MY MOM LIKES SOAP OPERAS. THIS IS FOR YOU MOM.
You'll notice that I've moved this Wolf Ridge Resort saga to its own special place on the site for now. It's time to move on to "real news" of what's happening around the area. Be sure to check out today's Firstrax news by Kenny Griffin or Tonette Fisk.
If you haven't been here for a few days you might want to read the other blogs of the last two days to get some sense of a timeline regarding this story/non-story. Here are the links:
For now I am calling THIS my last segment about the goings on surrounding Wolf Ridge Resort until when or IF anything concrete comes up.
However I am posting this potentially last chapter for a couple of reasons. One, I know many of you want to know what, if anything we've learned. Second, because I've never backed down from a bully and I won't start today.
Before I fully bring you guys up to speed, let me answer the REASON why we give a flip. We've devoted enough space (two days) to the story (or non story) so we won't burn anymore daylight after this post unless and until something definitive takes place. However, let me explain why we are still talking about this mini-drama.
For a moment let's assume that someone posted a website called TheNEWSnowshoe.com or WispMDResort.com. Let's say I got five or six emails from people that I trust that there was something going on with a potential sale of an area ski resort. THAT would be news that we'd want to share. Afterall that IS what we do here.
The VERY FIRST thing I'd do would be to call my contacts at this or that ski area. In this fictional case I'd call Lori Epp or Tim Prather up at Wisp, or Frank DeBerry / David Dekema up at Snowshoe and ask what was up.
They would either tell me that NOTHING WAS UP and that it was a scam that they were dealing with or they'd tell me that indeed the resort was being sold, or they'd tell me that some things were in the works but NOT to discuss it just yet because all of the T's had not been crossed or I's dotted. I would post the announcement, truth or keep it quiet accordingly and based on what my contacts asked me to do. That has happened more than a few times in my seventeen years of covering the resorts of the Southeast.
What I'm saying is "communication is key". When there isn't any or when people purposely mislead you, you will dig deeper.
NOW I'LL GET TO THE HAPPENINGS OF WEDNESDAY…
After I posted my morning BLOG on Wednesday at about 10:30am or so I received back-to-back-to-back emails with new insight and information about Wolf Ridge Resort. I posted it and subsequently heard that Tonette had placed a call to Erik Christensen who is somehow linked to WolfNC.com and who is one of the principles attempting to purchase Wolf Resort.
That call was then deferred to an email. I sent that email at about noon and then I was in and out of meetings the rest of the day.
I had pretty much given up on attempting to make any other contacts, etc. I had however received dozens of additional emails from people asking questions and sharing more insight and information about the resort, Mr. Wheatley, etc. Some of that information was not really related to the ski industry so I chose not to post some of the more derogatory content. Okay HONESTLY I actually DID post a couple of things only to take them down after allowing them to run for about five minutes. I'll credit theKenDog for advising me not to use it.
Anyway, by lunchtime on Wednesday I was done with the "As the Wolf Howls" soaps and ready to move on to revenue generating which is what pays the bills. As I was preparing to enter an important meeting just before 2pm I was told that Orville English of Wolf Ridge Resort was on the phone. Those of you who have been following this saga know that I had been wanting to speak with him mostly to get his input on this Wolf Ridge Resort sale, or no sale, etc. I had other things to speak with him about, but I figured since his "right arm" told me on Tuesday that everything that was in the Press Release was a lie, I could get confirmation from the man himself.
I was all prepared to hop on the phone and wish him a "Happy New Year" and begin a good conversation. I will now post the entirity of our "conversation":
Orville English: "Mike what is this stuff you got on the internet about me and my ski resort?"
Me: "What information are you asking about Orville?"
Orville English: "I'm about tired of you and I want you to cool it."
Me: "Orville, come on, what informa-"
Orville English: "I'm tellin' ya to cool it."
CLICK…he hung up.
THIS IS ME COOLIN' IT…
I looked back over the first three parts/episodes of this story and I cannot see one comment that I have made that could be construed as out of turn. I don't think I have spoken poorly about Mr. English or Wolf Ridge Resort.
I COULD. However, all I HAVE done is report what hundreds of you have emailed me over the last few days.
So Mr. English – consider this.
