Utah ski resort changes hands for $100 million | AspenTimes.com

Utah ski resort changes hands for $100 million

Paul Foy
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

PARK CITY, Utah ” American Skiing Co., a once high-flying company in a risky, weather-dependent business, has sold its final resort and will dissolve.

The company sold its flagship resort, The Canyons, for $123 million on Monday to a subsidiary of Toronto-based resort operator Talisker Corp., according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

American Skiing owned as many as 10 ski areas as recently as 2001. It previously sold Maine’s two largest ski areas, Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA.

American Skiing’s board, which includes Oak Hill Capital Partners, realized the exceptional value the company could get for the ski areas when it got a $265 million offer on Colorado’s Steamboat Springs, a smaller but more popular resort than The Canyons.

Canadian resort operator Intrawest Corp. bought Steamboat in March 2007.

American Skiing also unloaded Mount Snow, Killington and Pico in Vermont, Attitash in New Hampshire and California’s Heavenly Mountain Resort.

In all, American Skiing raised about $600 million by selling the resorts, using the money to pay off debt and compensate preferred shareholders who pushed for the liquidation, Fair said.

“It was the right thing to do for the owners of the company,” he said Tuesday.

Fair, 45, said he expects to be unemployed after taking several more months to wind down corporate affairs. The Canyons management staff will remain with Talisker, he said.

The Canyons is Talisker’s first ski resort. The company has invested heavily in lodging at Deer Valley, another Park City resort. It became owner of land and mineral rights at Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort, which are operated by separate companies, when it bought United Park City Mines in 2003.

The Canyons bills itself Utah’s largest ski resort, but only for lift-accessible terrain.

At 5,500 acres, Powder Mountain, 19 miles northeast of Ogden, claims to be the largest U.S. ski area. Skiers, however, can reach only about half of those acres by coasting from the top of one of Powder Mountain’s lifts. The rest of the terrain involves climbing or shuffling along mountain ridges.

Talisker chairman Jack Bistricer, who announced his company’s purchase of The Canyons in a statement Monday, didn’t return a call from The Associated Press. Other Talisker executives were said to be unavailable.

A subsidiary, Talisker Canyons Finance Co. LLC, was listed on SEC documents as new owner of The Canyons.

Talisker offered $100 million for the resort last July, but Fair said recent capital improvements, additional water rights and interest expenses raised the price.

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