|Location||Valley County, Idaho, U.S.|
|Nearest city||Boise - 90 miles (145 km)|
|Vertical||2,760 ft (841 m)|
|Top elevation||7,660 ft (2,335 m)|
|Base elevation||4,900 ft (1,494 m)|
|Skiable area||1,100 acres (4.5 km2)|
- 15% novice
- 56% intermediate
- 29% advanced
|Lift system||4 chairlifts
- 2 hi-speed quad
- 2 fixed quad
|Snowfall||300 in (760 cm)|
|Web site||Tamarack Idaho.com|
Tamarack Resort is a four-season mountain resort in the Long Valley of west central Idaho. It is located on the west shore of Cascade Reservoir, southwest of Donnelly in Valley County, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Boise.
Opened for lift-served skiing in late 2004, the resort is currently in foreclosure; the ski area was closed in early March 2009 and was shuttered for the 2009–10 season. It re-opened on December 20, 2010, with five of seven chairlifts, funded by the Tamarack Municipal Association. The golf course and zip line course are currently open in the summer through a series of partnerships with operating companies. One of the high-speed chairlifts was removed in 2012.
Tamarack was the first new ski resort to be built in North America in 23 years (though not the first ski area); Beaver Creek in Colorado and Deer Valley in Utah opened within days of each other in 1981. (Deer Valley was not entirely new, as it was built at the former modest ski area of "Snow Park," which operated from 1946-69.)
The Tamarack Resort was first conceived as Valbois in the early 1980s, but unsuccessfully struggled to overcome federal regulatory hurdles and fierce local opposition, and finally folded in 1995. Despite local opposition, a new group of investors revived the project three years later with modifications and called it WestRock. After four years the name was changed to "Tamarack" in December 2002, after the tamarack larch, a deciduous coniferous tree, whose short, dark green fir-like needles turn yellow (and shed) every autumn.
Construction at the Tamarack Resort began in 2003, and skiing was available only by snowcat the first year. The alpine ski area officially opened with chairlift service the following year in December 2004. Tamarack has a lift-served summit elevation of 7,660 feet (2,335 m) above sea level on West Mountain (7,672 ft (2,338 m)), with a vertical drop of over 2,760 feet (840 m) . Five quad chairlifts served the east-facing slopes (3 hi-speed & 2 fixed-grip), along with two surface lifts, a Poma platter lift and a magic carpet, in the novice area at the base.
The summit of West Mountain receives an average of 300 inches (760 cm) of snowfall, and snowmaking is available on the lower runs. Steep at the summit but rapidly smoothing out, the terrain for the ski area is rated at 15% novice, 56% intermediate, and 29% advanced.
Osprey Meadows, a Robert Trent Jones II signature 18-hole golf course, opened in May 2006 with the addition of the back nine holes. The first nine holes opened for play in September 2005. The course is just southeast of the village and ski area base, at an average elevation of 4,850 feet (1,480 m) . The back tees played at 7,319 yards (6,692 m), with 100 bunkers distributed on the challenging course. After the resort's shuttering in March 2009, the golf course reopened for play less than five months later on July 25, operated by the Raven Golf Management Company of Boise.
President and Mrs. George W. Bush stayed at Tamarack in August 2005, giving the resort significant national exposure. They came to Idaho as guests of Dirk Kempthorne, the state's governor and former U.S. Senator who later became a member of Bush's cabinet as Secretary of the Interior.
In September 2006, recently retired tennis star Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf announced through their development company, after significant delays, that they had finalized an agreement to develop a luxury mountain project at Tamarack. Groundbreaking for the Fairmont Tamarack was scheduled for 2007 with completion expected in 2009, on their first lifestyle development project. Following more delays, Agassi and Graf withdrew from the project in June 2008.
Since January 2004, the resort has sold 531 properties for $359.3 million. This includes an additional nine lots than were originally planned for these phases that netted $42.7 million, they were captured by re-engineering the original plot design to eliminate wetlands.
Patrick H. Owen, a fourth district judge in Boise, appointed a receiver in October 2008 to oversee the operations of the resort, at the request of Credit Suisse, the major financer. The receiver, the Douglas Wilson Co. of San Diego, determined in February 2009 that the operating losses were too great and closed Tamarack to the public with over a month remaining in the ski season. The final day of lift-served skiing was Wednesday, March 4, 2009; the resort was effectively shuttered that evening.
In June 2009, the resort announced that it was reopening its 18-hole golf course (2006) and zip lines (2007) through a partnership with an operating company; the golf course reopened in late July and the zip line a few days later. Since 2008, Bank of America threatened to remove two chairlifts that the resort had fallen behind in payments on. Judge Michael McLaughlin denied their request on July 2; the quad chairlifts in question were the resort's two newest, Wildwood Express (detachable) at the northern boundary and Buttercup (fixed-grip) in the Whitewater residential area.
