No more Timberline Resort in West Virginia….
Back on February 28 of this year, we filed a report that was titled “Timberline Resort Closed for the Season; Will They Ever Reopen?”
The answer to that question, at least for now, is unfortunately, “no”.
Timberline Resort opened in 1982 by then owner, David Downs with a T-bar surface lift and a day lodge. Two years later, Philadelphia area heart surgeon Frederick Reichle and members of his family bought the property and added four chairlifts, providing access to the top of Cabin Mountain and providing nearly 1,000 feet of vertical drop.
Things were never really stable financially, but that is not all that unusual in the ski resort business. You can throw a dart at a map of any state in the nation that is home to snow skiing and the closest location to the dart has probably had some struggles along the way. However, Timberline Resort certainly had more than an appropriate share of hard times…some due to some bad cards that were dealt along the way and some simply due to bad management.
Reichle’s nephew and Timberline’s co-owner and managing partner, Fred Herz, cited “relentless and malicious criminal prosecution to gain both receivership and government forfeiture status” among reasons for liquidating Timberline’s ski assets in notices to Timberline homeowners in recent months.
Timberline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 30. Subsequent filings listed total assets of $1.19 million and debts totaling more than $2.8 million to nearly 50 creditors.
That and some very hard feelings between ownership and the community have simply spelled failure for any possibility that the ski resort could rise from the ashes.
Many people have emailed asking if we knew anything about any chances that the ski area would be purchased and revived. There have been numerous news reports rumoring that there HAVE been two or three offers to purchase the mountain – however, I have spoken with some industry insiders who have shared that what they have heard is that is could be purchased, but not as a ski resort.
Truth is these days there is no real money in running a “day-cation” ski resort where the primary revenue is lift ticket sales. The days of the old school ski area that caters mostly to ski-bums coming out for a day are long gone. The costs to operate dictate a ski mountain these days requires more of a destination with restaurants, lodging and more.
So if you’re looking at the Resorts/West Virginia TAB on our website, you’ll no longer see an option for “Timberline Resort”. Ditto that on ResortCams.com. There are a couple of perfectly good webcams on that mountain that are growing cobwebs. (I can almost see some unscrupulous souls climbing ladders to pull those bad boys down.)
I’ve received no fewer than 1,400 emails already this pre-season asking various forms of:
“Is Timberline closed for good?”
“Where is the link for Timberline on SkiSoutheast?”
“Any chance Timberline gets sold?”
It’s truly nothing more than a guess as to whether the mountain ever gets purchased. However, I’d almost bet a month’s paycheck that it will never reopen as a ski area. Someone will come along and purchase it at a bargain and develop it for condos or small “camping cabins”…or as a luxury, log cabin community. (See Eagles Nest in Banner Elk and the Waterfront Group.)
The mountains are more of a draw and real estate turns far greater profits than a small ski area trying to make it selling lift tickets. Word within the industry is that there are no large scale ski resort operations looking at buying the place, but then they (and I) could be wrong. We’ll see.
However, for the 2019-2020 ski and snowboarding season we have added another “Lost Ski Area” to the trash heap.
Thankfully there is a GREAT option for those of us who love Davis, WV and that area of West Virginia…we are in luck, because there’s a GREAT option for your ski and snowboarding getaway in Canaan Valley Resort.
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