Mammoth Mountain Ski Area sold its controlling interest for a record $365 million to the private investment firm, Starwood Capital Group LLC, on October 4, 2005. Mammoth's pioneering founder Dave McCoy—the ski resort's 90-year-old patriarch—will step down, putting the resort under new ownership for the first time since it opened in 1953.
Additionally, Intrawest and Starwood have entered into a preliminary agreement for a joint venture into the development of Intrawest's real estate holdings in the Mammoth Lakes region—including over 1,000 residential units and 30,000 square feet of commercial space scheduled for build-out over the next five to seven years. Rusty Gregory will retain his position as Chairman and CEO of Mammoth Mountain.
Greenwich-based Starwood Capital, a real estate investment firm who, under CEO Barry Sternlicht, grew from an $8 million hotel enterprise into the $12.5 billion company it is today, outbid several other potential buyers. Rumors abounded that Intrawest and Vail Resorts were interested. "The partners at Starwood Capital bring an understanding of our business environment as well as the knowledge of the true potential of our resort, says Gregory. "They see us poised as the next major destination resort in North America.
Mammoth was founded in 1953 by Dave McCoy and grew from a single rope-tow area in the remote Sierra wilderness into a 27-lift, 150-trail behemoth that saw 1.5 million skier-days in 2004/05. Mammoth Mountain is currently the second most frequented resort in the United States, according to the resort. McCoy had announced last February that he would be selling his interest in the ski area. The $365 million price is a record for a U.S. ski resort.
"There were many people interested in Mammoth, but cultural fit and dedication to maintaining a quality community was very important to me, says McCoy. "It's my expectation that Starwood Capital will continue our original vision for developing a world-class mountain community.