Powderhorn Resort was on the auction block yesterday, and some familiar faces in Colorado ski community walker away as new co-owners. Former Vail Resorts executive Andy Daly and his partners in a new corporation, Ken and Tom Gart, had the high bid of $1.4 million for the Powderhorn Resort along with a more than 700-acre parcel of nearby land that could be developed into a golf course and home sites.
The Gart brothers of the Colorado-based sports corporation The Gart Cos., accompanied Daly to the auction and after three rounds of bidding, the trio bought up the ski area and the undeveloped land to the south. An inn and restaurant, the foundation for a new condominium complex and lots around the resort went to other individual bidders.
The Garts, whose family has been in the sports retail business in Colorado for three generations, would not comment on what part they will play in the ski area. They disappeared into the crowd while Daly welcomed handshakes and backslaps following the auction. Ken Gart deferred any comments to Daly. Daly referred to the Garts as “real estate partners.”
Daly has been part of the Colorado ski industry since he took a job at Aspen Highlands in 1970. He was president and chief executive of Vail Associates Inc. before it became Vail Resorts. During his time as president, the company acquired Keystone and Breckenridge, Heavenly in California and Wyoming’s Grand Teton Lodging Co. 2002 to start an investment company. He said he started a new company called Powderhorn Partners to acquire Powderhorn.
Daly’s and the Garts’ acquisition of the struggling ski area was warmly welcomed by the crowd in ski lodge. Local officials, former ski area employees and neighbors of Powderhorn came out on a day when the stock market tanked to see what the fate of the beloved local ski area would be and if the rumors sifting around Mesa County in the past week — that Daly was bidding — were true.The entire auction brought in just more than $2 million. Previous co-owner Steve Bailey, who is retiring, was all smiles after the auction.
Daly said he plans to make some small improvements to lifts and snowmaking equipment and to add a tubing park before this winter’s ski season. The ski area includes four lifts and 1,600 skiable acres and attracts about 75,000 skiers annually.