Nonprofit making significant strides toward reopening
On Friday June 19, the Antelope Butte Foundation (ABF) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) to purchase the existing ski area infrastructure and improvements.
ABF purchased the improvements on the property – the lifts, lodge and outbuildings – for $275,000, the value determined by an independent appraisal in November 2014. ABF’s first payment of 20 percent of the purchase price will be due within 45 days. Two more payments of 40 percent each will be due in March and November, 2016.
Mark Weitz, president of the ABF board of directors, signed the PSA, after nearly four years of collaboration between the USFS, the ABF board and ABF’s counsel, the law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP.
“This is a huge milestone for ABF and officially starts the clock ticking,” says Weitz. “Now that we have a contract in place, with financial deadlines, there is no turning back. 2015 is GO year for ABF!”
With the PSA and the Granger-Thye permit in place, ABF will be able to access the lodge and lifts to better assess their condition, conduct limited re-construction work, and determine best strategies for reopening. Once ABF pays the entirety of the purchase price, ABF will undertake significant remodeling of the lodge and lifts and take next steps to seek a ski area operating permit from the USFS. “It is our goal to purchase the improvements ahead of the PSA deadlines, to ‘get the keys,’ take advantage of a short mountain construction season, and utilize a large volunteer army of contractors and laborers,” said Weitz.
“The Antelope Butte Foundation (ABF) has been on a steadfast journey to revitalize this local ski area. After roughly a decade of inoperability this foundation’s professional efforts represent the best, and at the same time, likely the last opportunity for this ski area to remain on National Forest System lands,” said Bill Bass, forest supervisor of the Bighorn National Forest.
Next month, ABF, a non-profit 501(c)3, will accelerate fundraising efforts, which will include a crowdfunding campaign and the second annual Antelope Butte Summer Festival on the weekend of July 17-19. The Summer Festival was conceived as a way of previewing and promoting the array of summer activities that are now possible at Antelope Butte with recent changes in USFS permitting.
Antelope Butte Foundation’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible skiing, year-round mountain recreation, and outdoor education and training for all guests, especially youth and beginners. The current board of directors is made up of seven professionals from the northern Wyoming communities of Sheridan and Big Horn Basin that are dedicated to reopening the ski area for future generations.
For more information, please visit http://www.antelopebuttefoundation.org/.