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Major ski area to be visited by potential buyers this week

Steamboat Springs Ski Resort could be under new ownership in five weeks, owners say

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) It’s an open house of a different sort.

Steamboat Springs Ski Resort executives are awaiting visits from potential buyers of one of Colorado’s busiest resorts.

Chris Diamond, president of the resort, and a handful of his vice presidents and managers spent a good part of last week preparing for their guests.

American Skiing Co., parent of the Steamboat Ski Area, announced in May it intended to sell Steamboat as part of its corporate and financial restructuring. The company’s ambitious expansion plan ran into difficulty partly due to several below-average ski seasons.

Diamond said he believes the resort could have a new owner within five weeks. Several major resort companies are known to be interested.

“Over the next couple of weeks these groups will come into town,” Diamond said. “They’ll be given a fairly structured, informative presentation. They will go on tours and then there will be a question-and-answer session.”

Diamond would not name the companies or interested parties sending representatives to Steamboat, nor would he say how many different groups are expected.

If the sale process continues to stay on schedule, Diamond said a “definitive purchase and sale agreement” should be in place by September and the “contender” will be known. That would allow a couple of months for the sale to close before the end of the year.

American Skiing Co. spokesman Skip King would say only that company officials are happy with the process thus far.

“We continue to be pleased by the number and quality of interested buyers,” King repeated.

American Skiing hired the investment banking firm Credit Suisse First Boston to act as its agent in the sale and prequalify buyers.