New Roof

Thanks to a grant from REI and the cooperative efforts of DCNR, the LMVG, and TMR Roofing, the Laurel Mt warming hut has a shiny new metal roof. A special thanks for all the volunteers that helped to make this project a success. Thanks everyone, see you at the warming hut. 

Summer Camp

Gear West, MN, are offering a nordic summer camp, July 12-14.  The Summer Camp will focus on technique, summer training, ski knowledge, wax and ski service, and having a fun filled weekend with fellow skiers.  Come prepared to learn and improve your skiing potential.  More details here.

PTAG Trail Fest

Join PTAG (Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group) to celebrate the trails in Allegheny County Parks with mountain bike rides, trail runs and hikes during the weekend of July 12-14.  More details here.

Conemaugh River Lake benefits from longtime cleanup

PACCSA supports the efforts of the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy (CVC). Keep up the great job CVC!

Read more here

Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group - June 8

On June 8 volunteers will be replacing the roof on the warming hut, thanks to a grant from REI, amongst many other smaller tasks.  New volunteers are always welcome!  More details here

Charity Rides

Many PACCSA members are taking part in fund-raising long-distance bicycle rides this summer - Jason Zimmerman, team MAMILS, team Maggie's Marauders... - see the full article (click on the title) for more information.

National Bike Challenge

Cycling during the off-season?   Here's a fun way to log your miles, see how your friends/rivals are doing and win free beer - the National Bike Challenge.  It started on May 1st and runs all summer.  Want to form a PACCSA team?  Let me know.


Many thanks to the team of snow conditions reporters and Charlie the weatherman for providing updates throughout the season.

Have you waxed your skis yet?

Do daffodils remind you of base prep wax?  Spring is here - if you have not already cleaned and put storage wax on your skis, now is the time.  Here are some hints on how to do so from Toko and Swix.  In brief, brush and wax, leave it on.  If you can move your wax bench outside, leisurely waxing in the sunshine makes a nice change from the usual last-minute late-night haste in a gloomy garage.

Read all about it!

Yellowjackets, race stories, poster contest and more - hot from the press in the latest PACCSA newsletter.  If you are not a member, you can join online and use the contact form to request your copy by email.

Laurel Mountain Webcam

The Laurel Mountain webcam has been turned off for the season. Here's what you will find as of 6PM on April 2, 2013. Wow! What a great season! Your membership dues and donations support this webcam as well as other PACCSA projects. Thank you. 

PACCSA Newsletter Deadline

Where did you ski this winter?  Where would you like to ski again?  What was your favorite item in your ski bag, and why?  The deadline for submitting content to the next PACCSA newsletter is midnight Tuesday April 2.  Race reports, ski trip reports and product reviews are all welcome.  Please send contributions by email to

March Meltdown Party at Laurel Ridge

March 30th MeltDown Party!

• All day 1/2 price rentals
• Noon till 4pm complimentary burgers, hotdogs & snacks!
• All day raffles with prizes & free ski vouchers for next season

Come celebrate a great season & get your last good ski!
For more details see the Concession's Facebook page

Kikkan Randall makes the podium

Congratulations to Kikkan Randall! First American woman in history to break into the top three overall in the FIS Cross Country World Cup.

Wilderness Lodge first day of spring report ;)

If you're looking for some good mid-winter skiing check out Wilderness Lodge this weekend.

The National Ski Patrol at Laurel Mountain

Thank you to the National Ski Patrol, Laurel Mountain Division. We are very fortunate to have this group of patrollers providing their volunteer service making cross country skiing safer on Laurel Mountain. Please let them know how appreciated they are and thank them for their valuable service. To read more about this group please visit their website at

Laurel Mountain Grooming Equipment Display

We would like to invite you to come and see our new grooming equipment for Laurel Mountain. The snowmobile and groomer will be on display in front of the warming hut next Saturday, February 16th. Funding provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, and local donations.Thank you to everyone who has made this project a reality. 

PACCSA Members Racing at the Vasa

 Several PACCSA members are racing at the Vasa this weekend. We wish them good luck. Make us proud!

Race Update

At the time of writing (Friday 2:30pm) the snow depth at Laurel Ridge is only a few inches.  We may have to settle for a shortened course or cancel altogether - the final decision will be made by noon on Saturday at the latest and will depend greatly on the snowfall over the next 12-15 hours.   Please bear this in mind when making travel plans. 
The website and Facebook pages will be updated as soon as the call is made.

Missing Snowmobiler on Laurel Mountain Found!

Great news! Thanks to everyone on the search committees.
Observer-reporter breaking news report.


Our PACCSA cams are acting up so use these while we fix them. The LHSC cams are located on the top of the mountain off of Rt. 31 near Hidden Valley. Sorry for the inconvenience. Also, sorry there's no snow. ):

Missing Snowmobiler on Laurel Mountain

SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. —Pennsylvania State Police said they are still looking for Bruce Maust, who left his home Sunday on a red/black Polaris snowmobile.

Wi-Fi is now available at Laurel Ridge!

