KSL Capital Partners LLC, a Denver-based private equity firm, has agreed to buy Squaw Valley USA for an undisclosed amount. The firm will acquire the majority of the shares of the Squaw Valley Development Co. in a deal that includes the resort’s ski operations, the Village at Squaw Valley, and related real estate holdings, according to Squaw Valley President and CEO Andy Wirth. Wirth is expected to retain his position as CEO.

About KSL
KSL Capital Partners was formed in 2005 by Michael S. Shannon and Eric C. Resnick, who currently serve as the firm’s Managing Directors. Mr. Shannon was a founding principal of KSL Recreation Corporation in 1992 as a portfolio company of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Over the next decade, with the assistance of Mr. Resnick as its Chief Financial Officer and KKR, KSL Recreation grew to become one of the largest independent owner and operators of resorts, controlling some of the most well known destinations in the world. KSL Recreation, which at the time included such resorts as the Grand Wailea in Maui, the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, La Quinta PGA West in Palm Springs, and the Doral in Miami, was sold in 2004 to CNL Hotels & Resorts for $2.4 billion. At the time, this transaction was one of the largest ever completed in the hotel industry.In addition to Shannon and Resnick, the firm is led by Steven Siegel, Richard Weissmann, Peter McDermott, Martin Newburger, and Bernard Siegel, and employs 20 investment professionals in Denver and New York.

Other KSL Properties
KSL invests in travel and leisure businesses. Their current and prior investments include Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, La Costa Resort and Spa, Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Hotel del Coronado, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, the San Francisco Bay Club and its sister clubs, as well as ClubCorp, the world’s largest owner of private golf and business clubs.  

Plans for Squaw 
The firm says it plans to complete the acquisition by the end of the year and invest $50 million in the resort over the next three to five years. For the 2010-11 season, Squaw Valley has undertaken more than $5 million in capital improvements, including renovation of the Olympic House and Gold Coast facilities. Additionally, in support of the resort’s augmented focus on the quality of the snow surface and trail grooming, the company has also purchased three additional state-of-the-art snow cats, complementing its current fleet of 22 grooming machines. Info: kslcapital.com