A slope would make us unique


Pitt-Johnstown is a great university for many, but there is room for improvement.

Pitt-Johnstown has a total of 655 acres, most which are undeveloped. We have a lot of land that could be beneficial.

Most university campuses do not have the opportunity to have a ski slope, but Pitt-Johnstown does.

There has been talk about reopening a ski slope with a tow rope. While we understand there is a lot to figure out when opening a ski slope on a college campus, we believe that opening one would be a unique and attractive campus asset.

Opening a ski slope would provide a strong outdoor anecdote to seasonal affective disorder that many in the campus community suffer from in the long winter months, that is most of the time school is in session.

In addition there are potential jobs and possible classes for students.

There is all this land and bored students who could be skiing, snow tubing and sledding. Even if we had small tow ropes around campus for snowboarding, a slope wouldn’t be necessary.

It would also be a way to draw prospective students into attending Pitt-Johnstown, since we would be the only university in Pennsylvania with a ski slope on campus.

Both Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and Middlebury College in Middlebury Vt., have ski slopes on campus, but they are private schools with high tuition bills. These two schools have tuition of about $44,000 a year, where  Pitt-Johnstown’s tuition is about $23,000.

Liberty University in Lynchburg Va. with annual tuition of $28,744, also has a ski slope on campus; however, they use fake snow called snowflex.

We have the real stuff here. Plenty of it.

It would be an expensive endeavor, but there are so many ways in which we would make the money back, not least of which would be our uniqueness.

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar has explained that there are  priorities when it comes to improving campus. The residence halls, parking lots and sports fields have a higher priority than a ski slope, he said.

Along with being a low priority, the ski slope would cost at least $1 million to construct, including design, financial and legal issues.

President Spectar says he wants to maximize what we get for the money we spend, and issues other than a ski slope win in comparison.

Money needs to be spent wisely at Pitt-Johnstown, but it would attract more students to attend; that means more profit through tuition.

We believe that this change would help the university’s popularity and we would be better utilizing our land, not to mention an overall improvement in the quality of life on campus.

We agree it would be expensive, but there could be unexplored creative ways to finance both the construction and operation of a campus slope. We would encourage our leaders to look at those ways with unfettered minds before they reject the idea out of hand.