Intrawest hush-hush on any potential sale | SteamboatToday.com

Intrawest hush-hush on any potential sale

Intrawest plans to spend between $46 million and $50 million on capital projects, but nothing specific was mentioned for Steamboat Springs.

— The CEO of Intrawest, owner of Steamboat Ski Area, stayed hush-hush Thursday about any potential sale of the company.

"We really don't comment on market speculation or rumors, so sorry, but we can't do that," CEO Tom Marano said during a conference call to discuss the company's second-quarter earnings.

On Jan. 13, Reuters reported the company was exploring the sale as its stock price reached an all-time high.

The news agency was citing sources who wanted to remain anonymous, because the talks were confidential.

"Intrawest, majority-owned by private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, is in the initial stages of reaching out to potential buyers, including buyout firms, the people said," Reuters reported. "There is no certainty that a deal will occur, they added."

Intrawest announced making $7.1 million during the second quarter ending Dec. 31. During the same period in 2016, the company lost $6.9 million, largely due to poor snow conditions at its resorts in the Northeast.

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Intrawest has a history of announcing future capital improvement projects during the second quarter earnings call. This year, the company plans to spend between $46 million and $50 million on capital projects, but nothing specific was mentioned for Steamboat Springs.

At the Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, Intrawest will build an immersive forest tour and a multimedia light show.

The company is in the process of building a mountain coaster and miniature golf course in Steamboat.

Intrawest will also begin planning for a new lodge for the Canadian Mountain Holidays helicopter adventures.

Companywide, Intrawest will roll out phase two of technology and data analytics. This ski season, Intrawest launched a mobile application that allows skiers to bypass the lines at the ticket office and purchase lift tickets online.

"We remain focused on gaining a more holistic view of each customer's preference and spending history, so that we can deliver more tailored offers of vacation products that better match their interest," Marano said.

For the entire 2017 fiscal year, Intrawest projects earning between $129 million and $139 million thanks to strong pass sales.

"As of Jan. 29, season pass and frequency sales are pacing more than 12 percent ahead of the same time last year," Marano said.

Revenues did improve at Intrawest's Colorado ski areas, Steamboat and Winter Park, but not nearly as much as its ski areas in the Northeast.

"The month of December started a little bit lean, but then, we got really good conditions before the key Christmas holiday, and things actually went really well," Intrawest CFO Travis Mayer said.

Intrawest is confident moving forward.

"We are now in peak ski season and remain encouraged by conditions at our resorts," Marano said.

During the earnings call, one stock analyst asked if the health of the labor force in the hospitality industry impacted business.

"We were very concerned about that going into the season, but we actually have not seen anything dramatic at any of our locations," Marano said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland