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Donner Ski Ranch Almost Sold

posted: 01/01/2000

Norden, CA, Dec. 11, 2000 (SAM Magazine)--A Las Vegas developer wants to purchase Donner Ski Ranch for a reported $10 million. According to published reports, Arizona Acreage LLC wants to continue operating Donner as a ski resort, but add shops, restaurants and scatter homes along some of its trails in an effort to turn it into a year-round resort.

About 80 percent of the area's 87 investors agreed to the sale Thursday night. Now, the proposed owner is looking to Nevada County planners to see what is feasible for the property, a Sierra institution since 1946. The sale apparently will not close until the buyers can determine what kind of resort development will be allowed at Donner.

According to local reports, majority owner Norm Sayler was reluctant to sell the 460-acre resort, but was underfinanced, having to support operation mainly with profits from his earth-moving and snow-removal business. Sayler, who helped build the first chairlift at Donner in 1955, became general manager in 1958 for original owners Bud and Madelyn Walton and eventually purchased a majority interest with his wife. The ski and snowboard area has always been run on a shoestring as other Sierra resorts expanded and improved with major capital investments.

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