West Mountain Files for Bankruptcy Protection

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SAM Magazine—Queensbury, N.Y., June 25, 2013—West Mountain owner East Slope Holdings LP (ESH) filed for bankruptcy protection last week. The move could facilitate a change in ownership to Apex Capital LLC, owned by local stockbroker and ESH staff member Spencer Montgomery.

East Slope Holdings sought Chapter 11 protection in federal Bankruptcy Court after its main creditor, Zion First National Bank of Salt Lake City, Utah, began foreclosure proceedings. The mountain is also seeking protection from its utility, National Grid, which could otherwise shut off power within the next few weeks.

West Mountain owes $4.8 million to creditors and has no cash on hand. Among its obligations, West Mountain lists $87,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, $210,000 to National Grid and nearly $1.3 million to the mountain’s former owner, Mike Brandt. The area has $1.8 million in assets, according to the bankruptcy filing.

ESH is expected to propose a reorganization and repayment plan at a bankruptcy hearing in Albany, N.Y., tomorrow. The plan would see the mountain borrow $225,000 from Apex Capital to prepare the area for the coming ski season. Apex could then take ownership of the area this winter.

Apex owner Montgomery is listed as ESH’s director of new development. He has had his own days in court; last March, he entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which leveled $140,000 in fines against him.

Montgomery’s plan for the area is to focus on winter and summer operations. West Mountain’s lifts are up to 60 years old, and it has limited snowmaking. Montgomery said that he has talked with three potential investors about spending $8 million to $10 million to upgrade the area, including development of a zipline that could be the core of a summer business plan.