Ski industry sees another big consolidation with Aspen deal

Getty Images              Intrawest owns or operates six mountain resorts

Getty Images Intrawest owns or operates six mountain resorts

The purchase also means that Aspen Skiing Co. now owns the world's largest heli-skiing operator.

"This transaction creates significant opportunity for Intrawest and delivers tremendous value to our current shareholders", Thomas Marano, Intrawest's chief executive officer, said in a press release.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is now owned by KSL, and will be lumped into the new Aspen Skiing Co./KSL Capital Partners entity with the other involved resorts.

Intrawest, best known for ski properties include Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Mont Tremblant in Quebec and Steamboat in Colorado, had total long-term debt of US$536.8 million as of December 31, according to the latest quarterly filing.

Aspen Skiing Co. will continue to offer its Max Pass, which offers just a couple days at 44 resorts spanning North America, from Taos, New Mexico, to Mont-Sainte-Anne near Quebec City Canada.

Aspen Skiing Co. owns and runs Aspen Snowmass, which has four mountains - Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.

The deal will transfer ownership of resorts such as Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado and Stratton in Vermont-worth approximately $1.5 billion, with each share coming in at $23.75 cash.

And there is a Steamboat/Squaw connection in the persona of former Intrawest and Steamboat Ski Area marketing executive Andy Wirth, who is intimately familiar with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. business model.

The company that owns Blue Mountain Resort is set to be acquired by a new group. In exchange, Intrawest would develop and sell village-based real estate around the ski area.

The agreement was unanimously approved by the Intrawest board of directors, according to the announcement, the acquisition is expected to close before 2017-18 ski season, provided closing conditions that include regulatory approvals are met. KSL already owns Squaw and helps manage Snowmass.

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