Liko Smith withdraws bid, what now for Sugar Loaf?

Discussion closed here and continues at Turning the page on Sugar Loaf.

sugar-loaferThe headline reads Smith pulls Sugar Loaf bid: Sugar Loaf owner calls would-be developer ‘a joke’, and in it, Bill O’Brien of the Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Liko Smith has withdrawn his bid for the long-shuttered Leelanau ski resort.

“I wanted to believe this was going to happen,” Wickstrom said. “But he’s obviously without the means to do anything.”

Smith’s website stated, “Unfortunately, at some point it is not healthy to (pursue) a deal,” and he was pulling out of the project.

“I’m like the sixth buyer here, and I’ve got the farthest,” he said.

Really? I wasn’t aware that there were varying degrees of “nowhere” you could get to. Now we’re left at the point where we were when Liko crashed into the scene this spring with one very important difference: a bunch of people are paying attention to Sugar Loaf.

We’ve decided to close our massive Sugar Loaf thread to new posts, add a link to the hibernating Friends of Sugar Loaf group on Facebook and start anew here with the simple question, What now for Sugar Loaf?

145 replies
  1. JTHoagland
    JTHoagland says:

    Andy … aw, we should have held out for 350 on that thread
    That said, I indeed hope that we have Sugarloaf back on the radar, and that something positive develop.

    Maybe this episode is all for the good, some issues were aired, Kate has come forth with some comments, feedback and perspective.

    There have been positive ideas, as well as nay-sayers and flat out mis-information and mis-perceptions

  2. Kate Wickstrom
    Kate Wickstrom says:

    Headline reads Sean Smith “pulled his bid”. He had no bid. His opportunity expired in June when he couldn’t produce the necessary documents or funding.

  3. Max
    Max says:

    Exactly, Kate; best point made on all of the past notes and speculation that has gone before. For the R-E and the county to come to those realizations at this date is just laughable. So where is the county in all this going forward? Still twittering their thumbs. If there ever was a project for an EDC to get into this it. Alas, Kate, you have stood through the muck and outright wack-jobbness and brass pole delusions. Hang in there. (It’s about all can be said from those of us unconnected and sitting in the stands).

  4. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    The Friends of Sugar Loaf group on Facebook has been hibernating mostly because there really hasn’t been anything new to say in regards to the Loaf since Liko left town. (That and I’ve been obnoxiously busy with other stuff since, but that’s another story.) For the most part, I’m holding out until there’s something new to post. Liko “pulling his bid” (?) is the first real new development that we’ve had in a while, so that’ll get a mention later tonight. As I have said before, Liko making it clear that he’s pulling out of the deal (which he has) will serve to clear the way for another potential buyer to step into the ring and take their shot at the title. As the Liko fiasco has shown us, whomever step forward will likely face the same level of scrutiny from the locals. It’s gonna take someone with a far thicker skin. I’m not as convinced as Liko is that such folks do not exist. The best thing that the Liko Show has done is put the Loaf back on people’s minds again. It has already been reported that there have been other offers recently. If one of those other offers pans out, then there will be something to talk about again. Until then, the discussion is useful, but mostly speculative at best. This doesn’t mean that the discussion doesn’t serve any purpose anymore. Any potential interested parties can see these discussions and know that there are folks in this area that genuinely care what happens to the property…let’s hope they listen.

  5. His ex-partners were right!
    His ex-partners were right! says:

    They warned us to not trust him and said he didn’t have money and would walk out of town having done nothing and what do you know, that is exactly what happened! Let’s not sell out so cheap next time. If the next snake oil salesman that comes a callin has a past of stealing from others, let’s stay clean and wait for someone with values. Heck, now he is trying to sucker more folks through the website he started for his big move to Michigan. And whatever happened to the name Sean?

  6. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    It’s a fair bet that any deal-making concerning the Loaf will have problems as long as Remo and Hanna have absolutely anything at all to do with the deal-making. If they can be legally and definitively ejected from the situation, real progress can most likely be made.

  7. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    As usual, Karl, you are correct. They have a legitimate buyer at the table and what do they want to do? Raise the price to 6 mill! Someone will have to grossly over pay for the property to get them out. Lets cross our fingers.

  8. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    The big question that bugs me: what possible motivation could Remo and Hanna have to willfully keep the albatross (the Loaf) firmly planted around their necks? My first guess is the tax dodge, but they aren’t named on the deed. Sooner or later, someone of an official capacity will just have to tell them to cut the albatross loose and move on.

  9. Susan
    Susan says:

    You go Karl, you go! Tell ’em, tell ’em. Your business accuem is so precise. You still trolling for a job at what will be a pastural setting in a year?

    Liko is gone, awesome, great!!!…. couldn’t have a door slam harder on a back side on teh way out! Good riddence. But come on, your same blah, blah , blah, like you are the in-charge local force in the know on “something” at the what was the Loaf, is gettting long in the tooth. I Agree with Max, Move on, Obviously the county or anyother connected folks have.
    Kate will do what she needs to do, not what you (all knowing and supremely high powered business mind of yours) want her to do. Get over yourself.

