By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
On Tuesday, April 30, in United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Frederick Herz, Tracy Edmonds Herz, and Dr. Frederick Reichle filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. What began as an attempt to sell off what they could to rectify debt to those owed transformed into the filing of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is defined as a legal process that can help individuals get relief from debts by discharging or clearing, some or all of what’s owed. If you qualify, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may allow you to discharge a variety of debts, but typically excludes obligations like child support, student loans or tax debt.
When the auction date was initially set for Wednesday, November 20, the floor bid was set for $2.5 million. According to Perfect North Slopes Assistant General Manager, Jonathan Davis, he understood the minimum bid was lowered the week prior to $1.5 million. To his understanding, there were approximately four bidders. Fortunately for them, Perfect North Slopes, managed by Chad Perfect, came out as the new owners of Timberline Four Seasons Resort.
“I’m excited about this endeavor,” he began, “everybody’s excited about this.” Perfect North Slopes is a family owned and operated business that has 40 years of experience with ski resorts. “This is an opportunity to spread our wings and share our 40 years of expertise,” Davis stated, who has been with the company 27 years. According to Davis the average tenure of employees of Perfect North is 20 years, indicating they strive for a tight knit, family atmosphere.
“We hope to not be considered outsiders in a few years, but rather extended family,” he commented.
The company discovered the issues Timberline found itself in through news and the tight knit ski community. Davis said they had heard wonderful things about the property, the skiing in our county, and the environment. Having family in West Virginia, Davis has actually been to Timberline. “I love it, it’s a gem of a mountain,” he said as he commented on the 1,000 foot vertical the mountain boasts versus the 400 foot at their slopes in the Southeast corner of Indiana that only offers a top elevation of 800 feet.
Davis and the staff knew that if Timberline did not remain a ski slope and resort, it would be detrimental to the county. “We hate to see another ski area fall, especially a great one like Timberline,” commented Davis. Perfect North Slopes, entering their fortieth season in the industry, are looked at as leaders in snow making. With their successful history, it brings a sense of reassurance to the community that our resort landed in the best ownership possible.
The goal is to begin working on the property to preserve and restore it as soon as possible, however nothing can move forward until the closure is finalized in early December. Davis was asked how the issues with the Department of Environmental Protection will be addressed, and though he was aware of the issues he was unsure how those litigations transfer.
However, he did note those issues will be addressed immediately. The new owners and managers will be looking to build local relationships both within and around the county and hope to hire within. “We are looking for the biggest win-win-win for all involved,” Davis stated.
“It’s going to take time, relationships take time, but we want to mash these two cultures together,” he said in regards to our values and theirs in the hospitality field. “We have no intentions to try and change the culture, we want to integrate into it,” he said.
Davis speculated the work to begin rather immediately after the successful closure of the deal. Once it is official, the work will begin to bring Timberline back to the standard it was long ago, and potentially more. It is probable the slopes will not be open for this upcoming season, but come winter of 2020, Timberline should be back to an asset we are proud to have in Tucker County.
Attempts were made to contact Chip Perfect, manager of Perfect North Slopes, however due to his schedule contact was not made prior to publication. Once an interview is conducted, an update will be provided.