Friday, March 10, 2006

Steamboat Ski area in play?

Not that this is anything new but the stories are becoming more persistant and the sources more credible. The sale of Crested Butte ski area was a huge boost for the resort and local real estate prices so one has to wonder how this would play out for Steamboat. Most people think a new owner of the ski area would be a huge plus for the experience on the mountain

It's no secret that American Skiing is not in the best financial condition. A few years ago they had a contract to sell Stemaboat to the owners of Okemo and left them waiting at the closing table while they sold Heavenly to Vail Resorts instead. Several parties have good reasons to buy Steamboat including groups with a large stake in the base area redevelopment, the group from Cincinati that bought the Alpine land parcel last spring and a couple of groups out of Chicago. That said the Steamboat Ski Area is a strong performer with a valuable franchise in the ski industry. Players like Intrawest who bid last time would definately give this one a look.

The base area is on the verge of being redeveloped and the demographics over the next 20 years are strong. The remaining inventory at the Steamboat Grand is expected to be auctioned off which will remove a large uncertainly that could make many buyers uncomfortable. Without getting into all of the details there are many reasons people without strong existing ties to the area would be interested.

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