NEWRY, Maine -- After posting a $52.5 million loss for its fiscal year 2000, the owner of nine major U.S. ski resorts said it plans to re-evaluate its strategy.

The American Skiing Co. (ASC) owns Steamboat in Colorado; Killington, Mount Snow and Sugarbush in Vermont; Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA in Maine; Attitash Bear Peak in New Hampshire; the Canyons in Utah, and Heavenly in California/Nevada.

Killington ski area in Vermont is one of nine U.S. ski resorts owned by the American Skiing Co. Noting that losses in part were due to disappointing snow conditions last season, company chairman and chief executive officer Leslie Otten said, "Since the end of this past ski season, we have been busy taking corrective action and re-evaluating our strategy."

The new strategy includes selling real estate inventory and reducing real estate debt levels by $40 million or more before embarking on any new projects, Otten said.

He touted the grand opening last March of the 360-room Grant Summit Hotel and the 150-unit Sundial Lodge at the Canyons in Park City, Utah, providing that village with its first ski-in/ski-out accommodations.

ASC, which is set to add 325 acres of new terrain at the Canyons, recently opened a Grand Summit hotel at Steamboat and will link downtown South Lake Tahoe with Heavenly ski mountain via a new eight-passenger gondola in time for the upcoming season.

Otten said he was especially optimistic about the future of the Canyons, which stands to benefit from the 2002 winter Olympic Games.

ASC and Marriott Vacation Club inked a $7 million vacation ownership development deal at Heavenly expected to close later this month.

The agreement would allow Marriott to acquire time-share development rights on land in Heavenly from ASC.

Both companies are negotiating a similar deal at Killington.

For more details, contact American Skiing Co. at (800) 543-2SKI. Its Web site is at www.peaks.com.

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