Idaho, United States
Tamarack Resort is a four-season mountain resort in the Long Valley of west central Idaho that is currently operating only through a series of partnerships with operating companies, which are running its golf course and zip line. Tamarack is located on the west shore of Cascade Reservoir, southwest of Donnelly in Valley County, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Boise. After 13 months of financial difficulties, the resort closed to the public on the evening of Wednesday, March 4, 2009, however it retains a small staff in order to maintain facilities and pay bills. In June of 2009, the resort announced that it was reopening its shuttered golf course and zip line through a partnership with an operating company. In September of 2009, the Tamarack Homeowners' Association formed an unincorporated organization called West Mountain Preservation Management Association. The Association filed a motion to reopen Tamarack Resort for the 2009-10 season using $8 million from a Mexican real estate company. A decision will be made regarding the proposal October 19.
Tamarack was the first new ski resort to be built in North America in 23 years; Beaver Creek in Colorado and Deer Valley in Utah opened within days of each other in 1981. (Deer Valley was not entirely new, as it was built at the former modest ski area of "Snow Park," which operated from 1946-69.)
The Tamarack Resort was first conceived as Valbois in the early 1980s, but it unsuccessfully struggled to overcome federal regulatory hurdles and fierce local opposition, and finally folded in 1995. Three years later a new group of investors revived the project, despite local opposition, with modifications and called it WestRock. After four years the name was changed to "Tamarack" in December 2002, after the tamarack larch, a deciduous coniferous tree, whose short, dark green fir-like needles turn yellow (and shed) every autumn.
Construction at the Tamarack Resort began in 2003, and skiing was available only by snowcat the first year. The alpine ski area officially opened with chairlift service the following year in December 2004. Tamarack has a lift-served summit elevation of 7660 feet (2335 m) above sea level on West Mountain (7672'), with a vertical drop of over 2700 feet (823 m). Five quad chairlifts serve the east-facing slopes (2 hi-speed & 3 fixed-grip), along with two surface lifts, a Poma and a Magic Carpet, in the novice area at the base.
The summit of West Mountain receives an average of 300 inches (762 cm) of snowfall, but the accumulation is considerably less at the base. Snowmaking is available on the lower runs due to poor snow cover below 6000 feet (1829 m). Steep at the summit but rapidly smoothing out, the terrain for the ski area is rated at 15% novice, 56% intermediate, and 29% advanced.
For the cross country skier, over 30 km (18.6 miles) of Nordic trails are available.
The Golf Course was reopened for play on July 25, 2009 operating under the Raven Golf Management Company out of Boise. Osprey Meadows, a Robert Trent Jones II signature 18-hole golf course, opened in May 2006 with the addition of the back nine holes. The first nine holes opened for play in September 2005. The course is just southeast of the village and ski area base, at an average elevation of 4850 feet (1478 m). The back tees played at 7319 yards (6692 m), with 100 bunkers distributed on the challenging course. Instruction at the golf course is provided by the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf.
In September 2006, recently retired tennis star Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf announced through their development company, after significant delays, that they had finalized an agreement to develop a luxury mountain project at Tamarack. Groundbreaking for the Fairmont Tamarack was scheduled for 2007 with completion expected in 2009, on their first lifestyle development project. . Following more delays, Agassi and Graf withdrew from the project in June 2008.
Since January 2004, the resort has sold 531 properties for $359.3 million. This includes an additional nine lots than were originally planned for these phases that netted $42.7 million, they were captured by re-engineering the original plot design to eliminate wetlands.
The majority owners of Tamarack Resort filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 20, 2008.
Tamarack had been planned to be a $1.5 billion destination resort with 62 ski runs, 7 chairlifts, two golf courses, and plentiful mountain biking trails by 2015-20. Funding was dubious, after the delay of the Agassi/Graf project resulted in a temporary suspension of building at the resort, which later became permanent.
Patrick H. Owen, a Fourth District judge in Boise, appointed a receiver in October 2008 to oversee the operations of the resort, at the request of Credit Suisse, the major financer. The receiver, the Douglas Wilson Co. of San Diego, determined in February 2009 that the operating losses were too great and closed Tamarack to the public with over a month remaining in the ski season. The final day of lift-served skiing was Wednesday, March 4, 2009; the resort was effectively shuttered that evening. It is important to note that it is highly likely that Tamarack's lifts will turn again when and if a new outside investor steps in. However, in 2008 Bank of America threatened to remove two chairlifts that the resort had fallen behind in payments on. In September of 2009, the Tamarack Homeowners' Association formed an unincorporated organization called West Mountain Preservation Management Association. The Association filed a motion to reopen Tamarack Resort for the 2009-10 season using $8 million from a Mexican real estate company. A decision will be made regarding the proposal October 19.
The most recent failure of a major North American ski resort was by Stagecoach in 1974, located about 20 miles (32 km) south of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Stagecoach failed after its second ski season, and has slowly grown as a residential and vacation community, primarily due to the addition of a dam and reservoir in 1988.