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New higher-ups at the Summit at Snoqualmie

(News Item #0040, Published: 09/28/07, Author: Jim Meisner, Puget Sound Business Journal)

The deal: Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc. of Truckee, Calif., transfers control of the Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort to Boyne Resorts of Boyne Falls, Mich. Terms were not disclosed.

The players: Booth Creek, Boyne Resorts and CNL Income Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust in Orlando, Fla.

Booth Creek made a strategic decision early this year to focus its resources on its premier ski properties around Lake Tahoe, which are undergoing large expansions, company spokeswoman Julie Maurer said.

In December, the company had sold to CNL Income Properties most of its interest in the Summit at Snoqualmie, and Loon Mountain ski resort in New Hampshire, through a sale and lease back agreement. Under such an agreement, a buyer acquires a property and then leases the same property back to the seller. Usually, the seller also operates the property, as Booth Creek did with the Summit at Snoqualmie and Loon Mountain.

June proposal In late June, CNL approached Boyne Resorts about operating the Summit at Snoqualmie and Loon Mountain. Boyne already leased and operated three CNL properties in Tennessee, Utah and Vancouver, British Columbia.

"CNL asked us if we were interested in operating these Booth Creek resorts," said Boyne's president of Western operations, John Kircher. "So, we started a three-way conversation to pick up those leases."

Kircher said picking up the long-term lease on the Summit at Snoqualmie made sense for Boyne because of its proximity to Crystal Mountain, a large ski area close to Mount Rainier that Boyne already operates.

Double passes "The idea of having interchangeable ski passes between the two resorts made a lot of sense to us," Kircher said.

By July, due diligence for the deal started in earnest for all three sides. There was a lot of information to go through and not much time -- Boyne wanted everything ready before the start of the 2007-2008 ski season, which traditionally begins on Thanksgiving.

"We were trying to get some of the information and ticketing systems in place, standardizing accounting systems, all that kind of stuff," Kircher said. "There were also some Forest Service notifications that had to be made."

The deal was expected to close around Sept. 30.