Wisp Emerges from Bankruptcy Under New Operator

December 21, 2012 1:23 pm
By First Tracks!! Online Media

McHenry, Maryland — After 14 months in Chapter 11, Wisp Resort has emerged from bankruptcy protection with a new ownership structure and an infusion of capital and experience. Salt Lake City, Utah-based Everbright Pacific, an affiliate of Pacific Group, announced today that it has taken over as the new operator of the resort. Pacific Group partnered with the new owner of Maryland's only ski resort, Entertainment Properties Trust, of Kansas City, Missouri, on the transaction. The sale was finalized today, just in time for the Christmas holidays to arrive and for the ski season to kick off in earnest.

Wisp General Manager Tim Prather and his team will remain in their current positions, which will provide experienced management to the resort going forward. Pacific Group will bring its operations and development experience from ski and golf resorts in New England, including Ragged Mountain in Danbury, New Hampshire, as well as in Canada and throughout the West, to help Wisp as it expands its on-mountain services and associated amenities.

"To say we are excited to emerge from bankruptcy with a healthy financial situation and lots of opportunities in front of us would be a major understatement," noted Prather. "I'm so very proud and appreciative of the way our whole team hung together through this very difficult year. To have the additional support we now have, from both a knowledge base and financial perspective, will allow us to give our guests the best mountain resort experience in the Mid-Atlantic region."

Prather indicated plans for improving the resort are in the works for next summer. In the meantime, one of the first steps toward improvements will be to provide ski and snowboard rentals at the top of the mountain in the building that houses the Pumphouse Café beginning next week. Food service will also be expanded at that location. Both changes will help relieve congestion on busy holidays and weekends. According to Prather, "By eliminating the shuttle ride back down the mountain to the base for rentals and lessons, our guests will get more time on the snow and have a much better experience."

Wisp Resort is continuing its full offerings in skiing and snowboarding as well as tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing and other winter activities. These operations will be improved and expanded by the new regime. In addition, summer and other four-season activities such as golf, Segway tours, fly-fishing, mountain biking, canopy tours, and the mountain coaster will be augmented and improved as well.

Prather noted that Wisp's mountain operations have always been healthy, but when the real estate market turned down, real estate development activities associated with the property had adversely affected the whole company. Prather explained that as part of the process of settling the bankruptcy, an unrelated entity has purchased a large portion of the real estate development land. That entity has plans to rekindle the real estate sales.

"We wish them the very best. Our job now is to focus on providing the very best on-mountain experience we can, and we're looking forward to it," concluded Prather.