Killington is sold to POWDR Corp.
POWDR Corp., owner of Park City Mountain Resort, is buying two ski areas from Park City-based American Skiing Company, but not the one that is right next door.
In a surprise move Tuesday, American Skiing, which owns The Canyons, revealed that it has agreed to sell two Vermont resorts, Killington and Pico Mountain, to POWDR and SP Land Company LLC for $83.5 million.
It is POWDR’s first acquisition in the East and, on the heels of last week’s news that American Skiing is also selling its Attitash and Mount Snow resorts the deal represents a major downsizing of ASC’s holdings.
The sale of Killington and Pico Mountain near Rutland, Vt., would leave the publicly traded American Skiing Company owning three U.S. resorts, including The Canyons in Park City and Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA in Maine.
Killington is New England’s largest ski resort consisting of 1,200 skiable acres serviced by 33 lifts. Situated adjacent to Killington, Pico Mountain has about 50 trails on more than 200 acres of terrain.
POWDR Corp. currently owns six resorts including Park City and Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore.
American Skiing stock, in the wake of news the company also plans to sell its Attitash resort in New Hampshire and Mount Snow in Vermont for $73.5 million was trading at 37 cents per share Tuesday on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board.
"It’s a little bit all over the map," American Skiing Company Investor Relations Director Dave Hirasawa said about the number of shares recently traded.
But American Skiing Company isn’t currently planning to sell The Canyons, Hirasawa insisted.
The surprise announcement that American Skiing sold Killington brought cheers from some.
Killington Town Manager David Lewis says, "Killington has not seen any expansion, new lifts, trails or major infrastructure improvements for quite some time. It is not positioned where it should be, nor where it was 15 years ago."
"We’re hopeful that the new owners will put some new energy and some more money into the area and hopefully start to get some of the old excitement back it can’t be much worse than what we’ve had the last decade with ASC," Lewis added.
With other resorts in Vermont experiencing economic boons even when snowfall was scant, Lewis claims profits from Killington were used to service debt and expand The Canyons, where American Skiing Co. is currently entwined in a bitter lease battle with its landlord Kenny Griswold.
"[ASC was] unwilling to put any money into the area or put any money into the resort and that’s led to a real stagnation at [Killington]," Lewis said. "There is no question that because of the lack of activity at Killington over the past decade or so, the market share has not been as good as it should have and the related businesses have not done quite as well as they should have."
Speaking about the deal in a press release, POWDR Corp. President John Cumming said, "Killington is an exceptional mountain, and should be viewed nationally as one of the top 10 resorts in the country."
With the purchase, POWDR Corp. with SP Land Company would assume $5 million in debt from American Skiing Company, according to forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The folks at POWDR are very financially savvy and if you look at their history, they’ve never bit off more than they can chew before," said Mark Fischer, a spokesman for POWDR Corp. "They’re very comfortable with the terms of the transaction and in their ability to maintain and run the rest of their resorts as they have been."
With the purchase, SP Land Company also acquires the assets of Killington Ltd., and Pico Ski Area Management Company, after cooperating to develop real estate at Killington since 2004.
Proceeds from the sale expected to close April 30 should reduce American Skiing Company’s debt and help fund resort improvements, according to William J. Fair, ASC’s president and chief executive officer.
"With the recent announced sales of Steamboat, Mount Snow, Attitash, and now Killington and Pico, American Skiing Company is clearly in transition," Fair said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
But American Skiing Company spokesman Chip Carey rejects claims the company ignored Killington.
"This year we’ve actually seen a surge in market share because of Killington’s dominance in the snowmaking arena," Carey said.
American Skiing invested significantly in infrastructure used for making snow at Killington, he added.
"Sometimes the projects aren’t all the big bells and whistles," Carey said. "Killington made its name with snowmaking."
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