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SAM Magazine-Park City, Utah, July 14, 2006-The board of directors of American Skiing Company (ASC) has retained investment advisors to initiate a strategic review of business options for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, including the potential sale of the resort.

"Steamboat's status as a world-renowned destination resort, combined with the financial performance generated by its tremendous management team and dedicated staff, have positioned the resort for success well into the future," said BJ Fair, ASC's CEO and president. "American Skiing Company is coming off its second straight record year which has created a number of opportunities for us to pursue. … Our intent is to drive the maximum value for the company's stakeholders," Fair continued.

ASC's decision opens the door for Tim and Diane Mueller to once again make a bid on Steamboat. The Muellers had planned to purchase Steamboat in early 2002 for $91.4 million, but ASC cancelled the sale at the last minute. The Muellers sued for breach of contract, and under the terms of an agreement completed in July 2004, ASC paid the Muellers $5 million-and granted them 30 days to negotiate to buy Steamboat if ASC decided to sell to a third party within three years.

At the time of that agreement two years ago, Mueller told the Steamboat Pilot that a future deal was "not out of the question." But ASC spokesman Dave Hirasawa called the provision "highly theoretical," claiming it required only that ASC offer a negotiation period.