Resorts of the Canadian Rockies files for protection 

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies is selling some of its properties after filing for protection from its creditors on March 9.

The private company, owned by entrepreneur Charlie Locke, owns eight ski hills in British Colombia, Alberta and Quebec. Over the past four years it has expanded rapidly, buying the Kimberley and Fernie resorts as well as Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham in Quebec.

"It’s been a slower than usual start to the ski season and our cash flow hasn’t met our expectations," Locke told the Calgary Herald. "Another key component is with the present economy a lot of lenders that normally lend to the ski industry are tightening up."

Locke’s resort acquisitions and real estate expansions had put his company in heavy debt, owing $148 million according to The Herald . As well, CBC Radio reported that a late start to the ski season hurt the company's cash flow, and the American bank that used to lend money to ski hills has merged with one that doesn't.

However, Locke maintains all his properties are profitable, even during the current season.

By applying for protection, the company’s creditors cannot force it into bankruptcy or stop supplying it without the consent of the court.

Locke said he’d taken the step "to ensure it’s business as usual, that the wheels keep turning and that there’s zero or minimal impact on our customers."

None of the company’s employees, around 2,000 at peak season, are expected to lose their jobs. However, buyers are being sought for several assets including a golf course, hotels and several small ski hills.

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies is likely to retain ownership of Fernie, Kimberley and Lake Louise. Locke also wants to keep a stake in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham.

Ski areas Resorts of the Canadian Rockies will likely offer for sale include Fortress, in Kananaskis Park, and Wintergreen near Bragg Creek in Alberta. The company also operates Nakiska, the ski area owned by the province which hosted alpine events at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

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