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Intrawest purchase of Steamboat finalized

Clears regulatory hurdles

By Andrew Mitchell

Intrawest’s bid to purchase Steamboat Ski Resort got the final thumbs up March 1 from regulatory bodies and stakeholders, expanding Intrawest’s holdings in the Colorado Rockies. With the acquisition, Intrawest’s portfolio in that state now includes Steamboat, Copper Mountain and management of Winter Park.

The sale was first announced in December. At the time Steamboat was courting several purchasers, none of which could match Intrawest’s bid of $265 million.

As well as being one of Colorado’s biggest resorts, Intrawest’s purchase of Steamboat includes access to fee-owned real estate, some development rights, 13 dining venues, and the management of the four diamond Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

“Steamboat’s heritage and legendary terrain complement our existing portfolio of world-class mountain resorts,” said Alex Wasilov, president and CEO of Intrawest. “This acquisition increases our capacity to reach new customers and represents a significant step for Intrawest in our strategy to become the undisputed world leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts.”

According to David Barry, CEO of Intrawest Mountain Resorts, United States, Intrawest will work closely with Steamboat management to ensure a smooth transition.

“Steamboat’s success is a direct result of the combination of the experience and dedication of the management team led by Chris Diamond, a loyal employee base, a supportive community and access to some of North America’s most legendary terrain,” he said.

“To ensure a successful integration we will work closely with the entire Steamboat team to build strong ties with resort customers as well as the local community to support and protect the Yampa Valley’s unique culture, traditions and the Steamboat Brand.”

The purchase was Intrawest’s first since the company acquired 50 per cent of Ontario’s Blue Mountain in 1999.

Intrawest was itself purchased in the fall of 2006 by Fortress Investment Group, which went public in January.

American Skiing Company bought Steamboat and Heavenly ski resorts for $288.3 million in 1997, shortly afterwards selling Heavenly to Vail Resorts for $96 million.

Steamboat boasts six peaks, 20 lifts and 3,490 acres of skiable terrain, and a vertical rise of nearly 1,200 metres. The base elevation is at 2,103 metres (close to 7,000 feet), ensuring consistent snow.

The town of Steamboat Springs is also a destination in its own right with numerous festivals throughout the winter, and more current and former winter Olympians than any other town in the U.S.