Hidden Valley Goes on eBay

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Vernon Township, N.J., Feb. 15--In 1990, DonBegraft had an offer of $10 million for the small ski andtennis resort he owns in Vernon Township, N.J.It's a long story. His lawyer didn't like the potential buyers and Begraftdidn't take the $10 million and head for Florida.

After intermittant attempts to sell the area, last week he put Hidden ValleySki and Tennis Resort up for sale on eBay, the Internet auction site, with aminimum price of $3.9 million. By Monday, there had been 10 bids from threedifferent bidders and Begraft's price was met. He's hoping by the timebidding closes on Friday, it's be more.

"We have to accept the highest bidder on eBay" that day, he said.

Local residents are hoping Intrawest, which owns what is now called MountainCreek, formerly Vernon Valley/Great Gorge, across the valley, will step in.

Begraft said he knows Joe Houssian, chairman, president and chief executiveofficer of Intrawest, was in town Sunday, but he doesn't know whetherHoussian made the short trip to Hidden Valley.

The item number on eBay is 256342209, and the description claims the resorthas golf potential.

In addition, Begraft said he has township approval for construction at thetop of his "mountain" for 200,000 square feet of hotel, condo and/ortime-share space. He said Intrawest is going to have trouble gettingapproval for anything similar.

Begraft thinks Intrawest would be a good fit, or any of the other majorplayers on the North American scene, using it as "a feeder for their otherareas. They can break even or even make a little money here."

The season to date has been "up and down," he admitted, with a nice start inlate November, followed by the big December meltdown. Christmas was "fair,"he said, there were several strong weeks in January and early February, andtoday it;s raining with rain forecast for the weekend.

There's only so much 100 percent snowmaking can do in New Jersey, 46 milesfrom New York City.

A spokesman for eBay said a sale at $3.9 million would certainly fall at the"high end" of sales on the site.