New York's Greek Peak, New Hampshire's Whaleback; Now Very Much Alive
Both resorts, bankrupt at the end of last winter, are now operating differently and are off to successful starts to the 2013-2014 season.
As Greek Peak, 40 miles south of Syracuse, was saved by a pair of longtime skiers who would not let it die, the non-profit Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation generated enough money to change last year’s theme from “Save the Whale” to “Whale Back.”
Elmira, N.Y. businessmen and Greek Peak skiers John Meier and Marc Stemerman took ownership at auction for $7.5 million. They immediately announced a reduction in season pass prices and an infusion of $4 million in upgrades.
“Guests now are in awe,” Operations Manager Rick Bunnell told SnoCountry.com. Bunnell is also new to Greek Peak after 37 years at Labrador Mountain. “The difference is now we have owners who enjoy skiing and would not let this place go away.”
As customers, Meier and Stemerman paid close attention to Greek Peak’s needs. “Now we have a new fixed grip quad chair and new snowmaking compressors,” added Bunnell. “We had good early season snow that created a buzz about Greek Peak and, this week, the crowds have been great.”
The restaurant has had a complete makeover, and improvements set for next summer will include the construction of a huge deck for concerts. Thereafter, said Bunnell, ownership will further increase the snowmaking capacity.
At The Whale
The Whaleback trio of Olympic mogul skier Evan Dybvig, Dylan Goodspeed and Frank Sparrow found themselves $1 million in debt with no funding available. The site went to auction where Whaleback was retained by sole bidder Randolph National Bank.
The Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation expressed interest and reached a deal with the bank on a one-year lease, with a goal to purchase Whaleback for $400,000 by May, according to media reports.
As the foundation raised $250,000 into the fall and winter, the landscape changed when Lake Sunapee Bank, which purchased RNB, dropped the price to $320,000 with the proviso that the UVSSF close the deal by the end of December.
The foundation had just completed a significant fundraising campaign. But they went back to the well and found the remaining $50,000 in just two weeks to satisfy the bank’s demands.
The foundation now owns the property and is set to open this week with minimal terrain available. Their plan is to have all of Whaleback covered by Jan. 20.
Photo: Greek Peak, N.Y. (Facebook)