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The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. finally has new owners

— As expected, a group of investors led by Tim and Diane Mueller will purchase Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., American Skiing Co.
announced Friday.
Triple Peaks LLC has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the resort.
The Muellers, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, put together Triple Peaks LLC in anticipation of acquiring Steamboat. In addition to Okemo, the Muellers operate Mount Sunapee Ski Area in Newbury, N.H., which they lease from the state of New Hampshire. Triple Peaks will oversee all three ski areas.
American Skiing Co. has been trying to sell Steamboat since last May as a means of alleviating the enormous debt the company has encumbered. The Muellers entered into a non-binding agreement to purchase the resort in November; however, it took longer than expected to finalize the deal.
“This is probably the right amount of time for a deal like this, but
(American Skiing) was under some time pressure,” Tim Mueller said Friday morning. “Six months is not a long time for a deal this complicated.”
Triple Peaks will pay $91.4 million for the resort and associated real
estate. The Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and Conference Center is not included in the transaction.
Tim Mueller has said he is working with a consortium of banks to finance the Steamboat purchase. Key Bank of Cleveland is the lead lender, he said.
Others include Fleet, and Banknorth Group.
The Muellers have personal ties to Colorado and Steamboat Springs. Tim Mueller spent part of his childhood in Littleton and the Muellers were among the original investors in Steamboat’s Catamount Ranch and Club.
“It is with great excitement we look forward to our involvement at Steamboat and in the community of Steamboat Springs,” said Tim Mueller. “We see Triple
Peaks LLC as a unique opportunity to offer three of the country’s finest
resorts to our family of skiers and riders while building on our values of
tradition, heritage and community.”
The Muellers will acquire one of the premier ski resorts in the country.
Steamboat includes 25 lifts and 142 trails spread over 2,939 acres.
Steamboat records more than 1 million skier visits annually.
American Skiing, which has seen its stock plummet to as low as 42 cents a share this week and which has been threatened with being de-listed by the New York Stock Exchange, desperately sought to sell Steamboat as part of its restructuring plan. The company had hoped to seal the deal before the end of 2001, and blamed tightening financial markets related to the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks for the delays.
“The sale of Steamboat is a fundamental component of the restructuring plan for the company,” said B.J. Fair, president and CEO of American Skiing. “The closing of this sale will be a major milestone, will significantly reduce our debt and allow us to focus on our core business going forward.”
Despite the difficulty the Muellers ran into putting together the financing
for Steamboat, Tim Mueller said the new owners are committed to investing in the ski area right away.
“The capital structure of the company is conservative in terms of equity to debt,” he said. “We’ve built $10 million of capital into Steamboat in the
first two years. We think that should be an adequate amount.”


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