Reactions mixed on sale

Some residents optimistic

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— Nancy Cameron has lived in Steamboat Springs long enough 14 years not to be shocked by developments in the ski industry.

"I'm not surprised," Cameron said when she heard that American Skiing Company has decided to sell the Steamboat Ski Area and its related assets.

"These are the second owners since the original ones, and it's just not the same investment as the original owners."

Cameron said she hoped the new owner would be more local-friendly, although she did appreciate the children's programs on the mountain during ski season.

"But there's not much available for adults," said Erin Jacobsen, a 2-year resident. "I used to ski, but now it's so expensive."

Scott Campbell, a Realtor at Century 21 Ski Town Associates, said the American Skiing Company's financial problems have negatively affected area businesses. He said the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, one of American Skiing's Steamboat assets, had low occupancy and responded by drastically discounting rates. That, he said, hurt condominium rentals.

"I'm glad they're (selling) it," Campbell said. "A good buyer with some money should stimulate things."

The Steamboat Ski Area is the largest employer in Routt County with more than 1,000 workers during the height of ski season. But for those uninterested in ownership issues, life went on.

"I don't understand much of it, I don't even know who owned it," said Bernie Malburg, who has lived in Steamboat for two years, but has spent more than 25 years in the surrounding area. "It's probably going to have some impact, but I don't know if it's good or bad."

Mike Herrick, 20, stepped into his handiwork, a newly-painted batter's box at Emerald Park. He has been in Steamboat less than a year.

"One's as good as another I guess, unless something changes up in the mountains, like the runs," said Herrick, who snowboards in the area. "Maybe that's something that will affect me."

Fred Garrison, who has lived in Steamboat for seven years, but has been coming to town since 1965 said he felt American Skiing spent too much time and investment developing its properties in The Canyons, a relatively new resort in Park City, Utah. He said he is optimistic a new owner will take greater interest in Steamboat.

"They didn't do a whole lot for Hayden," said Safeway Head Clerk Eva Gibbon, as she tagged soda prices in aisle 8. Gibbon is a 20-year Hayden resident. "Maybe we'll get someone that's a little friendlier, a little more community-oriented."

Charlie Betz is another of those who is optimistic of new ownership.

"Maybe somebody with a lot of money will buy it," said Betz, a 10-year resident. "And maybe my stock will go up."

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