City's ski area dips into savings after short season

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2001

Eaglecrest Ski Area will use savings to make up a budget shortfall connected to a short ski season, says business manager Gary Mendivil.

Eaglecrest took in $760,000 of $1.1 million in expected revenues. The numbers are still tentative, but the ski area probably will need $170,000 from a $367,000 savings account to balance its budget, Mendivil said. Because of warm temperatures and little snow, Eaglecrest counted 28,400 ski visits this season compared to an anticipated 40,000, he said.

Eaglecrest normally opens in the first week of December, but this season it opened Feb. 1.

People who kept season passes at Eaglecrest this year will receive a 57 percent credit toward next year's pass because of the short season. Nearly three-quarters of buyers have held onto the passes, Mendivil said. Eaglecrest will budget for less revenue next year, he added.

"Our hope is that everyone who kept a season pass will buy one next year and convince their friends to buy one," he said.

The Juneau Assembly's Public Works and Facilities Committee on Wednesday agreed to allocate $21,000 from voter-approved project funds to make up a $42,702 shortfall in tubing area construction. Eaglecrest also plans to ask for $19,500 in general sales tax to make up the difference. The tubing area was built last summer and opened in mid-February for a total cost of $140,902.

Eaglecrest managers are hoping to expand and upgrade the ski area's parking lot by 80 spaces. The state Department of Transportation plans to repair Fish Creek Road this summer, and Eaglecrest's board of directors would like to link the projects to reduce costs, according to a memo to the Assembly. It would cost roughly $200,000 to expand and re-pave Eaglecrest's lot, the memo said.

Additionally, the ski area is in the middle of replacing its maintenance shop and plans to put up the building shell this summer, Mendivil said. The building is being constructed in phases.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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