Turning the page on Sugar Loaf


Comments are now closed on this post – head over to A New Leaf at Sugar Loaf to follow the ongoing cavalcade of folly that Leelanau’s signature ski hill has become.

Over at the redoubtable Glen Arbor Sun, Jacob Wheeler asks if Sugar Loaf has a new suitor. Can Sugar Loaf Mountain Come Back? by Jeff Smith of Traverse Magazine offers a great timeline showing some highlights in the history of Sugar Loaf and some info about the present day.

Please post your information, memories and thoughts about Sugar Loaf Mountain below. I’d like to have us try and take the discussion to a level that moves Sugar Loaf past the sordid mess it has become over the last decade and a half and towards becoming a productive driver of Leelanau’s economy once again. Click for the Sugar Loaf Poll!

I’d also ask you to start asking your elected officials at every level you can why an entity that directly employed hundreds of people and indirectly hundreds more has been allowed to fester for so long and what they are going to do to change this.

Here’s the previous thread on Sugar Loaf from August – December 2010, the Glen Arbor Sun’s Sugar Loaf Resort features and the Friends of Sugar Loaf group on Facebook. More links? Add them below…

Photo credit: Christie Petersen via “Friends of Sugar Loaf

378 replies
  1. GavinMcNair
    GavinMcNair says:

    Andrew, the answer is ineptness at the county and township level. Period. They don’t seem to know how to use a telephone or where Lansing or the Mich EDC is even located!
    How does Leelanau let this go on election after election?
    Go to Traverse and their EDC is clicking right along, yet the same resourses are available to Leelanau, but no; no one steps up that has the responsibility to do so. This county languished for years under the mis-guided self-indulgent Dave GGill. Now you have a vaccuum of no one knowing anything but they sure put on good seminars that never get followed up om. Come on, lets get some real professionals involved at the EDC and County resourse level and get in the game! Kate and others could have used a cup of coffee and some face time to do so.

  2. Observer
    Observer says:

    Has anybody that, that post comments here, and has concerns with County Departments or EDC ever contacted them?

    I’m just amazed at the depth of knowledge on the part of some participants on these forums.

  3. lex
    lex says:

    EDC has been involved in these forums, they offerred their services as well…but think that’s the extent of it

  4. Max
    Max says:

    “This county languished for years under the mis-guided self-indulgent Dave Gill.” Best statement on any topic here! It fits extremely well for Sugar Loaf and other past and future bisiness conserns in the county. I aagree Mr. McNair. the EDC in Leelanau is basicaly non-existent. They blow hard, ahve meetings once a month and fiddle their fingers. Ms. Wickstrom and host of others in the county could have benefitted from professional assistance that an EDC and county administrator can provide. Leelanau wallors in “in-effectiveness” is a correct statement.

  5. Ned
    Ned says:

    So far I’ve heard religious retreat and wine operation, but nothing about using the hill for skiing. What a shame if that aspect of Sugarloaf disappears. But from my Google investigation into Mr. Skjaerland, I would have to lean toward the religious retreat as most probable.

  6. John
    John says:

    Is it possible to snowshoe up and ski down Sugarloaf? I’ve done this at other closed ski resorts but I havent been to sugarloaf since I was a kid.

  7. Ned
    Ned says:

    Yes it’s possible, many people do. However keep in mind that it is private property. Skiing down would be pretty risky on ungroomed slopes.

  8. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    I remember…

    …learning how to ski on Peppi as my dad took me down WAY too fast.

    …tearing around Devil’s Elbow at high speed, dodging in and out of slow moving skiers.

    …bouncing through massive bumps on Waffle in the spring.

    …getting hit in the head by a chair on Sugar Loafer when I was shoveling the ramp.

    …building huge jumps with the Balls, Swansons, Marshall Wells and Craig Richmond and watching them do much more amazing tricks than I could ever dream of.

    …playing pinball at the bucket bar.

    …the orange Hanson “Darth Vader” boots that Dan Matthias gave me. They went really well with my Hexel skis.

    …going through the fence on Devil’s Elbow one of those times that I was tearing around it too fast and sliding 200′ down and the Ski Patrol pulling me out.

    …watching the crazy freestylers in the early 70s jump into the outdoor pool and ski down Triple A.

    …the hope I felt when the community ski area effort was in full swing almost a decade ago.

  9. Susan G
    Susan G says:

    I remember;; Shoddy equipment, operators and customers severly hurt. NO money, paychecks delayed, Terrible maintenance, crumbling infrastructure. Dangerous hills and conditions. dirty atmosphere. Each year you hoped it would be better. But the place is jsut a beat up hulk of a mess.

    Tearing the entire lodge down would be a huge improvement.
    p.s. knock yourself out climbing up there to ski or snowboard the hill. They’ll find possibly you in the spring at the bottom.

  10. lex
    lex says:

    Sure both memories are quite accurate…however it’s nice to hear good memories & to be fair what sucked. As far as riding/skiing there in the winter…obstacles are pretty obvious, if it’s a chairlift tower then don’t hit it. Otherwise it’s just grass & sand

  11. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    I was wondering how long it would take before someone would make some form of desperate attempt to drag down the board. Raises the question, though: if the place sucked so badly, why did people keep coming? It’s the hill, stupid. People didn’t care that the food in the day skier cafeteria chased away roaches or the lifts sounded like a meat grinder. The true diehards would keep coming for one reason above all – the terrain. Stands to reason that the haters will always be outnumbered.

  12. Susan G
    Susan G says:

    Hoping SL never becomes again what it was before.
    A shell of a busienss that sucked in locals for menial work, and to be broakendown from the start. Hoping it becomes just a hill that has a great view, some more homes and a tranquil golf or home enclave.. or just a hill out in a field and no grinding unsafe lifts with idiot cheerleaders thinking it was great! Karl were you responsible for the grind you into pulp chair lift conditions?

  13. lex
    lex says:

    We need another subdivision development to go bankrupt or sit vacant. Whom are you putting your hopes on? And why? Still need water/waste treatment, still need to tear down sh!t. I think you need to get dinner ready for Max instead of posting on the board.
    It’s one of the best hills in the midwest, the hard part is not getting the hill open, it’s hoping the right person(s) gives it a try. Somebody could buy the place, sell the view lots & have the money to get the place operating.

  14. Max
    Max says:

    Not related to either “susan” but hope SL goes another direction too.
    You will never get anything going there unless the county supports the effort…And/Or.. Someone dumps so much crazy money into it(never happen just for skiing) so Karl can ski there and act like he runs the place.

  15. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    Karl and Lex want free lunches. Kate or no one else are not providing any. So both of you and a few others on here need to go and actually get a job. I completely agree with Max. That is one spot on notation.

  16. Loaf Watcher
    Loaf Watcher says:

    It’s stunning that Kate Wickstrom is being held up as some kind of hero. Kate hasn’t provide so much as a cheese sandwich, let alone jobs or anything for anyone since she bought the resort. Her tenure has been an unmitigated failure and the sooner she’s out of the picture, the better.

  17. lex
    lex says:

    Wow! This is better than days of our lives. Del, why do you agree with Max, he rarely makes a point. Why do you guys insist on having the Loaf not return back to skiing? It’s one thing to think it won’t, but it’s another to hope it doesn’t. Really makes zero sense, but still you attack without reason to anybody who says something positive. You can attack me or retaliate since it’s fun to read.

  18. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    Reality check. There is no real estate development in today’s economic landscape, especially in Michigan. You can barely get a construction loan from a bank today. The only value is someone buying it cheap and holding out for a market recovery. The problem with skiing is the cost of fixing the infrastructure to open for skiing and getting any type of ROI. Either way it is a very risky venture.

  19. Susan
    Susan says:

    Well this is a real donneybrook, however SL is gone; accept it. I am not the “other” Susan G nor do I cook anything for Max or even know him. However I too share the majorative sentiment here that Sugar Loaf is now best suited for something else, if anything at all. Hopefully county resourses will emerge from their 30 year slumber and take a long look that way. More so than just a cursory gathering of officials at the the site and some boondoggling of brownfield attemps and so on. Maybe it’s time to give it a rest and let it be the tranquil hill it was.

  20. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Soooo…you follow the boards hunting for anyone who says anything regarding the idea of a ski operation at the Loaf and go to great lengths to shut/shout them down? Again…can it be assumed if anyone tries again, you’ll be there to tell them they are making a lousy decision? It sure looks that way from here.

    And another again…if you hate the Loaf so much, why do you come here knowing you are vastly outnumbered by those who decidedly do not share your sentiment? Do you enjoy the abuse that much?

  21. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Unabomber: no argument from me. Getting the Loaf going would be cost-prohibitive at this point for anyone dependent on loans to get the capital up. If someone already has the capital in place independent of the loan process and is willing to assume that risk on their own, far be it from me or anyone else in here to stop them. It’s not like anything said in here would have any effect on such a decision anyway.


  22. Steve
    Steve says:

    I think Lex sums it up the best. “It’s one thing to think it won’t, but it’s another to hope it doesn’t.”

    Yes, I’m from the ‘think it won’t’ camp, BUT, I would crawl over broken beer bottles to ski there once again.

  23. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    I’d love to ski there again as well however the reality is most likely the numbers don’t work at this time. I do not know too many investors willing to put tens of millions in a deal with this much risk at this time. There are too many less risky, higher return investment opportunities in the current marketplace. The loaf has always limped along with inadequate funding or as an OPM deal and needs to have a private investor with deep pockets to fund this type of business. There is likely no institutional or traditional funding for this risk profile.

  24. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Again, Unabomber, you’ll get no argument from me on that one. The risk is just too great for conventional business types to take on in the current economic times. The possibility, however slim, still exists for less traditional, less conventional solutions. It’s gonna take someone with a lot of readily available capital and some serious forward thinking to make anything happen. Large amounts of investment capital and large amounts of patience are not things that peacefully coexist in the current business climate.

    (Give the flamefest you best shot, haters. I, for one, find your posts quite humorous and you never fail to deliver the laughs.)

  25. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    As nice as it sounds, there is no unconventional solution to the resort. No local or state agencies give the amount of capital required to assist in opening this up again. Tax credits is about all you can get today as agencies have no cash available. Maybe we can convince Obama to throw us some stimulus money instead of bailing out banks in Europe. Probably would be a better investment for the taxpayers. Everyone can speculate but I think the fat lady has sung for the Loaf for many years into the future. Time will tell.

  26. Steve
    Steve says:

    The 2010 census was released today. Michigan was only state to lose residents since 2000. The state’s population dropped by 0.6%.

    Last week it was also reported that housing prices are down 90% off 2003 high in Detroit proper and down by 2/3 in the metro five county area.

    I’m not sure how much of this tsunami finds its way to N. Michigan, but 20 million out of the blue to bring SL back to life I may not see in my skiing lifetime.

  27. lex
    lex says:

    The census is true, but winter sports are effected by snow & not so much the economy. The midwest sales are down at wintersports retail for oct because of the warm weather we had. A bad economy does spur people to travel by road instead of flying/paying for ski/board bags. People stay closer to home. Note: This is just referring to the state of wintersports & ski areas that are existing. Investing 10’s a millions is not what I’m referring to.

    I was wondering if Andy can do a poll? Some want it to go back to nature, turned into real estate, destination resort(ski), simple style resort(think nubs), community center/business park.

    Quite a few ski areas were purchased this year, but the small ones were in the $1-2million range & were operating areas. The loaf is handcuffed in so many ways that we all know of. But I still think since it could be subdivided even more since it’s already divided up. Sell the actual relevant land for the ski area: 1) this will make the loaf more affordable & allow the purchaser to do the upgrades & have a fight chance at opening the resort. You would not need the same infrastructure(water/waste facility) 2) this will add value to whomever owns the view lots,which is driving the cost up while lowering the value of everything
    3)Then future development/next steps would be more possible if there is an existing business(loaf) operating.

    As of now, no bank would touch this place, but if something…anything shows progress then the other steps I would hope be easier

  28. Ned
    Ned says:

    Could it be the reason Susan and Max and the others who are so negative about seeing SL as a ski resort again are perhaps involved in the current pending SL deal and already know it won’t be used as a ski resort? Perhaps they think by posting such negative comments that the locals won’t mind never again having access to the best skiing and views in lower MI?

  29. Susan
    Susan says:

    SL is not for anyones uses. it does not exist for your pleasure. I am not nor do I know anyone personally that is currently or have been involved in any SL deal. Well, except that little boy from Vegas or some other planet, but we all know of him! Since the county has no clue even where to start in helping a business or retaining one in teh county., it will be multi-private investment.. ohhh who cares.. let Kate be and stop the pondering on something you or I or anyone else doesn’t own! Get a life!


  30. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    OK Susan, you are officially in my incomprehensible column.

    Sugar Loaf is not for anyone’s pleasure? It’s a freaking SKI RESORT. The citizens of Leelanau County paid a lot of money for a road network to the resort. Sugar Loaf owes a lot of back taxes. Many of us have put in a lot of time AND money to make the resort a vibrant part of Leelanau’s economy and we are not under any obligation to sit idly by as a string of “owners” play financial games as they run in deeper into the ground.

    We’ve let Kate be for a number of years and have nothing to show for it. Private property or not, it has become a liability, eyesore and public health hazard. Eminent Domain anyone?

  31. Smack
    Smack says:

    Worry about making a mortgage payment or two…or three….etc…..and paying your taxes before worrying about whom is walking on “your property” and using their vision for a future that is essential sooner, than another decade+….. This is OUR hill, WE will prevail! Merry Christmas! 🙂

  32. Ned
    Ned says:

    I like the eminent domain idea. Let’s do a ski hill takeover! That’s the ticket! (Hey, I can dream can’t I?)

  33. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    TO: Susan
    RE: Get a life

    “Lead by example” and get your own. Ours treats us just fine. Don’t presume you can tell us what to do with ours.

  34. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Hardly a day goes by when I don’t seize someone’s property.

