Sugar Loaf Resort, which was last open for skiing and riding a decade ago, still makes the news every few years with yet another failed resurrection.
The latest failed attempt involves a Las Vegas businessman Eneliko "Sean" Smith who, in a story in the Traverse City Record Eagle, said he's "officially bowing out" of an offer he'd made for the closed resort last April.
At that time he proposed a $10 million plan to buy the resort, opening this summer and ready for skiing in November. Nothing has happened, and he and current owner Kate Wickstrom, who bought the resort five years ago, have been engaged in a blame game as to why the deal has fallen through.
Local Leelanau County residents, where the ill-fated resort is located in northern Lower Michigan, want the resort to return to its former "glory days." There are Web sites devoted to the subject and even the Friends of Sugar Loaf group on Facebook.
Unfortunately, in my opinion as a longtime snowsports journalist of 27 years who lives in the area, I don't think the resort will ever reopen for skiing and riding. The hotel and day lodge are in very rough shape, the lifts have sat idle for over 10 years, and grooming and snowmaking equipment would need to be replaced. There are questions regarding ownership of the resort's septic treatment plant and even the well that supplies water for snowmaking. It's a long list of hurdles that someone with deep, deep pockets would have to be able to finance.
Smith talked about coming up with $10 million to put it back in operation. Some Midwest ski area operators have put the price tag at near $15 million just to get the ski hill up and running. That doesn't include resurrection of the hotel and the other amenities that would have to be considered.
Rumors keep persisting that more potential purchase offers are possible, but personally I would put as much stock in the Tooth Fairy leaving several million dollars under your pillow.