  10. Smack
    Smack says:

    Who do you think paid the back taxes on the loaf so that it wasn’t forfeited to the County? The Ex-Felon and his wifes bank! It is their bank! They are in it together, wake up people. The Ex-Felon is still in control! Until someone is willing to “grossly over pay”, which would be amazing…They will ride this out until they foreclose on Kate, and the Loaf will then end up right back in the Ex-Felons hands. End of discussion.

  11. lex
    lex says:

    Their bank does not hold the loan anymore(reported in the enterprise), heard the ex-felon is facing foreclosures himself so I would think they would want to get rid of it as well. Then again…nothing makes sense so why would they start now

  12. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    I suppose you would rather I curl up in a dark corner and sob my eyes out after such a scathing flame, Susan, but you’re out of luck – again. Feel free to try again if you like (as I know you or one of your little friends will). If you have issues with me, then that’s your problem.

  13. Observer
    Observer says:

    New thread, same old mis-information and bad attitudes.
    This is summer, how bad will it be when it gets dark again?

  14. Molly
    Molly says:

    Get outside and enjoy the weather. I’ll be at Art’s for a beer tonight but there’s no bitching allowed. Let it be.

  15. Observer
    Observer says:

    Well, must be slow news day/week/month

    Record Eagle opines :

    “Smith blew into town in the spring with big plans; he was going to buy Sugar Loaf and restore it to its past glory; he planned to have 100 rooms in the resort’s hotel open by July 4 and have ski lifts operating by December. He was in “talks” with a host of parties and had plans upon plans.

    It didn’t take long for skeptics to begin asking tough questions, particularly once it was discovered Smith was facing a felony grand theft charge in California over nonpayment of taxes.”

    How about journalists who might have tried this thing called the internet, and this whiz-bang thingy called “Google” to do a bit of background before they got all excited.

    “It didn’t take long for skeptics…” who maybe wouldn’t have had to do the work if the paper had done some itself.

    Well, at least they seem to be trying to keep the pot stirred, I just would have liked to see a bit of a mea-culpa
    But … times are tough, esp. in the print news business

  16. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    They link to a poll on the Record-Eagle site concerning Sugar Loaf:

    Four possible responses: Yes, No, Don’t Know, and Don’t Care. The vote tally so far (as of 3PM today):
    Yes 58% (301 votes)
    No 25% (130 votes)
    Not sure 2% (11 votes)
    Don’t care 15% (76 votes)
    Total Votes: 518

    Let’s see who desperately tries to flame me for posting this (they know who they are). It’ll be good for a laugh.

  17. lex
    lex says:

    Yes 59%(312 votes)
    No 25%(132 votes)
    Not sure 2%(12 votes)
    Don’t care 14%(77 votes)
    533 votes

    Curious why quite a few voted “No”. Maybe a better question would be to have it turn into a park or natural area….which I guess what people who voted no want. Don’t care is always a funny vote, if you don’t care…then don’t vote.

  18. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Just read his “update”…the dude’s lost it. Gotta wonder how many drinks (that he didn’t pay for, no doubt) fueled that rant. Kate could almost go to town on this guy and he’d be powerless to stop her unless he retracts.

  19. susan
    susan says:

    Ok, I have to agree with Karl on this one. LIKO is nuts!
    He not only has lost it, but his mind is obviously running on energy drinks as he types his swill using a hi-jacked wi-fi from a 7-11 ! Hey, did he pay for that slurpee?

  20. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    Remo, you can call your dog off. He done got things stirred up enough for legit buyers to step up. Give him his biscuit and assign him to another one of your other distressed properties. Meanwhile, cut your losses here and let it go. You can make up your losses elsewhere.

  21. Max
    Max says:

    Kate, vegas boy gives garbage a bad name! How did so much crap come in a bag and walk into the county without a smell preceding such a foul “extreme” enterprise?

  22. Oh Well
    Oh Well says:

    For those that want to follow the continuing adventures

    September 7th 2010

    Dear Readers,

    First of all- welcome to my weekly updates!!! These will take place over the next 12 weeks; I was originally going to update every Friday but to be honest, I work so damn hard and smart -Friday that when the week ends, This update eats into my beer time, and that’s not good for the old ‘mojo’ machine, therefore, I am now predicting that future updates will occur on either Monday or Tuesday.

    Click link below to start your lesson.

  23. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    I work hard too. It wouldn’t be good for my mojo to cut into my extreme beer time to click on the lesson link. Maybe i’ll look at it Monday or Tuesday.

  24. Jerry
    Jerry says:

    Extreme Entrepreneur Lesson 1: Now with more spelling AND grammatical errors, but who the %$#@ needs good spelling or grammar when you can be extreme!

    “LIKO’S FIRST RULE: CREATE YOUR OWN UNIVERSE?RIGHT NOW. What the %$#@ does this mean your probably asking yourself?”

    Yes Liko, I was asking myself that. Fortunately, I was able to answer it myself. I’m pretty sure in your case it means living within a delusion.

  25. Observer
    Observer says:

    Of note: looking at dates on his blog, there are more than 7 days in the Samoan “Universe” we’re at 9 and counting

  26. LeelanauLocalFolk
    LeelanauLocalFolk says:

    Tried to pull up his most recent “update” and it wouldn’t load. It’s acting like his site is down. Hmmm…can we get a rousing chorus of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” going yet?