    I find the idea that it’s OK for a string of disconnected owners to come in and drive a commercial entity further and further into the ground, destroying the investments of countless people and creating a public health hazard to be bizarre. Despite what the antics of the last few years on Wall Street demonstrate, I feel that business owners have a duty to run their business in a manner that takes into account how they impact others.

    If Kate needs help doing something with Sugar Loaf, she should ask for it, but she’s been whisper quiet.

  35. lex
    lex says:

    Andy tried to seize my property the other day…then Karl came over & asked for a free lunch.

    Merry Christmas All,

  36. KarlK
    KarlK says:


    OK, Andy, when’s the auction?
    Lex, I like my sandwich hot with the cheese melted juuuust right…


  37. lex
    lex says:

    Can’t believe my post is a hot debate, cool! It was a joke by the way. Karl glad you liked the sandwich, my daughter melted the cheese by keeping it in her diaper for an hour.

  38. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    That in mind, I don’t wanna know where the meat came from. Then again, one of my neighbor’s dogs hasn’t been seen for about a week…

  39. Max
    Max says:

    McFarlane is using this site to be anti-Kate. The covering is off now. Since you have everyone snowed on you being able to develop comprehendable websites.. Now you use this website (which has come to be know as a “Leelanau” sponsored site) to bash a property owner.

    Way to go Mr. “Leelanau”. Pare for the course from governmental and quasi-businss supporting entities.

  40. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    I’m not using this site to be anti-Kate. I’m using this site to discuss Sugar Loaf and how it might one day return to its historical status as an economic driver, something that it has not done for longer than Kate has owned it.

    I have always striven to provide balanced coverage of the situation. However, as a citizen, I have a right to have an opinion and my opinion is that Kate’s tenure as an owner of Sugar Loaf has been marked by total inaction and lack of any discernible engagement of the community or plan for its return as a viable business.

    As a point of clarification, Leelanau.com is funded by me and by its sponsors. There is no public funding.

  41. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    History is irrelevant, the future is what is important and as of today there does not appear to be a future. Maybe some day the loaf will be revitalized but not for a longtime. Local or State funding will never occur to the levels required for this white elephant, so bashing anyone, except Liko, accomplishes nada. Someone needs to show the money.

  42. Smack
    Smack says:

    You have a point,Unabomber, about showing the money. However, to say history is irrelevant, that is never the case.

    “You can’t take a hike of any distance without seeing evidence of the former residents. Traces of the roads they built will be visible for decades more.”

  43. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    What I meant is the history of past owners and their negligence or non-performance is not the issue, the resort is what it is. Any potential prudent investor will only being looking at what needs to be done to the resort to turn a profit and get an adequate return. The cast of characters in the past really do not matter to them. If someone is going to invest millions of dollars in the resort these past characters will be a non-issue and only be a “thing of the past” as to any influence on the resort.

  44. T.J.
    T.J. says:

    I broke my leg on “devil’s elbow” and spent the rest of the ski trip on my back, reading Stephen King’s Misery and eating pain killers. I have fond memories. I hope you all get your mountain back.

  45. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    About the worst thing that ever happened to me out there was flopping over at the bottom of chair 3 after being out for the entire day and coming down to load in for last run. I was exhausted, but happy.

    I follow what has come to be known as the “Coombs Principle” (named after the late Doug Coombs) which states that the best runs you have are the ones you work the hardest to get to. I had a blast working there in the old days and I have already made it plain that I was willing to put in the work to make it happen again at the Loaf. Free lunch? Guess again. I earn my turns.

  46. Kate Wickstrom
    Kate Wickstrom says:

    Mr. McFarlane – why do you put so much effort in assuming what my position is? We have never spoken. You know noting about me or what I have had to endure. I have lost over $2 million dollars. How much have you lost? I DID NOT terminate the sewer agreement 6 weeks after I purchased the property and tie the progress of re-opening the resort up for years. I have spent the past 6 years being subject to gender bias at the hands of the local cartel.
    You want to look in to what has really happened at Sugar Loaf? Check out the local little boys club. They are the ones that have stopped progress. I have spent the past 6 years fighting legal battles and paying legal fees to fight the bullshit. You want to know why SL has not re-opened – look over the past 6 years of legal drama and see who is really putting the stops out there. Allow credit where crdit is due, but also place blame where it truly belongs.

  47. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Hi Kate. We actually have spoken, several times during the period when you were purchasing the resort. At that time I offered you whatever help I could provide. You have also posted comments over that time here on Leelanau.com.

    I’ve only lost a few thousand dollars from the management company that proceeded you, along with a significant reduction in winter business from Leelanau county as our winter tourism has nosedived.

    To be clear, I’m not blaming you for not being able to get the job done with Sugar Loaf. The situation you are facing is a disgrace and the fact that our elected officials haven’t applied pressure to work out a solution is a big part of the problem.

    I’m blaming you for not reaching out to an entire community that has been ready, willing and able to support efforts to return Sugar Loaf to viability.

    I’m not trying to tell you how to conduct business, but if you as a business owner were dealing with discrimination, why didn’t you utilize local media, government and other channels to help tell your story and apply pressure on the sewer owner?

    I am sorry if I’ve hurt you by saying that in my opinion you could have and should have done more with Sugar Loaf, but I stand by it.

  48. throttlejockey
    throttlejockey says:

    From an outsiders perspective, ya’ll have too much drama and not enough action. Can’t believe that something hasn’t been done. After all, it was the reason we came to the county and fell in love with it. Anyway….

    I can remember tucking Awful before a Friday race – just after it was groomed. Hit a death cookie, got the speed wobbles, and had a major yard sale. Friends on the lift said it was the worst they had ever seen and they thought I was dead. No s&*t! Knocked out cold. Broke a ski in half, as well as both poles! Went to Muson in the meat wagon and was laid up for weeks.

    Got to get her running again….

  49. Steve
    Steve says:

    As Kate states: “I DID NOT terminate the sewer agreement 6 weeks after I purchased the property and tie the progress of re-opening the resort up for years.”

    Then why did she two years after that fact have a show-and-tell show with her expansion plans if this all started six weeks after her purchase?

    Also; “I have spent the past 6 years being subject to gender bias at the hands of the local cartel.”…and “Check out the local little boys club.”

    Who are they? The townhouse association? Fleis? Owners of Sugarfoot? Maybe it’s Phil at Cedar Market. He’s always on his computer, probably communicating with other cartel members. Hell, the townhouse association has on the board, and past president, Tom, a former priest. Nicest guy you will ever meet. Hardly part of a cartel. I’ll check with Phil to see if he’s a member.

  50. Observer
    Observer says:

    Here’s to the hope that maybe we can get 2010 behind us, and something better can happen in 2011

    Every body take a deep breath, and hope the skeletons finally see the light of day, and can be laid to rest

  51. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Me, I’d like to see the skeletons dragged kicking and screaming into the light of public scrutiny. Let’s see how long they last then…

  52. Max
    Max says:

    McFarlane, you are tetering being a clown. You’re back tracking two faced in your response to kate gives pause to your real notions. Now you state that the county officials should have, could have and do possess the power to help Sugar Loaf. When earlier in this stream of nothings from a previous page you said they “been there all the time..” Kate may be on to something with the “good old boys” club in Leelanau. The EDC has been a sham. When asked to help business the county leadership spins their head on their shoulders like Linda Blair! No direction or where hey are going to land on an issue. Just like you.

    So climb off your lofty papal post and focus on making websites that are navigable and understandable. Your foray into what is good for SL, is like the wine industry locally. Everyone does a better job on their own understanding their own situation than hooking up to bags full of air.

  53. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Max, I don’t know exactly what you have against me or truthfully what you are trying to say. I’m sorry that our websites aren’t navigable or understandable enough for you. Is there a problem with the wine industry locally? Are you aware of what that industry does for tourism in Leelanau? I am because I spend a ton of time working on enhancing its connections with lodging and other businesses in the region. I don’t sit around on a perch or papal post, I work on the issues I talk about and work with others to develop systems that will enhance economic, environmental and social benefit.

    County officials have always had the ability to influence what goes on at Sugar Loaf. The fact that they haven’t is a shame. Has Kate gone to them or the EDC for help? If she did, I never heard or read about it.

    My position is pretty much always going to be something along the lines of this:
    Businesses, organizations and citizens need to focus on how their endeavors impact the community and enhance the common good.

    That’s how I run my business, and from Wall Street to BP to the mess that Sugar Loaf has been over the last decade, I think that when people DON’T operate in this manner we get the screwed up messes that have been plaguing our society for far too long.

  54. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Thanks Mr. McFarland for your obvious good will. We have a lovely common cause on this blog – we all want to see something happen with this incredible asset located in a place that we love. I suspect that we all agree that something needs to be done with it for the economic welfare of the county and its citizens. In addition to that, the county needs the physical and mental boost that a viable operation of some sort would provide. I wish I had the money and/or expertise to lead this effort. I wish I understood why the Polselli’s insist on keeping SL in their pocket. I wish I understood the apparent obstacles Ms. Wickstrom has encountered. More than anything, I wish we could all meet at square one, understand each other’s point of view, and focus our collective energy, not on invective, but on a viable plan. Blessings to all in 2011.

  55. Steve
    Steve says:

    Have you noticed, Max, your feedback compared to Andrew McFarlane’s every time you comment?

    Also, Max, since your sole purpose is to defend Wickstrom with every post, maybe you might be interested in pitching in on Kate’s $87,757.20 delinquent tax bill.

  56. JTHoagland
    JTHoagland says:

    Good phrasing, insight and thinking.

    And I will state, for the record, that, to my knowledge, no formal proposals have been brought to the Leelanau County EDC.
    We do welcome engagement with interested parties.

    Kate may have, or have had, reasons of her own not to, and that is perfectly acceptable.

    With the history just of the last year, and Mr. Smith coming to town, as well as much of the commentary on this forum, it might be obvious why the LCEDC has not been taking a lead.

    We always welcome serious interested parties who want to further economic development and job creation within Leelanau County and in partnership with others in our region.

    Here’s wishing a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all

    Chair LCEDC

  57. Still hope
    Still hope says:

    The potential for the loaf is more than I think most of you think. Northern MI and Leelanau Co is one of the greatest places in the world. I have travel the world and seen allot. Just wait; the world still knows very little about Northern MI. When this economy comes back and it will if the Loaf were what it once was it would be the center of the jewel. Leelanau Co. needs it to be what it was; a year round resort, there is just too much potential. Do you know how many resorts would love to have an Airport at their door step. Yes it will take some money but get someone with vision and marketing sense and just watch what happens. I do not know what happened to cause its downfall but I firmly believe it can be the great place it was years ago. I had many great memories there and was disappointed I could not take my kids there, I guess all I can do is hope to take my grandkids there someday.

  58. Susan
    Susan says:

    Hoagland, why dont you and EDC step up then.. you are all talk and no action. You have the tools at your discposal.
    EDC from Leelanau is non-existent.

  59. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Until anything concrete happens, Ned, it’s all just wishful thinking. We’ve all learned by now not to get our hopes up. Unless there is something good happening (that can be backed up by actual visible progress), there isn’t much point to getting all worked up.

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

    Hey Kate! If you have lost $2,000,000 bucks so far (which seems a little tough since you haven’t done anything constructive) how ’bout shelling out another $90K for your delinquent tax bill?
    Or did you lose the $2,000,000 on the purchase agreement with Skjaerlund? Enquiring minds want to know?

  61. Steve
    Steve says:

    I suspect her $87,757.20 delinquent tax bill will get paid by the Law Offices of Leonard Z. Zedeck out of Florida as they did last year for the 07 bill.

  62. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    The question is, who is this character – Dr. David Skjaerlund, who lurks in the shadows and will not publicize his intentions on what he would like to do with the Sugar Loaf Resort Property. In a feature story for this month’s edition of Traverse Magazine, editor Jeff Smith reports that Skjaerlund has “spent the past several months getting options on several Sugar Loaf town houses and nearby properties.”

    Dr. David Skjaerlund apparently owns Pleasant View Farms and Solomon Strategies (a defunct consulting/rural development business).

    Pleasant View Farms is a private company categorized under Farms and located in Owosso, MI. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of 58,000 and employs a staff of approximately 1.

  63. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    Another character involved to muddy up the loaf. Now any serious investor has another person to try and work with (water, Kate, convict, condo owners, etc..) to get a deal done. Where is Liko, super entrpMANURE, this tale only gets worse.

  64. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Bob’s Your Uncle – good link. I read that article. Foreclosing on $60 million worth of infastructure and buildings is quite substanial. It is disappointing to see another failed businessman (Dr. Skjaerland) attempt to try and resurrect the Sugar Loaf Resort and get everyone’s hopes up.

    Just my two cents but I would really like to see the Resort become maybe a public-private partnership where downhill skiing, snow boarding, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, sleigh rides, etc, can again become viable in the winter season. For warm weather revenue, a really inventitive plan would have to be developed, such as eco-tourism (i.e. organic farming, horseback riding, scuba diving), winery/restaurant, and maybe further development of a brand – something similar to the very well established “Cherry Republic” Brand.

    As we all know it is going to be difficult for any serious investor to really consider this property due to the warm weather revenue / sewage treatment plant being parceled out.

    By the way does anyone know who this Chuck Weiler individual is who is also reportedly been courting Kate Wickstrom in recent months as well?

  65. Mark
    Mark says:

    Hopefully Kate will not pay the property taxes and maybe SL can be purchased by a “real” investor or taken over by the County and open SL in a similar format as TC’s Mt. Holiday.—I am so afraid this Skjaerlund fella is just another wind bag full of hot air who will waste people’s time and energy, as well as money. Has anyone approached the Crystal Mountain owners? Give them SL for free and develop it ala’ Crystal Mtn style. Now there is a class place that employ’s hundreds!

  66. Mark
    Mark says:

    Me again. Been surfing the web garnering info about this David Skjaerlund dude. My conclusion; Another religious fruitcake. What is it with SL and it’s attractiveness to religious goofballs? The guy has no money. Its all some unknowing or ignorant fools money he seems to be playing with, much like the Liberty Fuels debacle. Sorry to be so mean but it is what I came up with.