In September, the Tamarack Homeowners' Association formed an unincorporated organization called West Mountain Preservation Management Association. It filed a motion to reopen Tamarack Resort for the 2009-10 season, using $8 million from a Mexican real estate company, but was denied and the resort remain closed.
On March 17, 2010, U.S. bankruptcy judge Terry Meyers ruled that the newly named trustee, Jeremy Gugino, could start the process of liquidating the resort's equipment and other assets into cash, to be divided among its creditors. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse continued to move in Idaho state court to foreclose on the resort property. The state court is charged with determining which creditors are entitled to the real estate and their priority, but federal court will handle the disposition of the real estate and other assets.
The foreclosure date is set for March 2010. This will bring hope of revitalization to homeowners and the surrounding community.
Prior to Tamarack most recent failure of a major North American ski resort had been by Stagecoach in 1974, located about 20 miles (32 km) south of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Stagecoach failed after its second ski season, and has slowly grown as a residential and vacation community, primarily due to the addition of a dam and reservoir in 1988. Tamarack property owners are now part of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit with lender Credit Suisse led by bankrupt Yellowstone Club founder Timothy Blixseth and his son Beau Blixseth who claim Tamarack's bankruptcy was caused by a "loan to own" scheme between the bank and resort developers.
The Tamarack Municipal Association reopened the resort on December 20, 2010. Funded by the association directly and the proceeds from lift ticket, season pass, and food service sales, Tamarack hired nearly 100 employees to staff five of the resort's seven chairlifts servicing 60% to 70% of the resort's skiable terrain. The "Wildwood Express" and "Buttercup/Whitewater" chairs did not operate, as they are currently the subject of a lawsuit by Bank of America. Operating on a Thursday-Sunday limited schedule, plus holidays Tamarack sold season pass and lift ticket sales starting at $46 for a single-day adult lift ticket and $199 for an unlimited adult season pass. Food service is available, serving traditional ski area fare. Limited fine dining is also available. $250,000 have already been contributed by homeowners and $1.5 million in ticket sales are expected in order to meet a $500,000 payroll. With season pass sales already started for the 2011-2012 ski season, the Tamarack Municipal Association plans on opening the resort on December 15, 2011.
- Miller, John (June 5, 2012). "Bank pays to dismantle Idaho ski lift". Seattle Times. Associated Press.
- "Court decision clears way for sale of Tamarack Resort assets". The Oregonian. Associated Press. September 24, 2012.
- idahostatesman.com - "Osprey Meadows Golf Course is re-opening Saturday," by Chadd Cripe - 2009-07-23
- Tamarack Idaho.com - resort press release - "Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf to develop luxury hotel and residences: Fairmont Tamarack" - 2006-09-06
- The Seattle Times - "Idaho's struggling Tamarack ski resort vows to open," by John Miller, AP - 2008-10-03
- The Seattle Times - "Idaho's Tamarack ski resort shutting down," - AP & ST Travel staff, 2009-03-03
- The Seattle Times - "Idaho's Tamarack ski resort closes amid avalanche of debt and lawsuits," by Jessie L. Bonner, AP - 2009-03-05
- Tamarack Zip Line.com - press release - 2009-07-28 - accessed 2010-03-20
- The Seattle Times - "Bank demands to repo Tamarack lifts, snow plow," by John Miller, AP - 2009-07-02
- The Seattle Times - "Judge: Tamarack group can intervene in lawsuit," by John Miller, AP - 2009-11-05
- The Seattle Times - "With ski lifts idle, Tamarack owners are worried," by John Miller, AP - 2009-12-04
- idahostatesman.com - "Tamarack bankruptcy case moves forward" - Associated Press - 2010-03-19
- Luxury-Property Owners Sue Credit Suisse for $24 Billion, by Jaqueline Palank, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2010.
- Tamarack Resort - official site
- Tamarack Resort Lodging - Vacation Rentals and Property Management - Located at the front desk at the Lodge at Osprey Meadows
- Tamarack Rentals - Vacation Rentals in Tamarack - extensive photos
- Tamarack Zip Line.com - operated by Experienced Based Learning
- Idaho Winter.org - official state tourism site
- Idaho Ski Resorts.com - Tamarack Resort
- Ski Lifts.org - photos of Tamarack Resort's lifts
- SKI Magazine - "Tamarack Resort," by Christopher Solomon, October 2005, p. 82-86
- USDOJ Proposed Consent Decree - storm water discharges - Federal Register: 31-Jan-2008 (Vol 73, No. 21, p. 5872)
- Boise Guardian.com - "Tamarack: not our fault" - 21-Feb-2008