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Telmark Lodge to close; Birkie looking at alternatives

Mon, May  3, 2010 - By Mike Muha

Big plans to sell Telemark Lodge to Telemark Partners LLC have not moved fast enough to keep the doors open. The Telemark Interval Owners Association (TIOA) have announced that Telemark Lodge will close at midnight on May 5, 2010.

The 1,400 members of the TIOA had voted in October to close the lodge by March 31, if a sale was not completed. Prospects for the sale appeared on track, but the purchaser, Telemark Partners LLC, has not secured the financing for the day-to-day operations and the current owners could not longer afford to cover the operating losses:

  • TIOA Member fee levels continue to rise as a function of a smaller number of members in good standing and support for operational shortfalls.
  • Increased costs of doing business that are not off set by increases on the revenue side of the budget equation.
  • Scarcity of capital resources that are needed to maintain the physical plant and make needed infrastructure improvements.
  • Difficulty in securing low cost terms on long term liabilities.
  • Absence of un-pledged collateral to facilitate short-term borrowing for periods of negative cash flow.
  • Economic impacts of the national economy that directly affects the business market segments and TIOA membership health.

While the hotel based operations including rental of hotel rooms, restaurant and lounge will be ceased on May 5, scaled down operations will continue in the Christiana Villas and Telemark Pointe condominiums for TIOA owners and guests. Many outdoor recreation opportunities will still be available for condominium guests. The TIOA Board will continue efforts to market the resort sale searching for a compatible and funded buyer

Says the TIOA, "While we have made every effort to keep the Telemark Lodge doors open to allow us to complete the resort sale to Telemark Partners, LLC we have not achieved our goal. Every requirement on our side of the transaction has been fulfilled. However, the buyers continued delays in completing the purchase agreement funding components have put the TIOA at financial risk. Those essential funding components, including timely payment of earnest money, confirmation of purchase price funding, confirmation of a sale closing date and most importantly a pledge of operational support dollars have not materialized."

Minutes from the Cable Planning Commission meeting of February 2, 2010 indicate that Telemark Partners LLC long term plans are to create an Olympic training center that would build upon the cross-country ski and mountain bike trails already in place. The Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC Skiing) would run an Olympic training facility and adaptive training center for up to 25 different sports. Plans for the American Birkebeiner to develop a Birkebeiner Museum are underway as well.

The future owners also planned to work with the International Mountain Biking Association to develop a mountain bike training center, since only 1 mountain bike training center exists today.

TIOA "...will continue sale talks with Telemark Partners and with other previously received sales leads in the hope of finding a compatible and qualified buyer. For our owners, the employees and the community, it is important that we continue our search for a buyer for Telemark.”

While negotiations with the TIOA and the potential buyer continue, the American Birkebeiner is working on alternatives for the pre-race activities. “We already had a plan in place in the event that Telemark could not remain open,” said Ned Zuelsdorff, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Executive Director. “We are currently making the necessary contacts to reaffirm that the alternate facilities are available. We expect to have this completed within the next two weeks and will provide more information at that time.”

“We share a long history with Telemark and we are deeply saddened by the closure of the Lodge,” said Zuelsdorff. “We will do everything we can to reduce the impact on the race itself. We will be working with the TIOA to outline property use for the Kortelopet Finish area and other event needs.”

Telemark has been through two earlier financial crisis. Tony Wise built Telemark Resort in 1947 and started the American Birkebeiner Ski race in 1973. In 1984, the resort failed financially and Wise lost control of the property. Telemark went through a second bankruptcy in 1998.

The "Telemark Resort for Sale" web site, created in January of 2009,  lists the selling price at $2 million.

Facts about Telemark Resort

  • Over 100 km of connecting cross-country ski trails & equipment rentals (& hiking in the summer)
  • 20 Miles of snow-shoe trails & equipment rentals ( & hiking in the summer)
  • Access to over 1,000 miles of wilderness snowmobile trails.
  • Bike rental & access to the CAMBA mountain biking trails.
  • Snowmobile and ATV Trail access from Telemark's parking lot.
  • 57 Christiana Villa Condos, 6 luxury suites, 1 executive suite, and the Apartment.
  • 129 lodge rooms that hold up to 4 persons
  • 20,000 square feet of meeting space with room for groups of up to 500 .
  • A multi-media theatre that seats 250
  • An indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna & an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Snowboarding and tubing hills
  • Two full service restaurants, Bar and Grill, & lounge with live entertainment on weekends
  • Tennis courts, Basketball court, & Volleyball court
  • Guided nature hikes
  • Guided canoe/kayak trips
  • Fishing boat/Pontoon rentals
  • Adjacent Telemark is the Telemark 18-hole Golf Course
  • 24-hole Disc Golf Course on grounds.
  • An adjacent airport, Parod Field, with lighted 3700-ft runway (Greenbay Sectional)