  27. Susan
    Susan says:

    Ding dong the Wack is in his head, Vegas boy is just a long gone drivel through the extreme stream. Which was just a trickle after the dog made it on the driveway!

  28. PD
    PD says:

    After following these posts since this bid for Sugarloaf began, I can’t determine who is more juvenile, Liko Smith or all you bloggers out there stooping to his level with the low brow comments. In the meantime, Sugarloaf still sits with no plan in sight. What a waste.

  29. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    There is a plan in sight that is slowly unfolding. However, it pends upon weeding out the bad. Not Kate the owner on paper, but the ones who hold the mortgage. Liko is an easy target because of the trail of blunderness he left behind. Not only with his handling of dealings with Kate but his time here with all the locals, not to mention his insane meanderings on his website. I agree it is somewhat juvenile to keep bashing him. It seems that that is all there is to talk about but be patient, things are happening slowly but surely.

  30. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    Very active and purposely on the down-low with big plans which expand beyond the resort itself. It seems things are progressing.

  31. Mark
    Mark says:

    Yes, Ned, “Dumb Downstater” drops a niblet now and then. I wish he would elaborate more on what he knows, or thinks he knows.

  32. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Susan, I have a feeling that anything concrete would be a major step up from the fiasco that blew through here last spring. Remains to be seen if there’s anything to it.

  33. Ned
    Ned says:

    Silence is not golden. Any news on our mysterious second buyer? Anyone? Perhaps he is the same buyer who is trying to buy up quite a few homes in the county around the Sugarloaf area?

  34. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Things have been quiet in that regard lately, Ned. “Wait and see” mode is still in effect, I guess. Then again, no news can be good news. Keeping the whole process out of the papers for the moment seems a wise idea given the freakshow this past summer has been about it.

  35. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    I am one the many ‘under contract’ for months now to sell my home. Swanson is representing the mystery buyer who is supposedly buying many homes in the county. Why? Only one reason I can think of.

  36. lex
    lex says:

    would make sense to buy some of the additional properties before announcing buying the Loaf if that’s the case.

  37. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Yes, it would make sense to buy surrounding properties if it makes for a more complete map of the whole package. The current property map is kind of an odd shape and having the additional properties makes for more possibilities for later expansion.

    For the most part, most of the speculation about the deals in the pipe are just that. There isn’t much sense in putting anything to the hype until something (in the form of an official release from an involved party) comes along to give it credence. People are even more apprehensive now about the whole situation than they were before (and with good reason) and only a sealed deal will serve to give folks pause at this point.

  38. Susan
    Susan says:

    They are looking at big property in Northport. Heard they were looking to have multi-locations in county.

  39. Ned
    Ned says:

    Maybe the Northport property is for another ethanol plant…oh wait, our mystery buyer already has one of those in bankruptcy down in Ithaca, MI. Why does anyone trust this guy? I say ‘Show Me the Money’ should be the motto here.

  40. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Mark, German financing or not, I’ll even take my money in deutsche marks. As long as it doesn’t have a picture of Liko on it, I’m good.

  41. Susan
    Susan says:

    The Northport property is right in town, huge and in play.
    They are elooking at cottage housing, private venue at Nport, and then more golf and hilltop homes at SL.

  42. Mark
    Mark says:

    But have they (buyer/and or assignee) actually closed on anything? Loafy, you say you are under contract, but does it with a sizable non-refundable down payments?

  43. Mark
    Mark says:

    P.S. Apologize for the poor grammar above. It’s tough doing it on an iPhone, no reading glasses, and trying to watch the World Series at U&I.

  44. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    No huge down payment. The closings have been set and canceled so many times that the paperwork would never stand up in court anyway. I have spoken with others under contract and everyone knows the selling season has past until next Spring. We are collectively holding our breath knowing that DS could walk away from this at any time.

  45. Ned
    Ned says:

    Sounds like the buyer has covered his bases and will let the realtors take any fallout if the deal falls through. Smart guy. But nice guy? That’s the question.

  46. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    The last e-mail that I had from the title office had just about every Leelanau County realtor copied in. Len represents the buyer and everyone else the multiple sellers.

  47. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Gotta admit – someone mentioned the phrase “hilltop homes” earlier and I was overtaken by this impending sense of dread…makes me wanna reprint the bumperstickers that we did for the original Friends of Sugar Loaf group from about six years ago…

  48. Mark
    Mark says:

    …”SL prop and Northport in town prop on the list. they will be bought together for diverse developments.”

    Any chance you can elaborate more, Susan.

    Seems many are posting one liners with bits of information but no particulars. Is it that they think they know, want to know or pretend they know.

  49. lex
    lex says:

    So now is the talk straight up housing development? Susan has been alluding to this for awhile. We need another vacant development to add to the list.

  50. Anotheropinion
    Anotheropinion says:

    Perhaps the real estate broker needs to pay more attention when they get a prospective buyer. Wouldn’t that just make sense?

  51. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Reserving comment (for the most part) until it becomes clearer what the plan behind all this truly is. We’ve all seen developers come and go (taking their ideas and some of our money with them). I’m waiting (not holding my breath, but waiting nonetheless) to see what the plan is behind all this activity.

