Another week, another ski resort for sale. This time Echo Mountain, the closest ski resort to Denver, joins the list.
Details after the jump.
Echo Mountain reopened in 2006 on the site of Squaw Pass ski area. It originally marketed itself as a terrain park only mountain, but its convenient location - only 35 miles west of Denver - made it a hit with families seeking a closer, lower price alternative to other resorts on the I-70 corridor.
Unlike other ski areas which have been sold at auction recently, Echo Mountain is not in bankruptcy. The auction is strictly voluntary and will be by sealed bid rather than live auction. According to published reports, the owner decided to sell the resort at auction to guarantee a sale date and to allow the new owner time to transition in advance of the winter ski season. Bids close August 2, 2012 at 4 pm local time.
Echo averages 220 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sun annually and while it's current vertical drop is a modest 660 feet, it could be expanded to more than 1,500 feet. The resort is located entirely on private land, something that is almost unheard of in the Rockies. Almost all Rockies resorts are located, at least partially, on federal land.
Private land means not having to seek US Forest Service approval for projects and expansions. Likewise, the resort does not have to comply with US Forest Service guidelines, some of which can be onerous, but all of which cost more to comply with than a simple application to a local planning or zoning board. (For a lengthier treatment of the difference between operating a ski resort on public versus private land see Ski, Esq.'s article on the subject).
The purchase price in 2006 was $700,000, but Echo's owners spent over $8M refurbishing, updating and upgrading the resort. Stay tuned to Ski, Esq. for more details and analysis of the transaction following the sale.