ASC posts 3 percent gain

American Skiing Co. continues to lose money, however

American Skiing Co. reported Tuesday that its resort revenues grew by 3 percent, to $251.6 million, during the last fiscal year.

However, the parent company of the Steamboat Ski Area continues to lose money and is still $333 million in debt. ASC reported a net loss available to common shareholders of $1.24 per share in its quarterly earnings report this week for the period ended July 27. Shares were trading at 11.5 cents Tuesday.

"Our management team overcame a number of significant obstacles in fiscal 2003. and we posted a solid improvement in resort financial performance," company CEO B.J. Fair said. "We continue to benefit from ongoing operational improvements and cost containment at all of our resorts."

ASC reported net losses of $29.3 million for the fiscal quarter that ended July 27. That compares with $117 million for the same period in 2002. However, the bulk of that change (more than $80 million) can be attributed to the fact that in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2002, the company absorbed significant charges associated with restructuring its debt.

The biggest single source of revenue for ASC comes from the sale of lift tickets. Revenues in that category rose last year to $111.2 million, up from $104 million in 2002. Total skier visits among ASC's resorts were up 6 percent to 3.97 million.

Killington, Vt., overtook Steamboat last winter in terms of recording the most skier visits among ASC resorts -- 1.04 million, an increase of 10 percent over 2002. Steamboat was virtually flat at 1,001,020 skier days.

The biggest percentage gains in terms of skier visits were recorded at The Canyons, Utah, and Mount Snow, Vt., both with 16 percent gains. Mount Snow saw the most skiers of the two, with 546,304 skier days.

ASC's revenue from food and beverage sales climbed 3 percent to $36.7 million in fiscal 2002. Revenue from lodging properties dropped 3 percent to $36.5 million.

In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, real estate revenue from the sale of fractional ownership was less than half of what it was for the corresponding period in 2002. ASC achieved real estate sales of $2.3 million, versus $5.8 million in the last quarter of 2002.

An ASC spokesman attributed the decline in real estate sales revenue to weak economic conditions and the impact of ongoing "disruptions" related to the company's restructuring of its senior loan.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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