Timberline - the Untold Story

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Snowbucks
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Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:22 pm

All of the Timberline story is over on PubSki.com. Forget the "other" site - bought & paid for by the resorts!
adm1n
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Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:14 pm

Hi guys - I am getting a LOT of emails and also posts to social media accounts that seem to say two things:

1. I must not be covering the story of Timberline's perils due to some "pay off" as if Timberline has or could be paying us to keep quiet on the venom that is being spewed about Timberline elsewhere.

2. That I must be afraid of some libel claim that might stem from something we might say.


Neither is true. I can report that the owners of Timberline have not spent a penny with us this season; nor have they asked us to remain quiet on the issues that are surrounding them.

While I can't speak for DCSki or other forums, or reporting resources, I can say in our defense that much of what you read or see in other social media outlets are opinions or comments being made by people who are often SO close to the situation that they have a bit too much passion for or against the situation. There are certainly many truths that have come from these venues, but there's also a lot of venom being thrown at the owners that I personally feel is a bit over the top. I've seen lots of photos that would certainly bias potential visitors. However, if you have it in for any ski area in the region you could find terrible photos to share. I can only think of how many times we've been sent disparaging photos of Sugar's base that we didn't share out of fairness.

I have had personal contact with the owners in just the last week and I can tell you that my own personal observation is - they are hurting. If this were a boxing match, they would certainly be way behind on points, having lost a few rounds. However, they have won a couple of rounds as well. Some of their wounds in the fight are certainly self-inflicted as they have not handled the public perception well. Some of their wounds are just bad cards that they've been dealt. They are certainly down and maybe even close to being 'down for the count', but the main reason we have made the decision not to share some of the news being posted elsewhere is because SOME of it is fake news. While most of what you may have read elsewhere MIGHT be based on facts, there's enough personal vendettas being pushed out there to cause us to err on the side of giving the owners every chance at success.

I will also tell you that in my 23+ years of covering the region's ski resorts...I know that more than a couple have had periods of near financial failure. I also know that kicking a man or woman when they are down serves no real purpose. When you're nearly out of money or ways to get it, many of us will react in one of a few ways. One - is to just give up and shut things down. Another - is to reach out to the community and see if there are solutions to work together and weather the storm. Yet another - is to back yourself into a corner and fight back hard...but not necessarily productively.

Timberline Resort is INDEED in a lot of trouble...but not so much from the things that a lot of people are unfairly stating.

If I were part of the Davis community, I'd probably try to appeal to Timberline's peeps to find a path through these troubled waters. In know many will say that they have already had that opportunity. What I CAN tell you is that a lot of the same people who are spreading venom about this situation are going to some of the same people complaining when and if Timberline is forced to close its doors permanently. Our region is dotted with such stories of ski areas that NEVER rise from the ashes.

Timberline could go the way of Hawksnest and turn what used to be a local, community favorite (and awesome) ski resort and golf course into a zip line and snow tubing operation only. You'd only have to reach out to the Seven Devils community and property owners to find out how much that decision hurt them financially.

A lot of people with vacation rental property took a beating.


When and IF the Timberline story comes to some end...whether as a failure or as a Phoenix, rising from the ashes...we will THEN tell the story. WHATEVER we would write or report right now would be "piling on" or sharing news that is more personal than truly warranted.

Again, I cannot speak for DCSki as to why they shut things down, however we're just promoting what there is to promote and not participating in he said, she said.

SkiSoutheast's audience is by far the largest of any resource in the region - dwarfing DCSKI and others by as much as 20 times the readership and we feel like we owe it to our readers to be more 'above the fray' than to report hearsay...even heresay that seems to be called 'news'.

Unfortunately things are VERY personal around the Davis WV community and I've been very close to a situation very similar. We'll wait things out and see how it ends up.

Hope that helps to clear things up a bit.

We will certainly allow this forum to remain open as long as the comments don't become pointed at PEOPLE instead of a business.
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jt3
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Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:25 am

Much respect for your approach and response. No need to jump in the all to present negativity that is so invasive online! HNY!! ✌🏼
Kelly K
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Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:45 am

Well said! Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

I Met Fred once he came across as rather arrogant, but i have no ill will towards them at all and wish them the best. It would be tragic to lose a ski area with some of the very best terrain in the SE and Mid Atlantic. I love skiing there.
Robulator
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Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:54 pm

Firstly let me say that I've been a season pass holder at TLine for over twenty years and for many years personally spent thousands of dollars every year on passes, food, drink, etc while skiing the 25+ days a year. I live three hours away.

