Whistler Blackcomb no longer in jeopardy

Debt wouldn't impact Olympics

By QMI Agency

Intrawest ULC said it's "business as usual" at of all of its ski resorts, curbing speculation its Olympic host venue, Whistler Blackcomb, is in jeopardy just weeks away from the start of the Games.

Earlier on Wednesday, bank lenders backing Intrawest said they planned to sell off their ownership share in the company right in the middle of Olympic compeition on Feb. 19, according to a notice published in major newspapers.

"Serious discussions with Intrawest's lenders are ongoing regarding refinancing and the company continues to operate business as usual at all of its resort properties," the Vancouver-based company said is a statement.

"Intrawest is looking forward to the success of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."

Last month, Intrawest told QMI it was up to date on its debt payments. But the latest reports suggest the company missed its most recent payment on a $1.4 US billion loan.

Intrawest owns and operates ski resorts including Whistler Blackcomb and Mont Tremblant in Quebec as well properties in California, Colorado, Florida and Vermont.

Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC acquired Intrawest for $2.8 billion US back in 2006 and leveraged the buyout with a $1.7 billion US loan that came due in 2008.

"Fortress Investment Group continues to own and control Intrawest and all of its properties," Intrawest said.

"Intrawest is generating strong cash flow from its resorts, is well capitalized and core ski operations are off to a very good start this season," Intrawest Chief Executive Bill Jensen said in an e-mailed statement to QMI in December.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games are scheduled for Feb. 12 to Feb. 28.

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