British Columbia

Revelstoke ski resort pinched by global financial crisis

Just a year after opening, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been forced to do some financial restructuring amid rumours that housing sales used to fund the development are slumping.

Just a year after opening, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been forced to do some financial restructuring amid rumours that housing sales used to fund the development are slumping.

CBC News has learned the Gaglardi family of Vancouver has taken over the billion-dollar project to expand the resort and is injecting new cash to keep the building going.

The resort's board of directors met last week in Revelstoke to discuss how to proceed given the new economic reality, but the private company doesn't have to divulge its plans.

Ashley Tate, director of sales and marketing, responded cautiously when questioned about the Gaglardis' involvement.

"The way they are looking at it is they have increased their investment in Revelstoke Mountain Resort and they are coming in to lend their support to look at their investment and the way we are operating and to make us more efficient in the current economic climate we are faced with," said Tate.

Tate said the resort will open the ski season as planned at the end of November and the development projects remain on track.

"Yes, there are some economic impacts that have slowed things down, but we are certainly in a hands-on analysis phase, and they are doing everything they can to make the right decisions and move things forward," she told CBC News.

Town concerned about changes

Meanwhile, down in the town of Revelstoke, rumours were swirling like falling snow that crucial resort condominium sales had stalled and that contractors weren't being paid.

Much of the town's future is pegged on the resort and Mayor Mark McKee was trying to allay concerns about the resort's future.

"A lot of people are concerned with what is happening at the hill. What I am hearing and seeing is we are getting back on track and moving forward," McKee told CBC News.  

The long-term plan for the Revelstoke Mountain Resort is to develop a four-season international getaway with the longest ski run in North America, an 18-hole golf course and several residential and lodge developments, but the resort is not the first in B.C. to feel the effects of the financial crisis.

In October, New York-based Fortress Investment Group, which owns the Intrawest and operates the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort north of Vancouver, only managed to refinance a $1.68-billion debt needed to keep the operation afloat the day before it came due.

now