In cooperation with the Riversport Ski Concession, PACCSA is happy to announce the availability of Wi-Fi service at the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center.  Now you can stay connected while trying to get away from it all!  Special thanks to Riversport which provided the wireless router that made this possible.  The wireless router was connected to the PACCSA Webcam’s internet service, providing a reliable Wi-Fi signal in the area of the two warming huts.        

Free lessons!

The first of PACCSA's series of free ski lessons is scheduled for Sunday, January 6 at Laurel Ridge.  More details here. Watch the events page for more lessons in the weeks to come.

Laurel Ridge Webcam Difficulties

The Laurel Ridge Webcam has been inoperable since Thursday afternoon.  The current storm brought high winds to the Laurel Highlands and we suspect fallen trees have interrupted power and/or internet service to the Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center.  Due to current weather conditions, it might take a day or two to fix the problem.  In the meantime, please follow the Laurel Mountain Webcam since conditions there are usually quite similar to those at Laurel Ridge.  We apologize for the inconvenience and recognize that local skiers depend on PACCSA's webcams for up-to-date weather information. 

Laurel Mountain Grooming

The PA Cross Country Skiers Association(PACCSA), in cooperation with DCNR, Rolling Ridge Snowmobile Club, and the Laurel Mountain National Ski Patrol will again be providing limited grooming on some of the trails at Laurel Mt. This will include Loop, Interstate, Lippo’s Loop, and parts of Towhee and Albert’s trails. Grooming will primarily be for classic skiing with a set track and 4 foot flat corduroy section for other trail users. Volunteers will be using equipment rented by PACCSA. Some generous donations have been received but additional funds are needed to keep this program alive.

New trail map for Laurel Ridge

The new cross country ski trail map for Laurel Ridge State Park is available for download here  It shows the trail extensions completed this summer by Scott Rugh and EADS Group Inc, funded by the PACCSA/DCNR grant from Fay-Penn. 

Winter Volunteers Needed at Laurel Mountain – Forbes State Forest!

The all-volunteer Laurel Summit Nordic Ski Patrol needs your help this winter at the Warming Hut and on the trails of Forbes State Forest (on Laurel Summit Road just off Route 30 between Laughlintown and Jennerstown). Your assistance is very important, as it will give the Patrol more time to maintain the trails and provide aid to those who use the trails.

Wilderness Lodge trail clear

9-4 on Saturday and Sunday Nov 10-11, free accommodation for those who help out provided they contact Ryan ahead of time (ie today!), see Wilderness Lodge on Facebook and PACCSA on Facebook for further details

Laurel Mountain Webcam

The Laurel Mountain webcam is up and running. Thanks Bob, Sheila, and Bruce for getting this installed. The cam is mounted on the warming hut on Summit road about 4 miles south of Rt. 30 near Ligonier facing down Summit trail. Remember, your PACCSA dues and donations help support this and other cams. Thank you. 

Laurel Ridge Webcam is UP!!

The Laurel Ridge Webcam is up and running, and just in time for a Halloween treat from Hurricane Sandy!   

PACCSA Sponsored Grant Makes New Trail Possible

The trail improvement project at Laurel Ridge is now complete.  Two new trails were constructed, and two existing trails were improved.  All of these trails are within a quarter mile from the warming hut.  They are ready for the snow!

Laurel Ridge Trail Clear October 27, 2012

We had a skeleton crew Saturday but very appropriate for Halloween. Thanks to Sheila, Bob, Jim, Mike, Juliana & Granddaughter, Bruce, & Dave for volunteering. The trails are in great shape, ready for snow. The webcam is installed and should start taking pictures next week. Thanks again everyone.

Laurel Ridge workday Sat October 27

Trail Clear! Saturday, October 27 at Laurel Ridge. Meet 9am at the upper warming hut. We will be trimming branches that are encroaching on the trails. Bring loppers, pruners and other trimmers (no tools provided), lunch or a snack. This could be your last chance to take a look at the new red trail extension before it has snow on it.

Ski your S off!

Two PACCSA "Ski Your 'S' Off" long-sleeved T-shirts are still available, size medium, one white, one gray. $20 each. 50% cotton, 50% polyester, 4-color Ski Your "S" Off picture on the front, large PACCSA logo in blue and gold on the back. Contact Rick Garstka at 412 462 7493 or

Get your PACCSA race kit ready

There are only two race suits left for purchase, one small, one medium, $120 each, and several hats at $26 each. If you are interested in any of these, contact Rick Garstka at 412 462 7493 or

Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group Workday 10-6-12

The Laurel Mountain Volunteer Group (LMVG) held its final trail maintenance workday on Saturday October 6th. The LMVG was established to bring active outdoor groups that use the trails in the Forbes State Forests and Laurel Mountain together and work hand in hand to improve the trail system for all users. PACCSA was well represented and worked side by side with hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, and many other groups. Working together helps each group understand the different needs and wants to establish a common good.

Yellowjackets registration is open for 2013

Registration for Yellowjackets 2013 is open! Be quick - places are limited. Registration will close on Dec 2, or earlier if the groups are full.  For more details, visit Yellowjackets.