‘Old school’ B.C. ski resort sets crowdfunding record in quest to fend off Vail

November 3, 2017 2:13 pm

the vancouver sun

A tiny Canadian ski resort forged by Scandinavian miners chasing an 1890s gold rush has become the unlikely recipient of a record equity crowdfunding raise, tapping into powder hounds’ quest to fend off a wave of consolidation led by Vail Resorts Inc.

Investors are lining up to buy a piece of Red Mountain Resort in Rossland, B.C., drawn by its rebellious pitch of “Fight the Man, Own the Mountain.” The web-based campaign, the first by a ski resort, appears to have struck a chord with skiers anxious about a flurry of acquisitions that has put 39 resorts in the hands of just three corporations.

“Consolidation sometimes has the potential of stripping the soul and heritage out of these old-school resorts,” says Howard Katkov, chief executive officer of Red Mountain Ventures, who’s publicly taken jibes at the purpose-built villages and ubiquitous clock towers found at resorts like Vail and Whistler Blackcomb. “It’s about preserving what we consider an endangered species.” Vail didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the first day of its Canadian fundraising in August, Red drew pledges for $508,500, the largest single-day amount for an equity crowdfunding campaign in the nation, according to Sean Burke, chief operating officer of FrontFundr, the online investment platform in Canada. As of Tuesday, it had raised $455,050 with an additional $530,800 in process.

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