  67. lex
    lex says:

    I would love to hear the full account of Kate’s ownership, actually think she could write a book about this & what led to her being able to purchase(well still bank owned) the Loaf. Both views should be noted, Kate did try to her effort to do something good, people probably did put some roadblocks in front of her, the communication from Kate regardless of the enterprise or Eric Carlson has been poor & this is not an excuse. She has lost a grip load of money & she does not come from big money. She bit off more than she can chew, fair enough, but the communication has been fairly non existant for years & the county in my opinion should have made this a priority. During all our election, very very little was mentioned about the Loaf. Privately owned or not, the loaf has become a burden on our community. No people have not loss millions individually, but memories have. It would like cancelling all sports in the county, making the dunes private property, etc. Winter activities are a big part of life up here financially as well as fun activities.

    Ripping on Kate, is it going to help, probably not, but there is a lot of pent up frustration & this is the only outlet. So Kate bare that in mind. People are mad & rightfully so.

    Last part, Liko did have one smart thing, it was leasing the ski area. Well he had no money, so he had no choice…but wonder if that road has been looked into. Maybe keeping things more bitesize or obtainable is easier to handle than, these mega millions idea.

  68. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    I’d love to hear that account too, Lex.

    To be clear, I really am not trying to rip on Kate – I just am hoping that she can extract herself from what is obviously an awful position with maximum speed.

    And PLEASE, if there is a Guardian Angel of Distressed Properties, can you watch over Sugar Loaf so that it doesn’t again go to someone without the money, connections and skills to return it to viability?

  69. GavinMcnair
    GavinMcnair says:

    Wineries do just fine in spite of Andy McFarlane. The vineyards and wineries in Leelnau are indepentdent. The only reason the LPVA exists is to promote the wine tours (party bashes) once or twice a year. Otherewise they could care less about their competitor down the road or across the bay on Old Mission peninsula. The LPVA got rolling under Mr. Coates and was doing just fine. The AVA of Leelanau stands on its own as a noted vineyard growing territory. Who wants to throw their money into soemthing just so some one guy can toddle and sip with who’s who now and then while publishing white papers on how great the wine area is? It’s preaching to the choir. The wineries are in the business of selling wine locally and nationwide. The only thing I see here is tooting of ones horn by someone that can barely do a comprehendable website (as others have noted), and a self appointed in-the-know on the Sugar Loaf machinations.

    Seems like many on here exist to extol their need for Sugar Loaf to arise again so they can get a free ski pass or thinking they are entitled to some job they may or may not have had 10 or 15 years ago! The likes of the Karl K crowd and Mcafarlane are just hot air noise makers overshadowing their clownish existence.

  70. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Hey Gavin, I somehow missed you during the 10+ years I have been intensely following the saga of Sugar Loaf. I also have no idea what your beef is with me or who the heck you are.

    Rick did an amazing job of getting the LPVA rolling, and I’m glad we’ve been able to step in and help with this vital industry. Funny thing: when Rick decided to move on, I talked with him about us bidding for the job because I didn’t want to see another Sugar Loaf situation where a vital economic driver vanished from Leelanau.

    Feel free to talk with me sometime about just what we do for wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. You might be surprised how much work is involved, how many heads we put into Leelanau County beds and how little toddling I do.

  71. Ned
    Ned says:

    From what I hear – the Skjaerlund deal is not quite dead yet. If he does buy the Loaf, count on it being a religious retreat and condo development. This guy is looking to make money – not spend money. Can’t blame him there – but you can probably kiss skiing and any hopes of making new memories at SL, goodbye.

  72. Observer
    Observer says:

    Well well, so much for Happy New Year

    Andy, quite a collection of bright, knowledgeable, articulate and reasonable folk here

    Looks like 2011 will be another positive, productive and interesting year

  73. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Will your next post more clearly demonstrate your ignorance, Gavin? Feel free to entertain the board further.

  74. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Yeah, that was mean, I admit it…but still not as abrasive as some of the lame attempts at flames we’ve seen in here. Yeah, the tenor of the discussion gets dragged down by it every time someone posts crap like that. I like the idea of keeping the discussion positive and productive, but some folks (they know who they are) can’t handle that…sad, really.

    • Andrew McFarlane
      Andrew McFarlane says:

      Susan – what is your deal? What are you so angry about? You seem to show up every few days and post some angry words, but I actually can’t tell what you are hoping to see happen with Sugar Loaf or why the heck you are here.

  75. lex
    lex says:

    Sad or funny thing is the difference in the maturity on this forum reminds me of the Loaf saga. A few people causing problems for everybody else. The poll that Andy did showed overwhelming support for the Loaf, yet this forum is often silent until somebody posts something absurd usually 1 of a few different names that seem to take turns. Even thought they are being negative, they are actually helping keep the conversation going.

    Anyways, I love leelanau.com, I travel a lot so this is one link to home for me.

  76. outsider
    outsider says:

    Thank you Susan and Gavin for a real approach. The rest just don’t like it when you point out how they look. Sugar Loaf is an enigma in the county. It has sucked money from day one for any onwner. The wine industry (another topic but coverd here due to McFarlane’s insistance) is independent and needs no shlocky help.

    All Sugar Loaf need is a good bulldozer, some better runway lighting and lengthening; and a connection between golf entities.

  77. lex
    lex says:

    How has the Loaf sucked money from any owner? It’s a hill that has been neglected by every owner…what other outcome would you expect if you don’t invest into the business. So you think spending $5.7million to buy the loaf & bulldoze down the place, improve the runway that get’s used by 5 planes makes sense? Connecting 2 different golf areas that have seperate owners. Or is it better to wait years for a vineyard to produce….when you can go & buy a great one way cheaper.

    The Loaf is not the problem, it’s the many people involved that either lacked business sense or had alternative motives. Like a few on this forum

    There can be a vineyard, a community center, business center & winter/summer activities. Seems the county is turning a blind eye to the loaf & none of the people who have money into the loaf are truly sincere in doing anything.

  78. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Sugar Loaf is an enigma? They only enigma is why people keep buying it when they don’t have the money and plan to make a serious effort.

    FYI, Outsider, we’re talking about the wine industry because Gavin/Susan brought it up I think. The wineries are independent but have banded together to bring more business and interest to their efforts.

    You’re thanking Susan & Gavin for a real approach, but I don’t see any approach at all, just complaints. And while a bulldozer might be necessary at some point, you don’t revitalize a business with a bulldozer.

    Hurl all the personal attacks and insults you want, but how about an idea every now and then too?

  79. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    One fact that they will never publicly admit to: If some level of miracles aligned and the Loaf ever reopened for skiing you can bet that the haters in here (they know who they are) will probably be lining up for lift tickets just like everyone else. They will probably add that they supported the project the whole time. Such a scenario would not surprise me in the least. Their tone on this board suggests that they are sucking up to someone. Nobody in their right mind would subject themselves to the abuse they earn in here without some form of payoff in the end.

  80. Max
    Max says:

    Oh Karl you are such an overestimater. I and most otheres would never get on that killing and grinding equipment the Loaf so saddly operated for years.

  81. Ned
    Ned says:

    I think everyone knows that the lifts would need to be replaced Max. Your comment is irrelevant. Anything constructive?

  82. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Don’t count on it, Ned. Some folks simply cannot function without negativity. There are more than enough comments on this board that prove this. More still will likely be spewed in response to this very post. All you have to do is say something positive and watch them descend like vultures.

  83. Susan
    Susan says:

    Karl has nighmares of vultures on his roof. Karl, you need some time off, obviously this SL thing combined with your vultures is to much for you.

  84. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Susan proved your point in record time as we knew only she could.
    I’m going to start calling you ‘Karlnak The Magnificient’

  85. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    LOL…thanks, Loafy, but I’d look damned silly in a turban.

    Susan, let’s start with you being a lot less predictable. Then maybe you can tell us all what you hope to accomplish by your being here and why you are so obsessed with following this topic around the boards.

  86. Max
    Max says:

    Karl, Andy and Ned, you guys are old hens with nothing better to cluck about! Your wishing and pissing has done nothing but elevate the Loaf to no-where. Andy, you dragging the local wine industry into this is odd. I’ts like bringin a block of cheese by a wannabe to a biker bar- b-que. Have to agree with Gavin and susan on this over all subject stuff.

    You and Karl need to find some better heliumn to inhale, this batch is making your head wheeez..

    • Andrew McFarlane
      Andrew McFarlane says:

      Max, if you scroll up the page, you’ll see that you’re the one who dragged the wine industry into it.

      While I’m pretty clear on what you don’t want, I am still wondering what YOUR hopes for Sugar Loaf are. What do YOU want to see happen there?

  87. Matt
    Matt says:

    Skied the wall this past weekend and ran into “Liko” Smith on the top. I gave him a quarter and he scurried back into the woods. He said that he’ll have the place up and running in no time.

  88. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Max: if you seriously think that this board is the be-all and end-all of our entire existence, then you really need to stop drinking Susan’s kool-aid. Judging by the for-more-obsessive-than-any-of-us nature with which you have been following these boards, you really need to find yourself a more productive hobby than flaming people on this site. Good luck in your quest.

  89. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    McFarlane at a biker BBq; lol love that visual. Like him actually knowing something about wine and agriculture. So that’s why everyone takes it with a grain of salt (snow) when he discusses his enmity for Sugar Loaf.. And I thought it was he just ddin’t like Kate Wickstrom. Karl,get out the skiis, Andy will make it all better!

  90. lex
    lex says:

    Sure max will give u the date of the biker BBQ that he’s hosting. Apparently he’s serving a lot of bull, bring Susan with you.

  91. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Del, you need to find yourself a target that finds you less amusing than I do. I suggest you scroll up a little bit and read my response to Max’s latest attempt at a cheap shot. Oh, wait…you won’t scroll up. Let me repost it here for you: if you seriously think that this board is the be-all and end-all of our entire existence, then you really need to stop drinking Susan’s kool-aid. Judging by the for-more-obsessive-than-any-of-us nature with which you and your little friends have been following this topic on these boards, you really need to find yourself a more productive hobby than flaming people on this site. Good luck in your quest. I’m sure the folks pulling your strings are proud of the job you’re doing.

  92. Debbie from Detroit
    Debbie from Detroit says:

    This is funny! what happened to the guy Liko-palozza? a year ago but at least he had cool fun ideas about sugarloaf! I was hoping he would stay! Looks like Kate is up to the same old same old…. haha

  93. GavinMcNair
    GavinMcNair says:

    Debbie, the midget from Vegas made things hilarious for ahwile. then it became emblematic of jsut a nut case with no power to do anything, but run up restaurant tabs.

    Then comes Karl and few mental minions here (even Andy Mcfarlane) pleading for a chance to work for or get at least a free ski pass at the Loaf. Funny how all the mice that leave the ship come running back like rats to a 2 day old pig roast. All the while bashing Kate for thowing money and her reverence into a pitwhile dealing with the nutty loca-ineffectual-club.

    Karl, you need a new hobby. How about word counting for Andy.

  94. Ned
    Ned says:

    Debbie you’v missed the latest bag of hot air- David Skjaerlund. He was also vying for Sugarloaf and many other area properties. Put on a pretty good show, scared a lot of people into “non-disclosure” agreements and one sided purchase agreements and has now seemingly disappeared, leaving property owners with nothing but his empty promises. But he did a pretty good job of making the local realtors and title company look like buffoons. The guy was sneaky enough though, to try to do everything quietly and stay out of the news so his neck wouldn’t be on the line. Just another dreamer with no real money to back him up.

  95. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    I’d hate to see some of you folks’ reactions if anyone stepped up with real money for a real plan for the property.

  96. Steve
    Steve says:

    Curious as to these “one sided purchase agreements.” Did anyone get any money from their “option to buy” contracts? Possibly Loafy can shed some light on this.

  97. Nate
    Nate says:

    Skjaerlund had nothing going on for the Loaf. Nadda, nothing,, it’s all smoke cojured up by this board and those two or three Karl k and Andy types that think they are “in the know”. You guys need to go have de-caf.

  98. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Not one thin dime. In fact, everytime the Title Office asks my bank for a payoff quote, the bank charges me another $30 fax fee added to my mortgage(4x so far), so I’m losing ground on this deal. The PA was written such that the earnest money doesn’t have to be paid out if Skjaerlund can’t secure financing and after 6-7 months, he has not been able to satisfy that contingency. We never really knew it was an ‘option to buy’ as it was presented as a straight out purchase agreement. We didn’t find out otherwise until Fall and then the buying season was over for the year. I hate to think about how many trees Peninsula Title has killed with drafted / redrafted / redacted / ignored purchase agreements and adendums.

  99. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Hey Nate – I’m certainly not conjuring anything up and mostly I’m no more in the know than anyone else – just trying to relate what I’ve heard. The Skjaerlund deal was covered by Traverse Magazine.

    My goal is to reduce the smoke and mirrors factor at the Loaf and to encourage everyone involved to work quickly and wisely on returning the Loaf to being an economic driver for our region.

    In my opinion, Sugar Loaf has languished as a back-burner issue in Leelanau County for far too long. If Liko Smith accomplished anything, it was to bring some attention back to this issue – my hope is that the heat and pressure stay on.

  100. Ned
    Ned says:

    Nate- not sure what you mean by “nothing going on” for SL. Skjaerlund most definately did have designs on that property – though it may have been under a corporate name. Don’t be fooled by his “smoke & mirrors”. I had a confirmation on that fact from more than one source, but I cannot divulge the sources due to their confidentiality & non-disclosure agreements. Which is why you haven’t heard more in the press- since the sources cannot be named. I give kudos to Traverse Magazine for having the guts to go to print with their story.

    But if by “nothing going on” you mean that he had no money to back up his b.s. – you would be correct.

