Steamboat Ski Area back on the market |

Steamboat Ski Area back on the market


STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Five years after American Skiing Company last hung a For sale sign on the Steamboat Ski Area, its on the market again.American Skiing Co. officials confirmed today they have retained the investment banking firm Bear Stearns & Company to market the sale of the Steamboat Ski Area. The ski area is one of eight owned by the publicly traded company that is based in Park City, Utah.American Skiing Company is coming off its second straight record year, which has created a number of opportunities for us to pursue, American Skiing Company CEO B.J. Fair said in a news release. Given current positive market conditions and Steamboats outstanding performance, the board of directors has decided to review potential alternatives with respect to Steamboat and engage financial advisors to assist in that process.Our intent is to drive the maximum value for the companys shareholders.Fair was in Steamboat on Friday to share the news with Steamboat employees.The company last sought to sell Steamboat as part of the financial reorganization of debt-straddled American Skiing Company in May 2001. The sale to Triple Peaks LLC for $91.4 million was scheduled to go through in March 2002, but American Skiing Company backed out at the last minute. Instead of selling Steamboat to a group led by Tim and Diane Mueller of Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt., American Skiing Company opted to sell Heavenly Mountain Resort in California to Vail Resorts.The abandoned deal led to a lawsuit, which was finally settled for cash in July 2004. The terms of the settlement give the Muellers 30 days to take part in exclusive negotiations with American Skiing Company for the purchase of the Steamboat Ski Area.Tim Mueller said Friday he and his wife had not determined whether they were interested in pursuing a purchase of Steamboat a second time around.If we decide were interested, well be serious, he said.The clock is ticking on the 30 days, but the Muellers have not reviewed current financials.The price, Im sure, is much different, he said. Everything is different.The Muellers purchased Crested Butte Mountain Resort in the spring of 2004, and are in the midst of aggressive expansion plans. The sole investors in Crested Butte Mountain Resort, they are building a new base village and exploring a ski terrain expansion.Mueller said the events surrounding the last sale contract do not color his outlook on Steamboat.What happened four years ago happened four years ago, Mueller said. Its a whole new deal, and we would approach it with a fresh attitude and fresh eyes, should we go forward.This story courtesy of Steamboat Pilot & Today. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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