Dupre Family, Champion, PA
Adolph Dupre emigrated from Bavaria, a landscaper and horticulturalist by profession. He was also an innovator. He discovered a mountain in southwest Pennsylvania and found it to be very similar to that in his homeland. He purchased 2.5 acres and brought his bride, Helen, to the land in 1932 and built a small cabin. When surveying the property, he found seven springs that were used to draw water to feed the farms on the land—hence the name, Seven Springs.
Adolph and Helen made their living from forest management, producing maple syrup, building and maintaining the farm, and eventually from renting the cottages they built on the land. Finn Ronne, a prominent Antarctic explorer, knocked on their door. He told the Dupres that he had been to Harrisburg to find out where the "snowiest" place was and that this was it. He wanted permission to ski. Adolph liked Finn so much that he built him a warming hut.
Helen Dupre decides the site would be ideal for a ski area. Snow enthusiasts, using wooden planks bound with leather as makeshift skis, glided down the slopes of "Seven Springs Farm." A resort began to take shape as the numbers of skiers grew in leaps and bounds.
In 1935, Adolph invented the first mechanical rope tow, powered by a Packard Automobile engine. They used the car wheels, without the tires, as pulleys to carry his tow. It provided smooth channels for the rope. Skiers, using the wooden plank skis and leather binding, helped pioneer skiing in the mountains of Seven Springs.
To accommodate crowds, Adolph built Tydol House, a combination club and dining hall complete with guest rooms. Over the next 20 years, a total of 28 cottages were completed. The property evolved from a farm to a club then to a resort in 1937 with the opening of the main lodge.
In 1948, Seven Springs Farm grew to 5,500 acres. All food at Seven Springs was grown and raised on the farm. Streams were stocked with trout from the Dupre's hatchery.
Twenty-seven years of backbreaking work saw tremendous growth for the homesteaders. They boasted a club house, a ski lodge, nighttime skiing, seven rope tows, six slopes, nine trails, and two tennis courts.
The 1960's saw the private club change to the world-famous resort. The first snowmaking system was installed. Herman Dupre, Adolph's son, invented the first chairlifts and introduced snowmaking equipment. He invented and patented the Millennium Snowmaking Gun that is now used worldwide.
The next decade saw the opening of the 18-hole golf course, the construction of Lake Tahoe for an expanded snowmaking system, and the completion of the 10-story high rise that added 313 rooms to the resort. Exhibit Hall, a racquetball course, a 3,000-foot runway, and a new ski lodge were also constructed.
By 1994, the Dupres had grown from a family of five with humble beginnings to a family employing a staff of 1,400 in the winter and more than 800 year-round. They provide services to one million customers annually.
Update: June 19, 2006 — the resort is sold to the Nutting family. The Nuttings have pledged to continue the Dupre family's long-term commitment to the future growth and success of the resort.
Information from westpennmiataclub.com
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