Liftopia not backing down in bankruptcy action led by Skico | AspenTimes.com
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Liftopia not backing down in bankruptcy action led by Skico

An online ski-ticket broker filed court documents Thursday disputing an attempt by Aspen Skiing Co. and other ski-area operators to force it into bankruptcy.

In written motions to dismiss the case, attorneys for San Francisco-based Liftopia argued that the amounts Skico and its fellow petitioners claim they are owed — $3 million in all — “are inflated and Liftopia rightly disputes all of them.”

Liftopia’s arguments marked the company’s initial response to an involuntary-bankruptcy petition filed against it June 2 by Skico and other creditors.

Skico joined the petition as managing member of the Mountain Collective pass, which Liftopia had sold since 2012. Skico said it has cut ties with Liftopia, and its $2.38 million claim against Liftopia is the largest amount listed in the involuntary bankruptcy filing, which was made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco.

The other creditors are Alterra (with a claim for $63,723), Cypress Bowl Recreations ($395,424) and Araphoe Basin ($175,704).

Creditors can petition the court to force a debtor into bankruptcy if they can’t get paid, by filing what’s called an involuntary petition. In a statement regarding the petition after its filing, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the company tried unsuccessfully to resolve the matter with Liftopia, leading it to join the other petitioners. Skico claims Liftopia owes it the money for sales of the Mountain Collective pass.

“Without assurances that its debts were generally being paid currently, could be paid in the future, and in the absence of any concrete plan for ensuring that the business could ultimately satisfy its debts and function as an ongoing concern outside of Chapter 11, we felt we had no choice but to take the steps we did to protect the interests of all of Liftopia’s creditors, most directly, those of the Mountain Collective member resorts,” Hanle said.

Liftopia’s motion countered that Skico and others have failed to meet certain criteria necessary to force the company, which started in 2005 with an approach toward selling lift tickets similar to what Expedia does with airline tickets, into Chapter 11. Among Liftopia’s arguments is that bankruptcy law says there cannot be “a bona fide dispute” between the creditors and debtor over the amount owed, if an involuntary bankruptcy is to proceed. But the creditors overstated their claims by $86,000, which should essentially disqualify their petition, the motion argued.

“The Petitioning Creditors listed claim amounts that are wrong because, among other things, they failed (a) to calculate their share of actual pass and ticket revenue accurately, (b) to account for cancellations, chargebacks, advance purchase, no-show and loyalty program participation policies, and partial and full credits, and/or (c) to incorporate other adjustments to their share of revenue properly,” the motion said.

Skico, as the managing member of Mountain Collective, sold the pass through Liftopia since 2012 until this year’s breakup. For the pending 2020-21 season, the Mountain Collective will entitle holders access to 23 resorts. The pass provides access to two days on the slopes of each destination; Aspen-Snowmass counts as one destination.

A hearing on the dispute is tentatively scheduled July 30, according to court documents.

rcarroll@aspetimes.com


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