  52. lex
    lex says:

    Wouldn’t really make any sense to just do houses or even condos. Good luck getting a loan for that. With all the foreclosures & empty developments…just doesn’t add up. Until something happens, this is just another thing to read about. Maybe Kate could add a comment since she would be the only source of anything truthful.

  53. Susan
    Susan says:

    Lex, the vacancy is in your mind. this group is serious about both lcoations (SL and Northport) This could be something very good for both communites and area.

  54. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Some of the very vacancies are on Jacobsen Rd. right around the hill from my house. A development with about thirty homesites that was subdivided with in-ground utilities about five years ago and more than half the sites still sit unsold.

  55. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    If the interested parties who are looking at the properties are examining the value of the properties for more than just homesites (up to and possibly including redeveloping Sugar Loaf for winter sports), then they might be on to something. Anything less would be at best short-sighted, at worst a waste of potential. The Loaf would do far better as a day ski area than as a full-fledged resort. Pulling the existing lodge/hotel building and replacing it with something on a smaller scale with an emphasis on serving day guests for both primary seasons might work a lot better than trying another hotel on the site.

  56. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    Karl, Karl, still singing that song? come on, anyone with a modecum of develoment sense knows that the Loaf has much better housing and golf development potential. As for the connection to the big parcel in Northport, it lends to a diverse and intereting portfolio of offerings. Nice piece and nothing like it in the county.

    Day guests don’t pay the long term bills. $160 a night pays the lights and employees. Golf and houses pays the nut.

  57. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Del, would you rather have paying day-skiers on better facilities at the Loaf or would you prefer people sneaking in and poaching runs on some of the best (and easily accessible) terrain in this area? Your call, I suppose, but it’s a complete waste of potential to have that hill just sit there. It it doesn’t get back up and running somehow, people will just continue to run the hill as they have been since the resort shut down.

  58. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    How about you take the time to come up with a more viable option that benefits as many as can be done instead of just shooting down other people’s ideas?

  59. Ned
    Ned says:

    SL has so much potential as a resort – what other property has that view? If our mystery buyer is going to buy the property and restore it – wonderful! Just DO it – or pull out. Stop with all the games. It’s time to come out of the woodwork and show yourself as a serious buyer.

  60. Ned
    Ned says:

    Yes Loafty, interesting article in the December edition of Traverse Magazine. They even mention the failed ethanol plant. Remind me again why anyone trusts this guy?

  61. Ned
    Ned says:

    Response to Mark’s November 4th comment: Apparently quite a few people know a lot about what’s going on for SL & Northport- but are under non-disclosure agreements.

  62. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Picked up the December Traverse magazine this morning and saw the article on the Loaf. I have a feeling that it might upset some of our more fervent board denizens as the article raises the possibility that folks might be able to ski the Loaf again one day.

  63. Steve
    Steve says:

    I’ve been reading the blogs at from the peanut gallery for the past couple of years and finally have decided to throw in my take.

    Here’s what I’m getting sick and tired of. Kate Wickstom’s constant whining and her effort to rebuild her credibility on these forums. Some, like Max, all but have her as Grand Marshall of the Cherry Festival parade. Give me a break.

    Outside of a meet-and-greet party and a half-hearted presentation of plans to the Cleveland township board, she has been non-existent for years. Now all of a sudden she finger points and blames everyone else. I’m familiar with the other side, the townhouse association and Ed Fleis, and I believe their take over Kate’s.

    How about we explore her business acumen, or lack there of. How about she was way, way, way over her head the day she bought the place.

    Enough already. Kate, It may be your property, but you haven’t paid your mortgage or taxes in years. God only knows why the property hasn’t been wrestled away from you. Give it back, take your lumps, and let us all move on.

  64. Steve
    Steve says:

    Absolutely nobody. Which fact above is wrong? Which is out of line?

    Based on the MI economy, seller, researching via google the possible buyer, I believe a lot of people on this blog are eating a wish sandwich.

  65. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Foreclosing on Kate will likely be a moot point if she manages to sell the property. People have been coming onto these boards time and again for the specific purpose of shouting down anyone who has anything positive about a future for the Loaf as a ski area. Reopening the Loaf is not an impossible idea. Granted it won’t be an easy, quick, or cheap idea, but is still an idea.

    If someone were to pull together the wherewithall to get such an idea off the ground, do you think people like Steve or Susan or any of the other naysayers would pipe up publicly and tell the new owners that they are wasting their time and money? I seriously doubt it. If, by some happenstance, the Loaf were to get refitted and reopened, the naysayers would likely be in line for lift tickets just like everyone else. Frankly, after the fiasco we all observed this past summer, there’s really nowhere to go but up.

    It has been observed for some time now that pretty much anyone who goes to all the trouble of seeking out this board to tell the yea-sayers to shut up has some form of an agenda for doing so. If they didn’t have an agenda, they wouldn’t bother. I haven’t seen enough from them to disprove this notion, so the assertion stands for lack of evidence to the contrary.

    Whatever’s going to happen to the place is going to happen regardless of what is said on these boards. Virtually anything said in here by anyone who isn’t in on the deals is nothing more than speculation anyway and will likely have no bearing on the outcome.