    And I agree with Andy- let’s keep the issue of SL in the spotlight until SOMETHING gets done about it. It’s been going on too long. This is prime real estate. We need to get some serious buyers up here.

  101. Steve
    Steve says:

    Per Ned: …”but I cannot divulge the sources due to their confidentiality & non-disclosure agreements.”

    Loafy doesn’t have a problem stating divulging his deal, especially since he hasn’t seen one thin dime.

    Moving right along, the next phantom buyer will be…

  102. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    For most of us, the discussion in here has been far more casual than some in here assume (or admit). There won’t be anything to get genuinely excited about until someone comes up with some real money and signs on the dotted line at the title company. Without that, it’s just idle chatter and nothing more. The haters have put far more effort into flaming this board and its patrons that any of us have into conversing about the Loaf.

    I never had much faith in the Skjaerlund idea to begin with. He was just another in a long line of folks from outside the area swooping in and thinking out loud about what to do with the place. I’m sure someone else will come along at some point and the haters will set upon them like hounds just as they always do. There won’t be anything for either side (pro-Loaf or anti-Loaf) to get in a lather over unless some real money moves and the property changes hands. Until then, the casual conversation will putter on and the haters will continue to spit and fume over nothing.

  103. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    It is getting very tiresome of these strange, defunct individuals (i.e. Liko Smith, David Skjaerlund, Kate Wickstrom, etc.) who continue to put on a “show and dance” in the local media and pretend to have a plan to develop the Sugarloaf property, when in reality, they have been quite incapable of this venture. Obviously, this project requires serious capital and what needs to happen in this sluggish economy is for the Sugarloaf Resort property be sold for a $1 to a successful ski/resort corporation (The Homestead, Boyne Mountain, Crystal Mountain) so that they can completely re-develop the property which could cost in excess of perhaps $75 million. This would be a contracted agreement with many clauses dictating the terms of agreement and compensation to the seller when the property starts earning income. Just a thought.

  104. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Max, you and your little friends are taking this discussion FAR more seriously and following it far more obsessively than any of us. Don’t suppose there is a rational, logical reason for you to do so, is there? Just asking.

  105. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    Everyone needs to step back from the “pipe” and realize that there is not much of a short-term future for the Loaf. Too much capital needed and the idea of buying it for a dollar is another pipe-dream. No serious investor is going to have the current cast of characters involved in any earn-out deal when they have to put up the capital and assume all the risk. The sad truth is that until a big investor steps forward nothing is going to happen here.

  106. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Now you’re just coming off looking obsessed, Susan. Feel free to dig yourself in deeper.

    I believe the question has been posed to you and you never responded (I don’t expect a response from the other guy). Is there a rational, logical reason for you and your little friends to be more obsessive and less casual about this topic on this board than any of us are? Do our faint glimmers of curiosity a favor and just answer the question. Without a good reason for you and your friends to behave the way you do in here, you come away looking like kooks. I can only assume that there’s a good reason for you to do so. Feel free to assume we’re interested and enlighten us.

  107. Steve
    Steve says:

    Karl’s right Susan and “I don’t expect a response from the other guy,” Max.

    Both of your are obsessed, with who knows what.

    Sure, even us that are of the opinion that SL may never open, I do wish, hope and pray some day that it does.

  108. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    Karl, Steve Ned, do you guys work? LOL Seriously, Kate must be getting some giggles from how you local yocals need a free ski pass so badly. And the “title” company that was getting danced?… never happened. Go find some other entertainment; like trying to read Andy’s website; that’ll take you a year to figure out!

  109. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    The real mystery to me Max Del Susan, is what the 3 or 2 or 1 of you is after.

    Most of the people here are genuinely interested in what happens with Sugar Loaf and wanting little more than the chance to ski again on one of Michigan’s finest hills. Not one of you has yet responded with:
    a. What your hopes are for Sugar Loaf
    b. What your connection with Sugar Loaf is
    c. Anything other than venom and bile

    It’s often said that on the internet, no one can tell if you’re a dog … they sure as heck can tell when you’re an annoying troll though.

  110. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Just an administrative note: Somebody rolled through and basically hid every comment through repeated clicks of the low rating so I removed the feature that hid poorly rated comments.

  111. Steve
    Steve says:

    What’s with the “free skiing.” When did any of us imply we wanted to ski free? We just want to ski at Sugar Loaf. I’m willing to pay whatever the going rate is.

  112. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Smart move, Andy. As it was, most of the comments that ended up getting hidden were the troll posts from the haters. Now maybe folks can scroll back and see what we’ve been laughing at. All the haters have succeeded in doing is provoking responses through trolling the board. Other than that, they aren’t accomplishing anything of any substance (unless you count proving themselves to be petty and completely off base about why we’re talking about this in the first place). Like it or not, haters, NONE of us are hoping to mooch freebies. Feel free to continue to prove the inaccuracy of your assumptions on that one all you want.

    In reference to your loaded question, “Del”, we all have regular jobs and real lives that we find quite fulfilling and rewarding. I have a feeling I burst your bubble with that, but you’ll just have to deal with it. Given that you are so obsessed with butting in on a casual conversation such as this one and doing little more than hurling excrement about the room like an angry spider monkey, questions are raised about your life. We don’t expect answers, mind you, but the questions remain.

  113. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Andy – I relinked this page on the Facebook group site. The group’s over 1300 members now and I have a feeling they might like what’s going on in here.

  114. Kara Beacher
    Kara Beacher says:

    Fascinating your knickers are in a bunch. I find those that Andy, Steve and Karl get so fumed over have gotten you all thinking you are so far off topic it’s funny! I do agree with msot of what the “other” group says. The Loaf is a horse not worth following anymore. Leelanau’s abillity to do anything for anyone in business or wanting to begin one or resurrect one in the county is nill. And the thought of the SL location becominga golf/residential location; or something other than a slacker ski-bums ski hill makes more financial sense than most of you have suggested. Also the comment about trying to figure out McFarlane’s web site is hillarious.. and true! Now go chew on that and sputter and spew for the day.

  115. Ned
    Ned says:

    Funny how so many people comment negatively on this website, yet they all seemed to have figured it out. Even how to try to hide their comments. Interesting. I’m not the most computer savvy- yet I seem to be able to handle it.
    Del- your comment about the title company is an outright falsehood (ok- lie). Just ask Loafy.
    And who decided everyone wants free skiing? That is pretty funny. Lastly- yes Ms. Beacher, everyone knows the financial “sense” for a would be investor, however, we don’t have to like that idea. So now the question must be asked – what do you have to offer for Leelanau County? Anything?

  116. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Ms Beacher is either a closer personal friend of “Nick Lautner” or the victim of ISP – Internet Split Personality – a common disorder. That whole cloud is coming from dsl.klmzmi.sbcglobal.net … maybe I should have made the website a little less comprehensible.

    I will try to address my personal thoughts on what they seem to be saying using what “Heather” said:

    Fascinating your knickers are in a bunch. My knickers don’t bunch

    I find those that Andy, Steve and Karl get so fumed over have gotten you all thinking you are so far off topic it’s funny! I find this sentence incomprehensible

    I do agree with msot of what the “other” group says. Shock!

    The Loaf is a horse not worth following anymore. Right. Because there are many other locations zoned for high-density, multi-use options with airport and golf course proximity in Leelanau sitting vacant like… um… little help?

    Leelanau’s abillity to do anything for anyone in business or wanting to begin one or resurrect one in the county is nill. Leelanau has a poorly funded EDC. They have not been approached by the current owner of Sugar Loaf or anyone seeking to buy it.

    And the thought of the SL location becominga golf/residential location; or something other than a slacker ski-bums ski hill makes more financial sense than most of you have suggested. I don’t think anyone here is advocating a ski bum paradise or a ski only facility. In this age of global warmness, you’ll die without a year-round/January Thaw plan. Residential, golf, microbrewery, vineyard, a new town – all of that and more should be on the table.

    Also the comment about trying to figure out McFarlane’s web site is hillarious.. and true! I fail to see how the comprehensibility of my web site has anything to do with the question of Sugar Loaf. I do wish that I had more time to spend on Leelanau.com. though.

    Now go chew on that and sputter and spew for the day. Chewed it. Sputtered. Spewed.

    Now any chance you people can start advancing coherent thoughts instead of your childish and unproductive attacks?

  117. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Hmmm…same complaints, same targets, different ID. Maybe the haters have found themselves a new nom de plume to troll the boards with? Or maybe they are trying to hide the fact that WE are trolling THEM by making it look like they have a new “ally”?


  118. matt
    matt says:

    I worked at Sugarloaf for about 5 years but that was a lifetime ago. To this date I have to say it was my favorite job I ever had.

    I have many fond memories of the Loaf and have just started skiing again after not skiing for 16+ years. Yes I wear my I’m Sugar Loafer pin every time I ski.

    Do I Think The Loaf will ever come back, NO I don’t…..but that does not mean that I hope it does not.

    As far as the County getting involved, I sure hope they don’t. I just do not think that is where tax dollars should be spent. As much as I love Leelanau County I am actually consider moving out because of taxes. I am a small government believer.

    I will say that’ its too bad with all the money in the county that “The People” have not been able to get together and raise funds to turn it into a some sort public ski hill (non profit). I have actually pledged to a few that if I ever hit the lottery that is where most of the money is going. Just a dream….but you gotta dream a little.

  119. matt
    matt says:

    Steve thanks for the heads up on taxes….I did know that about the taxes. But I will still keep wishing.

  120. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    That’s pretty cool Steve, I didn’t know that either.

    I do hope that the County gets involved. There’s not a lot good going on with Sugar Loaf and I have to think that Recovery/Brownfield dollars could make a meaningful interest there – that means governmental involvement.

    Hey JT – are there any scenarios under which the EDC could get involved in some way with Sugar Loaf?

  121. matt
    matt says:

    County assistance with brownfield dollars would be ok, I just have just heard some call for county ownership in the past and I do not want to see that. We just need someone with lots of cash thats wants to see the ski hill reopen to step forward(I must be dreaming again) Andrew did you or someone try organizing some sort of community fundraising at one time?

  122. lex
    lex says:

    There spending $9million to construct the Lakeshore trail. How many jobs will that create? Not saying anything negative, but seems grants could go to something to the Loaf. However the biggest problem & I believe JT will agree is that it’s private property. So I don’t think JT can do anything unless asked for by the owner(s). I’m also not a huge fan of the county taking ownership, maybe unless there was a volunteer panel of people to oversee it. A lot has changed in the ski area world since the Loaf was open.

    I still think that one big issue is the view lots. This is driving up the cost of the property, even though those lots are losing value yearly. Plenty of lots in development that are sitting vacant & have great views. It’s like buying a 2000 Focus with $20,000 wheels on it. Sell what is needed for the operation & sell the view lots seperately…IMO

  123. Unabomber
    Unabomber says:

    I don’t believe that the issues is the lots or the resort. The issue is the value of the property as it stands today. In today’s market the value of anything is called “Anchoring” which refers to the overemphasis on an initial reference point in determining the true value of a good or service. For example, an anchoring basis can be the listing price of a home, which a seller sees as a reasonable estimate of value. Yet, the real value of a home is what someone will pay for the home, not the price at which someone wished to sell. In the case of the Loaf, that combined with the high amount of investment necessary to bring the resort to code is prohibitive on an investment of this type.

  124. lex
    lex says:

    I understand that, but if say the actual area relevant to the ski area was to sell for say $1.5million instead of trying to get 5.7 for all the whole ball of wax. Then invest say whatever was needed to get it operational. Then expand as needed or wanted as the years go by. Still doesn’t change that it’s still a huge amount of money & you need owner(s) that are actually into enjoying the Loaf, but it seems a bit more feasable than just outright buying the place for 5.7 & having literally nothing to work with. I think people have the idea of the Loaf becoming an instant boyne or a homestead resort#2. Which is why people throw out the 30million,70million amount into the conversation. Just a simple wells/drainfield/septic, pond/resevoir for snow making just to get limited operations going on 1 chairlift & a surface lift. Is it the best? No but it’s better than nothing….which is what we all have.Just seems that if somebody is willing to shell out $5million for an RV park on 72…seems there has to be somebody. Or maybe Mrs. Davidson(newest Glen Lake resident…well as soon as her house is built) might be interested in a little skiing once she sells the Pistons

  125. JTHoagland
    JTHoagland says:

    Quick reply, as there were some comments directed my way
    1) been busy, so a bit behind on following this “conversation”
    2) Andy – congrats for providing a forum for conversation, both high and low
    3) indeed, the LCEDC does not have much in the “kitty”
    4) to my knowledge, during my term, we have had not had a ‘serious’ expressions of interest in working with SL – we stand ready to help, if and when there is a serious expression of interest
    5) the “private property” comment applies more to the BRA and LandBank, but, in principal, to the LCEDC

    Would we like to see SL revived, of course
    Are there a myriad of apparent problems – well, that seems obvious, some have been discussed here, some elsewhere.
    Do I know if all of the skeletons are out of closets? – No

    My personal view on government entities – the BRA and LandBank stand ready to help with remediation if/when needed
    The LCEDC stands ready to help move forward from here

    For those that “know” about the LCEDC and our monthly lunch meetings, etc. please let me know when and where – I’ve missed all of those.

    We are open to input from the citizens of Leelanau County.

    Meanwhile, we will do what we can with what we have to work with
    Respectfully to all

  126. GavinMcnair
    GavinMcnair says:

    Leelanau EDC/Hoagland is so laughable. It’s called getting on the phone and making things happen. Not waiting for others to come to you. The county EDC is so laughable, it doesn’t work. If it did I am sure Kate and many others would have been standing in line seeking your vast knowlege and depths of capabilites. LOL Sugar Loaf will do fine without the tag-alongs on here.

  127. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Gavin, an underfunded EDC needs to be targeting its resources to assist those who ask and to try and encourage the creation of an environment friendly to business.

    Also, still waiting to hear from you WHAT you see Sugar Loaf “doing just fine” in and HOW you see that happening.

