There have been many comments in the media recently, targeted at discrediting American Skiing Company (ASC) and The Canyons in our dispute with Wolf Mountain. Many of those volleys in the press have been unfair and untrue, so we at ASC and The Canyons take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Mr. Griswold, of Wolf Mountain, has stated that ASC is in a state of "financial desperation" and "continuing default" (Park Record, Aug. 13, 2006). This is simply not true. Mr. Griswold should know better than to make such claims; he has cashed many of our checks (in the past nine years, we have made approximately $60 million in payments to, or on behalf of, Mr. Griswold and Wolf Mountain).
During our ownership and operation of The Canyons, we have increased skier visits 367 percent and more than doubled the size of skiable terrain at the resort.
Perhaps we have been so successful because amidst the "desperation," we had resources to add four-diamond lodging, new facilities, lifts and expanded terrain. Third-party projects near completion, such as Silverado and Escala, continue this positive trend, as does the approximately $10 million in capital improvements this summer at The Canyons. The new Dreamcatcher lift will access prime intermediate and expert terrain on the resort’s southern edge. Remodeled facilities at Red Pine and new Tombstone six-pack are also aimed at improving the guest experience. All these improvements have the blessings of our financial sponsors and lenders, with whom we continue to enjoy excellent relations.
Mr. Griswold has also claimed that the mismanagement and financial situation of ASC has led to delays in the golf course construction (Park Record, Aug. 16, 2006). With the meteoric rise in skier visits at The Canyons, revenues and profitability of the resort have followed suit. Since 2002, the year in which we welcomed the Olympics, revenues at The Canyons have increased 60 percent.
We’ve introduced innovative new products at all resorts, refinanced and extinguished debt, raised levels of capital investment and improved the results of operations. ASC-Utah had set aside its own funds and obtained financing for golf course construction to commence earlier this year.
We, and the other landowners, are waiting for Mr. Griswold to own up to his side of the deal. Apparently, Summit County doesn’t agree with Mr. Griswold’s reasoning either, as the county has taken Wolf to court to compel Wolf to satisfy its obligations to convey its land to ensure construction of the golf course at The Canyons. Only Wolf stands in the way of building a top-notch golf course, which will only add to the resort’s status as a world-class destination.
We do hope that the dispute with Wolf Mountain can be resolved amicably in the near future, and any further finger pointing in the media can be avoided. In this instance, we could not remain silent to let the one party who has arguably benefited most from our operations at The Canyons insult the dedication of our employees.
Our team at ASC and The Canyons has worked tirelessly to transform what was Wolf Mountain into The Canyons. Those who remember the resort from years past understand the reasons for the growth. Terrain. Lifts. Quality lodging. Fantastic employees. All areas have improved. It’s true that ASC did undergo a period of financial difficulty some time ago. However, this is in the past. We have emerged solely focused on improving all of our resorts and continuing to grow The Canyons.
We look forward to welcoming all of you back to The Canyons for another great winter season in just a few short months.
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John White writes in a guest editorial that the No. 1 task for the next president is to regain the trust of the American people.