Okay, I should just go ahead and get this first paragraph out of the way. We’ve heard this before, right? On at least three and perhaps four previous occasions, over the last ten-plus years, we have heard or read that Wolf Ridge Resort, in Mars Hill / Wolf Laurel, North Carolina was under new ownership. The truth is, those kind of “news shares” happened a few times further back than that.
SkiSoutheast.com has covered “the story” of changes in ownership at Wolf Ridge Resort since 2010.
In 2013, we posted this “announcement” that an outfit called Peak Resorts, Inc (no, NOT that Peak Resorts) had taken ownership. Some money ($250,000) had changed hands as was shared in a 2014 Asheville Citizen Times article, such that would a group to take over the resort.
There were a couple of others as well. As late as two or three seasons ago, we are aware of private conversations between Orville English and another group to “take over ownership”. None of those materialized. There were new websites debuted that claimed a “new Wolf Ridge”; there were rumors of investment; there were fires that destroyed much of the improvements that were made around 2007 +/-.
It’s been a soap opera over there in Madison County, North Carolina.
…and NOW, News or Rumor of Another “Transfer of Ownership”?
Late on Saturday evening I received a text that Wolf Ridge Resort was “at it again”. I did a quick search on any sale of the resort and found none. I DID hop over to their website Wolf Ridge Resort and you would THINK that if there was some significant handover of MONEY to drive this “transfer of ownership” that all parties concerned would have updated their own website in advance of any press release or announcement.
There is no mention of a sale.
Next up was a visit to Wolf Ridge’s Facebook page and ALAS it’s there. BIG NEWS. We shared it last night and more than 3300 people quickly popped in and read the release. Dozens of RABID (pun intended) Wolf Ridge Resort fans quickly chimed in with comments. Most were very positive and hopeful. Some were expressing the sentiment of “here we go again”. I texted Kenny Griffin and Matt Laws from our team and quickly got the same response, “Boy, we’ve heard THIS before.”
Is this one legit?
Okay, the news hit Facebook ONLY late on Saturday and it is now early Sunday morning and we have to get a FirsTrax news and Snow Report out – so we haven’t had a chance to follow-up just yet. However, we did want to let you guys know that we’re “on it” and we’ll update you as soon as possible.
I WILL state hear that the News Release (which is pasted below) is a bit “Odd”. First, the “For Immediate Release” date is March 4th, but the tagline is dated March 10th or 5 days FROM NOW???
Then there is the suspect wording. Instead of stating clearly that the new owners (Deborah and David Hatley of Johnson City, Tennessee) have PURCHASED the resort, they wrote, “…pleased to announce the transfer of ownership. Again, we have seen THAT before.
We have calls into Wolf and the Hatley’s and we will update you when we have news. Another “oddity” is that this young couple (the Hatley’s) have ALSO been actively sharing news that they were opening a couples only, luxury retreat in Unicoi County, Tennessee. That has been reported by various, local television stations and the reports share that the couple has invested $30M dollars and back in 2021 the resort was meant to be open by the Fall of 2023. The latest is that they have gone through the permitting stage and they DO have lots and lots of architectural renderings to share…and now the expected debut is late in 2024.
All of this WHILE purchasing Wolf Ridge Resort?
As I said, we have some calls in and hope to be able to get some insight and really good news to share soon.
In the meantime, here again is the “Press Release”.