Hermitage snowguns to be sold this month

Snowmaking equipment from the Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington will be sold this month.

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BURLINGTON — A federal bankruptcy judge approved a process to sell snowmaking equipment from the Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain.

Potential buyers have until 5 p.m. Oct 25 to submit bids, according to an order issued Friday by Judge Colleen A. Brown. If a bid other than the one for $287,000 submitted by a subsidiary of the neighboring Mount Snow ski resort's parent company Vail Resorts Inc. is deemed qualified, there will be an auction held 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at the United States Bankruptcy Court in Burlington.

Raymond Obuchowski, the Chapter 7 trustee assigned to the case was given one business day to let parties know about the process. That list included Lakeland Bank, which loaned money to the Hermitage for the guns and has been allowed to sell the equipment; Berkshire Bank, which launched a foreclosure complaint against the Hermitage last year; Vail Holdings Inc., which made a desirable offer that prompted this process; all parties determined by the trustee to be potential bidders; and all parties who have a lien, claim, interest in the assets, have entered appearances to be in the case or asked to be notified about the case.

The sale is set to include 41 snow guns and related equipment. Lakeland Bank claims to be owed more than $720,730 for the loan.

Obuchowski helped put together a deal in which Lakeland Bank Bank will provide $20,000 and 10 percent of any proceeds in excess of $365,000 to Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company LLC "to be used for costs of administration and payment of valid claims." The bank also would pay Berkshire Bank $10,000 for any lien dispute between the two banks "relating to the accessories and related equipment, and for the assistance of the Receiver, through the property management, for the showing of the collateral for sale ..."

In the order, Brown said Obuchowski "articulated good and sufficient reasons for this Court to grant the relief requested in the Motion regarding the Bidding Procedures and for shortened notice of the sale. The Bidding Procedures were negotiated in good faith by Trustee, and Lakeland and Berkshire Banks and [Vail] and are reasonable and appropriate. The form of notices, parties to be served, and method of service proposed by Trustee ... are reasonable and appropriate, and are in compliance with applicable Bankruptcy Rules."

Last month, Vail Resorts Inc. acquired Peak Resorts Inc., the parent company of Mount Snow in West Dover and 16 other ski resorts across the northeast and midwest. A spokesman for Mount Snow declined to comment Sunday.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.