Legal ad: Auction set for Intrawest |

Legal ad: Auction set for Intrawest

Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Byron Hetzler / Sky-Hi Daily News

Lenders plan to auction their stake in resort company Intrawest during next month’s Winter Olympics at Intrawest’s flagship Whistler Blackcomb resort.

An ad in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal announced a public auction of Intrawest’s debt, which covers the resort company’s properties – including Steamboat ski area and a 50-year contract with the city of Denver to operate Winter Park ski area.

The Feb. 19 auction falls in the middle of the Winter Olympics, for which Intrawest’s Whistler Blackcomb is hosting several alpine skiing events.

Intrawest’s corporate owner, New York hedge fund Fortress Investment Group, last fall missed a $524 million payment on a $1.4 billion debt. Since then, the fund has been negotiating with its lenders – reportedly the defunct Lehman Bros. and hedge fund Davidson Kempner.

Fortress acquired British Columbia-based Intrawest in 2006 in a leveraged buyout worth $2.8 billion. In early 2007, the company bought Steamboat ski area for $239 million. Last month, Intrawest completed the sale of its Copper Mountain ski area to Utah’s Powdr Corp. for an undisclosed amount.

Tuesday’s legal notice in The Journal announced that Wilmington Trust FSB would auction “100 percent of the limited liability company membership interests in Intrawest Holdings.”

“Purchase of the membership interests of Intrawest Holdings would result in the indirect ownership of certain real property and equity interests,” read the notice, which listed Steamboat and Winter Park among the holdings.

The city of Denver in 2002 signed a 50-year deal with Intrawest for the operation and development of the city-owned Winter Park ski area. The city and the Winter Park Recreational Association have watched Intrawest’s financial negotiations with lenders.

“We are confident there will be no impact on the operation of the resort,” said city chief financial officer Claude Pumilia. “Intrawest doesn’t own Winter Park. There is no risk whatsoever of the city losing the resort.”

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