    Just showing up every week or so and tearing other people down with a genuine interest in seeing Sugar Loaf become more than a rotting hulk is … laughable.

  128. sm
    sm says:

    Re: resurrection of Sugar Loaf – has any consideration been given to establishing a model similar to that of Mad River Glen in Vermont? It is a co-op, owned and operated by people that care about, know and love skiing, who put their own money and energy on the line. It works.

  129. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Waaaay back in the day after Sugar Loaf first closed there was a ton of community interest and meetings. One of the places we looked at was Mad River Glen.

    That model makes some sense as skiing is a loss leader for most resorts that are offering it. Having a community owned area would make it easier to operate the rest of the facility.

    Definitely check out their web site if you’re not familiar:

  130. sm
    sm says:

    Why didn’t it get any traction, and is it time to revisit the concept, since nothing else seems to be working.

  131. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    The idea has been floated before, sm. It would be great to get something like that going, but there are two rather sizable problems with starting it up:
    – ONE: The legal quagmire surrounding the ownership of the resort and the surrounding/connected properties.
    – TWO: The exhorbitant costs involved with reviving a ski area that has been dormant for over ten years. At this point, the best course of action would be demolition and reconstruction.

    One idea that has come out was for independent investors to purchase the resort and then setting up a locally-operated group (potentially a co-op) to lease the resort and provide the work of day-to-day operation. Whatever the case, there will be a LOT or work and expense involved. Expect certain folks to come out against ANY attempt to restart the resort.

  132. Susan
    Susan says:

    Not only did she sing, she and he buddy the fat man and all others departed the slopes, took their skis, ran through the falling debri of the lodge, waved as county officals stood by scratching their head (wondering when did the place shut down… in total wonderment hmmm) and got on a big wheeled small plane to clear the ruts on the air-strip as they fled into the distance…

  133. Erik Zehender
    Erik Zehender says:

    (sent as a letter to the editor to the Enterprise)

    Let’s celebrate Sugarloaf’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2012 by reopening at least part of the mountain. This is a call to parents. Our schools will soon be graduating seniors who’ve grown up entirely without convenient after-school and weekend skiing at Sugarloaf. Expert terrain once made winter fun for everybody and produced high school skiers who competed at the state and national level. Especially Cedar, Maple City, Lake Leelanau and Leland restaurants were busy winter weekends and holidays because so many summer cottage owners returned here to ski. Vital infrastructure: do readers understand that the presence of a quality ski area 15 minutes away can add a 20-40% premium to the value of their homes?

    Ski areas are commonly located on state or federal lands with lift operators that are private, non-profit or community-owned. Private operators cannot be expected to “buy the mountain” if there is no real estate development possibility, and at Sugarloaf there isn’t. Owners elected to so carve up the property that in the opinion of most reasonable people the private market will never produce a buyer, yet Sugarloaf is nearly surrounded by a Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore that didn’t always just ask nicely for the land it controls. $1.6 million for trails within the Park was just awarded; a different grant application or congressional act could pay what’s left of fair market value for Sugarloaf. Keeping it simple initially with a T-bar and yurt, capable local operators would immediately step forward.

  134. lex
    lex says:

    T-Bar or any surface lift also greatly decrease the insurance costs as will. Thank you for writing the letter.

  135. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Did anyone else see the article in this week’s Enterprise? My take is “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Nothing to get excited about until papers get signed at the title company and money changes hands. I found the part about potential forfeiture to the county to be an interesting twist. I can see one of two things happening in this regard:
    – Either the back payments will come in at the eleventh hour and the whole thing continues to stagnate;
    – Or the county enforces the forfeiture and the process gets dragged into court – while the property continues to stagnate.
    Either way, the only people making any money here are the lawyers. It’s a sick, sad world we live in, folks.

  136. Smack
    Smack says:

    BullsEye, Karl. And many folks give me the thumbs down every time I mention the word greed in my previous posts. The ignorance among a few people posting here is beyond humorous, it’s simply sad.

  137. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Would love to see it posted on-line. Our best hope is to get a bidding war going between two parties and maybe a certain Doctor from Owosso will ‘poo or get off the pot’. Maybe ‘fish or cut bait’ is a better way to put it.

  138. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    $1.6 million for trails construction in Sleeping Bear? Hell, they could have called up the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and got the work for practically nothing with volunteer labor and maintenance. Anyone who has ridden the singletrack loop that runs theough the Pere Marquette forest and crisscrosses the Vasa trail can attest the the quality of their work.

  139. Del Nolan
    Del Nolan says:

    The Mountain Biking Assn tears everything up. It would be an eroded, rutted root exposed walkway in no time! Let ’em at it, and watch the 1.6 Mil wash away!

  140. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    More bicycle trails in the park means fewer bikes on roads with no shoulder to ride bikes on. Looks like your dilemma has a solution, Mark.

  141. unabomber
    unabomber says:

    Mountain bike trails would be a boost for the local economy due to the economic profile of mountain bike participants. The MMBA does a great job of maintaining trails for the state at no cost to the taxpayers. Look at the Iceman race in November in Traverse. Something like 2500 riders participate in the race, that is a nice boost to the tourism business in TC during a sluggish month.

  142. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    In the editorial County ready to help future ‘Loaf’ owner the Leelanau Enterprise writes (in part):

    We have watched with growing interest the emergence of an Owosso businessman as the “most likely to succeed” candidate — most likely to succeed Polselli, and hopefully make Sugar Loaf succeed as a business. David Skjaerfund was slowly gobbling up neighboring parcels, according to sources. We assume that’s a good sign, especially after flashy suitor Liko Smith’s star burst onto the scene last year and quickly faded.
    Poselli maintains that a second party is also interested, which could put urgency into negotiations. That would be nice.
    If Skjaerfund is serious about owning Sugar Loaf, we wish him all the luck — just as we do the mysterious suitor, whomever he or she may be. Hopefully, someone will step out of the shadows soon. In case they haven’t heard, Leelanau County stands ready and willing to help in any way possible. We’re not desperate — but getting close.

  143. Steve
    Steve says:

    One birdie (farmer) told me, his offer entailed three years to purchase said property at 7K an acre ($500 more than appraised value), and if he couldn’t get financing, Skjaerfund was to get his down payment back. Farmer said no deal.

    Anyhow, maybe Loafy can say if this sounds right.

  144. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    The purchase agreement was written such that if DS could not meet the ‘financial contingency’ he was entitled to his security deposit back. The last we heard was the deal should close by January 10th as the bank didn’t want to close any more business in fiscal 2010. Needless to say we haven’t heard another word. The purchase agreement has expired again and Swanson Realty won’t answer the phone anymore so I have drawn my own conclusions.

  145. Smack
    Smack says:

    Interesting article. Funny how the convicts name is littered throughout with zero reference to Kate. Shocker 😉

  146. Steve
    Steve says:

    Thanks for the update, Loafy.

    Who’s ever heard of tying up property and then wanting your money back if it’s a no go?. That’s ski mask stuff. No wonder Len isn’t answering the phone.

  147. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Wow! I just spent a couple of hours reading comments on this Blog. I’m really amused at the negative comments about the Loaf. It seems to me that everyone should get behind anyone who attempts to reopen “The Loaf”!
    It also seems that there are a lot of people that think they know a lot but, in reality, know very little!
    Keep up the positive attitude Karl, solutions may be closer than some think!
    Tom B.

  148. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Sure, lets just put on “Rose Colored Glasses” and blindly put our support behind anyone that would like to invest in the Sugarloaf property, no matter their intentions. Good example is Mr. Liko Smith, who was a defunct businessman from the start and came to the area to attempt revive the resort through some immature Ponzi Scheme, holding invest dinners and selling ski tickets online before the property was even purchased!

    Sorry Mr. Tom B. but I am a realist and have some morals and would like to see an upstanding citizen come and develop the property the right way. I think that is what this beautiful and great county needs. If not, I am more than content to see the property crumble and deteriorate
    back into the wilderness.

  149. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I get your point. I do believe however, that the right person will come along and do something positive with it that will ultimately be for the good of the county.
    In fact, I understand that there are things in the works now but no one knows 100% if the will come to fruition. $18,000,000 is a lot of money to come up with! And I’m not talking about demolition!

  150. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Absolutley, the redevelopment or even a “soft” re-opening of the Sugarloaf resort will be a Herculean effort and I fully support and would like to see a person with a viable vision make the Sugarloaf Resort successful and profitable once again.

  151. Steve
    Steve says:

    Tom B. states ” I do believe however, that the right person will come along…”

    I question if Tom can identify him, being that he entertained Liko Smith in his home, allowed him to spend the night, and hit up his wine cellar while he slept (so Liko blogged on his site).

  152. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    All of that is true! And I would do, and have done the same with others who have sought to reopen Sugar Loaf as well! To identify anyone that has confided their intentions to me would be a violation of that confidence. I have been promoting Sugar Loaf for quit some time to several potential buyers. So i guess that it would not be out of order for me to entertain Liko. As it stands, it didn’t work out for Liko, and I have not heard from him since he went back to Vagas. Since that time I have entertained several others in the same way. At some point in time, I hope that my efforts pay off.
    No one knows at this time if anything is going to come to fruition, but I am optimistic.

  153. Steve
    Steve says:

    Thirty seconds of googling Liko Smith would have told you he was a no go. Then again, under both you and your wife’s Facebook page your activities and interests are Sarah Palin. To me, that speaks volumes.

  154. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Tom B, Your logic of partnering with anyone to reopen the Loaf is kind of like “We have to pass National Healthcare so we can find out what’s in it.” How in any way, shape or form would Liko Smith acquiring Sugarloaf have been in Leelanau County’s best interest?

  155. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Damn, you’re right again!! 2012 election is going to be fun watching Oboma get booted out of office! And hopefully, Polosi and Reid as well!(Along with the health care issue of course)
    Another thing, Why is everyone so worried about Liko? he’s long gone, never to return! So why dwell on him? I don’t understand why anyone would waste time and energy thinking about him!

  156. Steve
    Steve says:

    The funny thing, Tom, is that the joke is unfortunately on ME, because it’s me, who owns two rental houses in Grand Traverse county, that pays for your pension from the fire department, while the likes of YOU and all you other Palinites, want to get rid of pensions and collective bargaining.

  157. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Nope Steve, this time you’re Wrong!! Our pension is fully funded and my pension does not cost the city a dime! The pensions that everyone is up in arms about is the ones the municipalities never funded!! I paid into that fund for 25years. When I retired I started drawing my money back out! Not only that, but I worked for the City of Traverse City, not Grand Traverse County! Therefore my pension had nothing to do with you anyway! Another thing that you’re wrong about, is that I’m against collective bargaining! I was a union president for over five years and negotiated a few contracts. I always made sure that when I retired that the money would be there in the fund so that the there would be no cost to the city for my pension. So you see Steve, You are judging me on a lot assumptions, when you no very little about me,shame on you.

  158. Steve
    Steve says:

    I apologize and stand corrected!

    I assumed your pension, although fully funded, was paid by taxpayers, and not you contributing all.

    My itch against Palin/Rush/etc is their comments regarding the demonstrators in WI, were my sister teaches. (Milwaukee, 38 students in her class, and she needs a voice).

    P.S. My rentals are in the city of Traverse City.

  159. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Stere,I accept your apology!
    Ok, so you have a problem with Sarah Palin and with the governor of Wisconsin, I really don’t have anything to do with them either! I don’t really get into the union vs state politics. So why are you angry at me? I’m just a guy trying to do what I feel is right for my community. I have a long history of that!
    I’ve served 20yrs in three different branches of the military, fought in Vietnam, raised two kids, and served 25yrs in the fire service as a fighter/paramedic. There isn’t a whole hell of a lot that I haven’t seen in this world. I think that I’ve done more than most for my country and my community, and I’m damn proud of my accomplishments!!

  160. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Thank you Steve!
    Ok, now that all of that is behind us, can we have a constructive and civil conversation about matters concerning SL? If not, then I guess I have no more to say.

  161. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Oh, by the way Steve, I have one more axe to grind with you. I don’t appreciate you bringing my wife into any of this! You stated earlier that you checked out her facebook page and you judged her to be a Palin! I don’t know anyone more apolitical than my wife, and you know nothing about her either. So in the future, if you have a beef with me, keep my wife out of it!! OK?

  162. Steve
    Steve says:

    Because it was an easy click thru on Karl’s SL page, I only mentioned both of your interest in Sarah Palin, and nothing more.

  163. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    All, Like Smith’s web page has expired and the domain name is now available if someone want’s it for posterity. Apparently all the presale lift tickets and fundraisers couldn’t provide the $30 bucks for the domain registration. I guess I can quit checking for Lessons for Extreme Entrepreneur’s Part Deux. Maybe Dave Skjaerlund can pick up where Liko left off.

  164. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Hey Loafy, your right!! I just checked and it came up as expired! Anyway, I then searched several other search engines for both Liko and Sarah. I turned up an article about He and Sarah hob-nobing with the Kardasians out in Vagas. Go figure!!
    Anyway, there is a silver lining to all of the uproar he created here. All of the work that he did attempting to get SL, laid some of the ground work for a real buyer. There was a real mess with all of the different owners, mortgages upon mortgages, etc that it was difficult to get a clear title. Some of the work that Liko did brought those issues to light, and now those issues have been pretty much resolved, clearing the way for a someone to make it all come together. There is progress being made in that direction, and I’m optimistic!

  165. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Yeah, Tom, the dog-and-pony show we all witnessed last summer DID indeed raise awareness and possibly pulled in other interested parties. The down side is the amount of work the property will require to be viable again. Nothing short of a demolition and rebuild would work at this point, though. Strip away what has to be scrapped and there likely won’t be enough left to save or reuse. Not many folks would be willing to incur that much cost in this economy. Not saying that it couldn’t happen, but it doesn’t seem likely. If Chuck is still pursuing, let’s hope his backers are aware of this possibility.

