Copper Mountain sale completed 

Intrawest said to be in talks with lenders as payment comes due

Vancouver-based Intrawest completed the sale of Copper Mountain Resort to Utah-based Powdr Corp last week but according to newspaper reports the company was in talks with lenders this week about its debt repayment.

Bloomberg reported that a $524 million payment was due Wednesday after a 60-day extension was granted by lenders on Oct. 23.

Fortress Investment Group LLC, paid $1.8 billion to acquire Intrawest in 2006 and assumed nearly $1 billion in debt with the acquisition.

Last year Fortress scrambled to refinance the debt. Payment on that refinancing deal - a $1.4 billion loan - came due in October, but according to Bloomberg a 60-day extension was granted.

Bloomberg cited two people with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because the loan terms are private.

The sale of Copper Mountain in Colorado, believed to be for approximately $100 million, should help with the loan payment but won't cover all of it.

Intrawest, which owns nine mountain resorts in North America, recently sold two of its resorts in France. Other properties have also been suggested as candidates for sale.

According to an August letter to investors, Fortress said Intrawest was then valued at $721 million.

Intrawest's financial problems are not expected to impact Whistler Blackcomb's operations or the 2010 Olympics.

"Intrawest is generating strong cash flow from its resorts, is well capitalized and core ski operations are off to a very good start this season," Intrawest CEO Bill Jensen said in a statement.

The sale of Copper, which was announced in November, was subject to regulatory approvals as well as a new permit to operate from the U.S. Forest Service.

Copper Mountain is about 115 km west of Denver and has roughly 2,465 acres of terrain surrounding a pedestrian village and 22 lifts.

Intrawest acquired Copper Mountain in 1997 as part of a string of ski resort acquisitions in the mid-90s that included Stratton Mountain, Snowshoe Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and, most famously, Whistler Mountain. Soon after acquiring Copper, Intrawest gave the resort the "Intrawest treatment" by constructing a pedestrian village designed by Eldon Beck, who also designed the layout for Whistler Village.

Powdr Corp currently owns Park City Mountain Resort, Mt. Bachelor Resort in Oregon, Boreal Ski Resort and Soda Springs in California, Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in Nevada, and both Killington and Pico resorts in Vermont.

Meanwhile, Intrawest announced Monday that Patrice Malo has been promoted to president and chief operating officer at Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

Malo will assume responsibility for all aspects of resort operations, real estate and community relations at Tremblant. He will report directly to Bill Jensen, CEO of Intrawest.

Malo began his career at Tremblant in 1993 as a financial analyst. He has served as director of finance, vice president of finance and vice president of lodging.

Roger McCarthy had been serving as interim president of Tremblant.



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