Sno Mountain

The ski and ride season in Northeastern Pennsylvania will conclude later this month, but the future of Sno Mountain, less than 10 miles south of Scranton, may still be on a slippery slope after its sale at auction Thursday. 

DFM Realty was the higher of two bids at $4.6 million. Montage Mountain Mountain Resort LP came in at $4.5 million over the four-hour process, reported the Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre.

The winning bidder is an affiliate of National Penn Bank, which extended two mortgages to Sno Mountain totaling nearly $9 million. The Montage Mountain offer came from a group that currently holds a $4 million ownership stake in the facility that was born as Montage in 1983.

With DFM Realty taking over at the end of the season, it remains to be seen if they will sell or lease their property.

“That’s the big question,” Rob Bohr, owner of The Ski Corner, who has a shop on site at Sno Mountain as well as a main store in Scranton told SnoCountry.com. “I’d like to see the present team keep possession. They were headed in the right direction, but got themselves into a hole.”

Sno Mountain has debts in excess of $24 million and filed Chapter 11 (reorganization) bankruptcy last fall. It has enough cash on hand to complete the 2012-13 season. Sno Mountain’s 440 acres offer the area an economic engine in the winter.

“They have had a good season after two bad seasons,” Bohr said. “It’s a real asset to the area to keep it going. Conditions have been great, and people are happy with what’s going on up there.

“Our season began slowly,” he added. “After last year, there was a wait and see attitude. But just before Christmas people started buying and haven’t stopped.”

Sno Mountain ownership took possession in 2006 for $5 million and infused $15 million in snowmaking, a terrain park and water park. The latter addition represented a substantial investment, one that required time to develop into an asset.

“The water park started slowly, but it’s improved and gotten bigger each year,” continued the shop owner. “It’s something the area needed. We see people up there three or four days a week.”

At press time, all trails were open, and Sno Mountain was intending to operate as long as possible into March.

The auction will be finalized March 6 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia.

Photo: Sno Mountain