    RE: the 2012 election – What this country truly needs are more moderates who are not part of the current two-party system. The Democrats try too hard to cater to the left and the GOP is trying too hard to placate the Tea Party…while the other 80% of the country goes underrepresented and gets short-changed. The two major parties have been taken over by kooks who care more about their own ideological dogma than for the nation they claim to serve.

  166. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Hi Karl,
    I’m staying out of the political bantering. I have my beliefs and that’s the way I’ll vote. Other than that, I’m going to try to keep my political beliefs to my self.
    My main interest is in working on and with a buyer for the Loaf. I want to help bring back jobs, and help our community thrive once more.There is viable options for reopening SL with the right person. Progress is being made in that direction. The dog and pony show that you described actually helped more than it hurt. Like I said before, it opened up some options, stoked interest in SL, and laid the ground work for the right person to come in and pull the whole thing together again. At this time, I am very optimistic about SL. Of course we’ve all been let down several times. I have to believe that next time will be a charm. I spent a couple of days last month working with contractors and engineers to get an handle on the costs of getting things back up and running, and things are not as bad as most people think! Ya, it’s going to take a ton of money, and there are some hurdles to jump, but with a good sound plan, it’s doable! With a little luck and God’s will, SL can be what it used to be and more!

  167. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    That’s good to hear Tom. I agree that re-opening the Loaf would be a herculean task, but when you think about what would be involved in getting the zoning and permits for what is at the Loaf, repair, restoration and reuse make a lot of sense.

    There’s lots of money in the world, but only 348 square miles of Leelanau!

  168. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Yup! 740 acres in all, Permits and such are no problem whatsoever. The State, County, and Twp. will bend over backwards to get it up and running again! They want those TAXES! But, as much as anything they would like to get the area booming again! So far they have all been very helpful in providing information.

  169. Kevin W.
    Kevin W. says:

    Tom –

    Exciting to hear some positive news come out of this decade long debacle. Since you seem so close to the action what is your predicted time schedule for this “optimism” to become a “reality”. What percentage do you think we could be skiing Sugar Loaf by 2013?

  170. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Kevin W.
    As I stated, I’m optimistic, but with due caution. There have been so many disappointments in the last couple of years that I’m really guarded about making any predictions! Not only that, but in real estate deals as big as this one, it doesn’t take much to quell a deal. Reality is that it may happen yet this year. There is still a lot of work to be done and there is still a few small hurdles to overcome. If it doesn’t happen this time then it’s likely to next time. Each time a buyer tries, it becomes a little easier to make a deal happen, since each attempt solves a few more problems, and opens the door a little wider.
    I won’t make any predictions at this time, but I will say that it’s closer now than it’s ever been before. If God wills it. with a little luck, the lifts will be running next winter. If it don’t happen, then all of the bloggers will be saying “See, I told you all so, just another big dreamer” If that happens, then we just need to keep working on it until we succeed!

  171. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Tom – one of the big problems at this point is the current condition of the on-hill equipment. The lifts weren’t in that great of shape to begin with, so it could prove more advantageous to consider the cost of completely removing the current lifts and replacing them with new units. Again, this is going to drive the costs WAY up, but there might not be another option here. Same with the snow making system – it will likely have to be completely redone down to and including the in-ground lines. Like I said before: if someone (or their backers) are not sent running by the necessary costs of rebuilding, then we’ll likely see progress. Still – there won’t be much to get excited about until money changes hands and the necessary papers are signed at the title company.

  172. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    You”re right about getting too excited too early! As I said before, there is a lot of work to do yet, and anything can happen! All of the disclosures are out in the open and the studies have been completed. Anyone taking on the challenge will go into it with their eyes wide open! That being said, I remain optimistic!

  173. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    One other note: It was never the condition of the resort, the property, or the condition of the equipment that prevented a deal coming together! It has always been the mess of legalities, multiple owners, mortgages, leans against the property, and law suits, etc, etc. the list goes on!

  174. lex
    lex says:

    One side note or question, is Chuck(same guy right?) going thru a realitor or direct to the powers at be. That’s a big check to cut to realitor if so. Think Kate or whomever rather not cut that one. Not stating facts, just wondering out loud.

    I agree with the above comments, hope if this doesn’t work it paves the way for somebody else. Also, just communicating when the time comes and if possible opening at least part of the hill would be incredible…soft opening?

  175. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Hi Lex.
    Wish that I were at liberty to give details, but I’m not. Like Karl said It’s too early to get too excited. About all that I can say is that I’m very optimistic about SL!
    I do feel however, that if something happens, things will happen very rapidly! Why do I feel that way? Because nobody would make that kind of investment without having it returning money on that investment ASAP! So rest assured, if a deal goes through, you’ll be skiing on the hill shortly after!

  176. Steve
    Steve says:

    Okay, I’m a big boy and ready for the the Dislike clicks, but if it’s David Skjaerlund as your buyer, where is the betting window so I bet against?

  177. lex
    lex says:

    Tom, wasn’t meant to be a question, was just a suggestion.

    Steve, nice, think the dislike clickers are gone somewhere else. The guy is somebody else, that tried last year but David S. had already started the process first. I don’t think there is any partnership or was there ever.

  178. Steve
    Steve says:

    That’s good. It’s just that a lot of the statements recently have been vague, so all we are left to do is assume.

  179. Al Thomas
    Al Thomas says:

    Come on good folks, go on with your lives. I retook up skiing several years ago when my son went to Leelanau school and graduated in 2002. I would love to go there and ski,
    However, this is a dead issue and isnt worth anyone getting there hopes up.
    Go to Art’s get that burger and tator tots, and either drink your prefered beverage there or dont go there and sit at home getting your hopes up.
    This is a dead issue I am afraid

  180. lex
    lex says:

    Ok Al, sorry to offend you with getting my hopes up…won’t happen again. I’m going to go hang out in grand rapids or wherever & cruise the forums in Leelanau county. I like WAG’s burgers better by the way, bigger & cheaper

  181. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Coldwell Banler Schmidt Realty represents Sugarloaf. I found that out when my deal with Skjaerlund was languishing on.

  182. Steve
    Steve says:

    Well if you’re going to do burgers, Art’s on Monday when they’re 2 for 1, or Tuesday’s at Boonedocks where a burger, fries and a beer is $7.95.

  183. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Sorry if I am seeming to be pessimistic, however I am quite skeptical of Mr. Chuck Weiler’s/David S. ongoing machinations on acquiring the Sugarloaf property. Didn’t the Sugarloaf resort reopen before in the early 2000’s with a “soft-opening” and it was not very successful? Again, the refurbishment/redvelopment of the Sugarloaf property is going to be an enormous sum as early postings mentioned the lift and snow-making infastructure needs to be completely replaced. Addtionally, downhill skiing/snowboarding is a loss leader for most resorts. Obviously they make their money off of their on-site amentities (i.e. hotel rooms, equipment rentals, alcohol purchases, restaurants/food, clubs, spa, conference centers, shopping opportunites, etc.). These amentities have to be included for the resort developers to recoup any of their investment. Furthermore, how will the resort obtain revenue in the warmer months even if the fragmented parcels including the golf courses are reunited? This is no longer the early 1990’s where golf courses were not in abundance and the original Sugarloaf golf course was crowded the entire season. Now, golfers have a wide selection of courses to now choose from including newer courses. It is hard for me to believe that there are serious, professional investors interested in this property for the potential of bringing back skiing. The weather as we all know is a huge “dark horse” to contend with and only a few dry seasons without snow are devastating for ski resorts and partcularly the Sugarloaf resort.

  184. Steve
    Steve says:

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Liko has duped a lot of people, but he might want to think twice about Mike Tyson.

  185. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    How do you like the photo shop job on the French airplane? Ha Ha Ha. looks like some 10 or 12 year old did it! No, I take that back. Any kid would have done a better job!

  186. Steve
    Steve says:

    I caught the photo shop, Tom. A good chuckle. And of course he’s using Sarah on the Fly Me To The Moon. Wonder if he realizes he has to pay the Sinatra estate to use it.

  187. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I doubt that it ever crossed his mind! I’m wondering what the airline thinks that owns the video! I’ve seen that video before but I can’t remember where. Could be a law suit there!
    I’ve always been told,” If you’re going to dream, dream big!” All I can say is “Good luck Liko, you’re going to need it”!

  188. lex
    lex says:

    Wow! Anything to do with liko continues to make me laugh

    First off, Steve, thanks for correcting me on the art’s burger on mondays. To be clear, the best breakfast & value in the mornings is Arts.

    Dough Boy: Now to the small(or large) ski area being a risk, yes it is….even more so if you don’t have a clue about the industry, which seems to be the case more often than not. I think(don’t quote me) Chuck does have a passion for skiing & wanting to own something big in the county. David, really have no clue in what he’s thinking. Most small ski areas sell for $1-3 million, these are usually outdated but operational areas with often more of a hill. These often go to non-profit status since the operational costs outway ticket sales which can vary greatly. You for sure need counter seasonal operations, having a nice pool, simple outdoor activities(mtn biking course, hiking), doing weddings & having a nice lodge between 2 golf courses, close to wineries, by Lake Michigan seems pretty good right there. This is not typical to the ski area model, so that does give the Loaf a silver lining for sure.
    Now for the winter, since the operational costs can be so high, effeciency in the operating schedule is huge. We do have a good size population in ours & other counties that simply don’t ski/board any more since the Loaf closed. Now days you can make snow up to 40 degrees(not super effecient, but you can), the ski area slopes have changed. Most tickets buyers are 13-24, they spend the majority of the time in the park, heck you can’t even buy a snowboard in northern michigan with camber, skis are going the same route. Why is this important? Because if you go & build the resort without looking at the trends, knowing your hill & just start putting chairs up, throwing a crappy park in a small corner of the hill….then you will lose money for sure.

  189. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Lex: good analysis and discussion. I absolutley agree that Sugarloaf definitley has some enduring qualities and has some great skiing terrain and needs someone that is an honest broker and well-versed in the ski resort industry. Sugarloaf is nicely situated, but you need to have high grossing counter seasonal opportunities to recoup your investment not only from the operating costs but from the refurbishment or replacement of the infastructure as well. This would also entail needing a constant flow of people that are willing to spend lots of money and that money needs to be spent at the resort. I am sure whoever eventally purchases the resort will do an in depth cost-benefit analysis on the resort’s potential.
    From my perspective – in order to make money and get a decent return on your investment – the Sugarloaf Resort would have to be developed and marketed to be the premier skiing destination in the midwest and again, your are going to need a steady flow of people and repeat customers to make the resort a viable option. Constructing a convention center as part of the resort might be an option of obtaining a steady stream of revenue. Again, weather, fuel prices, hospitality/recreation competition, trends, and the overall economic outlook all play factors in the sucess or failure of a resort/vacation destination.

  190. lex
    lex says:

    Agreed 100%. Also,weddings are a pretty big business up here. I can imagine be married on top of the Loaf a pretty good spot. Conference center, some sort of business park are also things that locals have wanted as well. These last 2 are nice since they are not seasonal, conference can happen in any month. Which is important since fall & spring can be quiet times for revenue.

  191. Jill H
    Jill H says:

    The local Mt. Holiday ski area seems to be a model for a non-profit scenario for Sugarloaf. I haven’t seen any references to this model mentioned. I realize that start-up cost for resurecting Sugarloaf seem exhorbant but developing a business plan with some basis for reference could prove enlightening. Any thoughts on this? Has anyone published any start-up cost scenarios with relation to debts (outstanding taxes, liens, etc.) as well as new equipment costs?

  192. Steve
    Steve says:

    Mt. Holiday had operational lifts, lodge, snowmaking and groomers, and was bought on the cheap, whereas SL has none of these.

  193. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    “Start-up cost scenarios with relation to debts (outstanding taxes, liens, etc.) as well as new equipment costs.”

    Interesting, I would like to see that analysis and Mt. Holiday is a scenario that I will have to research. Enjoyable comments by all – thanks.

  194. lex
    lex says:

    I believe today was the deadline on taxes, the owner(s) are 3 years behind. I doubt they would let that slip. There have been quite a few lawsuits…not sure what the status is.
    Lifts are $100k(used old/fixed) to $900k(new fixed) to $1.5-1.8 million(newhighspeed)
    Water/sewage facility can range from $50-100k(drainfields/wells/pond?) to a million for a full facility
    Pipes: no freakin clue
    Cats you can lease, but used $20-30k to $150k for new
    Lodge few hundred thousand for simple reno to millions
    Snowguns $5k-50k each, automated system saves on labor, but cost are high
    (optional/just for ref)Halfpipe $100k-200k, cutters $5k used to $30k new
    Insurance…no clue couple to few hundred thousand???
    Property Taxes $100k, but when all said done…who knows
    Labor, which is 24-7, grooming/snowmaking are mostly at night.
    Rental equipt.

    There is quite a bit of used equipt out there, incl chairlifts….

    Loaf last listing was 5.7million I think, no idea what it’s going for now.

  195. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    A few notes on lex’s cost estimates. For the most part, he hit it dead-on and there are some things that need to be considered along the way…

    LIFTS: Had a conversation with Jim MacInnes at Crystal Mountain a few years back. The Clipper (their 4-seat high-speed lift) cost about $3.5mil from site prep to completion (including state inspection/certification). Me, I’d be more interested on how much they shelled out for the fixed-grip lift on their North Face slopes, that looks like it was purchased new. Considering the current condition of Loaf’s lift system, outright replacement would likely prove less costly that repairing the present gear. There might not be enough gear in the present system that can be reused. Best option might be to salvage or scrap the old gear (as a way to recoup at least some of the costs). The idea of rerouting the Loaf lifts (to make better use of hill contours for traffic flow) has already been floated and seems to have traction.

    LODGE: Look at a near-complete gutting of the building when you consider renovation. This all assumes that the main structure is solid and stable. Each element of the interior systems (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.) will have to be considered independently. As far as operation is concerned, some of the auxiliary lodge amenities such as food/beverage service and retail can be hired out by setting up space that can be leased out to other local companies.

