November 21st, 2013
With questions swirling about whether Telemark Resort’s new owners would reopen the 40-year-0ld lodge in Cable, Wis. (the historic start of the American Birkebeiner), the community got an answer Tuesday when the power breakers were turned off.
Idle and without power since March, when the former owners stopped paying the bills and left town before the 975-acre property went to foreclosure, the 200-room resort had its power restored about a week ago. The new owners, Mount Telemark Properties, met with the Central Cross Country (CXC) Ski Association to discuss CXC’s interest in leasing and developing it into an Olympic training site, WDIO News reported.
James Bolen of the Cable Area Chamber told WDIO that CXC determined it did not have the expertise needed to run a hotel in conjunction with an Olympic center. Tom Held of The Active Pursuit reported that CXC did not want to take on the “enormous task of renovating and operating it, according to Oyvind Solvang, president of the CXC Board of Directors.” Solvang estimated the long-term renovations would cost between $2 million and $4 million, and it would require at least $500,000 to open the building this season.
“We were looking to keep it heated and perhaps do some events there, trying to accommodate the people who want to stay there for the Birkie, but to get from here to there was too insurmountable,” Solvang said. “It really isn’t feasible for CXC.”
A former Telemark employee who works for the current owners, Rick Carpenter told WDIO that the new owners bought the property (for $926,000 dollars at a sheriff’s sale) for the land, not the lodge. The deal with CXC would have included the lodge by donation and some surrounding land, he added, plus 135 acres of leased land and trails.
Bolen said the new owners are still seeking a hotel group to run the resort, and CXC will look elsewhere in Cable for a potential Olympic training site.
This summer, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) secured rights to their race’s starting area at Telemark for two more years. ABSF executive director Ben Popp told The Active Pursuit that he expected to work out an agreement with the new owners to make a permanent start in roughly six months.