Birkie Plans to Buy Telemark Property, Attract New Development

American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation plans to demolish existing lodge and work with private developer for new opportunities

CABLE, Wis. – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is hoping the Telemark Resort property will become a prime destination again.

The iconic Birkebeiner ski race starts at Telemark every February. Now, the race foundation wants to buy the resort property, and could close on it as early as September.

It will cost the Birkie about $2 million to buy the land and demolish the existing Telemark Lodge which opened in the 1970s, went through multiple bankruptcies, and closed permanently in 2013.

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and the Town of Cable have applied for a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to demolish most or all of the lodge so a new development can be built on the site.

“It’s really been the centerpiece to the race and the lifestyle for so long and now we’ve decided to bring it back to what it’s meant to be,” said Birkebeiner Executive Director Ben Popp.

The Birkie plans to host events on the property and let a private developer take care of the potential hotel and dining opportunities.

“We’re going to make sure that we the Birkie do what we’re really good at, amazing trails and amazing events. Then we’re going to bring in partners that are really good at hospitality,” explained Popp.

James Bolen is one developer we spoke with. He tells FOX 21 his group, Telemark Redevelopment LLC, plans to bring in a new chain hotel, a more upscale lodge, and a corporate training center to the property.

That plan would also reopen the hill for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

The Birkie Foundation is not ready to commit to that development or any others yet, but say they’ve seen a lot of interest in the site.

“We are excited about your opportunities and we are just not at that point where we can start choosing and making that direction yet,” explained Popp. “We want to make sure the property is closed, it’s a very difficult title, we’re going to make sure the funding is in place.”

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