  66. Steve
    Steve says:

    There you go again, Karl, insinuating all us naysayers have an agenda. Those naysayers that challenged the credibility of Liko Smith, were they wrong? Did they have an agenda.

    I think we (naysayers) are looking strictly at evidence.

    Take the economy. Half of all college grads are leaving the state. Every 12 minutes a family leaves MI. The average price of a home in metro Detroit is now 104K. Second highest unemployment in the country. 30% of homes are underwater. This isn’t cyclical, it’s structural. Sure, someone might come along and need to dump millions into something for tax purposes, ala Shanty Creek, or some dinga-linga-ding-dong might want to create another Autoworld like they did in Flint, but, speaking for myself, this naysayer believes it’s not going to happen.

    Now my feeling regarding Kate, which is strictly business, nothing personal. I just got an arms-length appraisal for a refi on my property and my home/land value is down 35% off its high. But Kate wants close to what she paid, maybe a little something-something extra for not paying the mortgage and taxes for years. As they say on Monday night football, “Come on Man.”

    Oh, and this new buyer: David Skjaerlund. Yes, I wish him well and no, I’m not rooting against him, but goggling his name and ethanol, causes me, at least, some concern.

    No, Karl, we (me) don’t have an agenda. Just looking at some cold hard facts, and if you’re interested, willing to put my money where my mouth is. Starting next year, if SL is open, I’ll buy you your season pass every year thereafter that it stays open. That’s skiing for FREE, indefinitely. If not, you can buy me a midweek at Crystal every year it stays closed.

    Sure, you’re right, some of us post things that are not positive, ah, but I believe they are realistic.

  67. Smack
    Smack says:

    Once again, Bullseye. This isn’t personal, Karl. We understand your optimism. Reality, and as Steve mentioned, “facts and evidence” don’t allow for much optimism with greed and the state of the economy as is.

    P.S.- Don’t take that bet 😉

  68. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    My big thing is that some folks come in here basically saying that since the Loaf is in such sad shape and since times are so tough in Michigan in general, nobody should try. Such a mentality can be potentially dangerous in the long run. IF folks led their lives like that, nobody would ever leave their house. ANY startup venture is going to involve a considerable level of financial risk and in the case of the Loaf, the risk is magnified. If Skjaerlund (or whomever steps up whenever) decides to roll the dice against that level of risk and go ahead on a viable plan to refit and reopen the Loaf, then I say more power to ’em. Folks like me were worried for a long time that the property would end up getting raped for its land value while it has far more potential as a recreational facility. You’ll see what I mean once we get some show cover on that hill – folks will ski it whether it’s open or not. They have ever since it closed and they will continue to do so. Go past the Loaf after a heavy snow and you’ll see ski tracks. Sure, they’re taking a chance skiing on an unpatrolled hill, but they generally understand that risk.

  69. Steve
    Steve says:

    None of us, Karl, as we go tit for tat on this blog, is going to effect the future or outcome of a sale. I just believe in this economic climate that nothing is going to happen. Would I love to eat crow, YES! But again, I see MI problems as structural, taking maybe a decade(s) to correct. To think happy days are here again in the near future is wishful thinking, at best.

  70. Smack
    Smack says:

    True enough, Karl. I too share your spirit and pray for the best, sooner than later. It’s just tough knowing the ex-felon, his wife and bank have ultimate control. He chose not to take pride and put the resources into SL during his decade+ of operations when the economy was inflated and people were spending. So unfortunate what could have been the past 20 years. So, beyond the obvious…..We just wait. 🙁

  71. Q
    Q says:

    I have been thinking along the lines of Steve regarding Kate for some time now. The Liko Smith debacle was the best thing that could have happened to improve Kate’s image. Before he showed up she was an absentee owner who wasn’t doing anything to improve or sell SL. She still isn’t (asking a ridiculous price is not a legit attempt to sell it IMHO) as far as I can see. I have no interest in SL besides really wanting to ski there again, but that’s clearly not going to happen as long as Kate has ownership. I hate to say this, but I think Liko has actually done more to advance the discussion and impact the future of SL than Kate has. She was largely absent until he came on the scene and then she played the victim, to the delight of many on these boards. If I thought she had a well developed business acumen I might think Liko was a plant engineered by her and the felon.
    Sadly, I’ll continue to take my money to Crystal (where the skiing pales in comparison to SL), Nubs, or Granite Peak over in Wisconsin. In a perfect world, my family and I could spend our winter vacation in Leelanau.

  72. lex
    lex says:

    sell the view lots(non skiing area) to ed,homestead, santa claus or whomever. then sell the hill to somebody for a million so they can get the place running again. you don’t need condos to make a ski area work…many have proven this.

  73. Steve
    Steve says:

    The reason I have a problem with Kate now being the “Heroine of SL” is that on one of these blogs, or possibly a related Face Book page, she recently mentioned that she was conspired against right from the get-go after purchasing Sugarloaf, yet she was non-existent nor mention that for five years, claiming she didn’t want to disrupt the community.

    I’m not sure any of us would handle it that way if we had that much coinage involved.

