A federal judge this week cleared the way for Tamarack Resort to open, likely on Dec. 20, for what could be its last season.
The lifts haven’t run since March 2009 when the resort near Donnelly ran into financial issues with its major investor, Credit Suisse, and filed for bankruptcy reorganization. It opened during a real estate boom five years earlier and was described in an earlier New West feature as “last to open, first to close.” Credit Suisse is currently petitioning for liquidation, meaning the resort’s equipment could be sold off piece-by-piece, closing it for good.
This year’s opening is largely the result of a push from people who bought homes at the resort. Tim Flaherty, director of the homeowners group, told the Idaho Statesman the resort will open at 9 a.m. the Monday before Christmas. “A lot of people said, ‘It can’t be done,’” he said. “We did it.”
Flaherty reported 50 inches of snow at the top of the mountain, half that at the base and snowmaking at the snowboard park.
The homeowners plan to keep the resort open Thursdays through Sundays, with extensions during Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day and spring break. It’s scheduled to close April 3.
Flaherty said the operation will employ 65 people, with a payroll of $500,000. According to the Statesman, it’s good news for Valley County, where unemployment has skyrocketed to 20 percent since development at Tamarack stopped in 2008.
During the bankruptcy hearings, Credit Suisse Group suggested Tamarack owner Jean-Pierre Boespflug inappropriately used thousands in cash collateral without the bank’s permission to help fund efforts to water the resort’s golf course, according to an Associated Press report.
Boespflug says he authorized shifting $38,000 to maintain the golf course not because he was trying to divert money inappropriately, but because he had to make sure the facility wasn’t left to wither.
He insists everything was done to make Tamarack more attractive for a potential buyer.
So far, none has publicly emerged.