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(Reuters) - Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc (SNOW.N), the owner of some of the most popular ski resorts in North America, is working with investment banks on a possible sale, people familiar with the matter said this week.
The sale process will test the value of Intrawest's seasonal ski business, which has benefited from strong snowfalls of late at its resorts. The company's shares have doubled in value in the last 12 months.
Intrawest, majority-owned by private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG.N), is in the initial stages of reaching out to potential buyers, including buyout firms, the people said. There is no certainty that a deal will occur, they added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Fortress declined to comment, while Intrawest did not respond to a request for comment.
Intrawest shares rose as much as 18 percent on the news and were up 7.1 percent at $18.18 in late afternoon trading in New York on Friday, giving the company a market capitalisation of $750 million (£615.6 million).
The company's best known ski properties include Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Mont Tremblant in Quebec and Steamboat in Colorado. It also owns mountain resorts, adventure retreats and real estate across the United States and Canada.
Denver-based Intrawest offers high-end "heli-skiing" packages, referred to as Canadian Mountain Holidays, where guests are transported by helicopter to remote locations, including lodges in the Canadian Rockies. Trips can cost $10,000.
Intrawest has pushed to expand its summer resort offerings, including hikes on glaciers and mountains, as a way to even bookings outside of ski seasons.
Early last year, Intrawest completed the sale of its timeshare business to Diamond Resorts International for $85 million, an action many of its peers have taken as the business has fallen out of favour among consumers.
Fortress took Intrawest private in 2006 for $2.8 billion, and then took it public again in 2014.
Earlier this week, another company in the leisure sector, golf club operator ClubCorp Holdings Inc (MYCC.N), said it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale.
Reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Additional reporting by Lauren Hirsch in New York; Editing by Diane Craft and Steve Orlofsky