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Two more ski resorts are up for sale

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

With sale of its Mount Snow and Attitash ski resorts Park City-based American Skiing Company hopes to pay off debt in the millions of dollars.

This week the publicly traded company announced that pending approval from shareholders, Peak Resorts Inc., might buy the two eastern resorts for a combined $73.5 million.

"We’ve worked very hard to ensure that the full potential and value of each of our resorts is realized," said William J. Fair, president and chief executive officer of American Skiing Co. "Under the existing circumstances and market conditions, this means contemplating the sale of certain of our resort assets, as we’ve planned with Steamboat and now Mount Snow and Attitash."

American Skiing announced last December that a sale is pending of its flagship Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for $265 million to Intrawest ULC.

"It’s pretty obvious for those who follow this industry that these are transactions of opportunity," American Skiing Company’s Investor Relations Director Dave Hirasawa said Friday. "We’ve worked very, very hard over the last number of years to increase the value of these resorts."

American Skiing Company would still own five North American ski resorts, including The Canyons, if the three sales are finalized.

The deal with Peak Resorts should close by April 30, American Skiing Company spokesman Chip Carey said.

"It’s a definitive agreement, so it’s pretty solid," Carey said. "We don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t happen that quickly."

Included in the sale of Mount Snow in Vermont and New Hampshire’s Attitash are the commercial cores of the Grand Summit hotels located at each resort, said Carey, who adds that Peak Resorts would assume $2 million in debt and other liabilities.

A major American Skiing Company stockholder with almost 66 percent of the shares entitled to vote on the transaction has reportedly approved the deal.

"Such approval means the transaction may be approved without a meeting of the company’s stockholders," according to a press release from American Skiing.

The deal also is subject to approval by the U.S. Forest Service.

"The best thing for our company was to take advantage of the value we had in these two resorts," Carey said.

Mount Snow in 2006 was the fifth most visited resort in the eastern U.S., the press release states.

"We’ve come a long way," Hirasawa said. "The announcement of this sale and the announcement of the Steamboat sale is indicative of progress we’ve made."

"Just five, six years ago, this was a task and an objective that many of our critics didn’t think we’d be able to do," he added.


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