    RENTALS: Would need to set up a whole new rental fleet, obviously. They replaced most of the rental equipment back in 1998 and none of this gear would be indemnified now. Rental snowboards, for example, were all Clicker bindings and boots.

    Places like Knapp Associates or SkyTrans might be good places to look for used groomers or other on-hill gear. Might be a good idea to stick with companies that are still in business today (thus ruling out companies like LMC) so we can still get new parts.

    Just lobbing in my two cents here. As I have said before…it wouldn’t be impossible, but it sure as hell won’t be easy, quick, or cheap.

  196. Smack
    Smack says:

    When this never works, which is like, now and forever, I so look forward to his next attempt! Can’t wait for ’12 already 😉

  197. lex
    lex says:

    Article in the leelanau enterprise in section 2, pg 3. Loaf owner(s) to pay townhouse owners $25K or it will be another lien on the property to join the other leans. Kate represented herself, Polselli dodged it by not being able to be located to serve the papers. The suit wsa to allow reps from the townhouse to inspect/maintain elec./water systems that serve both the Loaf & townhouses. Taxes are do at the end of the month, paper say $125k…

    Once again, seems basic logic seems to escape the Loaf. Seems like so many things could be avoided, why does their need to be a lawsuit to be able to inspect the elec/water systems? Also, why is the hub on a different property still? Should be a common area or on their own property. Not sure what the $25k is for either. Just curious

  198. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    From what I gather, this helps pave the way for resolution of legal issues. Leins and such must be cleared before a sale right?

  199. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    These are quotes that were received last summer.

    New Lifts: Doppelmayr CTEC

    Fixed grip Quad able to move @ 2,000 people/hr.
    Turn-key install $1,025,000.00

    High Speed Detachable Quad able to move @ 2,000 people/hr.
    Has the potential to move as many as 2,400 people/hr.

    Turn-key install $3,331,000.00

    As you can see, you can move as many with a fixed grip as you can with the high speed at 1/3 of the cost. Sure you get the WOW factor with a high speed, but for the price?

    And your a little off with the cost of groomers. If you try and groom that hill with some old used groomer, your in for trouble. It would take at least one NEW machine, listed now at about 260k, and a GOOD used machine will run about 220K. Consideration of an additional machine with a winch would be ideal. (Just ask them at Nubs, they didn’t think they would use a winch machine, and now they love it)

    A site visit would need to be done for snowmaking. This is the key to everything. Without snow, you have nothing. The hill needs new wells, holding and cooling ponds, pumpstation, pipeline, and additional snowguns.

    For many years Sugar Loaf just seemed to get by with what they had. It will be a huge mistake to not make the hill the #1 priority! Provide the best snowmaking system available, install new lifts, and provide excellent grooming, and tell me you couldn’t sell tickets out of a outhouse if you had those 3 things in place.

    By no means is that all, from the complete infrastructure that would provide power, water, and heat all the way to accessible parking. Do it right, don’t cut corners, and people will be excited to come back to the new LOAF.

    I try hard not to mention lodging, although I know many will think it is needed, and I’m not saying that it isn’t, but past mistakes of log siding and slate floors, and animal heads, still makes me shake my head. Sure could have used that money to improve the hill at the time.

    Just sayin…

  200. Dough Boy
    Dough Boy says:

    Yes, I agree the hill needs to be consistently maintained and updated. However, I believe that you will absolutley need the ancillary items and all the extra revenue “money makers” to really make a profit. You cannot simply count on skiers from the local area or Northwest Michigan to make enough money to survive – especially after refurbishment or total renovation of the resort which is almost certainly needed. You are going to need repeat customers who are not just buying lift tickets and renting equipment but who are staying for a few days – i.e. spending money at the resort for a room, room service, buying alcohol beverages, eating at the restaurant, other activities, etc.

    I agree that the log siding, slate floors, and animal heads installed by the Sugarloaf resort at an attempted update was totally inadequate and a waste of money. Still, it is important to have updated rooms and amentities to match the competition not only locally but also nationally. The current Sugarloaf room design is antiquated and flawed. It would be a shame for it to be just renovated. The resort needs to be totally revamped – demolished and redesigned.

  201. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    Dough Boy, I do agree with what your saying, but the hill must have the highest priority. I also would prefer the old resort to be demolished as well. It needs a new start. The reaction and excitement of the hill getting a makeover, combined with a new facility would be a eye opener throughout the industry. All I am saying is put the right systems in place, bury the past, and start a new Loaf.

    Just remember that Nubs Nob has no lodging except for the surrounding hotels in Petoskey and Harbor Springs. They are known for world-class snowmaking and grooming.

    Michigan’s only Winch Cat slope groomer raises the snow quality bar another notch.

    The improvements never stop as over the summer we added another gladed ski run in the Arena Glade area, expanded the Goose Bumps trail on Pintail Peak, built 8 more patented Nub’s Nob Snowguns giving us a total of 250, added 2 new Pisten Bully grooming machines to the fleet, introduced new night skiing hours and the Freedom 4 hour ticket and completely replaced our rental equipment fleet with new skis from Rossignol and boots from Nordica.

    Transworld Snowboarding Magazine subscribers chose our award winning Superpipe as one of the “Top 5 East Coast Pipes.” The magazine’s reader rankings places Nub’s Nob in the elite of all US resorts east of the Rockies and as the only Midwest resort rated by the worldwide publication.

    8 more patented Nub’s Nob snowguns are added to the fleet bring our total to 270. The Superpipe is retired and a new Race Arena takes its place. The halfpipe in the Terrain Park is lengthened and upgraded with higher walls while more jibs are added to the park. Another new Pisten Bully snowgroomer is added to the fleet.

    You don’t hear them talking about buying used groomers, or skimping on the snowmaking, they are constantly improving and putting back into that hill and facility. They have been going since 1958, sure seems like they are doing something right.

    Traverse City and an international airport only 30 minutes away.

    Just sayin…

  202. Kevin W.
    Kevin W. says:

    So it sounds like there is 2 people interested? Is this still the case? How much more waiting do we have to find if this is for real this time or another passerby? It seems like some on this forum have some inside information – where does this stand at this point?

  203. Steve
    Steve says:

    Except for Loafy, those supposably in the know, have been extremely vague on what they know, which leads me to wonder, do they really know.

  204. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    You’re right Steve, I’m sorry about that, being vague in all; what I’m hearing is really positive, but sorry I can’t say more than that. What the hell do I really know? Go on with this wonderful blog.

  205. lex
    lex says:

    I know nothing. Even when I did have some contact, I realized I still knew nothing. The one thing I do know, the powers at be have very little passion for the Loaf. Chuck, who knows. Think we’re on potential buyer #4 or 5

  206. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Don’t look at me – I’m out of the loop. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next. (Sorry, haters – this doesn’t mean that our lives have ground to a halt in the meantime. Life does go on regardless.)

  207. lex
    lex says:

    think the haters are gone. seems all the discussions/qustions/points people have are very legit and worth discussing

  208. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    Found this interesting, March 8th Ticker

    The fourth annual Cherry-Roubaix – the TC-born race that zips hundreds of road bikers around downtown streets every August – will serve as the State Road Race Championship for 2011.

    So why did the MBRA choose TC? Why not one of the many other cities vying for host honors, like Frankenmuth or West Branch? Many factors came into play, says MBRA president Joe Lekovish. Among them: the challenging course – a 13.7-mile loop up and down several short but steep hills in Leelanau (the start and finish lines are perched atop Sugar Loaf mountain)


  209. Ned
    Ned says:

    I find it very interesting that “dumb downstater” commented on March 7th about being vague on SL plans. March 7th, another deadline date that has come & gone in the Skjaerlund Sugarloaf deal.

  210. Observer
    Observer says:

    Charlie Sheen makes offer on the Loaf, to build a rehab / recreation facility

    For those that take this seriously … sorry

  211. Liz
    Liz says:

    Let’s all just pray that Sugar Loaf comes back to life. Enough of the crap. I support whoever is trying to buy it and bring it back.

  212. eagle pride
    eagle pride says:

    I cannot believe all the hoops potential buyers must be jumping through. Is it the bank that is holding everything up or is the current owners putting up a blockade. I have no idea how long a transaction like this takes, but it seems like this is taking forever? Or have these potential candidates left town like the many before? I am with you Liz just hoping for a Sugar Loaf return.

  213. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Hey Eagle Pride – the hoops are the very real challenges that a long-abandoned property holds and also the particular challenges that Sugar Loaf presents, not really bank created. While I can’t speak to what goes through the mind of every potential investor, those that I have talked with and people who know the resort business speak about investments that will be required in the tens of millions.

    I am with both of you in hoping for a Sugar Loaf return!

  214. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    A Sugar Loaf reboot will primarily require two things that are in short supply in today’s business climate (and never really coexisted peacefully to begin with: – A whole lot of investment capital and a whole lot of patience. Whatever investment is put into the property may not reap any kind of a return for several years. In the era of instant gratification as we have been in for some time now, most investors are more than a bit timid about sinking into a project that doesn’t show at least some kind of immediate return. It’s going to take someone (or a group of someones) with some serious guts and some serious funds to pull it off and make it viable.

  215. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    Steve, I thought those taxes were to be paid by the end of March, but maybe that isn’t the case. Anyone remember that deadline? We all know the funds will come in at the last minute anyway.

  216. Del
    Del says:

    This is getting so old and boring, can;t you peopl come up with soemthing more lively than talking about worthless Sugar Loaf?…sheesh.. you all act like some one owes you a ski hill or some place to suck freebies from.. Get over it!

  217. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Del…can’t you find something else to whine about than someone else’s casual conversation about Sugar Loaf? I’d guess you have plenty of other things that irritate you, so do us all a favor and find yourself some other windmill to tilt at. You are taking this situation FAR more seriously than any of us are.

  218. Susan Costas
    Susan Costas says:

    Karl, you have a psychosis so deep on this Sugar Loaf thing that you are going to need serious couch time!. You probably walk down the road with a twitch each time a squirrel jumps out at you too! If anyone has a serious anal problem on this topic it would be you, your 3 little minions and Andy, the internet wanna be designer/?defacto opinionator on everything Leelanau. Get on on as Del said, just move on…

  219. Ned
    Ned says:

    How about ski hill in the winter / fat farm in the summer? Why not? Weight loss is a huge money making industry. I can see Jilliam Michaels out there cracking the whip and yelling- “Just get up and DO it!!!”

  220. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Susan…you’re in here harping about casual conversation and you’re calling me psychotic? You and Del must share a brain. You really need to find yourself something worthwhile to whine about. If you did, people would laugh at you a lot less. Good luck in your quest.

    If you so vehemently loathe this site, why do you keep coming back? Do you enjoy the abuse you earn in here that much? You’re in no position to question anyone else’s mental stability until yours gets checked out.

  221. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    I was wondering when the haters would pop back in. I guess the discussion was getting too positive for their tastes.

  222. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I’ve posted a new Sugar Loaf forum at http://www.skisugarloaf.net. It is my hope that if we can gather enough letters of support to show potential financial backers, it will help to convince them to fund this worthy project. Please register, write a letter of support, maybe personal experiences at “The Loaf”, Maybe a little history, but mostly how badly the community wants “The Loaf” to reopen! And PLEASE don’t be afraid to sign your name to your letters so that they will be considered authentic by potential finacial backers! I’m using a format that I haven’t used before, if you have trouble with it I apologize, and will try to make it more user friendly.
    Thanks in advance for your participation!

  223. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    If you have trouble posting, let me know on this thread. I generally monitor this and other blogs, just to try to keep up with community interest. And–If you post a letter PLEASE sign with Name and address for legitimacy reasons.

  224. Kevin W.
    Kevin W. says:

    Tom –

    Great work with forum. I love your passion for the Loaf. Does this mean the potential buyers we have been talking about for months are out? Are we back to square one?

  225. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I don’t really know the answer to that! I just know from past experiences that community support for a project like this means a lot to finance people. All we can do as community members to help, is to demonstrate our support in writing.

  226. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    If we all just sit around and dream about it, chit-chat, and do nothing, nothing will happen!
    So let’s do all that we can to make a difference, WRITE LETTERS!

  227. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    If you’re not comfortable writing your full address, just put something like
    “Leelanau County”, or” Cedar, MI”, “Traverse City, MI” etc. You get the jest of it!

  228. lex
    lex says:

    Tom, maybe you should write a letter first to break the ice. Not to complicate things, but it would be nice to actually put down some of the facts, data, pictures(historical & influences of other areas)…etc. We are asking a person or a group to fork out a lot of cash. These letters I think can mean something. I have zero history with the Loaf, I wanted to move out here when Kate first bought the Loaf, that was an influence on me finally making the move from across the country. Whoops! Zero regrets.

  229. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    You people will have to excuse me if I’m a little clumsy with this forum. It’s a new format for me and I haven’t learned it very well.

    Lex, the letter you requested is posted.

  230. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    So, does anyone know what it’s really like inside the lodge? I mean, do you think people would be excited to come back into the place if they just clean the carpets and change the decor? I just have a hard time believing that you could ask anyone into a building that has been sitting empty for 10+ years. The old end of the lodge was hard to sell as it was, being known as the dungen. The heating system, the smell that lurked from the garbage room, and the water pipes for the fire system that broke the first year it was closed. I mean, come on, is it even possible to open that building for business? And if you were a legit buyer, wouldn’t you have a qualified building inspection done or would you rather just have someone show you around? I hate talking about that building when the Hill is what matters. And if the first thing that comes out of a new owners mouth is how updated the lodge will be, then we will be waiting a long time to ski the Loaf again.

