A pair of Copper Mountain staff members keep an eye on early season skiers Tuesday afternoon.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

A pair of Copper Mountain staff members keep an eye on early season skiers Tuesday afternoon.

Copper Mountain to sell

Intrawest enters deal with Utah-based Powdr Corp., passes will be honored

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A skier and a snowboarder ride the American Eagle chairlift Tuesday at Copper Mountain.

— Copper Mountain will be sold to Powdr Corp., according to a news release Intrawest issued Tuesday.

Vancouver, B.C.-based Intrawest, the parent company of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., currently owns the resort on Interstate 70 west of Silverthorne.

Intrawest said in the release that it expects the transaction to close in December. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals including a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. Intrawest and Powdr, based in Park City, Utah, are privately held companies, so the price of the sale was not disclosed, Intrawest spokesman Ian Galbraith wrote in an e-mail. He said he could not say how long the deal had been in the works or whether other entities had expressed interest in buying Copper.

Galbraith and the news release stressed that nothing would change for Intrawest resorts this winter.

“This winter season it is business as usual at Copper Mountain,” the release stated. Powdr and Intrawest “have committed to work together” to make sure that all season passes, vacation reservations and joint marketing initiatives will be honored for the 2009-10 season.

That means skiers and snowboarders with any product in the Rocky Mountain Super Pass suite will keep their Copper Mountain privileges. The Rocky Mountain Super Pass allows unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park, and the Super Pass Plus includes six days at Steamboat.

Similar passes also are available for military members and college students.

Steamboat residents are eligible to buy the Rocky Mountain Ultimate Pass, which consists of unlimited skiing at Steamboat, Copper and Winter Park. Intrawest operates Winter Park, which is scheduled to open today for its 70th season.

Andy Wirth, Ski Corp. senior vice president of sales and marketing, said Tuesday that he could speak about the sale of Copper only in terms of those pass products.

“The near term is that the work that’s been done so far is exhaustive to ensure that this announcement today, with the assumption that the deal closes, is absolutely seamless to the customer, to the guest,” he said.

That includes Front Range and Steamboat Springs pass holders, Wirth said. It also means that nothing will change for people who haven’t yet bought a pass this season but choose to buy one that includes Copper.

Wirth said he couldn’t speculate about how those two- and three-mountain passes would change for the 2010-11 season.

“Based on the information we have right now, we aren’t necessarily suggesting that Copper would be removed,” he said.

Steamboat’s Ultimate Pass holders visit Copper Mountain and Winter Park about equally, Wirth said.

“Copper Mountain and Winter Park are immensely popular resorts down on the Front Range of Colorado, so Steamboat has most certainly benefited from being associated with Winter Park and Copper,” he said.

Demand for those super pass products outpaced expectations, Wirth said. He also noted that Steamboat is on pace to have half the rooms booked for the ski season by the end of this week. That means Steamboat will have half the number of total rooms booked in the 2008-09 season accounted for this week, Wirth said.

Last year, half the season’s rooms were booked by mid-December, he said.

“It’d be fair to say we’re a full month ahead of this time last year,” Wirth said.

Vacation packages, passes and lift tickets for Steamboat, Copper and Winter Park will continue to be available at www.skicolorado.com.

According to the news release, Powdr Corp. owns and operates seven resorts: Park City Mountain Resort in Park City; Killington Resort and Pico Resort in Killington, Vt.; Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore.; Boreal Resort and Soda Springs Resort, both in Donner Summit, Calif.; and Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort outside of Las Vegas. Powdr Corp also operates Gorgoza Park, a lift-served tubing park, in Park City.

— To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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