One of the things that successful ski resorts do is diversify. If a successful ski resort doesn’t take that trail, it won’t be successful for long and might shut its doors in a few years. Peek’N Peak realized that a four-month operation would not be sustainable, so it opened a golf course in 1973. What would become the Lower Course was designed by Ferdinand Garbin, a popular choice along the New York/Pennsylvania border. For years, that course was sufficient enough to attract the attention of travelers who enjoyed skiing the Peek’s trails during the winter months.
Twenty years passed and the resort decided to build a second course, on property located at the top of the ski hill. John Exley was retained to route the course over much hillier, broken land. Unlike Garbin’s experience, Exley was required to negotiate vertical rises and drops and wide breaches. He did so with great success. From 2002 to 2007, the Upper Course hosted an event on the Triple-A tour of the US PGA Tour, at the time known as the Nationwide Tour (now Web.Com). Since the tour left town, the nines were reversed, allowing for a much more exciting finish to the course. The original 10th hole, a par three, was taken out of play during the tour’s five-year stint and now serves as a short game practice and warm-up area. A new par three was built between the 5th and 6th holes (then the 14th and 15th holes) to replace the 10th.
I had a chance to visit Peek’N Peak for a few days in early August. I spent an awful lot of time on the property, getting to know the non-golf spaces and activities as intimately as the two courses. What I discovered was a resort that continues to avoid the standstill. Peek’N Peak built an adventure park in trees between two ski slopes a few years back and is currently installing a lengthy and twinned zip line that open before September ends. The same approach that led to the construction of two golf courses is motivating the completion of the aerial park. With indoor and outdoor pools, multiple dining facilities and a modest fitness center, finding something to occupy your time isn’t difficult. If you’re a hard-core fitness buff, tackle The Loop. If you start in front of the Inn and take off on foot or bicycle in either direction, you’ll soon come to a road that takes you up into the hills, where the condominiums and the Upper Course wait. The Loop is four miles of ascent and descent and will let you know what you’re made of. I took my bike up the hill and stopped three times to catch my breath. I suspect that I would do this every day until I finished without stopping, during a future stay at Peek’N Peak.