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Is Tamarack Finally Down for the Count?

As lovely as this rendition may be on the front of their company Christmas card, my thinking is Tamarack is on its way down the slue.

Tamarack, on the western shore of Lake Cascade near a logging community whose fortunes flagged when a Boise Cascade sawmill closed in 2001, opened in December 2004. It touted itself as America’s first new all-season resort in decades and began selling property for $450,000 and up, with promises of $1.5 billion in investments on ski lifts, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course and a new marina.

The Wall Street Journal’s headline is ‘In Idaho, Ski Resort’s Promise Fades’ with this quote:

“This place just quit,” says Gordon Cruickshank, a Valley County commissioner.

I love some of the characterizations within the article.

Lani Anderson, who manages the local Long Valley motel, says occupancy has fallen at least 65%. “All I’m catering to now is the weary traveler, and there’s not a whole lot of them with gas prices,” she says.

Locals lament the town’s fleeting promise. Lorie Mauk had moved back to the Donnelly area last year for a Tamarack job, having left the area years ago. But Tamarack laid her off in February, and she says the town’s job situation is back to how it was before the resort brought prosperity.

Tamarack’s base village is unfinished. The area slated for a Thai restaurant is roofless. The ski shop and pub are in plastic tents.

Home sales have withered, says Judy Land, a local real-estate agent. In 2006, 1,250-square-foot Tamarack cottages sold for more than $900,000, the resort says; Ms. Land says she recently sold one for $650,000.

The resort is continuing visitor operations over the summer, with lifts running for mountain bikers, and expects to run ski operations this winter. Ms. Land expects the resort to recover. But for now, she says, the few potential buyers “want to get away from the depression, from a resort that’s in trouble.”

Forbes kicks in their 2 cents as well…

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