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White Pine to open this winter

Posted: Thursday, Sep 27th, 2012

PINEDALE – The Citizens to Save White Pine, LLC announced Tuesday the White Pine Ski Area and Resort would open for the 2012-13 winter season with passes available for pre-purchase immediately.

“We’re excited,” local business owner and Citizens representative Rex Poulson said. “We’re looking forward to the winter and hopefully get this thing on some sort of long-term footing.”

The push to open this year stemmed from a rekindled commitment by owners.

“I think there’s just renewed enthusiasm that it was a shame to be closed last season, and we didn’t want to see that happen again,” Poulson said. “It took a lot out of us that first year. I don’t know, I think we were just tired, maybe. … We just really don’t want to see it close again.”

Questions about the resort have abounded for years. Leading up to last winter, the county decided not to purchase White Pine, and a co-op and nonprofit system were explored as possibilities. The latter is how owners envision the resort surviving in the future, and forming a 501(c)3 with a board is currently in the works.

“That’s ultimately the long-term [goal]. It looks like it will be both Citizens to Save White Pine and the nonprofit. The nonprofit will become the more dominant of the two,” Poulson explained. “If we continue with it, that’s the direction we’re headed. That’s the best long-term for the community is to be a nonprofit or to have the community to own this area.”

A nonprofit board will allow community members to serve a term and then retire, if they so choose, to allow new board

members to bring energy and ideas to White Pine. The Citizens have not had this luxury; it has been totally up to this small group to keep the business afloat.

The Citizens, a group of four local business representatives and one out-of-town investor, came in and purchased the ski area and resort in 2010 to save it from bankruptcy and closure, which was avoided that winter.

Poulson said the investors never had the intention of owning and operating White Pine long-term, as the individuals had their own businesses to run and look after.

The lack of a suitable buyer or available solution led to White Pine’s closure in 2011, which won’t be repeated in 2012.

“We just didn’t want to see it die and go away,” Poulson said.

Preseason passes start at $39 for children up to 6 years of age, $199 for 7- to 15-year-olds, as well as seniors, and $239 for an adult ticket, ages 16 to 69.

For more information or to purchase tickets, individuals can stop by A to Z Hardware or the Great Outdoor Shop, or visit www.greatoutdoorshop.com.

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