U.S. owners hope Mt. Baldy can open in 2014

By on January 1, 2014
Skiers ride a lift to the top of Mount Baldy. (Keith Lacey file photo)

Skiers ride a lift to the top of Mount Baldy. (Keith Lacey file photo)

The American ownership group of the Mount Baldy Ski Area has confirmed the ski and snowboard facility won’t be open over the holiday season, but they are hopeful they can secure financing to open early in the new year.

“We have been working ceaselessly to overcome the challenges immediately before us in order to get open for the season,” said Brent Baker, in a news release issued this past weekend. Baker is one of three businessmen from Idaho who purchased the Mount Baldy Ski Area seven years ago.

“While we do intend to open this season, it pains us deeply to announce that we will definitely not be able to fund and complete our maintenance and certifications on the lifts in time to open for the traditional Christmas Holiday. We continue to work on our financing and while we can’t guarantee it, we expect to be open in January and will operate, conditions permitting, into April. We have not conducted a season pass campaign to date, as we do not wish to take any money from anyone until we see a clear and reliable path to enabling operation through to the end of the season.

“We have been amazed at and remain eternally grateful for the support and goodwill that everyone has shown for the ski area. This been a difficult time for everyone from day skiers, to cabin owners, to staff and shareholders. However, if we all hold on to a positive attitude, we believe it will just make the sliding all the more enjoyable once the bull wheels start turning.”

Baker went on to answer several questions in the new release.

When asked if there was anything that could be done by local users of the facility to help the situation, Baker said it’s all about securing proper financing.

“Not at this time,” said Baker. “Plain and simple, Mount Baldy needs either a re-financing or an additional equity infusion in order to move forward. Once we have that, we will put out a call for help to expedite an opening.”

If financing is secured, rates will be set based on when the facility opens and how much of the mountain we open, and will be, more or less as adjusted by the above, commensurate with last year’s rates, said Baker.

There is still a core group of staff, waiting and hoping to get Mount Baldy running, he said.

“Some key staffers have moved on, but may become available once we confirm our opening,” he said.

The Day Lodge and other buildings have been minimally winterized, he said.

The chairlifts are being monitored and will get 100 per cent of the required maintenance once we receive the enabling funding, he said.

When asked if it was ok to take a snowmobile onto the hill or otherwise access the facility, Baker said that should not happen.

“Unfortunately, no,” he said. “While the ski area is on Crown land, it is the responsibility potential liability of Mount Baldy Ski Corp.

“If unmanaged access becomes an issue, our insurer will require more controls to be put in place to prevent it or they can pull the insurance package, further diminishing our chance of opening, and jeopardizing our ability to get insurance in the future.”

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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