We run a website that has a wide net of influence that is read by tens of thousands of people who LOVE ALL of the ski areas of our region…one of which is Wolf Ridge. When Wolf Ridge Resort or at least someone associated with it posts a website (www.WolfNC.com) AFTER mid-December 2012 and includes a Press Release that announced Arthur Webster, LLC as the new owners of Wolf Ridge Resort – I think we have every right to share that announcement.
We did that when Wisp was purchased. We did that when Wintergreen Resort underwent changes recently. Information was shared across the internet and as that applies to the Southeastern ski industry we've made it a habit to share that kind of news with our interested readers.
We did JUST THAT and only that on Tuesday morning. Within an hour we received a call from Charles Stancil, one of Orville English's employees saying that everything on the WolfNC.com website was a lie. I asked him if I could quote him and he said "yes".
Now I'm not one to believe everything written on the internet, but when someone goes through the trouble of posting a brand new website, write a press release and post it up…I'm kind of thinking that maybe, just maybe the content of that press release is true.
Personally I could care less if the ski area is sold, selling or not. I'm just relating facts as they have been provided to me and I am pretty certain that I am protected by the United States Constitution to do so…but I could really care less about that as well. What I care about is ANYONE calling and talking to me the way that Mr. English did.
Many other admins and owners of all of the ski resorts of the region will attest to the fact that I have been given private and sensitive information many times over the years and asked not to quote them on it or even share it. I have never gone back on my word and it is always my intent to PROMOTE our ski resorts, not be a thorn in the side of any. If Mr. English had called me and told me in some kind of a respectful manner that he had/has some time sensitive business going on and that somehow, someone on their end had screwed up and posted content that wasn't ready for prime time…I would have gladly glossed things over, deleted what might need deleting, etc.
Mr. English called up using his most cantankerous, beligerent demeanor mistakenly thinking that by simply telling to cool it – that I would. So Mr. English – this is me cooling it.
As I see it there are TONS of negative commentaries out there about Wolf Ridge Resort and perhaps you should pay more attention to what is being said about the quality of the product there. There are TONS of negative commentaries on OnTheSnow.com, TripAdvisor.com, Yelp.com and others about the place. I guess you should call and tell them to cool it as well.
Among those websites you'll find these words and phrases when describing Wolf:
"Disorganized, low quality"
"Don't Ski Wolf Ridge!"
"Don't waste your hard earned money!"
"Poor upkeep…, not worth the effort unless they upgrade this year as promised."
You've never heard those kind of comments on this website about Wolf Ridge.
LATE LAST NIGHT…MORE CLARITY
I was wrapping up things preparing to head to bed when my laptop began beeping at me numerous times signalling that several emails had just hit my inbox. About a third of them were about Wolf. One stood out as it shared some knowledge of the family that is at least seemingly attempting to purchase the resort. A dollar figure was mentioned. Knowledge of some of the family from Pinellas Park, Florida and South Carolina was shared. Insight as to the reliability of who is saying what was injected in this email.
I could have shared the lowlights of that email. I'm not.
At this point I am getting the same feeling that I was left with when discussing ancient history about Hawksnest back when it was a ski resort. The same sinking feeling that there's a basis of truth to the fact that someone IS interesting and talking about purchasing Wolf, but that it may not come together. I remember when Phoenix Mountain was all but a done deal when Eric Hunter had brought in a developer to build the mountain. …and I remember how all of that fell through and how many were disappointed. Such is life…
Nobody at Wolf owes us a thing. Nobody owes us to be communicative. However, due to the lack of communication and based on what was published by people associated with Wolf Ridge (whether accurate or not) we were left to simply report what was being shown and told to us BY PEOPLE CONNECTED TO THEM. If Mr. English has a beef with someone it is with those aligned within his circle who published and posted a website; who published a posted a Press Release and who have been telling anyone who would listen that they are trying to buy the resort. In some cases many have been told that the resort had already been purchased. THOSE are the people to be dissatisfied with.
I can speculate that there are those who have a desire to buy Wolf Ridge but that there are roadblocks to sealing the deal. There's nothing unusual about that. I think that it IS VERY UNUSUAL for someone to post a website and press release as if it was already a done deal.
All we have done is report. Now you decide.
As for you, Orville, I'm not sure what you meant by "cool it" but since you hung up and didn't give me a chance to respond let me say that there is NOTHING wrong or libel about reporting THE TRUTH. So beat your chest and howl to the moon for all I care.
Until the sale goes through…I'm done with the big bad Wolf.
Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org