Snowshoe, Silver Creek plan merger
By Rick Steelhammer
Snowshoe and Silver Creek ski resorts have reached a preliminary agreement in a plan to merge operations under Snowshoe's roof.
If the deal goes through, West Virginia would have one of the largest single ski resorts in the East, with 11 chairlifts, 47 slopes and 7,500 beds for guests.
Officials for both Pocahontas County resorts have signed a letter of agreement "which allows us to explore all the issues remaining," before a sale can take place, Snowshoe's president, Spencer Videon said on Friday.
According to Videon, the major issues in the proposed transfer, like compensation, have been resolved. The tentative purchase price was not released, nor was an acquisition timetable that had been worked out by the resorts, located on adjoining property atop Back Allegheny Mountain between Slatyfork and Cass.
"Putting the two resorts together is in the best interest of the homeowners and of West Virginia's tourism industry," Videon said. "Both Snowshoe and Silver Creek have been committed to year-round operation, and working together, we would be in a better position to move forward."
Since its opening in 1974, Snowshoe, the state's largest ski area, has weathered a number of financial crises, including several trips to bankruptcy court, before it was bought for $20 million two years ago by a Japanese firm, Tokyo Tower Development Co.
Snowshoe's new owners have pumped more than $8 million in capital improvements into the resort, much of it for an 18-hole Gary Player signature golf course now nearing completion at the base of the mountain. It is scheduled to open next summer.
Last ski season, Snowshoe sold more than 300,000 lift tickets.
Silver Creek opened in 1983, but went on the auction block through no fault of its own two years later when the California savings and loan institution that provided funding for the ski area became insolvent.
The resort was operated by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. for the next three years, until it was bought by Fred Haddad and a consortium of four other Charleston businessmen, who in turn sold it to Charleston realtors Brooks McCabe and J. Rudy Henley.
McCabe, Henley and fellow investors, including former astronaut Jon McBride, added a chairlift, bought 2,000 acres of adjacent land and began year-round operations at Silver Creek.
Parks and Recreation