  231. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Yes, I have toured the lodge and all of the other buildings as well, several times. I can tell you without hesitation that the lodge structure is sound! It has had several inspections done.The structure, and most of the mechanical is in pretty fair condition!
    Will it take a good chunk of change to bring it up to snuff? Absolutely! But it IS VERY DOABLE! And in answer to your statement that the hill is what is important: There is no way that the hill can survive on it’s own! The whole resort needs to be put back together again! It is my goal to find a buyer that will do just that! That means buying the golf course, and the waste water treatment as well. Estimated cost of putting it all back together is around 18M. For 730 acres, with an operating ski resort, golf course and a 3500 ft. air strip, that is not a bad deal!

  232. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    So, those of you out there, who really support SL, that are willing to do something other than sit and dream about reopening it, come out from behind user names, step up to the plate, as I have done, and start doing something! WRITE LETTERS OF SUPPORT, and sign them! Declare your allegiance to “THE LOAF” and quit hiding behind screen names!

  233. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Here is an old saying that moved me in leadership school. It is so profound that I must share it with you. “No Goals, No Future.-Know Goals, Know Future! Big difference!! Let’s Know our Goals, so that we can realize our Future!!

  234. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Ok, I just cruised back through all 318 posts on this thread. I’m really curious about something!
    If you are all so passionate about seeing something positive happen with SL, why are you all so afraid to write a simple letter of support? I’m baffled! And Lex, I wrote the first one, like you suggested. I don’t see anyone else jumping on board!
    The truth of the matter is, the more “REAL” proof of community support that there is, the more likely the chances of somebody getting funding!
    So, if you all want to just sit by and do nothing, that’s exactly what will happen! Nothing!

  235. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    Tom, back to Smack’s question that started this thread. Do you know if they ever found that ring? I saw him down there with a metal detector when I was walking on the hill. My wife and I chuckle every time we drive by there. I never found out if they found it.

  236. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I have no idea! I didn’t even know about any of that, until I read it. Nobody, that I know of, has heard from them since they left! And I’ve been busy trying to get funding and recruit buyers!

  237. Steve
    Steve says:

    I heard second hand that Len Swanson saw the actual argument/incident, and also Liko in the bushes the following day with the metal detector. Myself, I remember distinctly seeing weeks later a photo of Sarah in their blog across America with a wedding ring on. This only answers your question, Downstater, and not that I give a rats ass about Liko Smith.

  238. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    Ha, that’s funny Steve. I guess they must’ve found it. It’s almost been a year since then and I think we are further along in finding a legit buyer, not that I give a rats ass about Liko either. I just hope his business accumen has improved some or I think he might get torn up by Mike Tyson.

  239. Smack
    Smack says:

    Hahaha, good stuff! That question in post#1 was in response to Jacob Wheelers’ article in the Glen Arbor Sun

    I (we) never got an answer to that mystery ….I’m sure Tuff-Guy has given her many rings….That metal detector idea may still have legs 😉

    That entire fleet of aircraft will be in a world of hurt in no time! Snapper-Head has zero history of a successful business…..

  240. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    After you register, just click on the last post over on the right, and it will open that letter. There should be a place at the bottom where you can click to post.

  241. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    This format is a pain in the butt! You have to click on the little page i-con next to the name of the last person who posted, in the far right of of the window. When you get the letter to open, there should be a place right under the bottom of the window that will say reply to post or just reply. I’ll go there now and try it myself.

  242. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    I just posted a test on the forum and it seems to be working. I don’t really know what else I can do. If you click on the little page i-con next to the persons’ name who last posted, it will open that posting. At the bottom, there is a tab that says”reply to post”. click on that and it will ask you to log in. once you log in, a new window will open where you can type your text. then all you have to do is click on the word “submit” and it will post. try it again.

    • Andrew McFarlane
      Andrew McFarlane says:

      Yeah Kevin – the Sugar Loaf talk is kind of proportional to the snow on the ground! 😉

      Nice link Lex. Two things jump out at me: $55 million and their attention to year round activities. Skiing alone will not keep a midwest resort afloat. The only one I’ve seen do it is Nubs Nob, but they are in the snow zone and were built from the ground up to do nothing but skiing and are right across the road from a major resort.

  243. lex
    lex says:

    That type of money still boggles my mind, hard to grasp, then again if it’s a 5 year plan it becomes a tad easier to picture.
    Tom, just curious, why do you think an investor needs to buy the water/sewer facility which is in bad shape. It would be more cost effective to invest in a new one over the years that actually works.
    For summer biz, there is still a lot that can be done at the Loaf to utilize the summer months. Outdoor concerts, mtn biking & mtn biking park(like they do at whistler,but smaller of course), yearound pool, zipline/climbing walls, walking trails,adventure/sport camps like a windells in oregon, artifical snow surface(snowflex)http://www.snowmaker.com/snowflex.html
    We have golfing already, I think having fun things for all ages would be unique & profitable for the summer months. Think it would be a goal to get customers in the summer who see the Loaf & know this is the place to be in the winter, as well as winter guests who see how great the summer would be.

  244. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    $55 million is the keyword to that (hopefully successful) venture. It will take big money like that (and maybe then some) to get our ski hill and resort, and surrounding properties, up and running and to be the year around facility that will create jobs and be a worthy investment for the right buyer. Sorry Tom, it can’t be done properly for $18 million.

  245. Loafy
    Loafy says:

    Andrew – Don’t think the weather has anything to do with it. I think we have all run through every possible scenario with the latest cast of characters. We will just have to wait for the next batch of Extreme Entrepeneurs to poke their head out of the hole.

  246. Deep Throat
    Deep Throat says:

    Right on D Downstater! We need a buyer who is fully funded, who wants to replace everything on the hill, and seeks to basically rebuild a community. We don’t need 15 more years of a buyer having just enough funds to purchase the property and then seek funding from the community. It just doesn’t happen that way. Stop the dreaming, we need reality!

  247. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    Right on Downstater and Deep Throat! Imagine the excitment and press the area would get with a buyer like that. Not to mention the jobs it would create and the property values that would rise. I don’t get a fuzzy feeling about walking into a building that has sat empty for over ten years. All the more efficient infrastructure that is available now, technology has a decade leap ahead, time to bury the past and start a new Loaf.

  248. lex
    lex says:

    Haven’t heard squat, zilch. Seems taxes were paid & that the powers at be are content in doing nothing. Unless something happens real soon, another winter will go by. Then taxes will paid on the last day…so on so forth.

  249. lex
    lex says:

    Guess another extension is coming to an end. Probably just do another one after that. Is this guy thinking of actually making the Loaf a ski area again? Or is this just some massive development only.

  250. Smack
    Smack says:

    Lawyer wrote on May 06, 2011 09:48 AM:
    Having represented many jilted investors in federal court, I never understand how anyone would invest with a creature such as Smith. People are generally careful with their money; searching for cheap gas, groceries, and fixing their own cars. Yet when it comes to investments, they tend to swallow stupid pills. The promise of easy money is the siren song that has ruined many lives. Some years ago I had a man come to my office who had invested in an airline that was going to be the equivalent of an adult pleasure cruise–topless servers, pole dancing, alcohol, and other adult entertainment. Fortunately my investor had invested very little and I told him paying me to chase down that money was akin to throwing good money after bad. In reading this newspaper story I wonder if Smith was the culprit. Per my potential client, the airline representative “could take a dump in a box and sell it.” My plea to the public is to invest carefully with reputable firms. The Smiths of this world can’t survive if people are careful.

  251. Smack
    Smack says:

    Midnitemuse wrote on May 06, 2011 01:05 PM:
    I’d like to make a few comments about this situation. 1. This time, not only did Smith not pay any taxes on monies he earned, he didn’t pay ANY of his employees this time around… so much for learning from his mistakes. 2. The “New Zeland based website builder”, mothership.co.nz , is his father-in-law’s company, and he was told repetedly, that the immages used on the website were in violation of copyright regulations. Smith recieved several “Cease & Desist” letters from multiple international and local companies about using their names, immages etc in his advertising, press releases and on the website. 3. Once Smith got his first few investment checks, Smith gave his “wife” Sarah Johnston all financial accountability in her hands, effectivly cutting his Accounting Manager out of the picture. Not only does Sarah not have any educational background in business and/or finance, she has ZERO work experience at ANY kind of job. This man, and his “wife” Sarah Johnston should both be locked up for everything they have done.

  252. Susan D
    Susan D says:

    Ahhh Liko, the news gift that keeps on giving!

    And some of you loved this guy a year ago or so.. LOL Carl, I got some kind of bridge or something to get going again..lol!

  253. lex
    lex says:

    welcome back susan, we missed u soooo much. should i click dislike on my post or can u do that for me

  254. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Oh hey…

    Yes, Susan…we’re laughing AT you, not with you.

    Interesting that I post after some time away and Susan pops in shortly after. If you’re going to follow me around, Susan, please show some respect by not staring at my backside.

  255. lex
    lex says:

    All we need a die-hard handyman & the Loaf in 10 years can become like Mt Mancelona! Nice to see even something simple getting accomplished is still progress.

  256. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    He’s lucky Mike Tyson dropped out of the picture early on and is not like these other unfortunate souls who Liko screwed over. Iron Mike isn’t the forgiving type. I bet the folks in Vegas are as happy as we were last year when Liko left town!

  257. MtnView
    MtnView says:

    And coming to your town in the near future.. Liko Smith and his band of merry men! Hand on wallet, stepping away,
    no..running. And by the way.. have you seen this ring?

  258. Jimmy Vegas
    Jimmy Vegas says:

    Via Glen Arbor Sun

    The Las-Vegas Review Journal reports that Eneliko Sean “Liko” Smith — the enigmatic former Samoan boxer who attempted to acquire Sugar Loaf resort last year — was arrested last night in Nevada for driving under the influence. Liko Smith is being held under a no-bail warrant and could face extradition to El Dorado County, Calif., where he reportedly left behind more than $100,000 in unpaid room taxes. According to the Review Journal, since the failed Sugar Loaf venture he has created a trail of more than $100,000 in unpaid bills or money taken from people to finance his LV Air venture — many of them in Las Vegas.

    Click above for link to review journal.

    Game, set and match Mr Bond?

  259. Smack
    Smack says:

    N. NV. Vol. FF wrote on June 04, 2011 11:12 AM:
    “Must have really been a smooth talker. To me he looks like a sausage chewing wino that I wouldn’t give my pocket change to to buy a bottle of Thunderbird!”

  260. Smack
    Smack says:

    Legal Observer wrote on June 04, 2011 02:07 PM:
    Liko: “From Tahoe to Big Bear to Sugarloaf to McCarran– you must be thanking your lucky stars that your infamy remained 2 steps behind your putative fame to allow you to live as fast and hard as you have. You hurt alot of people along the way. Frankly there does not appear to be a single thing that you had told anyone that was true.”

  261. Ha Ha Ha
    Ha Ha Ha says:

    Not interested in sticking around?
    Mike Tyson on line 2?

    http://www.lvrj.com/business/promoter-for-lv-air-venture-agrees-to-california-extradition-123442944.html :

    As expected, Eneliko Sean Smith did not contest his extradition to California for violating probation on a felony conviction last year.

    Smith, who much of this year has presented himself as the driving force behind a proposed new luxury airline to be called LV Air, formally agreed to extradition in a short hearing Monday before Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Joe Bonaventure.

    Hans Uthe, assistant district attorney of El Dorado County, Calif., said the county would send deputies to Las Vegas within the next month to pick Smith up and fly him back to California. Uthe said that Smith had proposed being allowed to transport himself, but the offer was rejected.

    Shortly after his arrival, Uthe said he and El Dorado County judge would hear his case and decide what to do with him.

    The Block Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, where Smith was managing partner, had run up about $130,000 in unpaid room taxes. Ultimately, the case was settled last year with Smith pleading no contest to a single felony count of grand theft by embezzlement.

    After that, he did not repay any of the back taxes, as required, and violated other terms of probation.

  262. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    Have any of you heard of Hidden Valley Ski Resort. It’s located in west New York in the Buffalo area. I just recieved a call from one of my clients for some consulting work. I’m in the building design trades and don’t know the first thing about ski hills (like Karl, Augustive, and others on this site). It sounds like it is an operating ski hill but the owners ( a micro brew company ) is sticking 55 mill into it with their vision being a mini-Vail. It’s a 10 year project, the first year they are demoing the existing lodge (saving a small part of it to continue ski hill operations this winter) and rebuilding the rest. I just received some prelim drawings but haven’t looked at them yet. Does this resort sound familiar? That is exactly what we need to happen here. Hopefully soon….

  263. dumb downstater
    dumb downstater says:

    I will clarify my last post. Karl and Augustive, and others on this blog are experts on ski hill operations where I know nothing about it.

  264. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, DD, but I’d hardly qualify myself as an expert. I have just been around the situation long enough to get an only-slightly-better-than-average look at the goings-on around it. Folks like me just want the lawyers to stop getting rich off this whole bit at the expense of the county and its residents. The Sugar Loaf property could very well live and thrive again if not for the damned lawyers.

  265. KarlK
    KarlK says:

    Went to the link and I was not surprised by what I saw – lots of frantic ass-covering. Not surprised by it at all.

    FYI, folks – the “Friends of Sugar Loaf” group on Facebook has been upgraded and is alive and well. Much to the continuing chagrin of the haters, the wall posts of late have been positive and respectful (mostly because the discussion has mostly been about what SL was).

  266. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Back in the 60’s my parents rented a cottage close to Sugar Loaf. The cottage was made out of cement blocks and painted pink. Things seemed so simple back then. I had no idea about Sugar Loaf, but my mom took my sister and I to a dance for teens that was held there. I was just 13 so going to a teenage dance was a huge deal. The dance was held outside under the stars and it all seemed so magical to me. I’ve always had such fond memories of that night at Sugar Loaf. Unfortunately, my dad died the following year and we never went back there for a vacation. I was thinking it would be fun to go back and see Sugar Loaf after all these years. I Googled Sugar Loaf and found this website. It’s so heartbreaking to learn Sugar Loaf has been closed for years. I hope someday it will be open again for people to enjoy. It’s sad and wrong that such a beautiful area is caught up in such a mess! Good luck to those of you who are trying to restore it.

Comments are closed.