21
Fri, Sep
3 minutes reading time (572 words)

Resilient Burke Mountain Looks To The Future

Burke-Willoughby-Gap-Facebook Northeast Kingdom views at Burke Mountain. (Burke/Facebook)

Northern Vermont's Burke Mountain Resort might have been through some tumultuous times lately, but the thriving ski and riding, the new lift-served Burke Bike Park, and the opening of the 116-room Burke Hotel are victories for many in the Burke community who have worked hard to create a vibrant four-season resort at a mountain that is still recovering from April 2016 news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged investor fraud at EB-5 projects at Jay Peak and Burke.

With court settlements taken place and EB-5 obligations still to be met, Burke probably won’t see new owners for a while, but in the meantime, the resilient resort community is looking forward to a bright future.

“As a resort we’re incredibly positioned to both re-create and enhance our winter operations through the things we are doing - the capital improvements, the culture change that we’re trying to bring forth here,” Burke’s Director of Resort Services Kevin Mack told SnoCountry.com.

“Having a hotel that was procured, if you will, through some interesting means, we’re excited about what it can do for this resort and the longevity and sustainability of the resort and the things that we can do with it and the people we can attract,” Mack told us.

Views of Willoughby Gap from the Burke Mountain Hotel. (Martha Wilson)

The area offers a true outdoor playground, whether you’re into Nordic skiing at the Dashney Center or fat tire biking at Kingdom Trails. The downhill skiing and riding has amazing terrain and some of the best views in the state, overlooking Willoughby Gap. Summer brings upwards of 90,000 mountain bikers to enjoy the Kingdom Trails and Burke Bike Park, all accessible from the new Burke Hotel.

The community has a lot of practice in looking to the future after going through numerous owners in the last few decades. “There is certainly a resiliency here to know there is going to be another owner, at a certain point. The town has practice in understanding that Burke has gone through a lot of changes and has always seemed to come out of it. The next great test for us is that each owner has put a little something into Burke and made it a little better, but has not been able to fully make it what they wanted it to be.” 

Burke's lift-served mountain biking connects to to the Kingdom Trails. (Burke)

Since taking over as court-appointed receiver in April 2016, Michael Goldberg has provided $2 million in capital to make improvements to snowmaking and infrastructure, as well as opening the new hotel. 

Mack continued, “Mike Goldberg understands that the Burke community is really central to this place and vice versa. We are part of the community. We are not stuck so high up on the hill that we are removed. We need them; they need us. Whoever comes in here next is going to need to see a place that is welcoming and that gets that we’re only going to make this work if we do this together.”

In addition to locals who have lived, skied and worked in the area for years, stakeholders such as Burke Mountain Academy and Kingdom Trails are optimistic that this special corner of Vermont has a bright future.

“Now the test for us is how to we make it better. For me, how do we continue to change the culture back to one in which there’s a lot more 'yes' being said than 'no'. If we can do that, the guests we have here we can hold on to and attract more guests,” Mack added.

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