A Tale of Two Classic Ski Areas: Oil Creek and Art Roscoe
Posted by Howard on January 26, 2015
Oil Creek State Park near Oil City, PA and the Art Roscoe Ski Area in Allegany State Park in New York near Bradford, PA are among the best places to ski classic tracks. There are many similarities between the two areas. First, both venues are located in state parks. The trail systems at both ski areas are supported by volunteers, and have great vistas, warming huts for lunchtime, and impeccable grooming. The Allegany State Park staff grooms the Art Roscoe Ski Trails, and Sun Valley Nordic staff grooms the trail system at Oil Creek.
Skiers on the trails at Oil Creek.
Sun Valley Nordic has been grooming at Oil Creek for a few years but they are very new relative to Art Roscoe. Sun Valley Nordic and the Friends of Oil Creek State Park have developed a 19 km (12 mi.) trail system through Pennsylvania big woods. The trail system is primarily single track set and it is awesome grooming. For a $5 daily pass or $40 season pass skiers enjoy the beauty of a forested ski trail. The Red Trail is the most challenging trail, intermediate level 5.8 mi./ 9.3 km, and it has a few short hills for climbing and schussing. The Blue Loop, 2.6 mi/4.2 km, and the short Green Loop are great for beginners to experience tracked skiing. Several of the connecting trails (Derrick, Oil, Power, Drake, and Plumer) add interest to this great trail system. Skiers can create unique loops to explore the area thoroughly. The system skis well in any direction and more advanced skiers could ski every trail in the system in a couple of hours. A vista is located off the Red Trail between the Blue Loop and Bissell junctions. Oil Creek is a perfect place for a family to ski as the adults could plan routes and meeting points to keep the skiing interesting for children and adults. Trail passes are available at the parking area on weekends and at the park office during the week. The warming hut has a wood stove and a huge supply of wood. There are pit toilets at the end of the parking lot. Oil City and surrounding communities offer a variety of food and lodging options. Oil Creek is a friendly classic ski area with great grooming and interesting features. One would think the early oil industry would not have left such a beautiful place to ski but it did and classic skiers should check it out. Search the links on the Crosscountryskipa.com Trail Page to get all the information about this great place to ski.
Vista off of the Red trail at Oil Creek.
The Art Roscoe trail system has been around much longer. It is named after a trail planner and mapper from the 1930’s and was developed in the 1970’s. Hugh Dunne, park superintendent, and Daniel Pihlblad, a landscape architect, were the primary planners of the current system. The history of the development of the system can be read in detail at this link. Trail History The Allegany Nordic ski club supports the trail system. The parking area for the system is at the Summit Area at 2152 feet. There may be a park entrance fee at the station on the road up to the summit from Salamanca, NY but it is often closed. There is no trail fee. The striking feature about the trail system is how wonderfully graded it is and how plentiful the snow is in a normal winter. The down hills are long and straight and the system is double tracked over its entire length 35 km/22 miles. There are several shorter trail loops (Sweetwater,Christian Hollow, Leonard Run, Stone Tower-multi use) and three longer trail loops (Patterson and Ridge Trails, Snow Snake and Patterson, or Ridge and Snow Snake). Snow Snake offers a great challenge for going down hill and a climbing challenge going the opposite direction. It is possible to ski for hours in one direction by combining the loops. Beginners can ski some amazing loops and advanced skiers can enjoy some speedy down hills as well as challenging climbs. There is a great vista on the Christina Hollow Trail loop. The Art Roscoe Loppet in February is a good race for advanced skiers as well as beginners. This is a prime location for classic skiing. The summit area has a heated warming hut with rentals, waxes, and snacks and food. The restrooms are heated and are located in this same building. Allegany State Park has lodging options and Salamanca and Bradford are not far away.
Skiers checking out a trail sign at Art Roscoe.
Oil Creek State Park and Art Roscoe, the new and the older, are both great places to put down some classic tracks. Skiing at these trail systems in good conditions will not disappoint. The great grooming and the friendly atmosphere at both venues offer the best in classic cross-country skiing. Plus the scenery is top notch. I highly recommend skiers to frequent both trail systems. HP
Vista off of Christian Hollow Trail at Art Roscoe near Salamanca, NY.
Grooming at Oil Creek by Sun Valley Nordic.