Intrawest, the parent company of Blackcomb, is still awaiting a U.S. court ruling on Vail Resorts’ merger with Ralcorp Holdings before deciding whether it will pursue a Colorado resort.
Intrawest President Joe Houssian told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver Monday that if the Vail merger is not approved by the American Justice Department Intrawest would "be down there pretty quickly."
U.S. regulators are reviewing the $310 million merger which would see Vail Resorts combine its Vail, Beaver Creek and Arrowhead resorts with Ralcorp Holdings’ Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone resorts. The deal, announced in July, would create the largest mountain resort company in North America, with approximately 5 million skier days and $300 million in annual revenue.
Intrawest, which is involved in a real estate deal with Ralcorp in developing a village at Keystone, is believed to have been eyeing that resort prior to the Vail-Ralcorp announcement, although Intrawest representatives declined comment at the time.
Houssian told shareholders this week much of Intrawest’s future growth will come from acquisitions, but it won’t be easy. He said there are only 20-30 resorts in North America that interest the company and there are other firms such as Vail Resorts and the American Skiing Company prepared to bid for those resorts.
Earlier this year LBO Enterprises, a New England ski area operation, bought S-K-I Ltd. That deal brought 10 New England ski areas under the newly-formed American Skiing Company. However, the Justice Department later ordered the company to sell two of its resorts to forestall anti-trust claims from the perceived domination of the New England ski market.
In addition to Blackcomb, Intrawest owns Panorama in B.C., Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Stratton in Vermont, Snowshoe in West Virginia and one-third of Mammoth in California.
Houssian said Intrawest is beginning to look at non-mountain resorts, including beach resorts and golf resorts. The company is also considering renovating an old Formula One race track near Mont Tremblant for use as an Indy car track.