Representatives for Colorado's Powderhorn ski area announced Wednesday the resort will be sold at a live auction Aug. 4, with no minimum bid.
"It's not a distress sale," marketing and communications director Sarah Allen said. "It really comes down to our owners are in their early 70s and they're looking to make a transition into retirement."
Powderhorn is located outside Grand Junction on the Grand Mesa, a massive flattop mountain near the Utah-Colorado border that connects the desert with the rowdier peaks in the center of the state. It features 1,600 skiable acres and four lifts, with a vertical drop of 1,650 feet and a summit elevation of 9,850 feet. Whoever wins the auction will get a base lodge and an inn, as well as a number of maintenance and operations buildings.
According to Allen, the resort averages 75,000 skier visits annually (with between 2,500 and 3,000 season passholders) and operates from December to April. It averages 250 inches of snow each winter; this year it reported 220 inches.
Caley Newberry, communications manager at J.P. King Auction Co., which is handling the auction, said no one knows what price the resort will fetch. When asked if it's likely to be in the millions of dollars, she said, "We sure hope so."
The Alabama-based auction company typically deals in "premier properties" such as athlete mansions (they sold former NBA star Karl Malone's house) and private islands. The Aug. 4 auction will be held at the base of the ski area "with entertainment and appetizers and a fast-talking auctioneer," Newberry said. Anyone wanting to buy the resort will have to show a cashier's check proving they have the funds.
One potential attraction for the new owner(s) could be an expansion onto adjacent land already within Powderhorn's approved U.S. Forest Service boundary. The 500 acres of additional terrain "would all be black and double-black terrain," Allen said. "We're looking at that internally right now, but it's all dependent upon what the new owners want to do."