  74. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    As I said before, the Loaf would have its best chance at viability as a day ski area rather then as a full-blown resort facility. The biggest draw for years wasn’t the hotel or the bar or the restaurants – it was the skiing, the terrain. The hill was the main reason people kept coming. It was when the owners tried to branch out beyond that that they ran into problems – they spread themselves too thin. If Liko has somehow managed to get his hands on Sugar Loaf, it would have failed in spectacular fashion. He was trying to take the place and turn it into a megaresort. The previous owners couldn’t make this work in an “up” economy, so how do you think it would have gone over in current economic conditions? He had all kids of extravagant ideas that would fall flat once the novelty had worn off. People wouldn’t want to go to the Loaf to sip Starbucks coffee or play XBox Live in their rooms all day – they came to ski/ride that hill. If we get any substantial snow over this week and into the weekend, I’d fully expect to drive by the Loaf on Monday morning and see tracks in the new snow from over the weekend, even if the snow’s only a few inches deep.

    Any new owner who wanted to make a genuine go at reopening the Loaf (and expect it to work) would be smart to put their money into improving the on-hill facilities. That would mean completely ripping out the lifts and snowmaking system and giving the whole place a full-on technological update. The ONLY chairlift that has even the remotest chance to be used again would be the triple chair. All the old double chairs (ranging in installation dates from 1961 to 1967) would have to be scrapped or salvaged out. The major reason that so few people have stepped up to take a shot at it is that this whole operation would require an obscene amount of capital to accomplish. We’d be talking $5-7 million just to redo the lift system and at least $7-10 million to get a worthwhile snowmaking system in place. Not many developers would take a chance on that in this economy, despite the fact that things are slowly starting to improve. If someone were to step up with a refit plan, they would definitely need the funds in place to back it up.

  75. Max
    Max says:

    All of you need to get a grip!!! All this banter means nothing. If Kate wants to dig a hole a thousand feet deep and plant Cadillac’s in it that’s her perogative! If she wanted to do nothing at all.. so what? All of your wannabe ownerhsip consultant-give me a job-I want to ski there so bad please someone spend money so I can ski free-or suck off the place notions is so lame and dreamy… you Karl K types need oxygen!

    Yes, the Liko debacle was no doubt the hi-light of hilarity for 2010 in the county. It produced a wack job, locals that poured into and out of his clown car and then in the end. nothing.. Just a s it began. And if that clown had done soemthing and it became wacky and odd, so what.. it would ahve been his hole to keep digging in! but I am sure most all of us are glad the clwn car is now gone. Just for genereal purposes. But as far as getting into Kates shorts about would’a, could’a, should’a…you Karl K types would kick your own mother just to be another local money drainer at sugar Loaf.

  76. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Boy, Max…for someone who could care less what happens, you sure are giving this board a lot of your attention, aren’t you? WE ALREADY KNOW FULL WELL that this conversation has about as much of an effect on the deal-making process as your weak insults have on me…in other words, no effect at all. Maybe you need a more worthwhile crusade that truly matters. Just because you have personal issues with what I say here is no reason to drag the rest of the board down. Perhaps you should find yourself a less stress-inducing hobby.

  77. Steve
    Steve says:

    Hey, Max,

    Karl and I have gone back and forth as to our intensions on this blog, but we don’t get nasty.

    As for Kate digging a 1,000 foot hole and dumping a Cadillac down it, I’m not sure where she is going to get the $$$ for Molon Excavating to dig the hole let alone the Cadillac. The only maintenance down around SL for the past five years is the lawn occasionally cut.

    Slightly off subject, but related at to SL for those of us who believe the Michigan economy is going through structural changes that might takes years and years to correct itself, this was in the Free Press earlier this week. Forget SL, this is some devastating economic news.

    Michigan families suffered a 21% drop — from $57,499 to $45,255 — in median family income from 2000 through 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Michigan’s 6.2% decline from 2008 to 2009 was the most of any state and double the national decline.

  78. Ned
    Ned says:

    A lot of noise on the blog since I’ve last checked in. Much of it about the economy. Keep in mind though, that perhaps instead of traveling to Colorado or Vermont for that annual family ski trip – it would be more economical for a family to go to Sugarloaf and enjoy superior skiing as well as amazing x-country trails in the Sleeping Bear National Park – for free. Home rentals in winter around SL are economical. Seems like a winter vacation to SL area would be the answer to many a family’s needs. Not to mention that the area already gets quite the influx of Chicagoians who like to spend.
    While I do have concerns about the new buyer, I do hope it works out. If this new sale goes through- it would be good for everyone.

  79. Susan
    Susan says:

    Ohhhh puuullllease! you guys need to get a life! More than a grip. Sugar Loaf is in play along with other properties, mainly the one in Northport being combined with an overall property program. I am sure the poweres that be are moving the way they want. Ad yes it was a hilarity diversion this past year with the little vegas boy. (who could ahve ever thought up a wacky movie script like that, wow). Get off Kates back and go chop wood; or spin yarn or what ever else guys like Steve, Karl and Ned do.

  80. Steve
    Steve says:

    Your past five posts, Susan, with the line “property in play,” and nothing more, tells us nothing more than you think you know something.

