Locally-owned and operated resort started with skiing and now offers much more.(Blue Mountain)

A milestone is quickly approaching for Pennsylvania's Blue Mountain Resort, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary Dec. 22, 2017. In an era where the number of ski resorts has dwindled, the locally-owned and operated business has thrived, consistently expanding its offerings.

Blue Mountain began its operations in 1977, opening the doors to then-named Little Gap Ski Area. The ski area offered four trails and two lifts in its first year of operation and lift tickets were $12.

Blue Mountain started out as Little Gap. (Blue Mountain)

In the 90’s, the ski area finally reached the bottom of the mountain, what is currently known as “The Valley.” This expansion was instrumental in establishing the ski area as a leader in the industry, providing a 1,082 - foot vertical for skiing, the highest in the state, and the most varied terrain for guests of all ability levels.

The resort is now run by Barbara Green, the daughter of company’s founder and former president, Ray Tuthill, “It’s exciting to be part of a company that’s been here this long,” Green says. Under Barb’s leadership, she has seen three generations of many families work at the resort.

In the 1970’s, there was an average of 40 ski areas in Pennsylvania and 735 nationwide. Today, there are only 20 in Pennsylvania and 481 nationwide. Green says, “the resorts that have survived are those that have concentrated on their snowmaking efficiency, are customer - focused, and provide all - season activities.”

Blue Mountain's Sidewinder park. (Blue Mountain)

Blue Mountain Resort has grown all three of these areas of focus consistently over time. What started with a 269 - foot vertical, four trails, two lifts, and one lodge has since expanded to a 1,082 - foot vertical, 39 trails, 16 lifts, 39 tubing lanes, five lodges, and a variety of outdoor activities in the green seasons.

Blue Mountain introduced a new summit lodge in 2012. (Blue Mountain)

To celebrate the anniversary, the resort will be hosting several events and specials throughout the winter season. The 40th Anniversary Birthday Bash at Winter Fest happens Jan. 27. Throwback Thursday Parties – featuring music from each decade, will take place at Last Run Lounge in the Alpine Ballroom. There will be live music, giveaways, costume contests, and four-hour lift tickets specially priced from the decade celebrated at each party.