Wall Street Journal: Whistler Blackcomb being shopped around, Russian billionaire interested

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 22, 2010 1:56 pm

Not even a Russian billionaire can resist the appeal of owning both a winter and summer treasure like Whistler Blackcomb, or at least that’s what the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The winter games came off incredibly well at the storied ski resort this year and now Whistler Blackcomb is operating on all cylanders.

According to those with knowledge of the situation, one interested party is Vladimir Potanin, a Russian shareholder in metals consortium OAO Norlisk Nickel. Potanin is already involved with the winter resort industry, as his primary investment vehicle, Interros Company, is in the process of building a new ski resort in Sochi, Russia, host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Intrawest’s owner, private-equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, has also been reportedly investigating other options for Whistler Blackcomb, including the idea of spinning out the property into its own separate company to be taken public with an IPO.

Intrawest, also owns other major resorts such as Steamboat Springs in Colorado and Mont Tremblant in Quebec and in 2006 was purchased by Fortress for approximately $2.8 billion at the height of the leveraged-buyout boom.  The ski resort with the worlds most sophisticated Gondola in the world is simply one of the worlds finest destination travel resorts for any reason, be it winter or summer activity.

Any transaction with a jewell of this magnitude will certainly be huge news for the ski and snowboard industry.