  81. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    I think the biggest ‘yarn’ in this whole thread is know-it-all’s like Susan and Dumb Downstater who like to play “I know something I can’t tell”. I do know that my property deal with the alledged Sugarloaf buyer contiues to drag on. If he can’t secure Sugarloaf, he’s going to drop all of the other properties (Northport included) like a hot rock and screw everyone that’s been waiting for months to close. You can take that to the bank, or ethynol plant or defunct ski hill of your choice.

  82. Ned
    Ned says:

    Susan, “powers that be”? Seriously? You make this guy sound like God. I think you are the one that needs to get a grip. Sounds like maybe you have counted your chickens before they’ve hatched. Hope you haven’t spent too much of that “commission” yet!

  83. Steve
    Steve says:

    Post script to the above. Curious as to why the Enterprise has been silent on any of this speculation. Wondering out loud if Eric has just lost interest. It still is and has been over the past five years the hot story in Lelanau county.

  84. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    You mean the right wing saprise? They can’t print all the news of the county all the time because some of it they jsut don;t like from certain towns or townships! Well the Loaf thing may have lost its “add” appeal, but rest assured when someone throws another party for the grassy hill with bad slopes, someone will be there drinking the kool-aid…again!

  85. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Susan, Del, and like-minded types: If this board irritates you so much, why do you choose to torture yourself by continuing to return? You are devoting more time and energy to this than any of us are. Seems an odd way for folks who could clearly care less to react.

  86. Ned
    Ned says:

    Steve= unforunately, the people who have the actual facts are bound by non-disclosure agreements. So the press cannot print anything other than hearsay – which may be why they are not printing anything at this time.

  87. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Even without the non-disclosure agreements, the folks involved seem to be maintaining a low profile about all this. It strikes me as a wise move given some of the attitudes being hurled around.

  88. Steve
    Steve says:

    Loafy, who is under contract, is getting bit frustrated, and rightfully so. This has been going on for months. Like he said, it will collapse, or, I’ll be eating crow, which I’ll gladly do.

  89. Ned
    Ned says:

    I think we’d all be gladly eating crow if it meant that SL was a viable enterprise once again and benefiting the people of Leelanau County with jobs and tourist dollars. We could sure use it up here.

  90. Steve
    Steve says:

    SL will need a few million to do it right, that is, make snow.

    Crystal has been making snow 24/7, seven straight days. I’ll be there Friday, who else?

  91. Ned
    Ned says:

    I’m sure the new buyer would invest in snow making equipment for SL. No better skiing in the the area -nothing like Awful, Awful or Manitou around these parts!

  92. Steve
    Steve says:

    Hey Ned,

    I’ve also spent the past few days combing the web looking to find any ski area that has ever reopened after a decade offline. I just can’t find one.

    Now add five million to purchase (overpriced and worth probably two), five million in lifts, three million in snow making, 3-5 million for a lodge, and in a MI economy, I don’t think SL will be the first, awful awful or not.

  93. Ned
    Ned says:

    Certainly seems like the deck would be stacked against the buyer. But, he should know what he’s in for and some say he has a ‘big plan’ so let’s hope he counted the costs. I’ve felt for awhile that this is just another (half)pipe dream…but who knows. Sounds like it will all come to a head very soon. Just too bad there was such poor information given the sellers of the individual properties and that they have all lost so much time on the market. Let’s hope for their sakes that the deal really goes through.

  94. lex
    lex says:

    Here’s a place that’s been closed for 10 years.

    Tamarack in Idaho is a newer resort that failed & is being or will be run by the homeowners assc. Not saying good/bad..just an example to look at.

    That RV park by Benzonia trail & 72 went for over 5 million, now add renovations…& that’s for an RV park!

    MI economy is a bonus, people are more likely to drive than hop a flight pay a lot extra to bring skis/boards. In europe people just rent highend instead of buying. However the success of the snow industry from the consumer is based on snow & not the economy. A good snow year in a crap economy is always better than a crap snow year in a good economy.

    Anyways, where there’s a will there’s a way. If you a buyer or a group(probably better, like manitou passage), you appreciate the area, realize the Loaf has the best views/scenic in the midwest, some of the best runs in the Midwest, roughly the same vert as boyne/nubs. There are a lot of reasons.

  95. Kate Wickstrom
    Kate Wickstrom says:

    I have not checked this blog in over a month, and in actuality everytime I return to it, it is like picking up a soap opera 6 months later. You watch it for a half hour and you are caught up on everything. It continues to amaze me how much everyone knows about my business with regard to SL. Fact is I have not spoken to anymore than 1 of you on this blog. Most don’t even give their real names. I have to agree with Karl tho, who emphasizes the “so called facts by those that speculate and think they know” are only those that wanna know. There are numerous comments regarding my being silent – my not doing anything – my being greedy and wanting to sell for a profit – etc. I will tell you right now – you know nothing! You have not walked in my shoes and you have no clue as to what I have been through over the past 6 years. I don’t know who you think you are (Steve) to make public what you think has transpired, when you have absolutely no facts on anything. My intentions were positive and good. You do not know of the obstacles I have had to endure. I have not tried to portray myself as a victim – I have merely stated the facts. If you would like to trade places with me – please, please step up to the plate!
    If ANYONE does take control of the property, I am certain you will change your tune and express to any new owner that you have “always” offered your support and that your screen name on this blog never existed. If I was able to turn things around and get the resort up and running, you would be my best buddy too – right? Truth is, you will never be happy with anyone owning the property. You could never be happy unless you have something to complain about. Even if someone spent millions to bring everything up to speed and beyond, you would still find something wrong with it.
    I was taught that everytime you point a finger at someone, 4 point back at you. Oh by the way – don’t recall seeing you at any townwhip meetings offering support. Hmmmmm –
    If you are going to make an honest comment, at least be honest about who you are.
    What happens with the resort will happen, but remember – you have lost nothing except a place to ski and drink. You can not imagine in your wildest dreams, what I have lost and the money I have had to spend defending myself against those with unhonorable intention.
    Someday the entire truth will be know and until then, please keep your judgements to yourself rather than trying to form public support based on speculation and rumors.

