West Mountain has a new operator and appears to be emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings that were launched in June after East Slope Holdings fell deep into debt.
The small Warren County ski center is preparing to open the season and is actively selling season passes through its new operator, Apex Capital. The limited liability company is leasing 368 acres of West Mountain for $16,000 per month through April 2019, with the proceeds going toward paying off some of the $2.12 million in secured claims against East Slope.
West Mountain filed for bankruptcy in June, claiming roughly $4.8 million in total debt. Less than a month later, Apex Capital stepped forward with a plan to keep the mountain operational while working through its financial struggles.
Apex Capital is headed by Spencer Montgomery, a Glens Falls native, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. The group also includes both Michael Brandt and Michael Borbone, who operated the mountain under East Slope.
Zions First National Bank, the lending agency with the first mortgage claim on the ski center, started the foreclosure proceedings on the property. The bank has objected to Apex Capital’s bid to operate the ski resort and attempted to auction off its mortgage, on which is owed roughly $390,000.
But the auction didn’t result in a sale. And on Friday, Zions re-listed the mortgage auction for mid-November and a minimum bid of $100,000.
Attempts to contact Zions or two attorneys representing the bank in the court proceedings were unsuccessful Friday.
Richard Weisz, an Albany attorney representing East Slope in the bankruptcy proceedings, said the auction shouldn’t impact Apex Capital’s plans to reopen the mountain this season. He said if a new creditor buys the mortgage, the company will simply pay them in accordance with the Chapter 11 plan and disclosure statement filed last month to bring the ski center out of bankruptcy. The plan is now under consideration and Apex Capital is hoping to have it finalized by Dec. 1, according to court documents.
“We have a plan filed,” Weisz said. “If they sell it to somebody else, we’ll deal with the new owner.”
Preparations to open
Meanwhile, workers at West Mountain are making preparations to get the mountain ready for ski season. A spokeswoman with the mountain said it will roll out a new website next week and is in the process of securing agreements with many of the school groups and organizations that regularly use the ski center.
The ski center is now offering season passes starting at $149, according to a post on its website. Seasons passes are refundable if the mountain doesn’t open, the posting reads.