When I started going there in the mid 90's the slopes were always in great shape and crowded. The conditions were great and the snowmaking systems and lifts did not break down. There was little or no complaints from the many avid die-hard regulars , mostly locals,I saw on an almost weekly basis. There here good bands playing every Friday and Saturday night the and restaurant and bar was packed almost every night in the season with adults spending lots of $ The was no shortage of cash and the resort stayed open until the first week or two of April every year.

The business plan over the past 10+ years has been a dismal failure and it has hurt the valley and surrounding community. Timberline has seemingly turned into a "non profit" business by focusing their marketing efforts to and by giving away full weekend ski packages to scouts and church groups. This is a nice concept but it has destroyed their revenue stream they once enjoyed hence their necessity to defer or basically ignore proper capital investment and simple maintenance. Not to mention the potential criminal activity that has been uncovered and the otherwise predictable issues the resort experiences year after year with their inability to acquire the labor force required to run a successful operation.

Mike, I understand you have to remain neutral and create a positive vibe for your readers...but...your lack of understanding as to the root cause of the problems at Timberline is astounding. Fred and Tracy have for no good reason ruined a beautiful place and harmed a beautiful community though their arrogance and greed.
Last edited by Robulator on Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OpieT
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Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:37 pm

While I understand the overall reasons for staying "above the fray", Mike certainly dove into it today by taking the Herz's side of the Timberline argument. He reduces the efforts of many to expose the truth about what's really going on at Timberline to "personal grudge".

I'm on the other side of this argument. I've been part of the Timberline community for a long time as customer, homeowner and employee, and we've tried the things Mike alludes to for years (yes, we were smart and motivated enough to do that on our own). Scores of us have done everything we could do by investing, working, recruiting and bringing in new customers and anything else we could to help keep Timberline alive. We did that in a surprisingly unified and successful manner despite the obviously poor management practices and decisions of Fred and Tracy Herz. We did it because of our love for this area and our desire to keep Timberline alive. So why would people who love Timberline want the current ownership out?

We want them out because it has become recently obvious that our past efforts enabled the Herz's to run the resort further and further into the ground. We want them out because we now know (due to the public documents Mike refers to as "byproducts of the truth") that the Herz's have been taking and keeping revenue that should have been invested in mountain infrastructure. We want them out because they have ignored court orders to stop transferring money from the public water/sewer utility for which they are responsible to the resort. We want them out because they have attacked customers for asking normal, reasonable questions like "what runs are open?" and "when will the lodge open?" and then later blocked these same people on the Timberline Facebook page. We want them out because they attacked and blamed the county health inspector for the lodge's failure to open when the Herz's clearly made no organized effort to clean or prepare the lodge for opening since it's closing in the spring (and had no power for the entire summer). We want them out because of their abuse of a group of J-1 students who are now employed at other ski resorts after Fred and Tracy abandoned them. We want them out because their practices have had and are having very real, negative impacts to property values and rental marketability in addition to local retail sales.

So, for those of us who have come to the realization that the Herz's need to go, maybe this is "personal". However, Mike, to reduce our efforts to expose the truth to a "personal grudge" reflects poor research and lazy analysis on your part. Asserting that public documents that are merely reports of factual findings as "trashing Timberline" is NOT objective.

Those of us trying to expose the truth about the Herz's now know that Timberline will fail under Fred and Tracy Herz. We don't want it to fail, we want it to thrive. That is why we want Fred and Tracy gone.
Robulator
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Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:13 pm

In conjunction with my post above there is one small piece of information that has not been mentioned here or abroad is the vast wealth of this family. I have a source in the national accounting industry that has paid access to financial records of all businesses. This person, whom was at one point vice president of a major bank and has no reason to fabricate any negativity whatsoever has plainly indicated that research into the Herz /Riechel family businesses , which are multiple, indicate they are "ga-zillionaires' and this persons take on the situation is that the Herz/ Riechel families use Timberline as a "Loss Leader". In other words ...a big write off.

Food for thought
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spydeeTJB
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Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:16 am

Webcam is down.
Kelly K
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Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:14 pm

I would think/hope they would be doing everything they can to get it up with the new snow and cold temps. It should be looking pretty good up there.
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ROYMERCER
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Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:26 am

Any news on the lift breakdown yesterday ? the website shows 2 trails and 1 lift for today? going up that way possibly in a few weeks.
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