Update from the Free Press: “Never Mind”

Earlier today, the Burlington Free Press posted an alarming story on its homepage. It quoted Michael Goldberg, the attorney currently operating Jay Peak and Q Burke, as saying the resorts were almost out of money and might permanently close.

I saw that, had the predictable “WTF” reaction, and wrote a post immediately.

The Free Press’ story was a stub, the industry term for a short urgent item that will be updated when more facts become available. And boy, what an update.

The full story confirms that the two resorts are cash-poor — but there’s still plenty of potential for their future, and Goldberg says he will “find a way to keep Jay Peak open, and open Q Burke Hotel in the fall.” He adds that there are already two high-profile hotel chains sniffing around Q Burke.

Well, that’s kinda different.

The real meat of the revised story is NOT that the two resorts face existential crises; it’s that their finances are in much worse shape than Stenger and Quiros let on. Which, as I noted earlier, puts even more strain on their already tattered credibility.

And there’s more. Goldberg says Jay Peak is “not a strong and vibrant business,” that it had borrowed $2 million to get through last offseason and would need another $4 million to get to next winter. Yeesh.

There also seems to have been some delayed maintenance. Jay Peak’s 52-year-old gondola system is in need of “major and immediate repairs” to meet safety standards.

Huh. I might have thought that, in all the new construction and expansion projects at Jay Peak in recent years, they might have included a new gondola system, since you kinda can’t operate a ski resort if you expect guests to climb the mountain on their own. 

One more juicy tidbit. You may recall that Quiros’ assets have been frozen, and he wants at least a partial thaw. According to Goldberg, Quiros is claiming monthly expenses totaling a quarter million dollars — to cover daily living and his legal bills. Yeah, that’s how rich folk do poverty.

The entire article is worth reading, if you have access to the Free Press’ website. Kudos to business reporter Dan D’Ambrosio for producing a solid story. And a demerit to him or his editors for tossing out a grossly misleading “stub” earlier in the day.

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