Booth Creek hammered by bad snow year |

Booth Creek hammered by bad snow year

Alex Miller

VAIL – Booth Creek Ski Holdings, founded by former Vail Associates owner George Gillette, is in financial trouble following a bad snow year in the Northwest.In a filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Booth Creek notified the federal agency it would submit its quarterly earnings report late, pending a waiver from its main creditor, U.S. Bank. It also cited low snowfall in the Pacific Northwest as one of the reasons for a 10 percent decline in resort operations revenue for the three-month period ending Jan. 28.Booth Creek owns the Summit at Snoqualmie resort near Seattle, which is currently closed and reporting a base depth between 0 and 8 inches. The resort Web site states that mountain may yet reopen if they get more snow, a perhaps-unlikedly scenario given weather trends in the Northwest this season. Last year’s closing date was April 18.In the company’s filing, Booth Creek vice president of accounting and finance Brian Pope noted that, in addition to the issues at the Summit resort, there were no real estate sales in the last quarter, compared to about $8.5 million in sales in the corresponding period last year. All told, the company’s net total income for the quarter was down nearly $12.5 million over the same period last year.While low snowfall took a toll in Washington, Booth Creek’s two resorts in the Lake Tahoe region saw such heavy snowfall in the latter part of the Christmas season that it disrupted travel to the area. The company estimated skier visitation during that period was down 25 percent over the previous year, although a company press release estimated revenues for the two resorts would be up for the first quarter in 2005.Not much better news came out of the Northeast, which also experienced limited natural snowfall on top of rain during the peak months of ski season.On the plus side, Booth Creek began construction on a new base village at Northstar in Lake Tahoe, in partnership with East West Partners. A new detachable quad was also installed at Northstar.In addition to its sagging revenues, Booth Creek also has about $30 million in outstanding revolving debt from US Bank. Representatives of Booth Creek were not available for comment Tuesday, and a company spokesperson told the Vail Daily that its quarterly earnings report would be filed March 21. The Vail-based company owns six resorts, making it the fourth-largest ski company in North America after Intrawest, Vail Resorts and American Skiing. Although it is a privately held company not normally subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission, some aspects of its debt bring it under federal scrutiny.Staff Writer Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or, Colorado

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