Who We Are
The Laurel Highlands Nordic Ski Patrol is an all-volunteer professional organization, and a component of the National Ski Patrol. Its mission is to provide outdoor emergency care, rescue, and other safety related services to Nordic (cross country) skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts, while promoting the enjoyment of winter recreation in the wilderness environment.
Where We Patrol
Areas patrolled by the Laurel Highlands Nordic Ski Patrol include the North Woods, Roaring Run, and Jones Mill Run trail systems of the Forbes State Forest, as well as Kooser State Park. Together these areas offer dozens of miles of trails through what is regarded as some of the finest cross country skiing terrain in this part of the country.
Kooser State Park offers 3 miles of easy trails meandering along a scenic creek and is popular among novice skiers. Summer camping and year-round cabin rentals are also available. For park information, please call (814)445-8673 or visit the Kooser State Park website.
The Forbes State Forest offers dozens of miles of moderate and more difficult trails, and includes a remote, rustic warming hut. Information is available by calling (724)238-1200 or by visiting the Forbes State Forest website.
All of these areas are accessed via PA Route 31, midway between the Donegal and Somerset exits of the PA Turnpike, and are about a one-hour drive from Pittsburgh or Johnstown, PA. Trail maps are available at the respective websites, at the Kooser State Park Office, at some trail heads, and from members of the patrol.
There are no trail fees. Certain trails are packed (no tracks set) as conditions permit, and trail widths are generally suitable for classic skiing but not skating.
Skiers should be aware that snowmobiles operate on a separate trail system within the Forbes State Forest and should not ski on those trails. Use caution where ski trails and snowmobile trails intersect. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail also passes through the area, but it is generally not suitable for skiing.
The patrol operates on weekends during skiing season and is based in the Kooser State Park Office.
The Laurel Highlands Nordic Ski Patrol coordinates closely with the management of the state park and state forest lands on which it serves. The patrol is grateful to Kooser State Park, the Forbes State Forest, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for their continued and enthusiastic support.
Patrol Director: Susie Atkinson LHNordic@gmail.com
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The National Ski Patrol was founded in 1938, and operates under a charter granted by the United States Congress. The Laurel Highlands Nordic Ski Patrol was established in 1984, and was affiliated with the Hidden Valley Ski Resort until 2009.
The National Ski Patrol is registered as a nonprofit association under section 501(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, and all subordinate units are granted exempt status under section 501(c)(3).
Training is available for qualified candidates who share our passion. Click here for information.