The kind of development not needed with $4 going-on-$7/gallon of gas

Black Bear Resort. Big things are in store for Bear Lake. A planned development near the Utah-Idaho border would offer skiing, sailing and more. By Mike Gorrell. The Salt Lake Tribune.

This would create a huge new development in cold winter country 2 tanks of gas NE of Salt Lake City, Utah. Even if the second home resort can survive the mortgage problem and the price of energy, how can it be justified?





  1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    The more expensive gas gets the more we will see the cute lil towns along lonely highways disappear to be replaced by mega resorts catering to the megarich that can still afford to (in)frequently visit the area.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’m not sure about the mega-resorts for the mega-rich because there is not an unlimited number of these people.

  3. Salle Avatar

    I wonder how anyone can justify such an endeavor. Yellowstone Club, in Montana and Tamarak, in Idaho have both gone bankrupt in the past year.

  4. mikarooni Avatar

    Dear Salle, your innocence is so cute. The system is much more corrupt than you imagine. Yes, there is credit crunch and most developments are seeing financial stress; but, in times like these, bankruptcies don’t necessarily signal a business failure. They are often fake and used to force creditors to more favorably restructure the remaining principal. Only the front corporation is at risk in these deals and there are only a few little minions in the front corporation; the real fat cats have already pulled most of the money out and sheltered it elsewhere, have only a carefully shielded role in the corporation, and have little to no significant real exposure. These things are never more than a legal shell, a house of cards, and, at this point, they’ve just assigned a few relatively cheap minions (cheap by their standards) to fight over the scraps on their behalf. Trust me; when the smoke clears, people like the Blixseths will still be left with more cash on hand than they can ever spend, more than most people can even imagine or understand.

    Dear Ralph, I’m afraid that you are wrong. Technically, there may not be an “unlimited” number of the mega-rich; but, these kinds of resorts cater to a global clientele. As long as there is Jackson Hole or Big Sky or Tahoe somewhere in the world, the Chinese oligarchs, just for example, can confidently go ahead and trash China and Mongolia and Tibet and…, as long as it gets them enough cash to fly here and still get a satellite phone signal. Once China is gone, they’ll just move to the next rat-hole-to-be and start digging, the Sudan for oil and Zimbabwe for copper, as examples. After all, how many of our “business leaders” have taken up residence in Ireland, for example, just in case the judgement went the wrong way on the Exxon Valdez, for example?

  5. Salle Avatar

    mikarooni Says:
    June 29, 2008 at 9:03 am
    “Dear Salle, your innocence is so cute. The system is much more corrupt than you imagine.”

    No it’s not. Perhaps I was being facetious…

  6. JB Avatar

    I was just in Bear Lake this past week and the new growth is astounding. There are new developments everywhere. Makes me sad; I remember when Bear Lake was a sleepy place where residents of nearby Logan would come in the summer to get a break from the heat.

    Ralph, with the continued consolidation of wealth, I suspect we’ll see the mega-rich purchasing additional “trophy” homes in more locations. Why suffer with only one get away home when you can afford five?

  7. TPageCO Avatar

    For several years now, there have been people mulling over the future of the megamansion communities around the west. Recently, we’ve seen articles that suggest that these unsustainable energy hog homes will be home to multiple lower-income families in the future.

    I think the odds are increasing that many of these developments will become modern-day ghost towns in 100 years. If not from lack of snow/precip, travel costs, or high energy and maintenance costs, then simply because they will fall out of fashion. As noted many times, most of these palaces are owned by ultra-wealthy folks that have no ties to the community, so it’s no problem for them to take the loss on any sale and leave the local communities to deal with the problem.

    People sometimes forget that this trophy home craze is a relatively recent phenomenon – in areas I’m familiar with, it really didn’t start until the stock market took off in the early 90’s, and movies like River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall came out. It can disappear just as quickly.

    People can talk about shell corporations scamming us through bankruptcies all they want, but it’s the demand for a house in the country that’s driving the problem. Once the associated costs of such a house become unattractive to buyers, land values will drop.


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Ralph Maughan