Local skier totals due soon

Statewide skier numbers expected by Wednesday

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Skier visit totals for the 2004-05 season at the Steamboat Ski Area could be available as soon as June 16.

American Skiing Company spokesman David Hirasawa said Monday the company is about 10 days away from releasing its latest quarterly earnings report. The parent company of the Steamboat Ski Area annually releases visitation totals for each of its eight resorts in the context of its third quarter earnings report.

Colorado Ski Country USA, which is holding its annual meeting in Telluride, is expected to release statewide skier visitation totals this week. However, the association representing 38 of the state's ski areas will not release individual totals.

Steamboat recorded 1,002,821 skier visits during the winter of 2003-04 compared with 1,001,020 in the winter of 2002-03. That represented an increase of 1,801 skier visits, or .18 percent. Steamboat had ranged from 1.001 million to 1.05 million skier visits for 13 of the previous 14 seasons. The exception was the winter of 1996-97, when Steamboat hosted 1.1 million skier visits

Colorado Ski Country released a preliminary skier visit report for the state March 17. At that date, with one-third of the ski season remaining, Colorado skier visits were up 2.3 percent or 178,240 skier visits, year to date. Colorado finished 2003-04 with 11.25 million skier visits, down from 11.6 million the previous winter.

The release of ASC's earnings report last year roughly coincided with Colorado Ski Country's announcement June 9, 2004. This year, the third fiscal quarter started a week later than last year, Hirasawa said.

In an unrelated matter, ASC recently informed the Securities and Exchange Commission it had reached an agreement with one of its lenders to offer a cushion against up-turns in interest rates. Hirasawa explained that when ASC refinanced its debt in 2004, it accepted terms that allowed interest rates to fluctuate with the prime lending rate.

Now, ASC has entered into a separate contract with Credit Suisse First Boston to hedge against an increase in interest rates on $95 million in debt. Putting the protection in place involved a fee, Hirasawa said, but the company did not incur any new debt in the process.

American Skiing Company's stock, which trades on the OTC Bulletin Board, stood at 30 cents a share Monday. That compares with the 52-week high of 74 cents and the low of 10 cents.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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