Live from La Niña: Whistler raises $300 million, Crystal & Lookout Mountain expansions

Whistler Blackcomb raises a reported $300 million in its IPO, while neighboring ski areas in Washington and Montana are making progress in a couple of big-time terrain and infrastructure expansions.
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Snow is already blanketing the Pacific Northwest in what could be an early start to the region’s predicted heavy La Niña influenced storms. There is also plenty of new talk regarding Whistler’s recent IPO, and several new ski area expansions.

Whistler IPO raises $300 million

According to the Reuters News Agency, Canadian ski resort operator Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, which hosted a number of 2010 Winter Olympics events, priced its initial public offering at CDN $12 per share, below what it had previously planned. In the end, the Whistler Blackcomb IPO raised CDN $300 million.

The proceeds will be used to buy a 75 percent stake in the companies that own the resort from Intrawest ULC, a company owned by funds managed by a unit of private equity fund Fortress Investment Group LLC.

Crystal Mountain gondola enters final phase

In the final phase of the gondola construction, which began last April, a Chinook helicopter flew 11 towers from B lot to their footing locations on the mountain on Nov. 3.

The grand opening celebration for the Mount Rainier gondola is scheduled for Dec. 10, weather permitting. The gondola will climb 2,456 feet in nearly 10 minutes, with an uphill capacity of 600 people per hour. The approximate cost is $5.5 million.

Lookout Pass plans $20 million expansion

The Spokesman Review reports that Lookout Pass Ski Area on the Idaho-Montana border is planning a $20 million expansion that would more than quadruple its terrain, add eight chairlifts and a second base area, and encompass two additional peaks.

The ski area has submitted a 20-year plan to the U.S. Forest Service that considers the improvements in phases.

--Peter Kray

On Oct. 6, 2010, veteran journalist Peter Kray joined the SNEWS team and is now editor of the new SNEWS WinterSports channel. We trust you are enjoying the full offering of WinterSports news. Be sure to email your friends and let them know the best WinterSports news has arrived -- just in time for the start of the winter season. Got WinterSports news? Send your WinterSports news to Kray at pkray@snewsnet.com. Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com to learn about posting your own news releases, or for any other questions or comments. We love to hear from our readers!

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