  96. Steve
    Steve says:

    …”keep your judgements to yourself.”

    1.) When was free speech outlawed?

    2.) My opinions are mine and mine alone. If I so choose to believe the side of the townhouse association, Fleis, or whoever, that’s my choice.

    3.) You were absent for five years.

    4.) I was at the township meetings. Sat in the first row of your show-and-tell. We weren’t allowed to comment, remember?

    5.) My real name is Steve.

    That said, I’ll return to the peanut gallery, comment no more, and wait for the “truth will be known.”

  97. Bob's Your Uncle
    Bob's Your Uncle says:

    ….”What happens with the resort will happen, but remember – you have lost nothing except a place to ski and drink.”

    And maybe gained a private religious retreat. Not a lot of jobs or skiing with that, but no snowmaking equipment or chairlifts to worry about.

  98. Q
    Q says:

    “Someday the entire truth will be know and until then,”
    I’m very skeptical about these types of statements. Why wait to tell the “entire truth”?
    My only dog in this fight is the skiing. I don’t expect to ever be able to ski the Loaf again, but I’m still holding onto the slimmest sliver of hope that it will be possible someday. I don’t care about hotels, condos, homes, etc., and I don’t care who’s making or losing money. I just want to be able to ski on some of the best terrain the midwest has to offer.
    All that I can say for sure is that skiing at the Loaf would guarantee a winter vacation in Leelanau every year (I can’t imagine I’m the only person this applies to). In my opinion, Leelanau tops all the other upper midwest winter destinations across the board, except for the skiing. I’ve tried the “stay in Leelanau and drive to Crystal” route, but the skiing at Crystal just isn’t worth it. So for now, I’ll reminisce about Awful and Manitou as I drive to Harbor Springs (Nubs) or to Wausau (Granite Peak).
    The felon, Kate, Kid Vegas… they all sort of look the same to me. I guess I continue to hold out hope that someone with a lot of money will step into the breach.

  99. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    The reality:
    1. No investor is going to dump tens of millions into a midwest ski hill with major competition nearby without a reasonable chance of an adequate ROI.
    2. The economical state of affairs in Michigan increases risk of providing an adequate ROI.
    3. Too many “playas” involved with this piece of real estate with questionable reputations and intentions.
    4. The “circus” that surrounds this deal would scare off most prudent investors (ie.. felons, water rights, homeowners assoc., Fleis – take your choice)
    5. All the locals who think that this is their property and that Kate or whomever is impeding on “their” property. The reality is that this property is owned by someone (bank, Kate or felon – take a guess).
    6. The true value of the property is depreciating in value every year and any potential investor is not going to pay what the current owner, who ever that may be, supposedly paid for the property. Current owner has an “airball” on their investment.

    I would love to see the loaf open again however I am a businessman and do not see any opportunity that in the near future we will be hitting the loaf. Maybe my grandkids will have the chance but until the economy recovers and someone formulates a prudent plan and has the funds available to invest, we can all speculate, point fingers and chant. It just doesn’t matter.

  100. Max
    Max says:

    Bravo Kate, you are spot on and it’s your business and no one elses to be making any business statements or opinons on. Hey Karl, Steve, Lex and the rest, How about we start commenting on the condiiton and potential uses for the properties you all own. And ahve daily updates about them.. And then speculate on your life and goings ons? Get the picture? Kate, keep swinging, and keep your head up, these nincompoops here could’nt even step toa plate to take pitch let along swing at one.

  101. unabomber
    unabomber says:

    Who owns the property? Is anyone marketing it? What sucker is next? The site needs a serious qualified investor not another joker like ex-con or soon to be con Leeeeeko to continue to try and do an OPM deal. Someone has to be a “vested” investor who has very deep pockets and is willing to invest accordingly with their own money.

  102. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    FYI, Max: Several of us have been in contact with Kate and she has been far more receptive of us than you ever have or likely ever will be. Feel free to harp about that for a while.

  103. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Whoops. Forgot to turn off the lights…

    Head over to Turning the Page on Sugar Loaf.

    …and Del, what is it about saying it’s time to move discussion from a page about Liko “I’ve Been Gone for Months and Months” Smith that is wussing out?

    Seriously, I wonder what some folks are like in real life. Do you get mad when your wife takes out the trash every week?

Comments are closed.