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Originally published Friday, November 18, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Stevens Pass ski area sold to Florida company

New owner CNL Lifestyle Properties says no immediate changes in operations or management are planned. Season passes and other commitments will be honored.

Seattle Times business reporter

quotes Certainly there will be one change, higher lift ticket prices. Usually the new owners... Read more
quotes Maybe a season's pass will be good at both areas - how awesome would that be! Read more
quotes I would like it if the new owners renamed "Kehr's Chair" back to "Big... Read more

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On the eve of the ski season, the Stevens Pass ski area has been sold to the same Orlando company that owns the ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass.

CNL Lifestyle Properties said Friday it paid Harbor Properties of Seattle $20.5 million for the 1,125-acre property.

No immediate changes in operations or on-site management are planned, the companies said. Season passes and other commitments will be honored.

"We intend to operate Stevens the way it's been operated," said Karl Kapuscinski, president and CEO of the company that will run the resort.

Some investments are being considered over the next year or two, he said, including completion of a mountain-bike park and replacement of some lifts.

While CNL now owns the lodges, lifts and other improvements at both Stevens and Snoqualmie, that's the only connection between the two. Different companies operate and manage the two ski areas under long-term leases with CNL.

The operator that will lease Stevens from CNL and run it is Stevens Pass Mountain Resort, headed by Kapuscinski.

Boyne USA Resorts, owner of Crystal Mountain, operates Snoqualmie under a long-term lease from CNL.

Snoqualmie season passes won't be honored at Stevens, Kapuscinski said.

Stevens' seller, Harbor, known mostly as an apartment developer, has owned Stevens Pass since 1976, leasing much of the underlying property from the U.S. Forest Service. President and CEO Doug Daley said the sale of the "nonstrategic asset" would generate capital for Harbor to reinvest in more apartment projects.

Stevens was established in 1937, according to the resort's website. Two young Seattle men got a permit from the Forest Service and built a rope tow powered by an old Ford V-8 engine.

Skiers from Seattle couldn't drive to the slopes then — in winter, the road was closed six miles to the west. They had to hike in or take a train.

CNL, Stevens' new owner, bought the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas in 2007. It also owns the Wild Waves water park and Enchanted Village theme park in Federal Way.

The company is a real-estate investment trust that owns what it calls "lifestyle" properties across the U.S. and Canada — ski areas, marinas, recreation and entertainment attractions, and golf and senior communities.

Its properties include the Cypress Mountain ski area near Vancouver, B.C., and a retail complex at British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb resort.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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