Snow Time Buys Whitetail

Point of View

Mercersburg, PA, Aug. 24--Snow Time, Inc. will be the new owner of Whitetail Resort, Pa. Whitetail Resort LP announced today that Irv Naylor's Snow Time has agreed to purchase the resort at auction for an undisclosed amount. The new owner, which is the parent company for Ski Roundtop and Ski Liberty in Pennsylvania and Ski Windham in New York, says the addition to its stable of Pennsylvania ski areas will help create a "bright future" for the resort company.

"We're very confident in Whitetail," says Eric Flynn, president and general manager of Ski Liberty and one of Snow Time's principals involved in the negotiations. "We think Whitetail has a pretty exciting master plan and we know how to operate ski areas in the mid-Atlantic region better than anybody." Flynn explains that Snow Time was only interested in the Whitetail ski operation and not the developable land connected with the resort or its adjacent golf course. While the golf course is currently owned by the Dauphin County General Authority, Whitetail Land Partnership LP will retain ownership of the real estate next to the ski area and develop it in conjunction with its existing master plan and Snow Time's operation of the resort.

Whitetail's former owners had put the resort on the auction block in June after an attempt to sell the resort to the Mercersburg Borough General Purpose Authority failed. That scuttled deal was the third time the owners tried to sell to county bonding authorities. After handing out 28 pink slips to summer staff at the time, the financially strapped resort kept on a skeleton crew to keep its mountain biking and fly fishing operations going over the last couple of months.

Whitetail, which operates with about 850 people during the winter and 40 during the summer, opened in December of 1991, but suffered through three consecutive warm winters in recent years. According to Flynn, Snow Time plans on using many former Whitetail employees to help run the resort.

"The Washington D.C.-Baltimore area is a healthy market and can easily support three areas," says Flynn, explaining the main reason behind Snow Time's bid on the south central Pennsylvania resort. The company, one of four final bidders in the auction, expects to close its deal with Whitetail in mid September. Aside from the obvious benefit of having three ski areas in relatively close proximity, Flynn says that while Whitetail has 335 more vertical feet than Snow Time's other Pennsylvania resorts, it offers a similar ski experience but with the distinction of offering single-family homes in its master plan. All of which, he says, "should make our company pretty strong."