More than 170 potential bidders lined up to buy Intrawest’s stable of ski areas — revealing a growing appetite for destination resorts. Some were resort operators, but most of the suitors were financial firms and billionaires. It was a combination that won — a partnership that married a veteran operator with a financial player that pulled together the biggest deal in ski resort history.
The operator, Aspen Skiing Co., really only wanted Winter Park, Steamboat and Intrawest’s Canadian Mountain Holidays helicopter skiing operation. The Roaring Fork Valley resort owner offered as much as $1.129 billion for the three properties. The company also offered as much as $878 million in cash for just Winter Park and Steamboat.
But Intrawest wanted to sell the entire company — six resorts in Canada, Colorado, Vermont and West Virginia, 1,113 acres of land, the 12-lodge CMH and a real estate business — in a single transaction.