Days before the deadline for public comments, Sunshine Village CEO Ralph Scurfield pens an op-ed criticizing Parks Canada’s proposed site guidelines that would eliminate three future lifts from consideration.
Restructuring could resolve what is currently the nation’s largest ski resort foreclosure case, according to a report from the Brattleboro Reformer. Jim Barnes, founder of the financially-troubled Hermitage Club, sent an email last night informing members of two important developments. First, the Club has secured a bridge loan to maintain key staff working toward a restructuring with Berkshire Bank and other creditors. Secondly, a nonbinding term sheet has been signed with Oz Real Estate to provide new capital to the ski and golf resort. “The potential transaction with Oz Real Estate contemplates the club’s debt with Berkshire Bank to be restructured or bought out,” Barnes wrote. The bank is owed more than $17 million while a foodservice distributor is out more than $1.5 million and a hotelier $1.2 million along with others owed smaller amounts.
Oz is the parent company of Ski Resort Holdings LLC, which bought 14 major ski resorts from CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2017. Most of them were sold to Boyne Resorts, Vail Resorts and other operators over the past year. “Oz Real Estate invests in both opportunistic real estate private equity and real estate credit in the U.S. and Europe,” the firm says on its website. “Founded in 2003, Oz Real Estate has raised approximately $3.8 billion of dedicated real estate capital and completed more than 107 transactions across 19 diverse real estate asset classes.” Mr. Barnes also named a new Club President, Harper Sibley.
The Hermitage is currently closed under a court-ordered receivership with FTI Consulting on site maintaining assets. “The primary goal of the Hermitage Club is to close this restructuring and prepare for a successful 2018/2019 fall and winter season,” Barnes stated in his email. “The proceeds from the restructuring will provide the means to settle claims and disputes that have arisen due to the lack of cash flow from closed club operations.” Nonbinding is a key word and the Club made a similar announcement about $26 million in possible funding from an unidentified financial company on April 30th. It’s unclear whether that deal was to be with Oz or a different outfit altogether. Berkshire Bank assistant vice president and marketing officer Heidi Higgins told the Reformer the lender is “not in a position to talk about this specific instance due to privacy and legal concerns.” Nonetheless, the news is a sign Mr. Barnes and his staff continue to work hard toward a resolution four months from ski season.
James Coleman explains his ambitious dream to create another Snowbasin out of Nordic Valley.
Episode 5 of Ski Area Management’s podcast, focusing on risk management, covers lots of lift ground: the Squaw Valley tram accident, a grip slip incident, and challenges Pats Peak faced after buying the Lake Compounce Skyride.
“Ever since the company went public in 2014 it has taken advantage of its improved access to capital to finance large infrastructure projects that may have led to growth in visitation and revenues, but haven’t resulted in better earnings or cash flows.”
After a tower shifted downhill this spring, the City of Steamboat will again fix Howelsen Hill’s chairlift rather than replacing it.
In the Jay Peak fraud case, former resort owner Ariel Quiros and executive Bill Stenger settle with the State of Vermont for $2.1 million without admitting wrongdoing.
In a separate class action lawsuit, a group of Jay Peak investors allege more than 100 immigration lawyers received $5 million in kickbacks from the resort, creating undisclosed conflicts of interest.
The federal government orders an immediate shutdown of the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center, which allowed foreigners to invest in ski resorts such as Jay Peak and other businesses in exchange for green cards.
Hermitage Club members could lease Haystack Mountain to reopen next season but Berkshire Bank will not. Homeowners may have a senior lien on the Barnstormer six-pack but would need to pay for $300,000 of lift maintenance to reopen.
Even though his purchase of Saddleback never closed, Australian businessman Sebastian Monsour did spend $400,000 on the closed Maine ski resort last year. Hopefully some went to lift maintenance!
Parks Canada seeks public comments on possible Sunshine Village lift and terrain expansions into Goat’s Eye II, Lower Meadow Park and Hayes Hill. Another new lift could eventually parallel the gondola.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and the Sierra Club sign an agreement for the resort to abandon California Express Alternative 2 in exchange for the group withholding legal action against alternatives 3 and 4.
The Seattle suburb of Kirkland looks to a possible aerial lift to connect its city center with an upcoming bus rapid transit station.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and Whistler Blackcomb COO Pete Sonntag do a wide ranging interview with the local newspaper after a challenging year and a half.
As the public comment period nears its end, California Express faces critics.
Under the proposed Hermitage Club receivership, FTI Consulting would maintain properties but wouldn’t reopen the mountain for skiing next winter. The Club objects to some of the proposal even though the receivership would be dissolved if Berkshire Bank is paid in full or the assets auctioned off.
This guy is lucky to be okay and probably won’t be allowed back to Squaw Valley for a long time.
Boston’s Seaport gondola proposal might be in trouble.
The Forest Service gives a final green light to Purgatory’s Gelande lift project although construction this summer is uncertain.
Hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the United States from the European Union, Canada and Mexico take effect at midnight tonight.
North America’s newest urban gondolas, built by Poma in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, carried 41,000 riders in their first 18 hours last week.
Berkshire Bank’s foreclosure on the largest private ski resort in New England is moving forward, Vermont Public Radio reports. A judge sided with the lender yesterday allowing a receiver to soon take over operations of Haystack Mountain, a golf course and associated properties. The Massachusetts-based bank says the Hermitage owes $16.3 million in principal plus penalties and interest on three loans initially worth $17.1 million. In his decision, Judge John Treadwell wrote the Club “lacks sufficient resources to adequately protect and preserve the subject property.” The news comes a week after Hermitage management said two buyers were interested in purchasing the resort.
Earlier in the week, the same court ruled in favor of a man owed $1,373,693 on a $1.4 million loan for a nearby inn the Hermitage bought. Club founder Jim Barnes has 30 days in which he can reclaim that property, which currently sits empty with no insurance. Judge Treadwell also signed off on an Iowa company’s request to repossess 74 golf vehicles with help from the local sheriff. The court then ruled in favor of a New York couple who paid nearly a million dollars for a slopeside townhouse that was never delivered. A local excavation contractor also filed suit this week seeking $450,000 plus interest for work allegedly completed but not paid for.
The exclusive ski resort near Mt. Snow includes five chairlifts, three of which are just a few years old. The flagship is one of the first lifts with heated seats and bubbles in the United States and cost $6.9 million. There are also two newSkytracs which could prove valuable in an auction. The ski mountain last operated on March 25th, after which it was shut down by the Vermont Department of Taxes for the second time in a month. The Hermitage Club reportedly owed the state more than $1 million in sales, meals and rooms taxes plus property taxes to the towns of Dover and Wilmington. Berkshire Bank says it paid many of them to avoid a tax sale.
The proposed receiver, FTI Consulting, is the same outfit that assisted during the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy and reorganization. The Hermitage will become the third Vermont ski resort currently in receivership. Back in 2016, a federal court appointed a Florida law firm to temporarily take over Jay Peak and Burke Mountain following emergency action by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hopefully all three mountains will find capable new buyers in the year to come.
SE Group and the White River National Forest test an interactive storyboard as a public engagement tool for Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park Expansion. Comments are due May 29th and a decision is expected in September.
The Forest Service proposes quickly approving the replacement of Arizona Snowbowl’s Agassiz triple with a 6,100 foot combination lift utilizing gondola cabins between every three or four chairs. Capacity would be only 1,200 passengers per hour.
Magic Mountain commits to finishing the Green lift and weighs the future of its nearby Pohlig-Hall-Yan contraption.