Raining on Tamarack's Parade

Too bad it was just weeks after this puff piece ran, but the Idaho Statesman is catching up to the Tamarack implosion now.

They were turned on to the story by a feisty little weekly paper in Cascade that doesn't even have a Web site. (Heavens, to think of it.) The Long Valley Advocate
reported two weeks ago about some major questions surrounding the Tamarack ownership. The owners didn't have any good answers, but their story was the first crack in the dam. The basics? A French banking scandal was making money tight for European banks, which in turn became less enthused about lending cash to Tamarack's owners.

And so, crash went the Chapter 11 filing, a move that Jean-Pierre Boespflug, Tamarack CEO, announced in an e-mail to reporters today.

Here's Boespflug's statement:

"As previously released to the media, Tamarack has had to slow down construction for a period of time while it secures additional credit facilities for the ongoing construction needs of the Resort. This is a result of the termination of Societe Generale's undertaking to provide a $118 million construction loan for the Village. Societe Generale is a major French bank with important real estate lending operations in the United States.

Societe Generale recently cancelled Tamarack's construction loan commitment when Societe Generale suffered $7 billion of unauthorized securities trading losses, which were the largest in banking history. Because the Village is 90% presold, Tamarack is optimistic that it can find replacement financing."

Then a blogger from Missoula, Montana got on the story: Matthew Frank from New West turned out a piece last night that reads awfully similar to the next morning's Statesman story.

In which we read the most baffling statement of all, from Jessica Flynn, spokeswoman for Tamarack: The resort, she said, does not release skier visit numbers. Never has.

We were baffled, so we asked. Here's her explanation today:

"The company position (it's been this way since we opened) is that we don't give out skier visit numbers because we prefer to gauge success on the skier experience more than the number of people we put on the hill. It's also an unfair comparison to other resorts since we limit the number of skiers on the mountain to 2,500 a day."

Let's make it clear: Flynn didn't make this nonsensical policy.

(In fact, how could she? Recently, Flynn took flight from Tamarack herself. She's no longer employed by Tamarack, but is working for them on contract. She's going into business with Stephanie Worrell in a new PR venture in Boise.)

They're following this over on PrideDepot.com, too. Blogger H. Lukas Green has been following the ping-pong of the story just as we have.

Updates as we get 'em.