WILMINGTON — Former Hermitage Club members are raising funds in hopes of offering a bid that would reopen Haystack Mountain and reinstate it as their private ski resort.
"[T]he time to act to take our Club back is now," states an email sent to "Hermitage Friends" and obtained by the Reformer on Sunday. "In order for us to take ownership of the Club assets, to be ready for next ski season, and to possibly be in position to be the Stalking Horse (e.g. the highest bidder going into the auction, possibly in February), we need to complete our fund-raise in the very near term."
The email thanks "founding members who already signed the offering memorandum and committed $50,000."
"We are off to a great start with over 35 Founding Members signing in less than a week," the email states. "More impressively, several of these Founding Members are members who never paid the $2,000 for legal expenses, which we take as a very positive sign that there are many folks interested in joining."
Former club members had contributed funds to make sure their interests were represented in bankruptcy proceedings underway in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Vermont. In June, they received permission to participate in those hearings.
Haystack Mountain in Wilmington had been run by Hermitage entities as a private ski resort starting in 2014. Hermitage establishments closed in 2018 after tax payments to the state were not made. That same year, Berkshire Bank filed a foreclosure complaint when the Hermitage failed to make loan payments.
The new effort by club members to raise funds and buy assets is described in the email as "the only member-focused bidding group."
"Other bidders are focusing either on liquidating the Club by buying one off assets (i.e., the Barnstormer lift) or buying all the assets with unclear or ulterior motives," the email states. "We want to remind folks that the reason we as neighbors, friends, family and fellow members have volunteered time towards this effort is because 147 members paid the $2,000 for an expense/deposit and asked us to move forward with the effort to resurrect our Club."
Needed to "financially and comfortably" run the club will be 175 memberships, the email states. Tim Treanor, one of the former club members who has been helping to organize a purchase among members, confirmed the effort was underway, but said he was not the author of the email.
"I think it's a great initiative, and the best outcome which would now be possible for previous club members and the valley," former club member Robert Coffin told the Reformer. "I will be supporting it myself, and have already signed up. The result should be a much more healthy and financially stable Club, which hopefully will have a great future and be great for all, including the local economy, going forward."
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.