The 2016 National Ski Areas Association end of season conference & convention is about to take place in Nashville, TN. It kicks off on May 18 th and runs through the 21st. I have been chosen to sit on a panel with other industry professionals to discuss opportunities available to finance projects at ski resorts. This is a departure from my usual focus of “ski areas for sale” in North America. The invitation to participate and share information on this topic has given me an opportunity to research sources of capital available to ski area operators for growth, cash flow and maintenance projects.

I found several sources of debt available for projects that ski operators may want to pursue. In particular, if your local or regional lender is unwilling to loan on “that lift” you really think has a great return on investment or that “snowmaking upgrade” that will permit you to weather the weather like we had here in the East this past season, see if that lender participates in SBA/USDA loan opportunities. While these loans were, at one time, referred to as loans of last resort, they are available for many purposes that fit within the ski/cold weather resort spaces for growth and as a source of cash required as a result of catastrophic weather experienced at a resort.

For complete information on USDA/SBA loans here is the web address: I have two specific lenders that are very familiar with the SBA/USDA process and underwriting. Give me a call if you would like those names and their contact info.

Another set of funding opportunities for resort operators is their state governments. Just about every state in the union has some economic development authority. These authorities’ functions are to find ways to fund and support job creation, job retention and economic development in your state. Google “economic development” for your state and I would expect you will be directed to a functional site that supports your efforts to grow and/or create a strong economic environment.

A suggestion, in closing. Lending is a relationship game. Start at the top of your bank and cultivate the senior people at the bank. Make sure they feel part of your resort, invite them to first runs and events that take place at the resort. Make sure they understand that “bad years” only happen one in five ( or so) and that your ski area or resort has been in business continuously since _______. (Perhaps before they were born or out of grade school.) Once those senior relationships are in place, work on the underwriters and cultivate them.

When applying for a loan, give what is asked for, in an orderly package, all at once in a timely manner. If you are asked for it, give it. Need some help with this? Give me a call.

Mirus Resort Advisors (

is engaged in the brokerage of resort, recreational and hospitality properties. Mirus is experienced in either facilitating the sale or the acquisition of ski areas, ski resorts, golf facilities and hospitality venues. Mirus Capital Advisors, Inc. ( provides business valuation services to resorts, hospitality and recreational enterprises.