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N.J. Ski Areas Dwindle To Two As Hidden Valley Hits Auction Block

Hidden Valley NJ

And then there were two. That’s the story right now in New Jersey where Hidden Valley, in Vernon, one of three such operations remaining in the state, goes on the auction block October 1.

Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah is the other remaining ski and board site in the Garden State, in addition to Mountain Creek.

“Hidden Valley was always an important part of our community for the jobs it created and the recreation it offered,” Vernon Township Mayor Victor Marotta told SnoCountry.com.

“They provided a place for our high school race team to practice. I am saddened to see this situation, but hopeful people will step up to make something materialize. We all want to see this succeed,” he said.

Opened in 1976, Hidden Valley, in Northern New Jersey, has had several owners, most recently HV Family Club LLC; Hidden Valley Resort Partners LLC,; NJ Recreation Holdings LLC; HV Hospitality LLC; and HV Real Estate Holdings LLC ("Hidden Valley"), according to the Bergen Record newspaper.

The original owners, Donald and Bonnie Begraft, of Sussex County, N.J., hold the mortgage. The sale is a state court liquidation proceeding, subject to state approval, benefiting the creditors, according to AuctionAdvisors in New York City.

Hidden Valley, which spent time as a members-only resort, is located just three miles from Mountain Creek, a facility that conducts significant snowboarding events and enjoys a high level of visibility in the metro New York City marketplace.

The level of interest does not seem to be an issue. Over 140 have expressed interest, said Oren Klein of AuctionAdvisors. They come from various interests in and out of snow sports.

There are even some online rumblings that Eugene Mulvihill’s group that owns Mountain Creek could consider annexing their neighbor, although Marotta told SnoCountry.com that he was not aware of that.

“Hidden Valley marketed to a different niche,” he said. “I know the Begrafts had good relationships with Mountain Creek. Never once did I sense a cut-throat, competitive attitude.”

The resort has always enjoyed a good image in the Vernon region. it hosted the New Jersey State Firefighters Ski Race in 2012, a fundraiser for the St. Barnabas Burn Center.

Hidden Valley has also produced Olympians Donna Weinbrecht, who won 1992 gold in moguls, and 2010 Vancouver Olympian Nolan Kasper in alpine skiing, now mounting a comeback from knee surgery.

The infrastructure to continue producing world-class athletes and enjoyment for the general public in a four-season environment is evident: a 10-acre lake, 140 acres, 25,000 square feet of buildings, 14 trails and a liquor license. The waterfront area includes tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, softball fields and a covered pavilion.

“Vernon is a year-round recreational community. Skiing is a part of that,” concluded the mayor.
To avoid confusion: Another Hidden Valley, a state away in Pennsylvania, was very recently acquired by neighboring Seven Springs Resort.

Photo: Hidden Valley
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