By Paddy O’Connell
Denver’s closest ski area, Echo Mountain, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The small ski area 35 miles west of downtown Denver defaulted on a loan, and a $1.45 million debt and looming foreclosure has forced current owner Nora Pykkonen to file for bankruptcy.
“We are completely in the black and doing very well, but I have one lender that I have a three-year note with; and he was considering foreclosing on us,” Pykkonen says in a February 9 Business Den article. “We filed for reorganization with the courts, so I can pay him off over the next three to five years.”
When Pykkonen purchased Echo Mountain in 2012, her goal was to turn the 226-acre ski area into a private training ground for local ski racers. However, interest tapered, so Pykkonen opened Echo to the public for racing in 2014. The next year, she abandoned the race-training model completely and opened to the public for general skiing.
Opening Echo to the public (and offering day tickets for $49, season passes for $259, and family season passes for $525) aims to attract first-timers. It’s a far cry from Pykkonen’s original idea of selling $5,000 Front Range Ski Club memberships.
Pykkonnen will have to present a new business plan to the bankruptcy court within the next 120 days and has scheduled this season’s operations until April 15.
“We will continue to operate just as we have been operating,” Pykkonen says in a February 8 Denver Post article. “This is just restructuring.”