Whistler Mountain Bike Park in Canada, site of the Kokanee Crankworx and Red Bull Exodus, is being put on the auction block on February 19.  Intrawest ULC, owners of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain resorts, are reported to have missed payments on a $1.4 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) loan last month.

The venue is host to the Olympic downhill ski races next month, but Olympic organizers and Intrawest say it’ll business as usual for the Games.  Despite being the resort’s busiest and most profitable season, the lenders posted public notice that the auction will commence on the 19th, just six days after the opening ceremony.

The lenders, which include Lehman Brothers and Davidson Kempner, hope for a speedy sale of Intrawest  in one transaction.  The assets include more than a dozen resort properties, including Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado and Squaw Valley in California.

Fortress Investment Group, which acquired Intrawest for $2.8 billion in 2006.  The transaction included a LBO with a $1.7 billion loan that came due in 2008, just about the time the economy tanked and people stopped traveling and cavorting around expensive ski resorts.  The resort industry as a whole has been suffering since.

Here’s hoping the staff and park remain in operation throughout the ordeal and comes out OK in the end.

Read the full press release here.


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