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Judge won’t halt sale

Patrick Parkinson Of The Record Staff

Late Friday, a judge in state District Court in Denver, Colorado denied the motion by Vail Resorts, Inc. for a preliminary injunction to prevent ASC from selling The Canyons resort in Park City, Utah to Talisker Canyons Finance.

Vail had asked the Denver District Court to hold up the sale of ASC’s subsidiary, ASC Utah, to Talisker, pending resolution of the claims made by Vail in the litigation it brought to challenge the sale.

ASC Utah operates The Canyons, which is ASC’s sole remaining ski resort asset. ASC also announced that it fully intends to complete the previously announced sale of ASC Utah to Talisker, subject to certain conditions and consents.

The Canyons, Utah’s largest winter resort, will operate as planned and is slated to open for the winter season on November 17. ASC presently anticipates that the closing of its sale of The Canyons will take place in the 4th calendar quarter of 2007.

Vail officials say they are disappointed but are not giving up.

"While we remain interested in The Canyons resort and are disappointed in the outcome of the preliminary injunction hearing, we respect the court’s decision," Vail Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz said in a press release. "We will continue to pursue our legal rights related to this matter."

Since Aug. 1, Vail Resorts has spent about $2 million on the litigation, Vail’s press release states.

The judge reportedly states in his decision that Vail could still seek relief for its claims through its lawsuit that names Talisker Corp., the Peninsula Advisors investment firm and American Skiing Co. as defendants.

At issue was whether the preliminary injunction should have prevented American Skiing Co. from selling The Canyons to Empire Pass developer Talisker Corp. ASC announced in July that Talisker agreed to buy The Canyons for $100 million.

Vail Resorts Inc., which subsequently offered ASC more than $110 million for The Canyons, sought to stop the sale, claiming Talisker chief Jack Bistricer conspired with Peninsula Advisors to scuttle an earlier deal between American Skiing Company and Vail.

With the most recent court ruling in hand, American Skiing Company intends to finalize the sale of The Canyons to Talisker Corp.

"As a party that has not been accused of any wrongdoing in this matter, we are very pleased with the district court’s decision to allow the sale of The Canyons to go forward," ASC attorney Foster Stewart said in the press release. "We will continue to work closely with Talisker to satisfy all remaining conditions to the closing of our sale."

The Canyons is operated on land leased to American Skiing Company by Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold who says ASC must obtain his consent before it can transfer the lease to another owner. Griswold, who prefers Vail, says he will not permit American Skiing Company to sell the resort to Talisker Corp. because the Toronto-based development firm lacks experience operating ski resorts.


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