Intrawest sells Panorama to Kootenay consortium 


Intrawest has sold Panorama Resort to a consortium of Kootenay homeowners and businesspeople.

The sale, announced in a Jan. 28 release, includes all of the resort's mountain and Nordic ski operations as well as a 50 per cent stake in Greywolf Golf Course, which is located in alpine terrain at Panorama. It's been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 Courses in the World Outside the United States.

Rick Jensen, founder of Cranbrook-based company New Dawn Developments, is leading the investors under the moniker Panorama Mountain Village Inc. Formerly a three-term mayor of Cranbrook, Jensen's company built 54 recreation residences at Panorama starting in 2001.

New Dawn Developments, which is now co-owned by Jensen's son Chad, has built projects in other resorts such as Kimberley and Fernie and has built over 600 homes in towns such as Sparwood, Castlegar and Golden.

"Intrawest did a fantastic job of advancing Panorama from a local ski hill to a destination resort," Rick Jensen said in a prepared statement.

"They expanded the terrain and snow-making capability, extended the facilities, accommodations and residential development, installed three new quad chairlifts, built Greywolf Golf Course with a partner and used strong marketing to connect with skiers around the world."

The news release announcing the sale states that business is continuing as usual at Panorama. All of Intrawest's commercial operations and units in Panorama Village, as well as land available for real estate development have been transferred to the new owners.

Intrawest's creditors announced last week their equity in the company would go up for auction on Feb. 19 after they could not come to agreement on refinancing with parent company Fortress Investment Group. Panorama is the second ski resort sold by Intrawest in the last few months. Copper Mountain was sold to Utah-based Powdr Corp. last fall.

Intrawest owns eight other ski resorts, including Whistler Blackcomb, as well as heli-skiing operator CMH and some warm-weather resorts.

The Feb. 19 auction could be averted if Intrawest files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which would allow for a reorganization of the company.

Eric Whittle, a spokesman for Panorama, said the resort could be handed over to its new owners as early as February but he could not confirm whether it would happen before the auction date.



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